Middlebury Snowbowl to Replace Sheehan Lift

The ski area owned and operated by Vermont’s Middlebury College today announced the purchase of a Skytrac quad chair to replace its aging Sheehan lift. The existing Poma double dates back to 1984 and rises 415 vertical feet. The new lift will follow the same alignment and service beginner and low intermediate terrain.

This is the first new lift project announced in Vermont for the 2023 construction season and the sixth project confirmed to be built by Skytrac in the United States this year. Middlebury will commence construction this spring as soon as state permits are received.


11 thoughts on “Middlebury Snowbowl to Replace Sheehan Lift

  1. NewEnglandSkier13 March 1, 2023 / 6:34 pm

    I wonder why they’re replacing it, it’s not very old at all for a fixed grip lift. I’m going to miss those teardrop chairs.


    • 1234 March 1, 2023 / 7:56 pm

      I work up at the bowl and it’s very rapidly becoming a liability. Basically it’s at a point now where they’d either have to overhaul it or just get a new lift, and with the night skiing, a new lift is the safer option with lift evac, crowds, etc.


      • afski722 March 1, 2023 / 9:37 pm

        Its interesting to see where there have been some recent fixed grip replacements over the past few years that where it seems the cost/ROI leans toward replacement toward overhaul on some lifts that at first glance would seem to have more years of service life left. Its interesting to see 80s/90s vintage fixed grips getting replaced with so many older 60s/70s era lifts still in operation.


        • Muni March 3, 2023 / 6:54 am

          my guess is, there are resorts with a culture of intense maintenance, local machine shops, and a philosophy of preserving the past (e.g. Smuggs, MRG) and resorts that would rather just upgrade every few decades, and enjoy the visitation/marketing bump that comes with that.

          Since most major ski areas were built out in the 60s and 70s, this eventually means the lifts are either from that era or relatively new.

          I’m mostly curious about the newer generation of detachables. So far, most detachables that have been replaced were either from the 80s/chain drives, or on alignments that demanded higher capacity. It will be interesting to see if some resorts manage to preserve late-90s/early-2000s detachables indefinitely with continual maintenance and parts replacement (or if that approach proves infeasible given their extra complexity).

          Liked by 1 person

  2. xlr8r March 1, 2023 / 6:35 pm

    Oh no, the double is such a beautiful lift with its teardrop chairs. Hope Saskadena 6 keeps theirs going for many years to come.


  3. ne_skier March 1, 2023 / 10:06 pm

    I’ve never been here but I’d be surprised to hear that this is a capacity issue. If whatever’s wrong with this lift is minor, I could see this lift being reinstalled elsewhere. If that’s not a reality due to whatever ailment this lift faces, I could see this lift’s parts being of value.


    • 1234 March 2, 2023 / 6:40 am

      Honestly there’s not really a capacity issue, I was just saying with that being the only lift running during night skiing it’s better to keep people on the hill as opposed to getting cold in line if there was one. But the lift’s at a point where if the line is totally full, every stop triggers the emergency system because the system thinks there’s too much weight on the line. We’ve had multiple evac scares too, so I think with the night skiing, it’s a safety choice and kind of a rebranding/marketing choice.


      • pbropetech March 2, 2023 / 9:12 am

        As a professional grease monkey, I’m curious what exactly is going on. What you describe sounds like something that could be solved by some careful troubleshooting. Of course, perhaps that’s already been done and the fix is more of a hassle (or more expensive) than it’s worth.

        Liked by 1 person

      • vons3 March 3, 2023 / 9:55 am

        It may not be a capacity issue but a quad is a better fit for a teaching lift as a ski/ride instructor can take a larger portion of their youth class on fewer chairs and not have to find as many adults to ride with the children. Skytrac is a good fit for the resort as the rest of Middlebury Snowbowl’s equipment is CTEC based so many of the their parts inventory will be interchangeable with the new lift.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. wayneme March 3, 2023 / 12:27 pm

    That narrow little Poma terminal is adorable. Must be a modern rarity.


    • pbropetech March 6, 2023 / 8:43 pm

      In North America, it definitely is. I’d take it as one of my lifts.


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