Breckenridge Master Plan Outlines a Flurry of Lift Upgrades

America’s most-visited ski resort would get better but not bigger under a new master plan filed with the Forest Service. Breckenridge and Vail Resorts envision eight major lift projects under the plan, the first for the resort in 15 years. Over that time, Breckenridge has grown to include new terrain on Peak 6 and half a dozen new lifts. For the next few decades, Breckenridge plans to focus on upgrading infrastructure and reducing congestion in base areas rather than adding major new terrain.

Peak 8

The first lift project in the 2022 master plan has already been completed. The new Rip’s Ride detachable quad opened November 11th and is likely to be the first of six projects replacing Riblet lifts with new equipment. Next summer, Vail Resorts plans to retire 5-Chair for another detachable quad, featuring a capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour and a non-detachable mid-station for summer alpine slide access. “The existing lift is 50 years old, prone to misloads by beginner and novice using the lift and contributes to congestion at the base of Peak 8,” notes the plan.

In future seasons, 6-Chair will also be replaced by a detachable quad, marking the end of the Riblet era on Peak 8. This project has already been approved by the Forest Service and is a common wish list item for advanced skiers. One or two additional chairlifts may eventually be added to Peak 8 near the top of Rip’s Ride. “These two lifts would create a small amount of additional novice and beginner capacity on the mountain while providing an opportunity for new skiers and riders to experience purpose-built beginner terrain that allows for progression in a separate pod from the congested Peak 8 base area,” notes the document. Finally at the base of Peak 8, a new gondola is planned to connect the current Gold Rush parking lot with the BreckConnect Gondola. This extremely short lift would be built in partnership with timeshare company Breckenridge Grand Vacations as part of a planned real estate development.

Peak 9

More than 40 percent of Breckenridge skiers arrive at Peak 9 and the 2022 master plan includes multiple projects to improve skier circulation. A new 4,800 foot gondola code named Frontier would load at the base of Peak 9 and cross over the Quicksilver Super6, terminating at a new mid-mountain ski school facility. This 8 or 10 passenger gondola could move 2,200 skiers per hour both uphill and downhill along a 4,800 foot slope length. The Frontier teaching area would feature two new conveyor lifts away from the congested Peak 9 base. The concept is similar to other recent mid-mountain learning centers at Steamboat, Jackson Hole and Big Sky.

A second beginner-focused project on Peak 9 would see A-Chair replaced by a shorter, re-aligned quad chair. This lift would better serve novice skiers with a throughput of 2,000 skiers per hour. C-Chair, another Riblet, is also earmarked for replacement. A six person detachable would both load and unload slightly higher than the existing lift and span 5,862 feet. A 3,000 passenger hour capacity would help spread guests out and keep them on the mountain rather than returning to base areas. Higher on Peak 9, E-Chair is also slated for replacement with a detachable quad in the existing alignment. Quicksilver may also be upgraded in during the plan period as it is nearing the end of its useful life.

As always, Forest Service acceptance of a master plan does not constitute approval of specific projects. Rather, the 2022 plan offers a road map for possible future improvements at Breckenridge. By 2023, the resort will have completed seven major lift projects in 11 years. With that track record and a menu of future projects, Vail Resorts is likely to continue investing in lifts at Breck in seasons to come.

72 thoughts on “Breckenridge Master Plan Outlines a Flurry of Lift Upgrades

  1. afski722 November 28, 2022 / 8:05 pm

    I guess I stumbled into something earlier but thanks for the much better post and summary. Like you said, its a roadmap for future development. Some of the projects have been previously approved by the USFS but not implemented, others are net-new.

    A few of the other details including indicating that they plan to leave the T-Bar as a surface lift; not viable or feasible for chairlift replacement.

    Also, that Quicksilver, Mercury, Peak 8 SuperConnect, and Rocky Mountain will be monitored and may become necessary for age/maintenance related replacement.

    It will be interesting to see the timing / phasing of such projects. Not just for Breck but how CapEx is allocated and spent across all of Vail Resorts properties. The improvements alone at Breck for all these lifts and infrastructure have easily got to be $50M if not much higher.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif November 28, 2022 / 8:21 pm

      I could envision the T-Bar maybe at least getting replaced with a brand-new one on account of the thing being nearly 40 years old.

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  2. Donald Reif November 28, 2022 / 8:14 pm

    This master plan could be summed up as “Breck makes plans for how to retire the remaining Riblet lifts”.

    The only one of the Riblet replacements I question would be the replacement of Lift C. I do concur that the proposed new unload location makes sense…

    …but I question putting a six pack on that lift line. I feel it would make more sense to upgrade the Beaver Run SuperChair to a six pack on account of its age, while replacing C with a high speed quad.

    Part of me also thinks that upgrading Quicksilver to a chondola would be more practical than building a separate gondola (again, due to Quicksilver’s age), but on the other hand, putting beginners on the Frontier Gondola might reduce misloads at Quicksilver.

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    • Eric G December 1, 2022 / 6:46 pm

      I think the point of the new Gondola was stated in the fact that 40% of skiers arrive at Peak 9 and thus they need to increase their out-of-base capacity. The purpose is not solely for a on mountain beginner area.

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      • Donald Reif December 1, 2022 / 8:35 pm

        The Frontier Gondola will be primarily for beginners heading to the new learning area. It won’t go all the way to Ten Mile Station, just high enough that one can access Lift A, the Peak 8 SuperConnect, and the Beaver Run SuperChair. Those starting at the Maggie who want to head for the Mercury SuperChair or Falcon SuperChair will still be relegated to riding Quicksilver, but with somewhat reduced misloads because of those beginners having been siphoned over to the gondola.

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    • Jonathan December 3, 2022 / 1:53 pm

      Lift C serves some great and underutilized terrain on Peak 9 but is very slow for it’s distance. I concur that a high speed quad would make a lot of sense. The current drop off is way too low if you want to get back to the more advanced terrain skiers left- you have to go uphill to get to the best starting point. This is a much better place to drop off in the new plan. Because of its speed and the lack of people looking for more difficult terrain on 9, I was pretty much alone on this lift in march. They really don’t need more capacity, but more speed may drive capacity in the future.

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      • Donald Reif December 3, 2022 / 6:41 pm

        Yes, that’s one of the big issues with C’s ending location. I find it easier to use the Mercury SuperChair to lap these trails because you can build up speed going through the meadow above the Overlook to make it through that uphill stretch (though one has to be careful due to mingling with Overlook guests who are strapping on or removing their gear).

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        • Jonathan December 5, 2022 / 8:02 pm

          You know, I never really considered running over the Mercury after riding to C. That meadow is not a ton of fun to ski either. It’s not a long uphill, but you have to commit as soon as you get off the chair or it gets quite a bit longer.

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        • Donald Reif December 5, 2022 / 8:37 pm

          With that meadow above the Overlook, I find the bigger hazard to be how crusty the snow can get, particularly if there are high winds.

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    • Kane December 9, 2022 / 11:30 am

      The gondola really feels like almost a waste to me, or at least a head-scratching use of precious construction rights and lift-capacity. Serving less terrain than Quicksilver, not even going to Tenmile station, and being one of the lowest vert lifts on the mountain. Why is it a Gondola then?

      One of the best uses of Gondola’s is providing easy access to mid-mountain or peak lodges before needing to gear up. While this seems like it’s solely for taking up Ski & Ride classes, which is a bizarre reason to build an entire high-capacity gondola that can’t even be used to access a lodge for a mid-lesson lunch break.

      If was a two stop lift that took people up and down from Tenmile and The Overlook it would be pretty amazing and one of the most useful lifts in the resort. Get people of all skill levels out of the base area directly to immediately get them on mid-mountain lifts like Mercury, Falcon, and the A-chair replacement. Freeing up Quicksilver and Beaver run entirely for people lapping that terrain.

      It would make more sense to me if they were sending the gondola along Quicksilver’s current alignment, and then to the Overlook (or at least just to Tenmile). And moving Quicksilver to the new proposed learning terrain. Seems like a much more efficient use of the additional capacity.

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      • Donald Reif December 9, 2022 / 1:01 pm

        “Why is it a Gondola then?” I would say it’s for the same reasons Beaver Creek went for installing a gondola 15 years ago to replace Haymeadow.

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  3. Collin Parsons November 28, 2022 / 8:16 pm

    This plan would see Breckenridge operating almost exclusively detachable lifts. Fixed grips would be relegated to real estate access, very short beginner lifts, and one-and-done connector lifts. Vail and Beaver Creek are already like this. Crested Butte, Keystone, and presently Breckenridge still have some key fixed grip lifts.

    I’m surprised this doesn’t include replacing Beaver Run. At 32 years old, it’s by far their oldest detachable. If replaced, it would almost certainly be a 6 pack with 3000 per hour capacity.

    I don’t see Quicksilver needing replacement quite yet. It’s 23 years old, and only operates in winter. Unless it has mechanical problems, then I think it sticks around for a while. When it is eventually replaced, it would make sense to upgrade to an 8 pack with the same capacity, allowing for the elimination of the double loading. Again, I don’t see this happening for a long time. Mercury and Rocky Mountain are older at 25 years old, and I don’t see either one going anywhere anytime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif December 1, 2022 / 6:38 pm

      Maybe C being a six pack has to do with wind, too, since there can be a fair amount of crosswind in that meadow above the Overlook.

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    • Eric G December 1, 2022 / 6:53 pm

      The proposed Gondola may reduce the demand on Quicksilver, but it won’t improve the ability level of the average user of this lift. 6-packs are difficult to load for beginners and 8-packs even more so. I think the justification for keeping dual-loading remains with any 6 or 8 passenger chair.

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  4. afski722 November 28, 2022 / 8:21 pm

    Yeah no mention about anything regarding Beaver Run, but didn’t they replace a lot of stuff with the newer replacement carriers and grips from Colorado not too long ago.

    Agree that a 6-pack on C is overkill, and would be better on Beaver Run.

    I also understand the rationale of doing something about the base area around Quicksilver. Its a problem with the mixing of never-ever beginners / ski school and acting a major access point to the mountain. The last pitch on Quicksilver back to the base is a bit challenging for first-timers. I can see the value in having a ski school Gondola to siphon off that traffic that jams up and slows down Quicksilver.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif November 30, 2022 / 8:21 am

      Not only is that last pitch on Silverthorne a bit of a challenge, but there’s also the fact that the area from Beaver Run down to the Maggie is pretty flat.

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  5. Sean R November 28, 2022 / 9:06 pm

    Also in agreement a 6-pack on C lift would be overkill, Beaver stub as a 6 and C as a quad would make more sense. I also hate the idea of a detachable quad for E chair- totally unnecessary and would destroy the character of that area.

    Liked by 2 people

    • afski722 November 28, 2022 / 9:11 pm

      Agree. I will be a bit nostalgic to see the day the 6-Chair & E-Chair are no longer doubles. I can somewhat understand replacing 6 with something a bit higher capacity, but I would be perfectly fine if Breck just pulled an A-Basin and did what they did with the Pali replacement and just left it as-is.

      E would be fine with a double as-is, and will probably be the last remaining Riblet on the mountain.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donald Reif November 30, 2022 / 8:26 am

        Lift E would definitely make the most sense as the last hold-out, seeing as I think it’s the last Riblet to have been built (it was actually built after the Quicksilver Quad was built), and the only Riblet on the mountain to have been originally built with bail chairs (the other Riblets all used to have center pole chairs until sometime in the late 1990s, chairs new enough that Keystone used Lift 4’s chairs to replace the Yan chairs on A-51 and Discovery).

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  6. SCSkier November 28, 2022 / 9:18 pm

    Thoughts:

    No one touching on the best news here! Improvement of the runout from the windows haha. Hopefully no more jumping over that frozen river.

    C-Chair. I believe the 6 pack replacement is to try and also woo more utilization of this terrain. Gives some nice fall line long runs without the hassle of beaver. Plus, if those new lifts by Grand Timber go in, those people would be going to C-Chair for a connection to 9.

    6-Chair – Thank god it’s going to a hsq but really wish they would have considered moving the bottom terminal down to bottom of Frosty’s. Gives better vertical for what will be a very short ride. That being said, RIP to the powder on 6-Chair and E-Chair.

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    • afski722 November 28, 2022 / 9:23 pm

      Agree C-Chair terrain is highly underutilized, but also above the average skill level of many of the current Peak 9 skiers…..Interesting they would be going from a double that only runs weekends/peak days to a 6-pack. We shall see what comes to fruitition.

      6-Chair is probably ok as a lower capacity HSQ, but agree makes no sense to upgrade E. That said, there is no reason really to extend 6-Chair down to the bottom of Frostys as it would put more skier traffic on that run for everyone lapping 6-Chair and make it even more of an icy, skied-off congested mess. The additional vertical it would provide is just “junk time” for those lapping current 6-Chair terrain pod.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SCSkier November 28, 2022 / 9:46 pm

        Yes, I should have added my wish for 6 chair to come down would go along with glades and trails going down towards that improved runout from the windows on south side of 8. Seems to be plenty of snow held down in those trees but may be an environmental protection thing. Putting all that traffic on Frosty’s would definitely result in a regulation NHL rink on that run every day.

        One final thought on C-Chair. It would also eliminate the need for all the people trying to get from 8 to 9 on that route from having to walk that last little bit. Even keeping all my speed this morning, I still had to pole a couple times at the end to get me towards beaver. I passed many a persons already walking.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Matt November 29, 2022 / 12:16 am

    I randomly rode up the chair with a couple of Breck lift mechanics who said that after the Wildcat accident, Vail is looking to get rid of all their Riblets. So this master plan update doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

    To me though adding a gondola to an already oversaturated Peak 9 seems like an absolute disaster. It’s already nearly impossible to ski down those trails without running into someone, but to effectively double the capacity would be reckless.

    Like

  8. Ryan November 29, 2022 / 1:48 am

    Is Quicksilver used year round? if not, I can’t see it needing a replacement until 2029 or longer? Unless they are wanting to bump it up to an 8 person gondola?

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    • Donald Reif November 29, 2022 / 7:34 pm

      All of the Peak 9 lifts are winter-only operations, all summer operations being based out of Peak 8.

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  9. Charles G November 29, 2022 / 2:57 am

    What about replacing the biggest relic on the whole mountain? The T Bar!!!! Putting a lift there would make the terrain much more accessible. I also agree with upgrading the 6 chair, e chair and c chair. The existing quad chairs like beaver run are fine but let’s do away with the very antiquated equipment elsewhere.

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    • Joe Blake November 30, 2022 / 7:24 am

      I would argue that a t-bar is fairly small in the scope of things.

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    • pbropetech November 30, 2022 / 8:49 pm

      I have to agree with my bro here. The T-bar is quite possibly the least of my counterparts’ issues; it’s a solid machine that is well-suited for the terrain it serves. Yes, it dates from the early 80s but for what it does that’s not a limiting factor.

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      • Joe Blake December 1, 2022 / 8:10 am

        I was more pointing out the stature (“biggest relic”) of the machine. “Big” is size, not amount. Attempted Dad joke.

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  10. Muni November 29, 2022 / 7:11 am

    This plan makes you wonder how much more theoretical capacity is there at Breckenridge? It’s already the most-visited resort in the country (continent?). It already has an awkwardly crowded array of chairlifts on Peaks 8 and 9.

    Another out-of-base gondola seems harmless. But C-Chair seems excessive … under this plan there will be four detachable lifts (2 six-packs, 2 quads) dumping folks at the top of Peak 9, a majority of whom will be making their way down perhaps six blue runs (presumably all of which will be groomed nightly?). Optimal skier density doesn’t seem to be a top priority here.

    Eliminating fixed gripped lifts is fun on paper, but in reality, where do you go now, when lines are ‘epic’? A riblet double is a great place to hide on a bonkers day. Just ask the folks at Okemo who can no longer sneak onto Green Ridge on a Saturday. (I’m sure Sunbrook at Mt Snow is about to experience a similar dynamic).

    E-chair is the most bizarre. It’s short. Its only lappable terrain consists of narrow, double-black, double-fall-line runs. Most resorts would consider a fixed quad a no-brainer. Many would consider a triple or double.

    The ironic part is Breck has a massive SUP boundary with ample terrain beyond its current ops boundary. But it’s all high alpine (and mostly expert). What it *wants* to have is more beginner and intermediate terrain.

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    • Donald Reif November 29, 2022 / 7:25 am

      I think them cutting more infill runs (such as off of Claimjumper, or between Swan City and Wirepatch) is their way of adding more intermediate terrain in the interim.

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  11. skitheeast November 29, 2022 / 8:41 am

    It is interesting that they want to create two large beginner complexes: one off of Rip’s Ride from Peak 8 and one off of this new gondola at Peak 9. I guess with their high visitation levels it makes sense to do both. For the one at Peak 9, it would make more sense if they installed a high-capacity two-stage gondola like Sweetwater at Jackson Hole or Wild Blue at Steamboat, with stage one to TenMile and stage two to the top of Peak 9. A shortened Quicksilver with its bottom terminal moved up to the intersection of Silverthorne/Lower Lehman/Lower Sundown would keep the beginner skiers from going all the way down to the base and give the gondola more room for a large bottom terminal.

    Most of the other replacements make sense. C SuperChair will help alleviate traffic on Beaver Run and Mercury, and 6 and E make sense as detachables given the volume of skiers at Breck and the price Vail Resorts is charging (there’s a reason Beaver Creek and Vail already have almost exclusively detachable lifts regardless of the terrain they serve). There are other projects I would like to see done as well, but I cannot complain if this is what Breck looks like in 10 years.

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    • Donald Reif November 29, 2022 / 8:58 am

      So you’d have Frontier stage 2 running up the old Lift B line, approximately?

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      • skitheeast November 29, 2022 / 12:42 pm

        Yes.

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        • Donald Reif November 30, 2022 / 8:32 am

          I feel the biggest caveat then is, “Where would stage 2 end?” I’m going to assume you’d have it ending next to the Mercury SuperChair, which would mean reprofiling tower 18 on that lift to allow for a crossover.

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        • skitheeast November 30, 2022 / 9:32 am

          Big picture, I think Peak 9 needs to have its lifts reworked a little bit overall to better spread people out. Mercury and Beaver Run have too similar of profiles, and this results in Cashier, Columbia, Sundown, and Bonanza being too crowded. I understand the desire to have a lift originate out of Beaver Run for the hotel and parking lot and also have a second lift to avoid too many people on Lower Sundown, but if you shorten Quicksilver to essentially Beaver Run’s base as I proposed, this serves one of those purposes and you can remove Beaver Run entirely. Then, replace Mercury with a six starting adjacent to Peak 8 Superconnect and heading up to about the same location, perhaps moving slightly downhill or skiers left to make room for the proposed Frontier Stage 2 top terminal.

          This would all result in a Peak 9 where E SuperChair keeps its own expert pod, C SuperChair has its own advanced pod from Peerless to Volunteer, Mercury 2.0 has its own intermediate pod from American to Cashier, and Frontier Stage 2 has its own intermediate pod from Lehman to Country Boy. Frontier Stage 1 would provide out of base access, and a shortened Quicksilver would create a beginner area with Beaver Run access as well. This is absolutely blue sky thinking, but Breck does seem to like aspects of this idea given the master plan.

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        • Donald Reif November 30, 2022 / 4:54 pm

          Here’s the problem with that idea: not many would lap Frontier stage 2. They would all go back to this new six pack rather than take their equipment off. This would mean you effectively have a single six pack doing the duty of two 2,800 pph quads. And if you’re extending it down to the Peak 8 SuperConnect, you might as well extend it all the easy down to the base area, resulting in you essentially having a slightly longer Beaver Run SuperChair without an auxiliary lift.

          The current Peak 9 lift system makes a lot of sense: Quicksilver as the lower mountain lift, the Beaver Run SuperChair as the base to summit lift, while the Mercury SuperChair is the mid mountain to summit lift. And Lift C laps some more advanced trails on the north side.

          It also makes things pretty simple: you use the Mercury SuperChair to lap the upper trails, the Beaver Run SuperChair if coming up from the base or you miss the Mercury SuperChair, and Lift C if coming over from Peak 8 or wanting to do the lower parts of Gold King and Peerless (the parts below where you have to diverge onto Lower American to return to the Mercury SuperChair). And it creates redundancy so if one of them goes down, there’s still a detachable chairlift option on upper Peak 9.

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        • skitheeast November 30, 2022 / 7:03 pm

          Given the imbalance in lift lines and terrain utilization, I would argue the current Peak 9 lift system does not work well. Beaver Run is not a base-to-summit lift given the base where the vast majority of Peak 9 skiers come from is downhill from its base, C not being detachable pushes everyone to Mercury and Beaver Run, and beginners are mixed in with advanced and intermediate skiers on many beginner trails. I think Vail agrees with this assessment given that Peak 9 is poised to receive a lot of rework according to the master plan.

          My goal would be to purposely move people away from Mercury and Beaver Run, as Cashier/Bonanza/Columbia are swamped compared to the two intermediate trails on the north side of Peak 9, so yes that particular area would have a lower overall capacity going from 2 lifts to 1. However, people ski where the lifts take them, and overall capacity would significantly increase elsewhere, allowing people to spread out. Peak 9 out-of-base capacity would increase by 11% with a 4000 pph gondola, Beaver Run out-of-base capacity would increase by 29% with Quicksilver, and upper mountain capacity (Frontier Stage 2, Mercury 6, C Super6, E SuperChair) could increase by as much as 71% if you really wanted to max everything out.

          Extending the proposed Mercury 2.0 to Beaver Run as you suggest would continue to make Lower Sawmill and Lower Sundown too congested with advanced and intermediate skiers mixing in with beginners. Also, while you may view the gondola as a deterrent, many people love them and would view it as a draw (Needles Eye vs Skyeship II at Killington is a good comparison showing the mix of preferences).

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        • Donald Reif November 30, 2022 / 10:32 pm

          Basically, upper Peak 9 should look like it was in 1990, but with the Beaver Run SuperChair moved slightly sideways.

          Just inputting these ideas into Google Maps, I think there’s another problem apparent: and it’s that for those lapping this Mercury SuperChair replacement, that the trails between American and Cashier all funnel into Lower Sundown. That last 1,600 feet or so of Lower Sundown would risk becoming a chokepoint. True one can bypass it by taking Lower American over to Eldorado and Red Rover, but still…

          “Also, while you may view the gondola as a deterrent, many people love them and would view it as a draw (Needles Eye vs Skyeship II at Killington is a good comparison showing the mix of preferences).” I don’t know. I obviously only speak for myself, but if Peak 9’s lifts were overhauled like you’re proposing, and I was doing laps here, I’d just continue back to the replacement Mercury when lapping Briar Rose and Upper Lehman so as not to take my skis off.

          Just upgrading Lift C while leaving the existing detachables in their current alignments would do a lot in redistributing traffic and reducing the amount of mixing of beginner and intermediate skiers (and that’s really only an issue for Briar Rose, Country Boy and Upper Lehman since from those runs, you have to pass by Ten Mile Station and navigate through beginner areas to return to the Mercury SuperChair).

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        • Mike B December 1, 2022 / 3:59 pm

          Really good discussion here, and I’m glad there an acknowledgement that different skiers/riders will prefer different lifts. I agree that a chair is always preferable, but I’m a middle-aged expert who has skied for 40 years. I could see a LOT of people not looking to maximize their vert and preferring a warmer ride up in a gondola, especially amidst a pod made for cruising.

          I think the answer here is a bit of a hybrid of what you have been batting around. You have in effect two base areas you need to serve – Beaver Run and Peak 9 Base, so you need high capacity lifts there to get people up the hill. But you also have the issue of co-mingling of different levels of skiers due to topography and layout. So to me, the answer is clear. Two high-capacity lifts, one a 6/8 and one a gondola, with one from each base. The 6/8 from Beaver Run would replace A Chair and terminate where VMR currently proposes to do so. From Peak 9 base, the gondola would be a two stager along the lines of what skitheeast proposed, with the second stage roughly following the old B lift line. Then replace Mercury with a 6/8 that starts where skitheeast suggested at the bottom of Peak8 Superconnect, where topography will take most skiers anyway. Keep the C Chair plan like VMR suggested.

          You’d end up with three high capacity lifts (excluding E Chair for this exercise) terminating at the summit coming in from different trajectories and serving different types of terrain. The bottom third of the mountain below A Chair/Tenmile Station would be a beginner zone that better skiers would never see except the end of the day when they are headed home.

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        • Donald Reif December 1, 2022 / 6:30 pm

          “The bottom third of the mountain below A Chair/Tenmile Station would be a beginner zone that better skiers would never see except the end of the day when they are headed home.”

          I dunno. These “better skiers” would still be transiting through the lower Peak 9 area if headed straight to Peak 8 from Peak 10.

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        • Jonathan December 1, 2022 / 8:58 pm

          I really do like Mike B’s Idea of replacing Beaver Run and A-Chair with a chondola. If that were to be implemented, upgrading Mercury to a 3,600/hr 6 pack, starting at the end of the Highway 9 terrain park and terminating at the top of the current Mercury SuperChair, would work. This, coupled with the new 6 pack on C, would put 6,600 pph on upper Peak 9, while moving 7,200 pph out of the base. Regarding Quicksilver, we could just not touch it. If this new set up does not remedy the lines, then we can consider an upgrade.
          The only potential issue I see with this plan is that the lift lines could be bad in the mornings on Beaver Run and Quicksilver, especially during the holidays.

          If we were to do this, the only time beginners would come in contact with the advanced skiers is at the end of the day or if they are traveling to the Peak 8 SuperConnect from Peak 10.

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        • skitheeast December 2, 2022 / 11:05 am

          If holiday morning lines are the only negative of a plan, then it is likely a good plan. Ski resorts typically plan resort capacity around their projected 10th busiest day of the year, which acknowledges that there will be a couple of days that are absolutely crazy and there is really little that can be done to mitigate it while still accounting for the majority of busy days.

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        • Mike B December 2, 2022 / 11:43 am

          @Donald Reif “I dunno. These “better skiers” would still be transiting through the lower Peak 9 area if headed straight to Peak 8 from Peak 10.”

          What proportion of skiers in the Peak 9 area does this represent given generally light traffic on Peak 10? And would we not expect some proportion of advanced Peak 10 skiers taking Centennial or points north to just jump on the hypothetical Frontier Stage 2 to go up and over, avoid the flat base of Peak 9 and enjoy some interesting skiing on the way over via runs on E/C chair pods? Net/net, the concern you articulate relates to a really small % of skiers/riders on Peak 9, so not an issue I’d specifically design for/around.

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    • SCSkier December 3, 2022 / 4:52 pm

      A big thing to keep in mind as well is the beaver run base is actually the main peak 9 base for town/resort busses. This definitely distributes plenty of skier traffic to that base outside of just those hotel guests.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donald Reif December 3, 2022 / 7:24 pm

        That reason alone is why I think the current setup of the Peak 9 detachables works just fine and I don’t see any reason to change the existing lifts’ alignments.

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      • skitheeast December 4, 2022 / 3:19 pm

        Isn’t the bus network’s main hub at the Breck Connect Gondola base?

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        • Donald Reif December 4, 2022 / 5:54 pm

          Yes. But SCSkier is saying that as far as Peak 9’s bus stops go, there’s a more developed bus stop area at Beaver Run, and I believe more bus routes go by there than the Village.

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    • Kane December 9, 2022 / 11:52 am

      I made another comment to this effect. If they were going through the trouble of installing a brand-new higher-capacity Gondola, it makes the most sense to me use it to spread people out between Beaver Run, Tenmile, and the Overlook. Spreading people out between the various terrain areas, base/mid-mountain lifts, and lodges. Fewer people accessing base lifts just to get on the mountain.

      If they want a new mid-mountain, dedicated learning area, make it accessible from Tenmile, move Quicksilver up as you said along with a magic carpet, and repurpose the entire Frontier and Red Rover trail area to a dedicated first-timer, lesson zone. Gets beginners out of the base area entirely before they even need to put their skis on, and completely away from more experienced skiers heading down Silverthorne to access the base area.

      Like

  12. Thomas Jett November 29, 2022 / 9:38 am

    I’ve admittedly never skied Breck, but it feels to me like everyone is missing the purpose of the C Chair six-pack. When C is upgraded, it will suddenly be the fastest way to get to peaks 9 and 10. The extra capacity is primarily to facilitate faster transfers across the mountain, not to serve lapping traffic on the few trails that C serves.

    Like

    • Donald Reif November 29, 2022 / 11:49 am

      As someone who has skied Breck, the fastest way from Peak 8 to Peak 9 is Frosty’s Freeway to Lift E. And although steep, it is doable for some intermediates.

      True, the C upgrade will mean no more traversing on Sawmill during off peak times. But the fact that it only really serves the trails north of American is what makes me scratch my head regarding it being a six pack, when the Beaver Run SuperChair (being in a more central location and being over 30 years old) seems like the more ideal six pack candidate.

      Like

      • Jonathan November 29, 2022 / 12:31 pm

        As Matt mentioned above, Vail is looking to get rid of all their Riblets after the Wildcat accident. While it might be more logical to upgrade Beaver Run in terms of skier flow, the replacement of A, C, E and 6 are higher on the list since they are Riblets.

        I would agree that the 6 pack on C Chair seems overkill, especially considering it would be at 3,000 passengers per hour. However, the new 6 pack could help attract traffic to those underutilized trails and pull people away from Mercury and Beaver Run.

        Personally, I would like to see E chair remain as a double or triple, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see increased traffic on it after 6 chair is upgraded.

        Like

        • Kane December 9, 2022 / 12:04 pm

          “However, the new 6 pack could help attract traffic to those underutilized trails and pull people away from Mercury and Beaver Run.”

          I agree. It creates and entirely new lap-able zone. Dividing Peak 9 intermediate and advanced skiers between Mercury and the new chair. The problem with all of the skiers-left runs on Peak 9 is they require a descent back to the base area. Not ideal.

          Anything that spreads skiers out to under-utilized runs served by mid-mountain lifts is a good thing.

          People will actually be incentivized to lap those runs now as well instead of just the skiers-right runs that lead back to Mercury *as well* as allowing Peak 8/9 skiers a significantly more effective way to go between peaks without ever needing to contend with Beaver Run traffic.

          Like

  13. Tyler November 29, 2022 / 10:42 am

    Why doesnt Breck like building above treeline lifts on Peaks 9 and 7? Im assuming its the forest service blocking those projects, but if not, theres no reason that Whistler can have the Peak express on a smaller peak over rougher terrain when Breck cant on a larger peak over gentler terrain

    Like

    • Myles November 29, 2022 / 11:28 am

      It’s likely more construction costs than anything. For example, when imperial was built they had to airlift all the towers and terminal due to there being no roads. If they were to construct roads Breck would have to go through many environmental hurdles with the forest service. Also the lifts would shut down quite often due to wind.

      Like

      • Tyler November 29, 2022 / 1:08 pm

        Makes sense, I forgot about the difficulty of airlifting things at such a high altitute wherre helicopter lift is reduced, still wish they’d at least build a T-bar. Thanks!

        Like

    • Matt November 29, 2022 / 1:37 pm

      Wind. Only reason that imperial can run is that it’s mostly on the lee side of Peak 8 and sheltered from the prevailing ridge winds. A chairlift up the t-bar line would be on wind hold half the days so that’s why it’s staying as is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SCSkier November 29, 2022 / 10:56 pm

        This is true, however, I feel like a lift from the valley between 9/10 up to the ridge would be pretty doable and protected till unload. Also, peak 5 has a perfect lift line right up to the peak that is BEGGING for a lift. It’s gonna have to go there sometime once they max capacity on current lifts.

        Like

    • pbropetech November 30, 2022 / 9:48 pm

      Short answer- snow doesn’t stick there. There are years where we (five miles to the west with some similar exposure) have a few runs that never open. USFS probably has some input there but realistically it’s the weather that dictates the plan. I’ve seen exposed willows (which generally never get more than a couple feet tall in that elevation) in the valley between Peaks 8 and 9 in March. Also, it’s tough to realistically compare the Peak at Whistler, which is in the Maritime climate zone and ten degrees further north (negating any elevation difference), with the Tenmile Range in CO which is in the drier side of the Continental zone.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Donald Reif December 3, 2022 / 7:32 pm

      Wind is the big factor. It can get bad enough at times that I start thinking the resort should rebrand itself as “Breckwindridge”, “Breckenwind” or “Breckenfridge” (Peaks 6, 7, and 10 are some areas where winds can get pretty nasty).

      Like

  14. Verner C Kreuter IV November 29, 2022 / 11:28 am

    I and I’m sure hundreds of other people would love either a second TBar or another solution to move a greater number of skiier up to the summit. The line there on a weekend is ridiculous and when a foot or more happens to drop in. I think the line at the T Bar takes longer than the Colorado chair at Peak 8 on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when the sun is out, which is more than 20+ minutes. It seems they could just expand the current bars making a T and have two lifts going up the current lift alley. I understand a chair would be affected by weather too much do the T bar remains a practical solution. As an owner there for twenty years it may be time for this and maybe even Chair 6 upgrade as well. Hope I don’t have to wait another 20 years. Thanks.

    Like

    • Michael November 29, 2022 / 12:51 pm

      Doubling the uphill capacity with another t-bar would result in your powder being tracked up twice as fast…and in my experience you would just have the same lift line wait on both t-bars.

      Like

  15. DF November 29, 2022 / 12:30 pm

    Happy to see that the craziest lift in North America- Snowflake not being touched in the upgrades.

    Like

    • Donald Reif November 29, 2022 / 1:00 pm

      Its two main purposes, in order, are 1) mountain access from the condos on Four O’Clock Road and 2) an alternative route from Peak 9 to Peak 8 if the Peak 8 SuperConnect breaks down.

      Like

  16. Boardski November 29, 2022 / 1:44 pm

    Last time I skied Breckenridge was an ordinary average Monday and the lines were awful. Many people were behaving like children (refusing to let singles ride in the empty seats on gondola and 6 pack chairs, no awareness of others in general, etc) I almost left after 3 runs but found good laps on 6, e and Falcon. 6 seemed to be needing replacement soon as the chair always hits the guard on the way out of the station. E seems a bit ratty also but seems like it would go awhile longer with a newer set of chairs. Seems like a triple would work well for e and maybe lower capacity quad for 6. I wouldn’t mind seeing 6 extended to originate next to e eliminating the need to ride Breck connect, which is now developing a line at the reload. Most of the other upgrades sound mostly reasonable. At some point if no additional terrain is available, Breckenridge might look at limiting ticket sales so the intermediate and beginner terrain doesn’t feel like I 70 on Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, I’m thankful for the memories but will primarily enjoy Loveland and Wolf Creek from here on out. Upgrades are nice as long as the experience remains fun.🏂⛷

    Like

    • Donald Reif November 29, 2022 / 9:51 pm

      As others have said, the caveat to extending Lift 6 down to where Lift E begins is that it would put more traffic on Frosty’s Freeway, and it wouldn’t take all that much traffic off the Peak 8 SuperConnect’s midstation at all (if anything, Breck could do more to push for people to use Snowflake’s midstation as an alternative to the Peak 8 SuperConnect in transiting from Peak 9 to Peak 8).

      Like

      • SCSkier November 29, 2022 / 11:02 pm

        To add on to this, I feel like a lift from C-Chair to top of mach 1 would be a much better option for moving traffic off of superconnect.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Donald Reif November 30, 2022 / 8:18 am

          At that point, you might as well just replace Snowflake with a new high speed quad that has a mid-turn station not unlike Treeline Cirque’s and use that to run higher up to about where Lift 5 offloads.

          Like

  17. Carson November 29, 2022 / 5:04 pm

    Vail=hate old lifts especially cool ones

    Like

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