Boyne Mountain to Launch Midwest’s First Eight Seat Chairlift

Boyne Resorts’ commitment to modernizing lift infrastructure across its properties will continue in 2022. The company today announced construction of Disciples 8, an eight place chairlift replacing Disciples Ridge and Disciples II at Boyne Mountain. The Doppelmayr D-Line system will feature a direct drive, auto locking safety bars and a loading conveyor, though no bubbles due to its 3.2 minute ride time. D8 will be Boyne Resorts’ third eight passenger chairlift following installations at Big Sky Resort in 2018 and Loon Mountain this year.

Boyne Mountain has been a center of lift innovation ever since it opened with the Midwest’s first chairlift in 1948.  From there, Boyne introduced the world’s first quad in 1964 and installed America’s first high-speed six person chairlift in 1992. “Boyne Mountain started our company’s 75 year journey in the ski and resort business, and we are excited to again build on its incredible foundation of innovative industry firsts with the next generation of attractions and our heritage of elevating the Midwest resort experience,” said Stephen Kircher, CEO and president of Boyne Resorts. More information on other improvements announced today can be found here.

Future lift upgrades are planned for Meadows, Super Bowl, Victor, Boyneland and the Mountain Express, which will create the Midwest’s most advanced lift system.

31 thoughts on “Boyne Mountain to Launch Midwest’s First Eight Seat Chairlift

  1. Myles Svec September 29, 2021 / 2:23 pm

    This lift upgrade doesn’t make much sense to me. I know this is purely marketing but does Boyne mountain get enough traffic to fund this? Also is this Boynes only lift upgrade for 2022? A Barker replacement should be a way higher priority than this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • curtis September 29, 2021 / 2:47 pm

      On some busier weekends disciples ridge gets a decently long lines, but they could solve that by simply running the lift faster as they currently run it pretty slow.

      Like

    • curtis September 29, 2021 / 2:51 pm

      plus they don’t even have night skiing in that area of the mountain

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      • Ted November 17, 2022 / 2:28 pm

        They are adding lights to Disciple’s Ridge and 53 additional snow guns!

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        • miskier November 17, 2022 / 6:48 pm

          Gives Boyne what’s probably the best (definitely biggest) night skiing in the Midwest, now the only two lifts out of nine that can’t run at night are Superbowl 4 and Alpine 2. with the snowmaking I wonder if they’ll push the D8 opening for early December or even opening day, as I think the lift’s about done and it would definitely draw people out to the resort

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        • afski722 November 18, 2022 / 9:37 am

          My guess is they will typically run 4 lifts at night – Mountain Express, Boyneland, D8, and Meadows. They will definetely have one of the biggest night skiing operations now, and what previously had lacked a lot of easier terrain lit at night. D8 isn’t going to be open for opening day, they haven’t started making snow in that area as current operations are on Boyneland-Aurora. Night skiing typically opens the weekend prior to Christmas. The reality is that outside of early season die-hards, December is actually pretty quiet for destination skiers up north. Too many activities, Christmas parties, etc. I am always shocked home empty the first two weekends are for skiing up north in December, even when there is decent early snow.

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    • skitheeast September 29, 2021 / 4:00 pm

      Boyne typically announces improvements for each resort one at a time instead of a single centralized announcement like Vail. I would expect announcements from their other resorts to come in the upcoming weeks or months.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave December 10, 2021 / 6:48 pm

        It definitely doesn’t make sense to invest all that money. In 10 to 15 years there won’t be enough skiable days to make a profit. With climate change there won’t be any skiing south of Cadillac.

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        • Brendon December 10, 2021 / 7:39 pm

          There is always summer activities which will almost always make enough.

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        • SpartySki December 13, 2021 / 7:17 am

          There are more days of Skiing in Michigan now than 50 years ago. In the late 60’s everyone thought skiing might be done for good in the Midwest after a couple of mild winters. Then the 70’s saw snowmaking improvements and colder temperatures earlier in the winter and later in the winter. Technology found a way to fix part of the problem. Unfortunately, these technology innovations and the colder winters came after about a third of Michigan’s skiing had disappeared. The small, inexpensive, family oriented ski hills died and the alternative was the bigger more expensive resorts. Less people were exposed to skiing as the smaller areas continued to die out.

          Who is to say that in 10-15 years we do not have an artificial snow that we can have year round? If there is money to be made there is incentive to figure it out. There have already been attempts at this. Some have been attempted in the real world. Some have not. By your logic I should just not replace my furnace because in 10-15 years I will not need it but I am cold now. Boyne has old and outdated lifts now and if it wants to be around in 10-15 years they need to make improvements to keep the skiers they have and to offer the terrain they have.

          Boyne can move this lift to another resort if skiing dies in Michigan.

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        • afski722 December 13, 2021 / 9:21 am

          The past two seasons have had relatively warm and slower starts in December, but for the 2-3 seasons before that, Northern Michigan got hammered with snow in early/mid November, resorts had their earliest openings and got all their snowmaking done and terrain open by mid-Dec.

          We’ve had variations in start dates as long as I can remember.

          The biggest change I have seen with the ski season in Michigan over the past couple of decades isn’t so much the season length based on conditions, its the compression/concentration of skiers into a very few number of days. The resorts make their money on Christmas Week, MLK Weekend, Presidents Weekends, and about 6 other non-holiday weekend Saturdays in Jan & Feb.
          People generally stop skiing come March. Due to the price and other activities, it seems that even when people come up for a weekend, they only ski one day instead of two or three.

          Last season was a bit of anomaly with Covid, but I’ll be curious how this season goes. Last year skiing was one of the few activities going on during the winter. However this year the usual competiting activities – youth/travel sports, birthday parities, professional sporting events, concerts, travel, etc will compete with families time/decision to go skiing.

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        • Ted November 17, 2022 / 2:29 pm

          Boyne Mountain is well North of Cadillac.

          Like

    • Big Mountain September 29, 2021 / 6:04 pm

      I think Sunday River will announce new Lifts at Fall Fest.

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    • Connor September 29, 2021 / 7:46 pm

      I agree. I feel like they saw vail’s plan and wanted in on some, I know its not like that but still makes me think. This is pretty redicuous though considering a HSQ or HSS could have gone in without issue. Heck, even 2 new fixed quads would have been a improvement. Also, Diciples is only 2500 ft long, seems like a pretty overkill lift for that length.

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    • Skier0224 September 30, 2021 / 8:45 pm

      This is definitely excessive, especially since it isn’t even the main workhorse lift, but I’m really glad Boyne is finally paying attention to Michigan again. with the exception of one lift replacement, we haven’t gotten anything new in 20 years and most of it is ancient Riblets. Also, hopefully this will pressure other Midwest resorts into actually doing something, I’m sick of jealously watching as west coast ski resorts keep getting new stuff when we’re still stuck with 1960s/70s center pole quads.

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    • SpartySki October 1, 2021 / 6:57 am

      Boyne Mountain lift lines on holidays and weekends rival pretty much any ski resort in the US. Skier visit numbers don’t accurately reflect how much congestion exists on the mountain and it doesn’t factor in uphill capacity. Boyne Mountain has areas of major congestion and they need to get people to spread out. Putting an 8 pack on Disciples will entice people to move over there. When Boyne Mountain replaced Meadows with just a new lift that had a better orientation, it started further down the hill, it enticed skiers to move to those slopes and open things up more at Mountain Express.

      I think Mountain Express is going to move to Meadows and Meadows to Superbowl. Meadows to Superbowl makes sesne as the length and elevation as practically the same. I think a brand new D-line 6 or possibly another 8 will go to Mountain Express. It is the workhorse lift at Boyne Mountain and has very long lines at it services popular terrain and is the main lift out of the base.

      Disciples 8 makes sense for a lot of reasons. It is not the location I thought an 8 would go but it does solve a lot of issues. It appears that Boyne wants more condos and homes and this is where they would go. Disciples 8 could be the start of a second base area geared more towards home owners and renters like you see at resorts out west.

      I just hope that this kicks off an arms race in Michigan. There are some other resorts in Michigan that need High Speed Lifts. Nubs being the most in need. I love Nubs but hate the slow lifts.

      2500 feet is not a lot by West standards but most lifts this long out west at large resorts run faster and/or service fringe terrain that is not as popular. 2500 feet in Michigan is extremely long and when these lifts also run as slow as they do it is agonizing. Also High Speed lifts in the Midwest, regardless of length, establish a resort as a high end top tier resort. Marketing for sure but this is what people want.

      Like

  2. Charlie September 29, 2021 / 2:31 pm

    Hopefully this applies pressure on Vail to not completely ignore their Midwest resorts (I’m looking at you Afton Alps)

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  3. curtis September 29, 2021 / 3:02 pm

    A high speed quad would have worked just fine, but this is cool i guess, an 8 seater coming near me

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  4. skier72 September 29, 2021 / 3:35 pm

    Will the new liftline be on the Disciples or Disciples II chair? Or will it be a brand new liftline?

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    • Collin Parsons September 29, 2021 / 4:18 pm

      I agree that’s the biggest question here. It seems like it will be hard to consolidate those two lifts, given the considerable distance and flat space between them.

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      • skier72 September 29, 2021 / 4:51 pm

        I think what would’ve been better is to leave Disciples II for now, and put the new lift starting at the bottom of Disciples, going to the top of Ramshed (replacing those two lifts).

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        • Hudson September 29, 2021 / 6:23 pm

          that would not make sense for many reasons, for one that lift line would go through a house, secondly to get from the top of rams head to the top of disciples peak you have to skate across a long flat catwalk above miller’s time, which would be very inconvenient. Also lapping the ramshead terrain park would be worse if you had to take the flat and slow trail all the way to the bottom of disciples every time.

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  5. skitheeast September 29, 2021 / 3:58 pm

    When I heard a year or two back that Boyne wanted to place a signature eight pack at each of their resorts, I did not think that included the ones in Michigan! It is nice to see Boyne releasing a ten-year plan for all of their resorts, as the public can surely appreciate the investment and transparency.

    Like

    • Vintage Chairlifts September 29, 2021 / 5:42 pm

      I wonder what it will be at Snoqualmie? I assume Central Express?

      I also wonder when the Sessel replacement is happening.

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  6. afski722 September 29, 2021 / 8:28 pm

    Total overkill…but hey its marketing.
    Rumor before was a repurposed HSQ going in to replace Disciples I & II.
    The skiing in this area isn’t even that good but whatever.

    I haven’t skied the Mountain in years since it gets to be a nuthouse and borderline unsafe on the weekends. Lots of low-skill and low quality skiers.

    The place is empty mid-week.

    Like

  7. Jay F. September 30, 2021 / 3:48 pm

    Huge move.
    Boyne is upping the standard.
    I cannot wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Skier0224 September 30, 2021 / 8:52 pm

    hopefully this will bring a couple new trails to the Disciples area. they could probably open up the liftline of D. Ridge and maybe carve a few more next to that. the back area really isn’t super exciting right now so some new blue and black trails would be nice if possible.

    Like

  9. afski722 October 1, 2021 / 10:24 am

    Like others said, there is supposedly more real estate in the long term plan at the base of Disciples along Mountain Pass Road.

    When it comes time to replace the Mountain Express 6 later this decade, I suspect it gets an 8-pack. I doubt the life gets repurposes as we are talking about a heavily used 30 year old 6 pack.

    Highlands is likely due next, heard rumors for years about a new high speed quad or 6-pack going in replacing the MacGully lift, starting near the Day Lodge and running up the top near the top of Kath Run along the old Leprechaun lift line. Also rumors of a second lift out on North Peak and some additional runs expanding north of the current trails.

    Nubs isn’t going to go for high-speed lifts. The market and brand themselves on essentially being the opposite of Boyne Mountain.

    Like

    • Mi_skier October 1, 2021 / 6:20 pm

      If boyne plans on building an 8 seat at all their resorts like someone else said, it would make the most sense to put it in replacing heather, and move the old quad to challenger or interconnect. I agree on nubs, as they don’t really get the crowds other Mi resorts get, and their lift aren’t horrible, mostly late model rivulets which I think are pretty reliable.

      Like

  10. Mi_skier October 1, 2021 / 6:37 pm

    *riblets. Stupid autocorrect

    Like

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