Instagram Tuesday: Big Snow

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

Mt. Seymour to Replace Lodge Chair

A new quad chair is coming to Mt. Seymour, British Columbia, replacing the mountain’s 1985 Mueller double. Doppelmayr Canada will build the Lodge Chair 2.0, a 160 horsepower fixed grip quad with seven towers and 44 chairs. The new lift will transport 1,600 skiers per hour, a 70 percent increase over the current double.

A loading conveyor with automatic gates should allow the lift to run 2.3 meters per second with a ride time of just 3.2 minutes. The lift will become the second modern Doppelmayr chair on the mountain and is expected to debut for the 2023/24 ski season.

News Roundup: La Fenster

Berkshire East Plans Two New Lifts in Two Years

A public hearing is scheduled for next month regarding a proposal by Berkshire East Mountain Resort to install a base-to-summit high speed quad this summer and another new lift next year. The first lift would run up the Competition slope parallel to the existing Mountain Top triple and Summit quad. It is expected to be a Leitner-Poma detachable quad rising 930 vertical feet in about 3.2 minutes. The plan calls for the Mountain Top Poma triple to be removed and relocated to an expansion area on the northeast side of the mountain in 2024.

This is huge news for Berkshire East, which operates a fleet of four fixed grip chairlifts mostly cobbled together second hand from other mountains. In addition to being the first detachable chairlift at Berkshire East, the new summit lift will also be the first Leitner-Poma detachable in Massachusetts and the 10th chairlift built by the Schaefer Family at Berkshire East and Catamount over the past 20 years.

The Town of Charlemont’s Planning Board is scheduled to discuss the permit application on March 2.

News Roundup: Holiday Weekend

Mount St. Louis Moonstone to Debut Eastern Canada’s First Eight Place Chairlift

Ontario’s Mount St. Louis Moonstone has ordered a first-of-its-kind chairlift to replace the aging Adventure Express. The groundbreaking Adventure 8 will feature a unique L-shaped Doppelmayr D-Line terminal with 90 degree loading and a massive 4,250 passenger per hour capacity. It will travel from the Moonstone base lodge to the Moonstone summit. The lift will also feature a direct drive, loading conveyor and heated seats. Together with Whistler Blackcomb’s Fitzsimmons 8 project, Doppelmayr will build Canada’s first two eight place chairlifts simultaneously in the East and West. This is also the first time in North America a six passenger chairlift will be upgraded to a larger lift.

Family-operated Mount St. Louis Moonstone is known for investing heavily in lift and snowmaking technology with a fleet of four six passenger chairlifts already on the mountain. “My family remains dedicated to providing the finest skiing and snowboarding experience in Ontario,” said General Manager Robert Huter. “This advancement helps guests spend more time on the slopes and less time waiting in a lift line.”

Perfect North to Replace Red Triple

Indiana’s largest ski area will make a major lift investment next year, replacing one of its five Riblet chairlifts with a modern Skytrac quad. The new Red chair will feature a loading conveyor and increase uphill capacity over an existing 1987 triple. The project is the fifth publicly-confirmed Skytrac project for next year. Other mountains adding new Skytrac lifts this offseason include Gore Mountain, New York; Nub’s Nob, Michigan; Stevens Pass, Washington; and Wild Mountain, Minnesota.

Bubble Six Pack Coming to Sunday River’s Barker Mountain

Just hours after announcing a new lift project on Merrill Hill, Sunday River Resort this afternoon unveiled plans for a much larger machine replacing the Barker Mountain Express. When it debuts next season, Barker 6 will be among the fastest lifts in North America, featuring D-Line technology, bubbles, heated seats and a direct drive. With Jordan 8 in Jordan Bowl and Barker 6 on Barker Mountain, Sunday River will become the only resort in Eastern North America with two flagship D-Line bubble lifts. Barker 6’s chairs and terminals will closely match Jordan 8 but in six passenger gauge.

Few skiers will miss the current Barker quad, a Yan-Poma frankenlift first constructed in 1987. Over the years that machine became known for extended breakdowns and was frequently lampooned on the internet. Barker 6 will be everything Barker 4 wasn’t with 63 ergonomically designed chairs and a 4.5 minute ride time at six meters per second. Each chair will weigh nearly a ton and come with a Sunday River red bubble. The lift will transport up to 3,250 skiers per hour up Barker Mountain with 13 towers.

Doppelmayr will construct the Merrill Hill II and Barker 6 lifts simultaneously this summer and both are expected to open for the 2023-24 ski season. “The recent opening of the Jordan 8, the announcement of Barker 6, coupled with dramatic snowmaking system investments and the addition of a second Merrill Hill lift, all represent big next steps in Sunday River’s 2030 Plan,” said Sunday River President Dana Bullen.

Today’s news continues an extraordinary streak of investment by Boyne Resorts that started in earnest with Ramcharger 8, the first eight place chairlift in the Americas at Big Sky in 2018. After a brief Covid pause, a similar project debuted at Loon Mountain in 2021 and this season Boyne debuted the first D-Line in the midwest and the first eight place lift in Maine with Jordan 8. The 2023 construction season will prove even bigger for Boyne and Doppelmayr with D-Line bubble lifts going in at Sunday River and The Highlands, a brand new tram at Big Sky and terrain expansions with new lifts at Sunday River, Loon Mountain and Sugarloaf. With additional projects at Boyne Mountain and others in the pipeline, the third largest North American resort operator will likely invest significantly more than larger rivals Alterra and Vail Resorts this offseason. Next winter Boyne will operate half of all the D-Line lifts at North American ski areas and 100 percent of eight place chairlifts in the United States.

Sunday River to Build Second Merrill Hill Chairlift

Sunday River Resort will get another boost next winter with the addition of a second chairlift on Merrill Hill. The first Merrill lift debuted just weeks ago and connects the South Ridge base area to the hill’s summit, where a few ski-in, ski-out homesites remain for sale. The next new Doppelmayr fixed grip triple in this section of the resort will service steeper trails on the back side with a vertical rise of 495 feet over a 1,963 foot slope length. Sunday River says the four minute lift ride will not only service new real estate but also access newly cut runs with sweeping views. The move also sets the stage for future expansion into the Western Reserve beyond Jordan Bowl.

Merrill Hill 2 will be at least the fourth new lift in five years for Sunday River. In addition to the first Merrill Hill triple, Sunday River debuted a new competition T-Bar in 2019 and eight place bubble lift in Jordan Bowl this season. The resort and parent company Boyne Resorts plan to continue investing in lifts and other projects under the Sunday River 2030 plan with new installations planned on Barker Mountain, Aurora Peak and Tempest.