Big Sky Resort will cement its position as America’s leader in lift technology with the debut of Swift Current 6, the resort’s fifth major lift addition in four years. The announcement comes just 12 months after the launch of Ramcharger 8, the only eight place and first D-Line lift in North America. By December 2020, two groundbreaking bubble chairlifts will rise from Big Sky’s Mountain Village: one to Andesite Mountain and the other flanking Lone Peak. Not only will Big Sky operate the only two ski lifts in North America with Doppelmayr D-Line technology, the Boyne Resorts flagship will also feature the most lifts with heated seats (three) and the most bubble lifts (four, not counting the private Yellowstone Club which has 8.)
Swift Current 6 will span twice the distance of Ramcharger – about 8,500 feet across 24 towers – making it the fourth longest bubble lift on the continent. 126 premium upholstered chairs will yield a capacity of 3,000 passengers per hour, an increase of more than 25 percent versus the current detachable quad. “Consistent lift improvements are an essential part of Big Sky’s 2025 vision,” noted Big Sky President and COO Taylor Middleton. “We know efficiently dispersing skiers across our almost 6,000 acres of skiing is essential to our guests. Swift Current will dramatically modernize and improve the flow of skiers in the Mountain Village base area.”
Swifty’s 6 m/s line speed will mark a first for North American six place chairlifts and a flight to the heart of the alpine will last just seven minutes. Many aspects will mimic Ramcharger 8, a pioneer still unmatched in the Americas. Bubbles will come in Big Sky blue with heated seats underneath. “This technology offers guests reliability, efficiency, and a staggeringly fast, warm, and comfortable ride up to the iconic Lone Peak—America’s Matterhorn,” said Stephen Kircher, CEO and President of Boyne Resorts. “There will be no faster, safer or more comfortable chairlift in North America.”
Safety for children will again be a focus. Once the bar is lowered by riders, it will lock until the top terminal, where it will be unlocked and raise automatically. The lower station will include a height adjustable loading conveyor to make getting on the chair easier for kids. A high definition screen will display terrain status and video content before boarding. At the top terminal, guests will unload after a 90 degree turn toward Powder Seeker, a move expected to dramatically reduce mis-unloads. The upper terminal will also house a large Doppelmayr Direct Drive. Fully automated parking will be constructed at the top with bikes carriers coming in 2021.
The SC6 project only accelerates the partnership between Boyne Resorts and Doppelmayr which goes back decades. “We are proud to be part of the lift transformation happening at Big Sky,” remarked Mark Bee, President of Doppelmayr USA. “Big Sky is on a path to rival the best lift systems in the world when the 2025 vision is completed,” he continued.
The Big Sky 2025 plan will continue to evolve as the resort grows and hears from more guests. Swift Current was moved up from the original sequence but tram replacement and village gondola projects remain priorities. “We were able to bring Swift Current forward in our 2025 timeline and still keep on track with our next transformative steps of mountain improvements,” noted Middleton, who presided over the opening of the resort’s expansive new Vista Hall dining venue just two days ago.
The existing Swift Current lift, built in 1996 alongside Gondola One, will be sent to Salt Lake for refurbishment and re-installation at another Boyne resort in 2021. Construction of Swift Current 6 will commence as soon as Big Sky closes in mid-April.