Black Line – Magic Mountain, VT

This Poma Alpha quad came from just across the valley at Stratton.
Lift overview.
Alpha station with integrated hold down sheave assemblies.
View up the lift line.
The first few towers.
These photos were taken before restraining bars were attached.
Tower base.
Looking down the lift line.
Steep section of the line.
Poma towers and chairs.
Another view down.
Upper part of the lift.
A tower and chair with the seat flipped forward.
The last few towers the lift line is nearly flat.
Top station overview.
View from the summit.
Return bullwheel.

31 thoughts on “Black Line – Magic Mountain, VT

  1. ne_skier April 27, 2021 / 8:59 pm

    As of April 16th’s Alpine Update, Tim Pfister is scheduled to return in early May with the new assemblies. The old ones clearly did not work out for whatever reason, hence why the haul rope is derailed from two towers as shown. If/when this lift is completed for 21-22, it will be a massive lifesaver on peak weekends, tripling capacity from just Red running to the summit.

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    • Peter Landsman April 27, 2021 / 9:04 pm

      It looked to me like only two more combo assemblies are needed. The lift already has a bunch of them and there probably weren’t enough from the old Snow Bowl lift alone. Whatever chairs had gotten stacked up previously have been removed/re-hung. Lift ahould be good to go for next season.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Calvin April 28, 2021 / 10:47 am

        Shouldn’t the initial engineering have told them it wouldn’t work? How are number of sheaves and type of assemblies determined?

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        • pbropetech April 28, 2021 / 1:49 pm

          I’m not totally familiar with the process, but there are a number of formulas and calculations that are run to determine line load at any given point along the line. As we learned from out experience on the Flyer, those calculations aren’t always correct in the real world. I can see from the photos that the two deroped towers have a combo assembly on the heavy side but a two-rocker support on the light. Knowing the lift is a bottom drive, that means that the light side will be pulled tight every time the lift starts; given that the heavy side is essentially neutral (otherwise they wouldn’t have put combos there) they should have picked up that the rope would float off the assemblies on the light side. $0.02

          Liked by 1 person

        • Tom White April 28, 2021 / 3:38 pm

          Pbropetech has interesting points. With the light side being the pull side, where the heavy side has a depression or combination assembly, the light side needs the same. Otherwise, the haul rope would float above the assembly, at least at each start up.

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        • Collin Parsons April 29, 2021 / 4:00 pm

          The towers that are derailed were actually configured as hold downs. I hiked up last October to look at the lift, and they had the haulrope up but not the chairs. When the chairs were put on, the weight was too much and the haulrope hung below the sheaves. I would guess that if the lift is running, the light side is pulled up to the sheaves, but those two towers need to be combos.

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        • Michael April 29, 2021 / 6:35 pm

          Collin- In the photos it appears the upper tower IS a combination assembly while the lower is a 2 sheave. Not debating what you saw, but in my 40+ years of installing and maintaining ski lifts I can’t remember the last time I saw a 2 sheave hold down assembly.

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  2. Tom White April 28, 2021 / 5:22 am

    Was the basic problem more terrain changes in the Black Line than the Snow Bowl? This requires more depression or combination assemblies than existed on the original. This was discovered after the lift was erected. Finding replacements was not in time to get it running for this season.

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    • ne_skier April 28, 2021 / 8:05 am

      I’m not sure exactly, but the line here is definitely different. Snow Bowl’s liftline was mellower and was pretty consistent if I remember correctly. This lift starts with a runout on Hocus Pocus, gets progressively steeper along Black Line, gets much steeper than it had gotten at Stratton on Pitch Black and then mellows out to near-flat at the top. They wanted to iron out electrical issues, construct the top ramp and add safety bars in December and January for a mid-season opening (Whether or not this was possible in the first place is up for debate), but they discovered these issues around President’s Weekend and delayed the opening to next season.

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  3. Calvin April 28, 2021 / 10:45 am

    Does this have an entirely new haul rope or did they splice in a new section? This lift is longer than it was as Snowbowl at Stratton.

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    • pbropetech February 19, 2022 / 9:08 pm

      I would imagine they bought a new rope in the correct length. Splicing in a section is generally a short-term solution for a damaged section of an operational rope. It’s more economical, though, so they may well have. Definitely depends on the condition of the rope from when it was Snowbowl.

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  4. theincsupport April 28, 2021 / 12:48 pm

    I love the 16 sheave assembly at the bottom.

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  5. Tom White April 28, 2021 / 3:45 pm

    Pbropetech has interesting points. With the light side being the pull side, where the heavy side has a depression or combination assembly, the light side needs the same. Otherwise, the haul rope would float above the assembly, at least at each start up.

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    • Collin Parsons April 29, 2021 / 4:02 pm

      I’ve seen lifts where the heavy side was a combo and the light side was a depress. That’s the way the derailed towers on this lift were designed. The problem is the light side needed to be combos as well, since when the lift isn’t moving, the haulrope sags too much.

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  6. carletongebhardt January 15, 2022 / 9:23 am

    The lift is listed as ‘operating’ as of 2020 in the Lift Blog listing – but of course it hasn’t operated yet with passengers. It’s mid-January now, in a low snow year, which makes me wonder if we might not see this lift actually run till 22-23?

    Like

    • Frustrated Passholder February 19, 2022 / 1:51 pm

      So sad this is still not operational.
      I don’t plan on spending any more days of long lines until this is spinning with skiers.
      What’s the story MM?

      Like

    • ne_skier February 20, 2022 / 4:23 pm

      As for why it’s listed as operating, I’m not sure. Magic lists it as “under construction” on its website.
      I don’t think there’s any chance for this lift operating this season for a number of reasons, with the source of the current set of problems dating back to early 2021. Around January they had noticed that the haul rope had come off of the light side sheaves on towers 6 and 7. After further evaluation, they determined that the light sides of towers 6, 7, and 13 would need new combo assemblies. Magic didn’t have any extras from Snow Bowl, and there weren’t any used ones to be found anywhere. Magic then had Pfister Mountain Services draw up and machine new Poma spoked sheaves to mid-1980s spec. The manufacturing of these parts took ages due to both long waiting lists for Pfister and supply chain issues (The latter ended up delaying the Red Chair’s new haul rope by over a month). I believe that Magic received the new sheaves, but I am not entirely sure.
      The next issue is actually installing the sheaves themselves. Unless they find the money for a helicopter, they’re stuck with using a crane, which must be brought up Magic’s work road when there is no snow on the ground. As the work road follows some heavily skied snowmaking trails (Wand, UMC) there is just about no chance of getting the crane up there before May.
      Assuming no problems arise past that point, the rest should be mostly smooth sailing as the majority of the work has been done. I believe what’s left mostly consists of some electronics, safety bars on chairs, etc. While just having Red does leave you with trails completely to yourself, the 15-20 minute lift lines on busy weekends do get irritating at a point. Hoping they get these problems worked out this summer.
      Here’s a map I made showing the present situation with the work road and the towers:
      https://ibb.co/sW1B9yG

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      • pbropetech February 20, 2022 / 8:12 pm

        Installing sheaves (in this case, entire assemblies) can totally be done in the winter. As long as you have snowcat access and the proper rigging (which I’d assume Magic has, though I could be wrong), you can drop the improper assembly and raise the new one with a couple mechanics and a decent operator. We do this all the time when we have assemblies that need to be rebuilt but can’t be accessed by crane or truck in the summer.

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      • pbropetech February 20, 2022 / 8:24 pm

        Also, interesting that they had to go through a third party to get new individual sheaves. GJ will absolutely make you new 420-mm sheaves, they just won’t be spoked but will be smaller versions of the 450s used to this day on L-P lifts. Ski Cooper bought some and then came over the pass and had us build them some sheave relining tools for them.

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        • skier February 21, 2022 / 2:29 am

          It could be the combo assembly structure itself and not the sheaves. Although I don’t see why LP wouldn’t be able to make those as spare parts. They mount to the crossarm differently than the current style, but it doesn’t mean they couldn’t make them.

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        • pbropetech February 21, 2022 / 1:11 pm

          They would most likely make a current version that would fit the older console mounts, but yes. The post I was originally commenting on did specifically say they had spoked sheaves machined.

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        • ne_skier February 21, 2022 / 1:56 pm

          ^ I’m not completely sure whether it was just sheaves, just assemblies or both. I imagine that the assemblies would be much harder to source, which makes me think that they had to machine them.

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    • skitheeast February 20, 2022 / 6:24 pm

      It will not be operating this year without a miracle. Its delay shows just how limited Magic’s resources truly are, and how scarce money can be for a small-time ski operator.

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  7. carletongebhardt November 21, 2022 / 10:35 am

    In response to an Instagram question, Magic says that they have to replace the haul rope on this lift. But I guess they were expecting that, as they ordered one back in June. It hasn’t carried a skier yet, but it needs it replaced….

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    • skitheeast November 29, 2022 / 9:01 am

      The new haul rope is on site. They need to take the chairs off of the current rope, take the rope off, put the new one on, splice it, re-hang the chairs, and then get everything certified. Given Magic’s construction speed and their current focus on snowmaking for the season, I would say it is unlikely the lift spins this year. However, even if it does not open until 2023, a 2019-2023 construction timeline would beat the Green lift’s 2003-2019 timeline.

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      • Teddy's Lift World November 29, 2022 / 12:24 pm

        Remember this lift was originally supposed to open for the 2018-19 season.

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        • skitheeast November 29, 2022 / 12:35 pm

          Not exactly. They got this lift and removed the old Black Line in 2018, but they knew they would never have this lift open in time for that ski season. The goal was 2019-20 in order to give them plenty of time, but that was later pushed back to 20-21, then 21-22, now 22-23…

          Liked by 1 person

        • ne_skier November 29, 2022 / 8:15 pm

          skitheeast^, Correct. They might have hinted at an opening in the coming season as they were buying the lift, but the new alignment threw a wrench into those plans. Legally, Black Line is not a replacement for Black – the old lift went up the looker’s right side of Black Line and terminated right at the top of Black Magic below Wizard. The new lift starts in the same place, but cuts diagonally across Black Line, feeding into the new Pitch Black trail and terminating next to the Red Chair at the true summit. Due to this new line and the substantial tree clearing done, Magic was treated to the pleasure of a full environmental review alongside all the other bureaucratic stuff one needs to go through to do this type of installation. Realizing this, they didn’t take down the old Black lift until 2019 just in case. A lot of the things that happened/are happening throughout the course of the installation are out of their control, however I don’t love that it was marketed before it was completed, even as a diehard Magic skier.

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    • ne_skier November 29, 2022 / 8:20 pm

      This haul rope was brought over from Stratton – how many years of experience it got there I’m not aware of. In the course of the installation, it was extended (Black Line is 400 feet longer than Snow Bowl if I recall correctly) and spliced twice. Not really a huge surprise there, which is why they already bought a new cable in advance to avoid a situation like they had last year with Red. Still a hassle nonetheless.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ne_skier January 4, 2023 / 8:16 pm

      I’ve got a better picture of it somewhere – they left up one of the last towers (what you’re talking about) and the return terminal. The concrete foundations are still there on both Black Line and Black Magic too and serve as jumps for the more daring crowd.

      Like

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