American Flyer – Copper Mountain, CO

This is the world’s longest bubble chair.
Tower 1 next to the return station.
A Leitner carrier.
The bottom terminal seen from sister ship American Eagle.
Riding up the very long lift line.
The top station is set on the vault of the former high speed quad.
Side view of the top station.
LPA terminal under skin.
An occupied carrier.
Breakover towers.
Another view of the top terminal.
Side view of a chair with LPA grip.
View down the upper part of the line.
Another section of the lift.
Looking up the line.
Middle lift line.
View down another segment.
Lower lift line.
View up around tower 6.
Tower 2.
Lower station overview.
Side view of the return.
90 degree loading.
Nearing the summit.
Tower 25.
Arriving at the drive.
Unloading area and parking rail.
Upper lift line overview.
There is a parking barn for all 182 chairs up top.
The operator house is integrated into the maintenance building.
Maintenance facility.
Sharp looking chairs.
The back end of a chair with Leitner-Poma logo.
Chairs near the summit.
Crossing under the lift line.
View uphill.
Lift overview.
Maze area.
The top terminal seen from Excelerator.
Lift line seen from Interstate 70.
Two towers were added a year after construction to help with clearance during stops. This one is 22A.
A 16A was also added in summer 2019.

92 thoughts on “American Flyer – Copper Mountain, CO

  1. Donald February 1, 2019 / 8:38 pm

    What exactly are the numbers of towers and chairs on this lift?


    • Paul Wanders May 8, 2019 / 8:18 pm

      Although The AMERICAN FLYER – COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO , Katterskill Flyer, Northern Express Both At Hunter Mtn Hunter NY, Windham Mtn Westside Six All Are Nice Lifts BUT At The End Of The DAY It All Boils Down To The Digits. And 8 Is Greater Than 6. No Matter How Complex 6 Packs Have Become NO One Can Beat A 8 Pack Chairl Such As RAMCHARGER 8. They Might Equal It Out But Until A Resort Comes Out With A 10 Person Chairlift RAMCHARGER 8 Will ALWAYS BE ON TOP.


      • There are plenty of really amazing lifts out there and really, aside from being the first high speed eight pack, there’s nothing particularly special about Ramcharger 8. But Ramcharger 8 can stand on its own as North America’s first eight pack, and American Flyer can stand on its own as the longest bubble chairlift in the world, and, I believe, the second longest high speed six pack worldwide (or at least in North America), behind only the Village Express at Snowmass.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Trevor Wong November 27, 2019 / 2:09 pm

        Ramcharger 8 isn’t a particularly special lift. It just has 2 more seats than a 6-pack and all the bells and whistles that American Flyer does, sans heated seats and a conveyor belt.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Donald Reif November 29, 2019 / 8:13 pm

          Heated seats and a carpet are gimmicks at any rate. Though heated seats would be rather doable on American Flyer, considering that the Sunburst Six has them.


  2. Kaden February 3, 2019 / 7:55 am

    I feel like no one puts the bubble down because stupidly, no one puts the bar down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doppelmayr FTW February 3, 2019 / 5:18 pm

      To be fair, it is a nice day in these photos, I was skiing at big sky today and it was snowy and cold and everyone had the bubble down.


      • Collin Parsons February 3, 2019 / 5:58 pm

        I live in the east where safety bar usage is the norm. Except for some pre-teens/teenagers that think they’re too cool to put the bar down, everyone lowers it. The same is true in Europe. In Vermont and Connecticut you are required by law to use the safety bar, while lifts are only required to have them in the other eastern states. I’m surprised the Vermont bubble chairs don’t have auto locking safety bars for this reason.

        Liked by 2 people

        • D howe February 3, 2019 / 8:08 pm

          In France, the lifties yell at you if you don’t lower the bar after liftoff

          Liked by 1 person

        • Teddy's Lift World February 3, 2019 / 8:18 pm

          I’m going to be a teenager later this month but I always lower the bar unless it is a really bad designed bar. An example is Hailey’s Comet at Mt. Peter New York feels like the bar is at your chest height and the footrests are way to high. Because of this, I didn’t lower the bar.

          Liked by 1 person

        • atc1701 February 3, 2019 / 8:43 pm

          At least in Quebec, most people will lower the bar after getting on the chair, which is nice. It became a reflex for me, even in my teenage years, because I was taught to do so when I was very young.

          Stupid how some won’t lower their bars; if I get the chance, I criticize them too ;)

          Liked by 1 person

        • Doppelmayr FTW February 3, 2019 / 9:40 pm

          It really is a culture thing, which is unfortunate because it is really a safety issue and IMHO should be mandatory everywhere, like in Europe

          Liked by 2 people

        • Cameron Halmrast February 3, 2019 / 10:43 pm

          I grew up riding Riblets and to this day, I do not use the bar unless of course someone wants it down for their own comfort. I do not fall off my couch while watching TV. The majority of people who fall off a chairlift are goofing off or were loaded improperly onto the chairlift. More people die participating in the sport of skiing/snowboarding than riding the chairlift. People need to be held accountable for their own actions, but unfortunately states and the government think otherwise. However, I am not against having them on the lift, I just do not wanting to be forced to use a device if I don’t want to. As the article below states, chairlifts are very safe to ride. My 2 cents!

          According to the National Ski Areas Association, some 3,500 chairlifts across the country make more than 300 million lift rides every year. Yet since 2004, there have been three fatalities from falling off a chairlift, the NSAA says.

          In Colorado, from the 2001-02 season to the 2011-12 ski season, the state reported 227 falls from chairlifts — Colorado requires its nearly 30 ski areas to report any falls from chairlifts, and the cause of the fall, to the Colorado Passenger Tramway Board.

          The most common cause of those falls: You.

          Rider error attributed to 86 percent of the chairlift falls, with most happening when getting on or off the chairlift.

          Four percent of the falls were attributed to a medical issue, 8 percent an “unknown” cause and only 2 percent attributed to mechanical/operator error.

          Liked by 6 people

        • AvocadoAndy February 25, 2019 / 8:29 am

          Bar usage is weird. I’ve noticed a lot of different resorts have their own levels of bar usage. When skiing at Whistler, pretty much everyone uses the bar, except during the summer, where most of the mountain bikers don’t use the bars. Stevens Pass on the other hand, never seems to use the bar no matter what, and you get to be the really awkward one on the chair who finally lowers the bar.

          Liked by 1 person

        • sullivanq March 8, 2020 / 8:05 pm

          I live in the east as well and I remember when I was on the wachussett mtn race team and one day a little kid that had the bar down slid right under it on the minuteman express on a windy day. They were fine but they ended up having a broken leg. I feel like the bar doesn’t do much, unless it has footrests. I know at Berkshire east almost nobody puts the bar down on the summit quad because of the grippy seats and how they are angled. Granted, 99% Of chairs have angled seats.


    • buzz March 7, 2019 / 10:43 pm

      Unless you’re being stupid what does the bar even do? My roommate last year had a seizure and slid right off the lift. What did the bar do? Nothing. Then there’s the issue with small children who want to lean against the bar which brings them forward off of the back of the chair into a much more dangerous place.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Phoenix January 3, 2021 / 2:44 pm

        Dopplemayr’s recent bar design does at least help with this; they have a foot rest and handle that goes between the legs of each rider. There are also locking lift bars in Europe which use this design and effectively make it impossible to fall off, although personally I’m not a big fan of mandatory, locking bars. I can see their advantages on beginner lifts though, if only to make beginners less nervous when riding.


      • Utah Powder Skier January 3, 2021 / 2:47 pm

        The bar keeps the resorts from being sued.


    • Paul Wanders May 8, 2019 / 8:20 pm

      On The New Ramcharger You DON”T HAVE A CHOICE To Put The Restraint Bar Down Cause The Lift Will DoIt For You Weather You Want The Bar Down Or Not.


      • Ramcharger’s bars only automatically lower on empty chairs. As Colin’s video of that lift shows, the bubbles only automatically lower with the bar when empty chairs are detected, and they stay open by default when they detect a chair as loaded.

        Liked by 5 people

  3. Michael February 4, 2019 / 2:41 pm

    Thanks for posting this information, Cameron. I was looking for it but couldn’t find it. The “I’ve / We’ve/ Everyone’s gotta put the bar down” is definitely and East Coast philosophy. I know, it’s required in Vermont…”In France, the lifties yell at you if you don’t lower the bar after liftoff” – seems to be the only thing they pay attention to…
    I was at Keystone last week and got hit in the head with a comfort bar- we hadn’t even left the terminal an this gal was yanking the bar down- luckily I was wearing a helmet!


    • Paul Wanders May 8, 2019 / 8:21 pm

      No Different Than Wearing Your Own Seat belt In Your Car.


      • Ben October 7, 2019 / 8:45 pm

        That is ridiculous. The purpose of a seatbelt is to prevent you from running into things in the event of an accident. The bar is to help you falling off the lift. In high wind I put the bar down, but otherwise it’s just sitting in a chair. That’s it, not very dangerous.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Donald M. Reif February 23, 2019 / 2:32 am

    I’m surprised American Flyer’s chairs don’t have those plastic map displays that American Eagle’s chairs have. Is that due to limitations caused by the bubbles?


    • adnyla February 23, 2020 / 1:47 pm

      It would seem like they could figure out a way to put a map on the bubble somehow.

      Also, noticed the pictures had 90-degree loading, but was there last week and I think it’s switched to right-side loading.


      • pbropetech March 9, 2020 / 9:00 am

        Putting maps on the bubbles is more trouble than it’s worth. Trust us, we’ve tried. And yes, we switched loading to the traditional straight-on loading over the summer. It cut stops way down.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chris March 9, 2020 / 12:26 pm

          Just curious what the problem is with 90 degree loading in Copper? In Austria we have a lot of 90 degree loading chairs, and had them since the mid-80s, and I don’t remember any particular issue.


        • pbropetech March 10, 2020 / 9:02 am

          I think it’s a combination of the beginner-level skier we have on the lift, and the large chairs having a bit of an intimidation factor. I can’t pinpoint any one thing. We have contour loading on E and H-lifts, and it works fine on both.


        • Chris March 10, 2020 / 10:05 am

          One thing I didn’t think of is that many of the 90 degree loading lifts here in Austria use loading carpets, while those are
          very uncommon in the US. That might help people to move to the right spot without thinking much.


  5. Donald M. Reif February 24, 2019 / 12:05 pm

    Compared to the original lift, the bubble American Flyer’s towers are much lower to the ground. To the point that there are at least two combi towers on the profile, at tower 13 (?) and tower 21.


    • John February 24, 2019 / 2:05 pm

      The lower towers are only part of the story. There are eight less, so the spans are different as well. The original profile had 9 combinations, but by the time the lift was built they decided to raise the height of those certain ones to be purely in support.


      • Donald M. Reif February 24, 2019 / 2:20 pm

        The original American Flyer used to cross over another lift between towers 3 and 7.


        • John February 25, 2019 / 11:47 am

          Yup. G-lift was underneath the 4-5 span.


      • Donald Reif November 29, 2019 / 8:14 pm

        Which nine towers were the ones that were originally meant to be combis?


    • Collin Parsons February 24, 2019 / 4:58 pm

      I think it would have to be in order to park all 180+ chairs. It’s kind of disappointing they didn’t go for a speed of 1200 feet per minute as it would really make a difference given how long the lift is.

      Liked by 2 people

      • snowbasinlocal12894 February 24, 2019 / 8:50 pm

        John paul at snowbasin its really long and they usually run it full speed 1000 FPM on powder days. around 850-900 on weekdays. Funny how JP has 30 towers and flyer has 27 when flyer is over 2000 feet longer than JP.


        • Donald M. Reif February 28, 2019 / 3:42 pm

          Not really too surprising since John Paul’s lift line has a much more varying profile compared to American Flyer. The American Flyer is a very mellow lift line the whole way through.


      • Donald Reif October 8, 2019 / 8:51 am

        The original American Flyer had a ride time of exactly ten minutes with no stops.


    • John February 25, 2019 / 11:45 am



  6. Owen February 28, 2019 / 1:28 pm

    This lift obviously has the ability to have the bars and bubbles raise and lower automatically, but is it set up so that the bar lowers automatically (like on Ramcharger 8 at Big Sky) on both sides or only on unoccupied chairs and the light side.


  7. Donald M. Reif March 8, 2019 / 6:38 am

    I’m curious whether the bubbles lower automatically going uphill or not.


    • B.R. March 8, 2019 / 3:36 pm

      They do not. You manually lower the bubble on the uphill ride.


      • Donald M. Reif March 30, 2019 / 3:16 pm

        Like the Colorado SuperChair, one of the terminal masts at the top is positioned on a reused pillar from the old lift’s terminal. Which makes sense since the American Flyer and Colorado SuperChair both replaced vault drive high speed quads.


      • Owen April 8, 2019 / 7:50 pm

        But do the bars lower automatically on the uphill ride.


        • Owen April 9, 2019 / 3:13 pm

          But does the bar auto lower in occupied chairs.


        • As someone else put it in the thread, the chairs have automatic weight sensors that don’t let the bar and bubble automatically lower if they detect a person in the chair. There are more sensors at the top, entering the unload area, that automatically lift the bubble and bar regardless of whether a chair is loaded or not.


        • John May 4, 2019 / 2:58 pm

          There is a photo-eye right after the load. If it sees legs, it raises the bubble-closing rail out of the way. If it doesn’t, it keeps it in bubble-closing position. We can override that, say at the end of the day when we want the bubbles closed overnight. There’s no weight sensors or anything that would be more complicated than the lift already is.


  8. michael martin April 25, 2019 / 6:47 pm

    Why have they only loading 5 people per chair for most of the year?


    • Collin Parsons April 25, 2019 / 8:02 pm

      I believe it’s due to excessive cable sag. I heard they will be adding two more towers for next season.


      • I get the impression from photos that the span between towers 22 and 23 is one of the problem spots, and maybe between towers 8 and 9.

        (On a related note, American Eagle might benefit from having an extra combi tower between towers 7 and 8, as well as between towers 14 and 15)

        Liked by 1 person

      • John May 4, 2019 / 2:56 pm

        No- it was due to people being unable to load the chair. Making the lift a temporary five-pack seemed to reduce stops a fair amount.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Collin Parsons May 8, 2019 / 8:23 pm

          So it was so bad that cutting capacity by 1/6th was an improvement over how many stops it had. Now I am thoroughly convinced that Texans suck at skiing.

          Liked by 7 people

    • Chris April 26, 2019 / 10:20 am

      I’m pretty sure we loaded 6 people in early March..


    • Kaden K April 29, 2019 / 9:31 pm

      I went in February, and I noticed when we crossed over 8-9 that the line dipped down a lot. Later, I think between towers 20-25, I noticed the sag again. Then, the lift stopped, which it does all the time, and the line dipped so far down the people in the chair were 3 feet above the ground.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donald Reif #SaveDaredevil (@DonaldMReif) April 29, 2019 / 10:30 pm

        There’s a photo in this gallery of the span between towers 8 and 9. I think you mean the other one is between towers 20 and 21, on the upper section above the crossing of Woodwinds.


      • John May 4, 2019 / 3:01 pm

        You’re correct- the current 8-9 span used to be the 9-10-11 span. So there’s a missing tower there.


  9. Donald Reif November 27, 2019 / 2:20 pm

    Anyone have pictures of the new infill towers yet?


    • BarkeeStone December 3, 2019 / 8:43 pm

      Well not exactly, but I manage to know the numbers were. It’s Tower 16A and Tower 22A.

      I saw that one of them had combo assemblies attach to tower 22A.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Donald Reif December 3, 2019 / 10:57 pm

        16A is while crossing the High Point trail. And it makes sense for tower 22A to be a combi tower, given the profile at that location:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Donald Reif December 19, 2019 / 3:47 pm

        Tower 16A is on the High Point trail crossing:

        Liked by 1 person

        • Donald Reif May 10, 2021 / 4:14 pm


  10. Kaden K December 27, 2019 / 4:31 pm

    Along with the new towers, Flyer doesn’t go backwards so much when it stops and it has inline loading.


    • Donald Reif December 27, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      Basically, going back to how it was on the quad.


    • BarkeeStone December 27, 2019 / 5:24 pm

      I think the backwards part is from the immediately stop from the lift.


  11. Duck Person December 30, 2019 / 12:34 pm

    Is there going to be another bubble chair in Colorado?


    • skitheeast December 30, 2019 / 1:59 pm

      At some point, I’m sure there will be another bubble chair in Colorado.


      • powderforever45 February 8, 2020 / 10:18 am

        Most likely the Big Burn replacement at Snowmass


        • BarkeeStone March 8, 2020 / 6:27 pm

          Yeah not really, because they already decided on a normal HSS from L-P.


  12. Donald Reif January 9, 2020 / 10:05 am

    To think that this six pack has four combis on it whereas the quad had zero: 13, 16A, 21, and 22A.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. V12Tommy February 7, 2020 / 11:31 pm

    So is it a vault drive? Or is the old vault room just used for storage or something?


    • Donald Reif February 8, 2020 / 6:37 am

      The drive is overhead, I think. It’s the same setup as on the Colorado SuperChair.


    • pbropetech March 9, 2020 / 9:04 am

      The old vault still has the drives for the motor in it, but otherwise is empty. We’re still mulling over what to do with all that space.The new drives take up a bit more space- they’re liquid-cooled and have a resistor bank to aid in slowing the lift down- but not nearly what having two electric motors, a gearbox, and a V-12 diesel did.


      • Peter Landsman March 9, 2020 / 12:17 pm

        If it’s anything like here, do not tell any other departments you have extra space or it will quickly be filled!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Maxwell March 8, 2020 / 2:51 pm

    This lift has straight loading now


  15. Phoenix March 8, 2020 / 6:41 pm

    Does this lift have heated seats? (I’m guessing no but the chair pad style looks like that used by heated chairlifts.) Also, how come there isn’t a connecting rail in place between the storage barn and straight section, and again between the terminal and straight section? It seems really inconvenient to have to manually bolt that in when they want to take the chairs off.


    • Donald Reif March 8, 2020 / 7:25 pm

      No heated seats.


    • pbropetech March 9, 2020 / 9:06 am

      Peter was here before we finished the barn. There is a complete rail from the terminal into the building now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Phoenix March 11, 2020 / 4:22 pm

        Thank you!


  16. Phoenix January 13, 2021 / 7:35 pm

    I rode this today and about 1 out of every 15 chairs going down had their bubbles open, and at the end of the day when there was no one on the lift about 1/4 of the bubbles on empty chairs going up weren’t closed. Is something broken on this lift?


    • pbropetech January 14, 2021 / 9:12 am

      No. There are several factors I’m not going to detail here, but nothing is broken.


      • Phoenix January 14, 2021 / 11:28 am

        Out of curiosity, what are the factors?


        • Joe Blake March 24, 2021 / 2:38 pm

          “I’m not going to detail here”…


  17. Myles Svec May 9, 2021 / 10:53 am

    Is this the only bubble lift currently operating in Colorado? Steamboat used to have bubbles on Sundown and Storm Peak but they got taken off almost 20 years ago. The next bubble lift will likely be big burn at Snowmass.


      • Myles Svec May 9, 2021 / 11:43 am

        I forgot that one. Thanks!


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