Alpine – Copper Mountain, CO

Yan fixed top drive.
Upper part of the lift line.
Middle lift line.
Lower lift line.
View up the line.
Lift overview.
Note the Yan counterweight in the trees trick.
Lower terminal.
Tower 2.
Looking back down the line.
Copper color chairs.
Yan terminal with new Doppelmayr CTEC bullwheel.

22 thoughts on “Alpine – Copper Mountain, CO

  1. Connor May 13, 2019 / 5:55 pm

    The location of the counterweight on this lift is crazy. Another example of this is Argentine in keystone.


    • Michael May 13, 2019 / 8:23 pm

      Yan was pretty innovative in the mid 70’s with counterweight locations. There was no place to hang a big concrete rock behind the lift so he found a “remote” location. Alpine was pretty straight forward with a deflection sheave arrangement on the rear mast. Old “Hotel” lift at Union Creek had a unique setup where the counterweight cables deflected 180 degrees off the rear mast, ran inside the main horizontal beam and the deflected out the uphill side to the remote location!😜


  2. Donald Reif December 24, 2019 / 4:49 pm

    Copper has proposed in their Master Plan replacing Alpine with a high speed quad that would start at the same location as the current lift, but would be extended uphill to the top of Copperopolis.


    • Jackson Hole January 9, 2021 / 6:47 am

      When do they plan to have it installed?


      • pbropetech July 18, 2021 / 6:56 am

        Not any time soon. Just because it’s in the plan does not mean it will happen at all, in fact. The current plan is to maintain it as it is, with the exception of a drive and control upgrade (happening now) and moving the bottom terminal uphill to make way for a development (happening next summer).


        • Ben Eminger July 18, 2021 / 11:44 am

          Keeping the counterweight setup in the relocation converting to hydraulic? We gave High Point the hydraulic conversion when it came up north to us.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Donald Reif July 19, 2021 / 8:28 pm

          This sounds like “Skytrac or Doppelmayr completely replaces the loading area”, which is what they did with Blackjack to make room for Three Bears.


        • pbropetech July 19, 2021 / 9:19 pm

          Donald, we may just keep the current terminal and convert it to hydraulic with Blackjack’s old stuff. Wouldn’t be difficult, and it would be cheaper for sure. As I said, that’s next year and there are too many things happening now for us to worry about that.


        • pbropetech December 12, 2021 / 8:42 pm

          It appears we’re going to fully replace the bottom terminal with a Doppelmayr monopod, hydraulic-tensioned setup. We won’t have the room to use the existing one.


  3. Sam July 19, 2021 / 5:42 am

    does it cause extra strain on the towers to have the counterweight so off center like that? seems like especially with such a long lift the lateral forces on that bottom terminal would be pretty high.


    • pbropetech July 19, 2021 / 9:14 pm

      No. The counterweight on any lift is isolated from the towers. Also, there is simple geometry at work here- when you’re working with a steep lift gravity is your friend, in that the tension force required for traction on the drive bullwheel is aided by the sheer weight of the installation. In this case we’re talking 12,000′ of haul rope at roughly 4 pounds per foot, plus 205 chairs at 88 pounds apiece, multiplied by 1726 vertical feet. That’s not the full formula but you get the idea. The counterweight comes in at 27,000 pounds, lighter than many smaller lifts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jcartergibb November 15, 2022 / 3:59 pm

        I know most things are running behind schedule this year, I was wondering if you knew anything about how this project is moving along. I saw on twitter that the bottom terminal is gone and there is concrete in place for the new terminal. Do you think the terrain will open/skiable before the lift is running?


        • pbropetech November 15, 2022 / 8:02 pm

          The bottom terminal has been gone for a while. We set the new carriage rails today. The portal depression sheave assemblies also arrived today, which were the last parts we were waiting on. There’s some alignment to do, then we’ll hang the bullwheel. I’m guessing we’ll splice the haul rope in a couple of weeks , then we need to do a modified load test to ensure the tension system will operate as designed. Depending upon natural snow we might be ready before it’s skiable, but we may not. All four trails (once they’re open) can be skied via Super Bee down to the B traverse regardless.

          Liked by 1 person

        • jcartergibb November 15, 2022 / 9:55 pm

          Wow that’s so cool! thank you for the update, I forgot about the traverse over to B I was originally imagining needing to walk all the way to the bus to get back. because this is just a modification not a whole overhall is the load test a little less intense, I’m sure it still needs to go though all the Colorado tram board stuff but it the process easer? and for such a long lift is it easer/better to have a top dive instead of bottom, or is there not much of a difference? I love all the information you add to this blog, seems like you know just about everything there is to know


        • pbropetech December 27, 2022 / 8:52 pm

          jcartergibb- I’m flattered but I’m constantly learning new things, so I wouldn’t say I know everything there is to know about lifts ;) . As it happened we were able to open the terrain before we were able to operate the lift. C’est la vie.


        • pbropetech December 27, 2022 / 8:54 pm

          As for your question about top versus bottom drive, it’s almost always more efficient to position the drive at the top, but especially on a steep lift such as this.


  4. Ford Rollhaus December 27, 2022 / 4:29 pm

    Any update on the bottom terminal replacement?


    • pbropetech December 27, 2022 / 8:18 pm

      Since you asked….

      It’s done. We had to do a minor load test today (how does the tension system react to varying loads, how does the loading look on the one tower we had to relocate, and so forth). We had no problems and now are fixing the minor items that came up in the annual inspection. Lift should be good to go in a few days. I’d post a picture but I’m much better with hammers and 18″ Crescent wrenches than I am with WordPress so you’ll have to wait for Peter to come visit again.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Ford R December 27, 2022 / 9:45 pm

        Awesome! Thanks for the update, and for all that you guys do!


  5. Kirk December 28, 2022 / 8:17 am

    Quick thought on the Bottom Drive vs Top Drive question.
    A Drive bullwheel needs a certain amount of tension on it to Drive the lift without the haulrope slipping on the liner.
    On a flat lift the Drive location makes no difference.
    Example: On a 1000′ vertical lift. All the weight from the carriers and haulrope that wants to run backwards on both sides of the lift from gravity. That provides tension on the top bullwheel. If the Drive is at the top this helps the traction factor on the drive bullwheel and can be added to the tensioning force. Thus requiring less tension at the the bottom.

    A bottom Drive. The weight of the carriers and haulrope are of no help for traction on the Drive bullwheel. Thus higher tension is required often requiring a larger diameter haulrope and more horsepower.
    Not to mention that the tension differential entering and existing the Drive bullwheel is much greater on a Bottom Drive than a top Drive.


  6. Donald Reif February 10, 2023 / 7:03 am

    The new Doppelmayr return looks pretty sharp.


  7. Joey February 23, 2023 / 9:44 am

    I don’t think there’s 218 chairs now… looked more like 203


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