Mt. Bachelor to Replace Idled Skyliner Express

The second six place chairlift in Oregon will debut for the 2023-24 ski season, Mt. Bachelor and parent company Powdr announced today. The larger detachable will increase capacity by 50 percent from the current Skyliner Express, which debuted in 1989 and has remained out of service this season due to technical issues. Mt. Bachelor and Doppelmayr will repair the aging high speed quad for the coming 2022-23 season before replacement begins a year from now.

“Since Skyliner went out of service the team and I, together with Powdr have been working parallel paths, first to try to get the lift repaired for the current season and second to either replace or repair the Skyliner lift in time for next winter,” noted President and General Manager John McCleod in a blog post. “As it turns out, we are going to do both,” he continued. “If there had been any way that we could have replaced Skyliner with a six-pack over the coming summer we would have done it, however by the time we began talking to lift manufacturers in January their production and installation schedules were fully committed for 2022.” The Lift Blog 2022 project count stands at 56 with 35 of those being new detachable lifts across North America.

Exact specifications for the new Skyliner are yet to be determined but it will become the largest lift investment in Mt. Bachelor’s history. A manufacturer was not publicly announced and Mt. Bachelor did not immediately respond to a request for comment on that.


18 thoughts on “Mt. Bachelor to Replace Idled Skyliner Express

  1. Ryan Murphy March 23, 2022 / 7:17 pm

    This seems like a really good decision long term. I also wonder if the existing lift will see reinstallation, given the tight market and recent repairs.


    • Donald Reif March 23, 2022 / 7:58 pm

      A smaller ski area could probably catch a good deal on a lift like this and use it as a draw.


      • Myles Svec March 23, 2022 / 9:01 pm

        This could be another option for Cooper for the used HSQ they want.


      • pbropetech March 23, 2022 / 9:04 pm

        I wouldn’t buy this lift. My counterparts may disagree, but a 1989 early-gen detach isn’t worth that much and will bring more headaches in the future. I know Doppelmayr supports the DS grip, else we’d have to remove I-lift, but there are other components that will fail that can’t be predicted- hence the current situation. I’ve seen firsthand how things will go south before you even realise it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Anthony March 23, 2022 / 10:18 pm

          Also doesn’t this have ridiculously-high hours?

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom March 23, 2022 / 7:37 pm

    I would love to see the existing lift used to replace either Red or Rainbow fixed grip chairs at Bachelor.


    • Donald Reif March 23, 2022 / 7:54 pm

      Red is only really a backup for Pine Marten.

      Rainbow, on the other hand, if it went detachable, could be re-extended to its original ending location, so as to make accessing Cloudchaser slightly easier.


      • pbropetech March 23, 2022 / 9:46 pm

        Red does have its own (slightly different) trail pod. I recall lapping that lift in order to avoid lines on Pine Marten, so I could see upgrading it. As an old curmudgeon regarding lifts, though, I reflexively say no. I can’t speak to putting Rainbow back to its former location as I haven’t been to Bachelor since before Cloudchaser. My gut feeling is that it won’t happen; there’s a reason Bachelor shortened it in the first place. Rainbow was fun in its original incarnation but I’d have to imagine that whole side skis differently since they put in Cloudchaser.


        • Cameron Halmrast March 23, 2022 / 10:15 pm

          I wouldn’t be surprised if Skyliner is relocated to replace Red before Rainbow. Since Mt. Bachelor is in the process of relocating its tubing center to be across the parking lot, people can go directly to Red Express without having to hike up the hill. In addition, Red will then provide quicker access to those wanting to reach NWX/Outback and the Skyliner Express. In addition, Red is not as exposed to the high winds.


    • Ryan March 24, 2022 / 4:06 am

      I think what Anthony and PBROP have stated is on par. The age alone add to that the high hours should mean this thing hits the scrap heap. I do believe the newer high speed terminals are easier to refurbish, but this older type of terminal design? Just not worth it.


      • Donald Reif March 24, 2022 / 6:36 am

        Some of the parts could probably be recycled (see Red Buffalo recycling towers and chairs from the original Montezuma Express).


  3. Bachskier March 23, 2022 / 10:07 pm

    Mt Bachelor’s approved development plan (not completed) from 2013 calls for Sunrise HSQ to move and replace the shortened Rainbow. The new Sunrise is to be a 6 Pack with a new lodge as well. Red is supposed to be slightly shortened and “upgraded” but it is not clear if that means HSQ or a more modern fixed grip.
    Dont know the logic of making Sky a 6 pack as Pine and Sunrise are more in need of capacity upgrade. Maybe with all the growth in Central Oregon all the old HSQ’s will be replaced with 6’ers to try to accomodate the crowds. Just a guess.


    • Donald Reif March 23, 2022 / 10:12 pm

      Outback’s probably next on the replacement list too given its age.


    • pbropetech March 23, 2022 / 10:27 pm

      From a ski area perspective sixpacks are the new norm as one can replace an aging lift with one capable of higher future capacity. It’s fairly easy to design a replacement lift at the same capacity as the former lift while ensuring a future capacity increase. What causes headaches is designing a lift solely for one capacity then trying to upgrade it later. In this specific situation Bachelor may be banking on a near-future Red upgrade to alleviate Pine Marten issues- they probably don’t want to push a PMX upgrade as they (fairly) recently upgraded the machinery there. $0.02


      • Peter March 23, 2022 / 10:35 pm

        Fourrunner at Stowe sounds like “designing a lift solely for one capacity then trying to upgrade it later.”


      • BACHSKIER March 24, 2022 / 9:06 am

        That makes sense. I imagine the operational costs are about the same so if there isn’t a huge difference in initial price, the resort may as well upgrade old lifts to 6 packs. Outback is definitely on its last legs so it will be interesting to see what Mt. B does with it.


  4. Aussierob06 March 24, 2022 / 9:38 am

    One thing to note about relocating old lifts is the installation is considered new and needs to meet the current code, not the one that existed at the time of the original install. This can add significantly to the price and complexity of an install. I doubt Doppelmayr have a reasonable upgrade path for that generation of lift. If you compare the cost of reinstallation and code upgrades, versus new equipment, the best value is usually to start over with new gear.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Erik March 24, 2022 / 5:31 pm

    My first (and only) visit to Bachelor was last year. Much of the resort felt kinda tired (and I say that as someone who regularly laps 50+ year old Riblets at Alpental), but nothing more so than Skyliner (which was closed on and off during our visit) and Outback (which was running at reduced speed, exacerbating already crushing wait times). Glad to see they’re investing in this. Outback & a PMX capacity upgrade should definitely be next.


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