Red Lodge Mountain to Install Detachable Beginner Lift

The only detachable triple CTEC ever built has found a new home in Montana. The one-of-a-kind installation will be removed from Alta Ski Area this spring and go on to replace Red Lodge Mountain’s Miami Beach double in 2023. The $2.25 million project will reimagine the learn to ski experience with a new conveyor lift and yurt in addition to the high speed chairlift.

The Miami Beach detachable will follow a modified alignment to better serve the mountain’s beginner terrain and provide access the the Palisades. “This is an exciting and significant investment into the ski experience here at Red Lodge,” said General Manager Jeff Schmidt. “Upgrading to this high-speed triple chair will be a transformation of the beginner experience. The Sunnyside Lift has the perfect horsepower and capacity for the Miami terrain.” The Red Lodge team will assist with removal operations at Alta this spring and the lift will be stored in preparation for installation next summer.


27 thoughts on “Red Lodge Mountain to Install Detachable Beginner Lift

  1. Brendan Granger March 27, 2022 / 5:17 pm

    Sheesh, they’ll have detachables to almost everywhere on the mountain now except for the main lift out of the base area. I’ve never skied there so I can’t say for sure what it’s like, but it seems to me like the triple should be a much higher priority for replacement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awconrad March 27, 2022 / 5:25 pm

      The Triple is a pretty long ride, but the lines usually aren’t too long. It would be nice if it was detachable, but not the end of the world.

      On the other hand, the Palisades lift has no reason to be detachable, and if that and the triple switched spots a lot of people would be really happy.


      • MavRat March 27, 2022 / 5:32 pm

        exactly what I’ve always wondered… why put a high speed in an area that is seldom open, while leaving the main chairlift out of the base area to the rest of the mountain as an old, slow fixed grip? What was management’s thought process when they did that in the mid-90’s


        • Former RLM skier March 28, 2022 / 3:09 pm

          Rumor was that the front side lifts were next in the master plan, but a lack of funds intervened.


  2. Jason March 27, 2022 / 5:39 pm

    As Someone who skied alot there in my early ski days (early 80s), I think this is a great move. detachables are easier for beginners.


  3. G1 March 27, 2022 / 7:37 pm

    I think it is a good idea as well, Miami Beach is much older than the Terminator (the triple out of the base) and will allow for high speed access out of the base, even if it isn’t the main lift. Miami Beach has likely lived its life span without a major overhaul.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ryan Murphy March 27, 2022 / 8:28 pm

      Yeah, I’ll second this. Add in how crazy the market is for lifts right now, and that Sunnyside may not have worked as a triple replacement and this seems like a good choice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donald Reif March 27, 2022 / 10:20 pm

        If things go well, they might be able to get a quad or six pack to replace the triple in a few years.


        • MTskier March 30, 2022 / 6:33 pm

          We’ve all been waiting gor an upgrade to the triple ever since they put the detachables on the outskirts of the mountain… RLM’s business model seems to be an odd “put high speed lifts everywhere except for where the most traffic is, including in terrain that is often only open a few days per year”


  4. Cathy Henry March 28, 2022 / 6:23 am

    What we all wish is that the mountain would run the willow lift so we don’t have to ride the 13 minute triple.


  5. vons3 March 28, 2022 / 9:59 am

    Makes sense for Red Lodge replacing Miami Beach as this actually raises capacity out of the base whereas if they did the triple its a 1 for 1 change. Sunnyside lift is the same generation lift as Red Lodge’s other detachables so they have the infrastructure to service it and are familiar with its design.


    • MavRat March 30, 2022 / 6:28 pm

      Miami Beach is pretty much a “dead end” lift unless Palisades happens to be open- it only accesses a pod of beginner/learning terrain off to the side.. increasing capacity on it won’t really change anything about moving people out the base area, as people wanting to ski anything other than the learning area will still need to go up the old slow fixed triple.

      Also, replacing the fixed triple with a detachable triple wouldn’t be a 1-for-1 replacement, as the lift is moving twice as fast on the detachable, meaning that if you have a similar number of chairs on it as you do on the old fixed grip, it would be practically doubling the capacity of that lift.


      • Utah Lost Ski Area Project March 30, 2022 / 6:37 pm

        In terms of capacity, replacing a fixed grip triple with a detachable triple is absolutely a 1 for 1. Sunnyside has a designated capacity of 1800 pph and so does the existing triple. Sure, the ride time would be reduced, but the carrier spacing negates any additional capacity that could have been achieved.

        While I haven’t skied Red Lodge, isn’t Willow Creek accessible from Miami Beach?


        • MTskier March 30, 2022 / 6:52 pm

          It has been a while since I skied RLM, but from what I remember, Willow Creek is not accessible from Miami Beach.

          They don’t run Willow very often, anyways… it serves as a relief lift to the triple on super busy days


        • Former RLM skier March 30, 2022 / 7:33 pm

          Willow is accessible from Miami. It’s also not a very long walk from the lodge, and it’s an even shorter walk from the top of the magic carpet.


        • MTskier March 30, 2022 / 6:54 pm

          also, couldn’t they always add more chairs to the ex-Sunnyside to increase capacity beyond the old fixed grip?


        • Utah Lost Ski Area Project March 30, 2022 / 7:03 pm

          Not without a major upgrade to the entire lift. Even with Miami Beach being short, I doubt the old Sunnyside is able to handle any more than 1800 pph.

          When you say “add more chairs” where would these extra chairs and grips come from?

          Liked by 1 person

  6. skitheeast March 28, 2022 / 10:15 am

    $2.25 million is less than the cost of a new fixed-grip chair these days, so great move for Red Lodge! Detachables are great beginner lifts.


    • pbropetech March 30, 2022 / 8:31 pm

      Absolutely. When we replaced triple-K with a detach it improved the beginner experience by a ton. I imagine it’ll be the same here.


  7. Former RLM skier March 28, 2022 / 3:12 pm

    Any further details released on the realignment?

    In my mind, moving the carpet area to Miami (or anywhere else) would be a prerequisite to update the triple to a detach, especially if it were a modern one. Take away the time benefit to Willow and you’ll get a lot more traffic coming all the way to the bottom on every run.


  8. Ryan King March 28, 2022 / 10:30 pm

    Ok red lodge skiers. I’ve got a question for you. Why does palisades hardly ever run? Looking at the trail map it appears palisades dips to around 7,000 ft at the base. The base area is at 7,500. Is there really not enough snow to run the lift.

    As a follower of this blog, I’m just fascinated why they have a high speed lift that doesn’t run. And the trail map lists it as “bonus terrain.”

    Maybe throw some snowmaking down on palisades and you can ride the new Miami Beach and drop down from a high speed triple to a high speed quad?


    • Former RLM skier March 29, 2022 / 4:37 am

      Snowmaking on Palisades and Cole Creek (at least for high traffic areas) is on a lot of wish lists, probably including RLM’s. It’s a significant undertaking, though, as–from what I was told, at least–the water rights for the front side are tied to the drainage, and they’d need a separate system for the back side as well as appropriate water rights for it.


      • Mike B March 29, 2022 / 1:21 pm

        Pretty sure they don’t have water rights in Cole Creek basin, thus no snowmaking, likely forever. Undertaking that Palisades expansion without requisite water rights seems I’ll-conceived in retrospect.


    • MavRat March 29, 2022 / 9:25 am

      They aren’t allowed to make snow in Palisades as it floods the farm fields in the valley when in melts


    • mark April 1, 2022 / 9:30 am

      Strong winds just eat away at the snow in palisades. It has nothing to do with the elevation. It can snow 2 feet one day, and all be gone in spots the next day from the wind. That’s why it’s hardly ever opened. It’s good terrain, but too direct west facing.


  9. Joe Roundup March 29, 2022 / 7:27 pm

    Baloney, there are no farm fields below the Palisades.


    • Ryan March 30, 2022 / 11:28 am

      well, is it a good place to farm?


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