New terrain at Mt. Rose, Nevada could be accompanied by a rare two-stage detachable chairlift under a plan signed last week. Known as Atoma, the expansion would feature 112 acres of beginner terrain across the Mt. Rose Highway from the existing Wizard quad. The project would include eleven developed ski trails, a skier bridge and new snowmaking. A dual purpose detachable chairlift would provide both egress from the new terrain and a connection back to the top of Wizard. Skiers and riders seeking to lap the new trails would unload at an angle station near the highway while others would remain on board. Capacity of the lift would be 2,000 skiers per hour, providing a low-density beginner experience away from more advanced terrain. The plan does not specify a chair size, though Mt. Rose’s two existing detachables both feature six place chairs.
Chairlifts with angle stations are quite rare in the United States, in part due to their high cost. Garaventa CTEC built the first such lift on Vail’s Golden Peak in 1996. Nearby Breckenridge debuted the Peak 8 SuperConnect in 2002, allowing mid-line loading. Utah’s Alta Ski Area completed America’s first chairlift angle station with two separate drive systems in 2004 (Alta once planned to build a second such lift but opted instead for a gradual line turn with no loading or unloading.) Steamboat’s Christie Peak Express followed in 2007 with unloading for beginners at an angled mid-station. After a 12 year gap, Alpine Meadows and Leitner-Poma completed the Treeline Cirque quad in 2019 featuring an angle station at a cost of $10 million. If the angle concept ends up proving too expensive for Mt. Rose, the Forest Service authorized installation of one 3,000 foot beginner lift and a separate 1,650 foot connector chair as an alternative.
Mt. Rose has not released a timeline for construction or identified its lift manufacturer partner yet.