Announcing Kancamagus 8, the East’s First Eight Pack

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Boyne Resorts will invest millions to build its third D-Line chairlift, an eight place at Loon Mountain set to open for the 2020-21 season.  The first such lift in the Eastern United States will replace the Kancamagus Express, a 1995 detachable quad servicing the lower mountain.  Like Boyne’s two Doppelmayr D-Line systems at Big Sky, the Kanc will feature tinted bubbles, heated seats, locking safety bars, a loading conveyor and direct drive.  “The Kancamagus 8 chairlift will be a leap into the future of skiing for our guests,” said Jay Scambio, president and general manager of Loon Mountain Resort.  “We are committed to bringing the latest advancements to our guests—this lift is the next example of that, following our first-in-the-world dual-frequency RFID installation.”

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Boyne will operate the only two eight place chairlifts in the Americas.

Loon Mountain currently operates an all-Doppelmayr fleet of ten lifts.  “We have a deep, long-standing relationship with both Loon and Boyne Resorts,” noted Mark Bee, President of Doppelmayr USA.  “We are proud to be a part of a major step forward in the eastern ski scene that puts Loon on a path towards achieving its goal of having one of the most advanced lift systems in the world.”  The east’s most technologically advanced lift will spin at 1,100 feet per minute, making it even faster than Ramcharger.  A ride on one of 62 ultra-wide chairs will take just 4.5 minutes.  Capacity out of the Governor Adams base area will increase 25 percent to 3,500 guests per hour.

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The Kancamagus quad is 24 years old and in need of a capacity upgrade.

No other American or Canadian ski operator has purchased eight place or D-Line lifts to date.  I asked Stephen Kircher, Boyne’s chief executive, what it feels like to be the American early adopter for such technology and this was his response:

It is humbling to be able to continue our company and family’s legacy of over 70 years bringing skiers the next generation of chairlift technology.  Now doing it beyond the midwest, with Doppelmayr’s new D-Line technology and doing it with the first two 8 place chairs is even more gratifying.  Ironically it took the rest of North America time to adopt triple, quad and six place chairlifts after those were introduced at Boyne in the 60’s through early 90’s, it seems eerily similar for 8 place chairlifts and the new D-Line.  Boyne Resorts is proud to be showcasing the future of uphill transportation in the rockies and the east.  We believe this will become the new standard of quality and efficiency in the decades ahead. This is likely only the beginning of many more of these types of lifts across North America.  Ultimately, enhancing the experience and attracting many more people to the mountains.”

– Stephen Kircher, CEO/President, Boyne Resorts

Kanc 8 will be the first major investment of Flight Path: 2030, a ten year infrastructure push at Loon also announced today.  Future projects will seek to elevate the ski experience, grow the business responsibly in every season and connect with the local community.  Lift upgrades over the next ten years may include Seven Brothers, Lincoln Express, North Peak Express and the gondola .  “Loon’s 10-year plan will have a positive impact on development throughout the Lincoln and Woodstock communities—as we travel together on our path to be New England’s premier mountain destination,” said Scambio.

The Forest Service has already approved the Kanc 8 project and construction will commence in early spring.

45 thoughts on “Announcing Kancamagus 8, the East’s First Eight Pack

  1. Skristiansen January 17, 2020 / 1:27 pm

    This seems like too much. It would be better to build this as a 6 person. This seems to be similar to Boyne Resorts’ marketing strategy at Big Sky.

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    • xlr8r January 18, 2020 / 2:18 am

      I agree this upgrade is more about marketing than actually improving the on mountain experience. Just putting in a HSQ at Seven Brothers is all that is really needed. This lift is not going to reduce lines at all in West Basin as it will attract a larger crowd being the shiny new lift with bubbles, and people will struggle to fill each chair with 8 passengers, so the real world capacity will be about the same as it currently is.

      Its all marketing as the average skier will think the capacity has doubled as the chairs now seat 8 instead of 4, when we all know that is not the case at all.

      Like

    • alpabet January 20, 2020 / 8:47 pm

      I happen to volunteer at the mountain. We have been told, its not going to get ‘more” people to the top, it just will do it, more efficiently…

      Like

  2. powderforever45 January 17, 2020 / 1:42 pm

    Very exciting for Loon!

    Like

  3. k January 17, 2020 / 1:43 pm

    Too much capacity, especially where the Kang drops people at mid mountain that is already crowded even by New England standards

    Liked by 2 people

    • xlr8r January 18, 2020 / 2:20 am

      Grand Junction is already a mess, this lift won’t help

      Like

      • matthewd6731 January 21, 2020 / 8:38 am

        Agreed. Plus, this lift will make it even worse as it will just dump more small children/beginners who want to ride the new fancy lift onto Grand Junction as it is the only green up there. It will make getting from Kanc to North Peak even harder….

        Like

  4. BarkeeStone January 17, 2020 / 1:47 pm

    Well, now we have 2 HS8 chairs in the U.S.

    Like

  5. Tijsen January 17, 2020 / 1:54 pm

    The lower mountain is going to get too crowded. There aren’t enough wide trails to take the capacity boost.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Collin Parsons January 17, 2020 / 2:09 pm

      West Basin has massive trail acreage. Probably the only area on that mountain that can handle more capacity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Max Hart January 17, 2020 / 2:11 pm

        The main mountain and North Peak certainly couldn’t. Maybe South Peak could handle more skiers if they cut a few more trails in that area, which would also justify an upgrade of that lift.

        Like

  6. Max Hart January 17, 2020 / 2:02 pm

    New Kanc will also run 1100 fpm.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Max Hart January 17, 2020 / 2:07 pm

    I don’t think I need to mention this again, but there’s another detachable quad in Boyne’s portfolio, in New England *wink wink*, that is 8 years older than Kanc and, serves an area multiple times the size of Loon’s West Basin, and has a reputation for being atrociously unreliable.

    At least they have finally committed to their second installation in the east in 12 years (I’m not even going to count Spruce and Skyline, both of which replaced lifts after major accidents). I hope it’s a sign of more to come.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Donald Reif January 17, 2020 / 2:26 pm

      Its name starts with B and ends in “arker”.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Jesse January 18, 2020 / 10:16 am

        Red bubbles soon

        Like

    • Somebody January 17, 2020 / 9:50 pm

      Boyne after seeing your comment: “So you want us to replace Whiffletree?”

      Like

  8. Ryan January 17, 2020 / 2:47 pm

    Wow. Incredible! Overkill? Maybe.. but hey, they don’t have to load all 8 chairs all the time now do they.

    Like

  9. Skiz January 17, 2020 / 3:07 pm

    This will be interesting. Will he who raves about big sky also come for another boyne resort?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Andrew January 17, 2020 / 3:24 pm

    Don’t get the point. Ramcharger is almost impossible to load 8/chair and still has the same line length as when it was a 4 person lift. Seems like Boyne is going the Euro approach: provide ridiculous capacity and only utilize 50% of it, instead of having someone at the bottom loading a full chair and utilizing 100% of it.

    Like

    • Max Hart January 17, 2020 / 3:39 pm

      Kanc gets so many more riders than Ramcharger does, it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

      Ramcharger didn’t really need to be replaced, however it was replaced to have a high tech, comfortable lift that you can ride with your entire family while linking Andesite to Lone Peak. Swifty is being replaced for pretty much the same reason.

      Kanc as it is is also a very good machine that has a lot of life left in it, but lift lines regularly exceed an hour. I have a feeling that the timing of this announcement has a lot to do with the holiday weekend and the fact that there will be an endless slew of complaints about lift lines for the next three days. Kanc needs the capacity, and has the terrain to support it. Unlike out west, the east usually doesn’t screw around when it comes to filling every chair.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Brian January 17, 2020 / 4:20 pm

        I have never seen an hour long line at the Kanc. If the lines are long, it is only because people are avoiding the gondola base area. First order of business at Loon should be to replace the gondola with higher capacity or replace the 7 brothers SLOW lift. This Kanc8 is over kill and misses the real problem.

        Like

        • Max Hart January 17, 2020 / 4:31 pm

          Clearly you have never been to Loon on a holiday weekend. If you’re someone who avoids Loon because it’s jerry-land, I’m in the same boat as you.

          But, there are 4 trails with snowmaking off of the gondola. You can’t upgrade the gondola and put more people up there, the skier density up there is too high as it is. West Basin has the acreage for a higher capacity lift, so the new lift is going there.
          Seven Bros is the highest capacity out-of-base lift at the Octagon base, and it should stay that way. More than likely it will be replaced with the existing Kanc Quad.

          Liked by 1 person

        • xlr8r January 18, 2020 / 2:28 am

          I agree completely, I have been to Loon on many weekend days in the last 5 or so years and have never seen Kanc get lines even close to an hour long, that is an absurd statement Max. The longest lines by far at Loon are for the gondola. Seven brothers being replaced with a HSQ is all that is needed to spread people out better on the lower mountain.

          Like

    • Rob Withey January 17, 2020 / 9:45 pm

      Euros don’t have ridiculous capacity. On the 6 and 8 seat chairs they run very wide carrier interval to make it easier to load and unload. Typically their uphill capacity is not that high. 3500pph is not a lot against a theoretical of 4800pph.

      Like

  11. milanyvr January 17, 2020 / 4:20 pm

    Hell yea, one step closer to replacing eagle or lions at cypress

    Like

  12. Machski January 17, 2020 / 6:44 pm

    Clearly, this FlightPath drop announces clearly that Loon is Boyne’s Jewel of the East. Seven Brother’s will come after Kanc8 because until the 8 is in, the mountain bike park is served by the Triple. The Kanc 8 should take that duty over in summer of ’21. I had heard they would refurbish the current Kanc Quad and reuse on Seven Brothers akin to the Ramcharger to Shedhorn, just a year later in this case.

    The interesting omission in the FlightPath plan is that South Peak no longer appears to be getting it’s learner’s Pod and base by the access bridge. Rather interesting as Escape Route will Continue to be a snowmaking trail that leads to a parking lot with no lift access.

    Liked by 1 person

    • xlr8r January 18, 2020 / 2:55 am

      Yeah looks like the South Peak learning area is dead. One thing Loon lacks is a good beginner area as both Kissin Cousin and Little Sister are small and inadequate compared to other nearby mountains. Also because those two pods are so small, beginners at Loon quickly move on to Bear Claw and Grand Junction which are too crowded. Building an additional lift or two at South peak for beginners will really help spread people out at Loon, and take pressure off of Bear Claw and Grand Junction. At minimum build one lift to connect to the large overflow parking lot Escape Route ends at.

      The other thing that needs to get done ASAP (I see it is listed in Flightpath) is the expansion of Governors lodge (which is overcrowded and poorly laid out) and building an actual permanent lodge at South Peak (the Pemi tent is almost 15 years old now!)

      I really disagree with Boyne’s investment strategy in their properties. Its more marketing fluff than actually addressing needed improvements.

      Like

  13. Kaden K January 17, 2020 / 7:25 pm

    Cool to see another 8 pack in North America! What color will the bubbles be?

    Like

    • BarkeeStone January 17, 2020 / 9:32 pm

      Judging by the picture it will be gray for the bubble.

      Like

  14. skitheeast January 17, 2020 / 8:29 pm

    Awesome news in what is hopefully the first in a string of Northeast lift announcements from Boyne (given the hype they have been building over the past serval months about their Loon/Sunday River/Sugarloaf). Kanc currently has massive lines and this will help alleviate those issues. I would also not be surprised to see this lift refurbished and reinstalled on Seven Brothers in a year’s time after a refurbishment (like Swift Current).

    To those who are complaining about more people on the trail, I do think Kanc’s pod is capable of more bodies, so I would not be too concerned. Even though it is an eight-pack, its capacity will only be 3500, less than a full capacity six-pack.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Somebody January 17, 2020 / 9:47 pm

    3,500 PPH 8 pack? What’s the point? 25 year old six packs can beat that..

    Like

    • powderforever45 January 17, 2020 / 9:56 pm

      Probably just did a 8 pack because of the Boyne thing with high tech lifts and a bigger chair spacing. But I don’t get putting it at 3500 PPH instead of 3600 PPH.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jamie January 20, 2020 / 9:19 am

        In reality the capacity stated for all lifts is never precise, it’s always a rounded figure.

        At full speed, a complete circulation of a lift takes a specific amount of time, and because there has to be an exact number of chairs, there are basically a fixed number of capacities possible for that particular lift.

        For example, if an 8-person chairlift takes exactly 8 minutes & 20 seconds to do a complete circulation, each chair would deliver 57.6 pph.

        There could be 60 chairs/3456 pph, 61 chairs/3513 pph, 62 chairs/3571 pph, 63 chairs/3628 pph, etc. It’s now just a case of how many chairs the lift is made to take.

        From that point of view, there’s no reason why 3600 is better.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Max Hart January 18, 2020 / 6:01 am

      Technically they can, but in reality they usually can’t.

      Like

  16. Skristiansen January 18, 2020 / 6:38 am

    Could this push vail to invest even more in their eastern resorts?

    Like

    • skitheeast January 18, 2020 / 10:17 am

      The increase in Boyne investment combined with Alterra and Powdr’s recent investments seems to be working to a certain degree with the recently announced Okemo project. I really hope they like how the Okemo project turns out because I think they should do the exact same thing at Stowe by moving FourRunner to Toll House (help fix the parking mess) and installing a new six (or eight) pack in its place. Wait a year before any potential significant ex-Peak investments.

      Like

      • Skristiansen January 18, 2020 / 12:23 pm

        I think that Stowe should add a low PPH 8 place to replace four runner and relocate the old lift to toll house. The four runner lift still runs at 1000 fpm every day and is in very good condition.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Donald Reif January 19, 2020 / 11:34 am

          FourRunner is fine as is. It would be more practical to just put a second high speed quad in to replace Lookout or Mountain (Lookout would be my choice for replacement since it’s the older one).

          Liked by 1 person

  17. Max Hart January 18, 2020 / 6:40 am

    Contrary to popular opinion, this upgrade makes perfect sense.

    The West Basin has 6 top to bottom blue and black trails (it’s a stretch rating them as blacks, they really should be blue), all of which are wide cruisers. Loon (or Medicare Mountain as some call it) is known for its intermediate terrain; this lift will get more people into an area that has the carrying capacity to handle 3500 riders/hr. Even now at 2800 riders/hr, the skier density on those 6 trails is the lowest on the mountain, and the snow is still good at the end of the day even on the busiest days. Grand Junction will be a mess, but it’s a mess as it is and I actually think that this new lift could actually reduce traffic on that trail. Kanc has also been the highest out-of-base capacity lift since it was built, and the Governor Adams Lodge is really Loon’s main base lodge. The new lift will double as both the highest capacity out-of-base lift at Loon and as a better machine for lapping the west basin, while reducing wait times substantially.

    Everyone also seems to want a Gondola upgrade, and I’m not sure why. It may have the longest lines on the mountain, but the vast majority of the Gondola’s riders end up on four trails: Flying Fox, Upper Picked Rock, Bear Claw, and upper Speakeasy, all of which are narrow and have uncomfortably high skier densities as they are. There are a few more trails up there, 2 of which have snowmaking (black-diamond Angel Street, remember Loon’s clientele, and Haul Back, which goes to North Peak), and 2 don’t. Currently the Gondola moves 1000 rider/hr, which I agree is pathetic, but East Basin also dumps 1000 riders/hr right next to the Gondola, and the area serviced by the North Peak Detachable Quad, which moved 2400 riders/hr, overlaps the majority of the area serviced by the Gondola. That’s an upper mountain capacity of about 4400 riders/hr, many of which end up on the main and narrow intermediate and beginner runs on Loon Peak. Those four trails (Flying Fox, Upper Picked Rock, Bear Claw, and upper Speakeasy are why Loon has a reputation for being skied off before 11:00. If you add more people to that area in any way, whether that be a Gondola replacement or East Basin replacement, those trails will just get skied off faster.

    Seven Brothers really also does not service enough terrain to justify a detachable quad, but the only people who lap it are those skiing the parks. Everyone else is just trying to get somewhere else on the mountain (North Peak or West Basin). Because of that the terrain it directly services is moot, it’s more an issue of moving people around the mountain. In that case it really needs to be upgraded to a detachable quad. That’s no mystery anyways as we’ve known that that’s been in the works for months now. It will likely be the Kanc Quad, which is still a good machine despite its inadequacy in the area it services now.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Gavin January 18, 2020 / 9:02 pm

    Boyne Wishlist
    Barker 6 at SR
    Kanc 6 not overkill with an 8
    Supersix, Timberline or Skyline detach at Sugarloaf
    Lions 6 at Cypress

    Like

  19. Benjamin Edwards January 19, 2020 / 7:20 pm

    This is going to be awesome!!!

    Like

  20. William Kobuszewski February 11, 2020 / 5:20 pm

    Is the new Kankamagus 8 going to terminate higher up on the mountain. My thought is to terminate the new lift in proximity to the “tote road” lift. Makes getting to South Peak much easier.

    Like

    • Mike B February 11, 2020 / 5:52 pm

      No. Kanc 8 will run on the exact same alignment as the current lift. Loon’s GM recently mentioned on the Storm Skiing Podcast that they evaluated different alignments but ultimately concluded that running Kanc 8 higher would create too much crowding with the traffic coming down from the summit.

      Like

  21. Carleton Gebhardt March 26, 2020 / 10:15 am

    Loon has removed all mention of the Kanc 8 from their website, with the exception of it still being listed in their 2030 strategic plan. It makes me wonder if this is now on hold… As I’m sure many resorts upgrades elsewhere….

    Like

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