Jackson Hole’s Thunder Quad to Go High Speed

A detachable chairlift is coming to the upper mountain at Jackson Hole for the first time. The Leitner-Poma high speed quad will replace the Thunder fixed grip quad, a favorite with Teton Village skiers since 1994. Thunder 3.0 will feature 90 degree loading to the north and 90 degree unloading to the south for improved skier circulation.

Ride time on the 1,454 vertical foot lift will be reduced from seven minutes to three and a half with a line speed of 1,000 feet per minute. “The Thunder lift has been the most popular lift on the upper mountain, and it delivers access to some of the legendary terrain JHMR is known for,” said Jackson Hole Mountain Resort President Mary Kate Buckley in an announcement. “The new Thunder lift will dramatically cut down on skiers’ and snowboarders’ time spent waiting in line and on the lift.”

Fans of the current Thunder will be happy to learn it will spin on at a resort in California. Construction on the Thunder detachable will begin in May with completion scheduled for October.


29 thoughts on “Jackson Hole’s Thunder Quad to Go High Speed

  1. Eric Wagnon March 23, 2022 / 6:30 am

    Yes, it will cut the time actually on the lift, but will it really cut the time waiting in line as Buckley from JHMR says? Assuming they load at the same rate, isn’t the uphill capacity of a fixed-grip quad and high-speed quad the same? At first glance, you might assume the line goes faster with a high-speed quad, but in both cases four people are being subtracted from the line every :10 or so as a new chair loads. Going from a two to a quad or quad to a six-pack would make a difference though since more people are being subtracted from line with every chair that loads. I know it is a little mind-bending and doesn’t seem right, but is there a flaw in my logic?


    • Kirk March 23, 2022 / 8:37 am

      Old fixed Quad 1530 pph
      New Detachable 2400 pph
      Old lift 9.40 sec loading interval
      New lift 6.0 sec loading interval


      • Eric Wagnon March 23, 2022 / 8:55 am

        OK makes sense, thanks. The shorter loading interval would indeed make the line go faster. I had never put a stopwatch to it, so I was just basing it on feeling like I had about same amount of time to get on a high-speed as a fixed-grip lift. That 3 and a half seconds shorter wasn’t really perceptible to me, but it would add up. (Part is of it probably has to do with the detachable aspect of it. When the detachable chair comes around the terminal at you slower, if anything, you perceive having more time to get on, but I guess you actually have less.)


    • Erik March 23, 2022 / 11:40 am

      Yeah the current (old) Thunder quad is a very low-capacity quad (it’s actually lower than a typical triple chair). The higher capacity doesn’t come from being detachable per se, but from putting more chairs on the line.


  2. Alex March 23, 2022 / 9:46 am

    what will the capacity of new Thunder be?


  3. skitheeast March 23, 2022 / 10:05 am

    Fantastic news! Thunder is such a popular lift on the mountain, so a capacity boost (presumably to 2400) will be welcome.

    A couple months ago, MKB expressed interest in upgrading Sublette, Thunder, and adding a Lower Faces lift within the next five years. This announcement puts the wheels in motion on this aggressive lift upgrade timeline.


  4. wolf March 23, 2022 / 10:16 am

    Has anyone else noticed that Peter is using European lifts in the photo bar at the top now?


  5. Kevin R March 23, 2022 / 11:48 am

    Peter how come Jackson Hole is buying Leitner lifts?
    I thought you all were Doppel clients??
    In regards to the capacity of a fix grip compared to a Detach you are right in assuming that 2400pph is the same no matter what kind of lift you are operating The difference is actually being able to attain that capacity due to the faster loading speed Depending on what time of skiers you have you probably will have more slowing or stops of the lift
    The use of loading carpets has for really helped with this issue


    • skitheeast March 23, 2022 / 12:39 pm

      Jackson Hole’s last 5 lift purchases: Thunder (2022/LPA), Eagle’s Rest (2019/Skytrac), Sweetwater (2016/Doppelmayr), Teton (2015/Doppelmayr), Casper (2012/LPA). They do not seem to really have a preference for anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

    • vons3 March 23, 2022 / 12:42 pm

      Jackson has not shown much loyalty to any single lift manufacturer, they have or have had a little of everything over the years. For example, in the last 4 new lifts that Jackson Hole has purchased one was LPOA (HSQ), two Doppelmayrs (HSQ and gondola) and a Skytrac (fixed quad).

      Agree on the capacity, HSQ and FGQ theoretically move the same number of people but the HSQ is more likely in the real world to do it.


      • Donald Reif March 23, 2022 / 3:00 pm

        JHMR are in the same boat as places like Copper (two new Doppelmayr and three new Leitner-Poma chairlifts in the past decade), Steamboat (Doppelmayr for Wild Blue and Rough Rider, Leitner-Poma for Pioneer Ridge), and to a lesser extent Vail (the past decade for Vail having seen the construction of two new Doppelmayr high speed six packs as well as a Leitner-Poma gondola, two high speed six packs, and three high speed quads)


  6. awconrad March 23, 2022 / 12:09 pm

    I’m guessing the resort in California that’s getting this is Mt. Shasta?


    • Mike B March 23, 2022 / 4:23 pm

      Could be China Peak as well perhaps?


      • Thomas Jett March 23, 2022 / 6:36 pm

        Where would China Peak put it?


  7. Randy March 23, 2022 / 12:15 pm

    Do we know where in California this lift is going?


  8. Henry March 23, 2022 / 12:24 pm

    Why isn’t the lift becoming a six-pack?


    • skitheeast March 23, 2022 / 12:41 pm

      Making its capacity 2400, typical for a quad, would already boost capacity by 50%. No need for a six.


    • pbropetech March 23, 2022 / 8:57 pm

      I actually mean for this comment to be here. Not everything needs to be a sixpack.


  9. Kirk March 23, 2022 / 1:11 pm

    Calculated Capacity is all about carrier interval.

    Example: 6 sec int. 6/3600 = 600 x 4 = 2400 pph
    For average Quad. 3600 pph for Six pack at a 6 sec. int.
    Note: 3600 seconds in an hour.


    • Donald Reif March 23, 2022 / 8:14 pm

      I think the intervals would be more like eight seconds between chairs.


      • Kirk March 24, 2022 / 7:53 am

        8 second interval on a Quad = 1800 pph. The design capacity is not going to be that low.


  10. Somebody March 23, 2022 / 10:50 pm

    This might be the newest lift I’d consider a classic. The whole resort has basically grown around this lift. The only other lift from this era left on the resort is Sublette, which days are also numbered.

    This replacement will be huge for the skiing experience here though and is honestly overdue. Can’t wait to see the new one.


    • Ryan Murphy March 24, 2022 / 2:12 pm

      Not sure about calling it a classic. It’s hard when a good chair like Thunder is literally in the shadow of one of the iconic lifts of North American skiing.

      Also, really biased opinion here but it has way too much south facing terrain for my taste. The snow has been inconsistent in the Thunder zone everytime I have been to Jackson.


  11. Somebody March 24, 2022 / 8:35 pm

    Anyone know if it’ll start/end in the same spots or will it be moved around a little?


  12. Henry T March 26, 2022 / 9:21 pm

    Are there any examples of 90 degree loading on newer LPA quads? Because I wonder if there will have to be any modifications because of the narrower terminals

    Liked by 1 person

    • pbropetech March 26, 2022 / 9:52 pm

      Are they narrower? There is 90-degree loading on Omegas, and the carriers (while not being the same design) are the same width. I haven’t spent any time around a smaller (man, that’s weird to say) LPA terminal but I’d hazard a pretty strong guess that they’re perfectly capable of 90-degree loading.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif March 26, 2022 / 9:59 pm

      Tiehack (Buttermilk) and Lift 1 (Taos) are LPA high speed quads with 90 degree loading.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Aidan Reilly May 14, 2022 / 4:06 pm

    I’ll be at the Leitner-Poma facility in early June. I’m hoping they’ll have some of the terminal pieces done and painted!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Andy October 10, 2022 / 8:15 pm

    noticed the Nov 10 2022 Twitter feed on the Blog (Flying Towers Day) and am curious what the horizontal clearance and the vertical clearance was for the helicopter flying the Thunder towers vs the Aerial Tram cables close by. Obviously flying the helicopter for towers would not have been done if it was not safe, but how close was the vertical cable lowering the towers to the aerial tram cable at its closest point? Great flying. Probably looks scarier from the pics than it actually was.

    Liked by 1 person

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