Boyne Mountain, MI

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30 thoughts on “Boyne Mountain, MI

  1. afski722 February 1, 2020 / 12:22 am

    Lots of relocated lifts here over the years.

    Operating:
    Alpine 2 – relocated early 2000s, no idea where it came from
    Boyneland 3 – relocated 1995, originally installed as a double Express 2 in 1982
    Disciples Ridge 3 – relocated 1995, originally installed elsewhere
    Disciples Ridge II 3 – relocated late 90s/early 2000s, this was originally the Thunder 3
    Hemlock 2 – mostly Riblet but some upper /lower station components from the original Sun Valley lift
    Meadows 4
    Mountain Express 6
    Ramshead 4
    Superbowl 4
    Victor 4 – relocated late 80s / early 90s; originally was a Heron 2 with lattice towers. This may have originally been the McClouth 4

    Removed:
    Express 2 – this was modified into a triple and became the Boyneland lift
    McClouth 4 – this may have been moved to replace the Victor 2 in the early 90s
    Meadows 4 – was originally the world’s first quad chair, replaced in 2008
    North Boyne 2 – no idea where this lift went
    Superbowl 2 – this lift was removed when they added the FIS race hill on Superbowl in 1995. This may have been repurposed as the Alpine 2?
    Top Notch 2 – this lift was removed in 2005, it was a Heron with lattice towers.
    Victor 2 – this lift was a Heron 2 that was removed by a Ribet 4 in the early 90s.

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    • reaperskier February 1, 2020 / 5:39 am

      Alpine was relocated from Alpine Ski Club in Ontario and (most likely) ran where the millennium chair (a quad) is located now.

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  2. SpartySki February 18, 2020 / 9:58 pm

    North Boyne was a Heron.

    Express 2 was also a Heron. It ran along the tree line at the South side of South McClouth.

    Super Bowl 2 was the Borvig. This lift had the strange alteration into a triple when moved to the Boyneland terrain.

    McClouth 4 was moved to Victor and was given a new tension terminal.

    Meadows 4 was reworked by Riblet at some point. Had Riblet center pole chairs. Heard a story once that the Heron sheave train and grips had a lot of issues with Derailing. Don’t know if that story is true but it would explain the Riblet overhaul.

    Super Bowl 4 came from Thunder Mountain. When Boyne closed it they brought this chair to Boyne Mountain.

    Thunder/Disciples 2. As Thunder all the tower heads had extensions on them allowing double Riblet tower heads to be used for a triple. These towers were also used when the lift was moved to become Disciples 2. I believe this lift was the other Thunder Mountain lift converted to a triple when moved to Boyne Mountain.

    All the Herons are long gone. Top Notch was the last to go.

    Boyne Mountain is a collection of used, relocated and unwanted junk as far as lifts go. This place is always super crowded on weekends and the lifts here are old slow and inadequate. Boyne seems to be starting to put money into their resorts recently. Hopefully Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands will get some upgrades. Most the lifts at those resorts were originally installed in the mid 60’s to early 70’s.

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    • Mountaineer April 7, 2021 / 2:35 pm

      Perhaps the lift was later equipped with Heron chairs? I got the confirmation from a contractor of American Cableways that they made the lift in 1964.

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      • Mountaineer April 22, 2021 / 12:10 pm

        Heron is correct for North Boyne. The American Cableways actually was at Barn Mountain.

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  3. afski722 February 18, 2020 / 10:26 pm

    Thanks for helping fill in the gaps. Like said at the Highlands so many relocations hard to keep memory straight.
    I haven’t skied Boyne Mountain on the weekend in probably ten years, the weekend crowds were obnoxious and I assume still are.

    The Meadows replacement took care of that part of the hill. Rumors of a Disciples replacement with a HSQ coming from another resort soon.
    Superbowl will likely be due for a replacement in the next 5 years or so.

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    • Skiz February 19, 2020 / 5:57 am

      Supposedly a lift from brighton going on a new liftline so it can replace disciples I and II

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  4. Carson May 2, 2021 / 9:35 pm

    Anyone know why heron lifts were removed kind of fast I know it’s a stupid question to ask

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    • Utah Powder Skier May 3, 2021 / 7:58 am

      It doesn’t look like they were removed that fast. 30 years is old for a lift that’s not a Riblet or a Hall.

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  5. Billy B. May 13, 2021 / 11:52 am

    Found some stats and images of the original Meadows quad at Boyne Mountain recently from an old Heron catalog. Stats: 2,400 pph, 400 fpm, 21 towers, 79 chairs, 125 hp electric motor. Heron claimed 1,561 feet of length with 355 feet of vertical rise, which are both slightly different than the spreadsheet data so I’m not sure which is correct there. Definitely a very cool lift, so I figured some people on here might be interested.


    Liked by 1 person

    • John May 18, 2021 / 7:53 pm

      I remember it being fairly slow, but it wasn’t all that long of a lift, either. In any case, the newer Meadows quad is a much smoother ride.

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  6. Jack L July 27, 2021 / 9:22 am

    Has it been cleared up whether the Super Bowl double chair was the Heron or the Borvig? I thought I remembered seeing Heron chairs on that lift before it was dismantled. I do not remember the towers. I guess no one has photos of the old doubles replaced by the Mountain Express either.

    Why are Borvig lifts less popular in Michigan versus Riblet? Is it cost related?

    Liked by 1 person

    • ne_skier July 27, 2021 / 11:03 am

      It is strange. Hall and Riblet, the top brands for the east and west respectively, have a virtual duopoly on classic lifts in the midwest and there aren’t many Borvigs to be seen. I believe Borvigs were cheaper and more low-tech than Riblets and Halls, and they’re mostly seen in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well as some other northeast states. I was thinking perhaps they didn’t install lifts outside of the east, but there are a handful of Borvig lifts in the west. I guess they just never caught on there.

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      • Utah Lost Ski Area Project July 27, 2021 / 11:49 am

        I would guess that Borvig arrived at the Midwest market a little too late. Hall and Riblet had been building lifts in the Midwest since the 60s and Borvig’s first lift in the Midwest wasn’t until 1972. By the time the 80s came around, there weren’t many ski areas in the Midwest that were building new lifts. It happened to be around that time when Borvig tried to enter the Colorado market for building lifts.

        http://www.coloradoskihistory.com/lost/bpass.html

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    • SpartySki July 27, 2021 / 2:49 pm

      The original Super Bowl chair was the Borvig. Super Bowl opened in the early 80’s and the Borvig chair was installed new to service that area. The Victor and Top Notch Herron doubles both had lattice towers. The North Boyne Heron had tube towers. I cannot remember what towers Express 2 had but it was also a Heron. 4 Heron Doubles in addition to the modified double at Hemlock that is now mostly Riblet were the Charis that Boyne mountain had until the mid 60’s when the Heron Quad went in on Meadows replacing what I believe was a T-Bar. All The riblets went in starting in the late 1960’s as Boyne started exclusively buying only Riblets for all 4 of it’s Michigan resorts until 1982 when they purchased the Borvig for Super Bowl. The only time I have seen a photo or video of north Boyne it was in an old family video from the 80’s. Towers looked like Pomas.

      Borvig came around after the ski lift boom of the 60’s and 70’s in Michigan. I do not know what made Riblet so popular in the 60’s but I would guess that Riblet was either cheaper or could deliver and install in shorter time periods as at that time Riblet was the largest manufacturer in the US. Once smaller resorts had a Riblet I think it was easy to add more for uniformity and maintenance versus bringing in something different. Riblet made some damn tough and reliable lifts no matter how weak the tower heads looked. There are some Halls in Michigan but not nearly as many as there are Riblets. Lots of 1960’s Riblets still running as primary lifts at Michigan resorts.

      The Super Bowl Borvig was converted to a Triple using Riblet Triple chairs and is on the beginner run currently.

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      • Jack L July 27, 2021 / 5:32 pm

        Agreed that the timeframes would point to the original Super Bowl lift as not being a Heron. The transition from Herons to Riblets makes sense.
        1976 trailmap: https://skimap.org/data/421/2200/1447962150.jpeg

        I do not know when Boyne opened up the Meadows for skiing. Given its proximity to Victor/Aurora, it sounds likely to me that a T-bar serviced the Meadows before the Heron quad was installed in 1964/65.

        I learned skiing in Michigan and ski return there for ski trips. As I have not done much skiing in New England, my personal experience with Borvig lifts is from Chestnut Mountain and The Homestead.

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        • Jack L July 30, 2021 / 3:46 pm

          I guess before Disciples Ridge opened, there was a need during peak ski days to have two lifts running up Super Bowl, and then a Triple running up Thunder to augment the Meadows Quad? The Superbowl Quad and the Thunder Triple did extend below the Superbowl Double and the Heron Meadows Quad.

          The McLouth Quad roughly ran in the same alignment as the Mountain Express does today – is that correct? Where was the bottom terminal in relation to where the Mountain Express load is today?

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  7. SpartySki August 3, 2021 / 3:06 pm

    The Borvig Double was installed prior to Boyne making the decision to close Thunder Mountain. When they closed Thunder they brought the Riblet quad over and put it on Super Bowl. I do not know for sure but my assumption would be that the Borvig did not run much after that. The Borvig was essentially obsolete except for some peak days. Superbowl 4 went further down the hill and could be skied into from the bottom of Top Notch and I believe Thunder as well. It just made a lot more sense to have things set up the way it ended up versus how it started at Superbowl.

    The Triple at Thunder, I am 99 percent sure, was made up from the towers from the Thunder Mountain Double chair. The towers had extensions put on them to allow for Triple chairs which were added when it was reconstructed at Boyne Mountain. Those towers ended up being reused yet again for Disciples 2. If you ever ride that lift you can see how a lot of the towers were narrower double towers with added extensions to make them wider for Triple chairs. The Thunder lift really only serviced 2 runs. The very top of Thunder, which was not accessible from the top of Meadows, and a small run that sent you down to Cold Springs. It was a strange arrangement and I do not recall that lift running very often. It just seems that in the 80’s, that Boyne was interested to cheap solutions. In many ways they still are.

    Superbowl 4 and Thunder went further down the hill than the Borvig and Meadows. Roughly another 50 vertical feet.

    McClouth 4 ended where the mountain express does today. It started a little more to the North. If I had to guess, 30 feet or so to the North.

    At one time Kircher had stated that he saw the future as Chairs for beginner and intermediate runs and T-Bars for expert runs. His thought was that experts would have no issue using T-Bars where as beginners would find it difficult and chairs were more expensive. He may have put this into practice at Boyne Mountain in the 1950’s but there is little history out there about this and what went on at Boyne Mountain at that time. The irony here is that when he opened Boyne Highlands in 1963, the beginner run was serviced by a T-bar and just a few years later was replaced by a Triple chair.

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  8. Skier0224 September 30, 2021 / 1:57 pm

    along with Disciples 8, Boyne said they have plans to upgrade Meadows, Mtn Express, Victor, Superbowl, and Boyneland. not sure what they plan on doing yet, but this is super exciting!

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    • SpartySki September 30, 2021 / 2:42 pm

      I was surprised that an 8 seater is going on Disciples. Not disappointed but I thought for sure if they were to bring in an 8 seater that it would replace Mountain Express and Mountain Express would move to Disciples. I have heard from people that own property at Boyne that Disciples is where the next round of development will be if the demand is high enough. Maybe Boyne is just setting that area up to be a new base for home owners like you see at Western resorts. Also, this 8 seater will without question entice skiers to spread out to Disciples and help alleviate some of the craziness you see on weekends at the main area of the mountain.

      Meadows is from 08 so I found it surprising that it was going to be upgraded. That must mean a High Speed lift. Nothing else would be an upgrade, right?
      They also mentioned the Mountain Express for an upgrade which is already a high speed so another D-Line? 6 or 8 for Mountain Express? Move Mountain Express to Meadows and reskin it to match the D-Lines like they did with the old Ramcharger at Big Sky? Move Meadows to Superbowl? Moving Mountain Express makes sense as it runs the most and probably has a ton of hours on it. It would still run a lot as a replacement for Meadows but not as much and less critical were it to have a breakdown. The current Meadows lift is an upgrade over Superbowl and Superbowl opens a few weeks to a month after the Main area and closes first in the spring and is not open at night so the current Meadows lift could be there for 50 years. Meadows and Superbowl are similar in length and vertical so Meadows might just be simple to take down and move with very little reworking.

      Boyneland and Victor will likely just be fixed grip quads if I had to guess. Both are shorter than the other lifts mentioned for replacement/upgrade. Byoneland is known for some crazy long lines on weekends. Victor too but not as bad since the new Meadows chair went in and if that became a high speed lift it would likely shorten lines at Victor some. Was surprised to hear that there was no replacement for Ramshead in the works. It does not typically get crazy long lines but it is 50 years old. Ramshead, Hemlock and Alpine would be the only Pre 1990 lifts left. A replacement would have to be in the works eventually you would think.

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      • Skier0224 September 30, 2021 / 3:46 pm

        What I’m thinking is they’ll put in a new D-line 6 pack or possible 8 pack for Express, and then move the old lift to Meadows with some upgrades (it is going on 30 years old), like you said, maybe with seat heating and/or bubbles since it is the main lift. They’ll move the old Meadows chair to either Superbowl or Boyneland, since both are pretty old and need a replacement but a detachable doesn’t really make sense. as for Victor, I wouldn’t be surprised if they relocate another quad or even a triple in from somewhere else, since it is a backup and can be covered from Express and hemlock.

        Also, I don’t think Ramshead is really a priority. it only has one run that you can lap using the lift, which can be accessed by the current Disciples Ridge triple. I believe it still operates today mainly because the park underneath it has night skiing while Disciples doesn’t (wondering if it will after the 8 goes in, I’d love to have more decent night skiing runs). As for the two doubles, Alpine isn’t heavily used, although it may be after Disciples goes in and brings skiers back there, and Hemlock is a backup and isn’t really needed, although I hope it stays in just because of its historical significance.

        Also, why isn’t Highlands getting any attention? their lifts are even worse than Boyne Mountain’s, their first lift installed new was the high speed quad… 31 years ago.

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        • Spartyski September 30, 2021 / 7:28 pm

          Ramshead is just so old and awful. Totally get that it is not critical but just get rid of the ancient stuff. I get that Hemlock is historically significant but 95 percent of that lift is a 60’s Riblet. I don’t think it needs replacement but it is sort of useless other than for summer operations. They don’t need high speeds everywhere. Express, Disciples and Meadows would make weekday skiing at Mountain a blast. You could ski over from Super Bowl into Meadows, cut over on Victor and hit the Mountain Express and then shoot down ramshead and down all the way to Disciples and ski the greens to the far end of the resort. End to end on only high speeds. Can anyone else in the Midwest claim that? With that much acreage?

          I am excited about all of this. Tired of the biggest offseason skiing news in Michigan being things like Crystal adding a used lift with 150 feet of vertical. Or, Caberfae improving it’s snowmaking system. Finally something actually relevant that we actually get to benefit from. A skiing arms race benefits all Michigan skiers. Hopefully this pushes the competition to up their game. Nubs needs to get into the high speed lift game now.

          I think Highlands upgrades will happen. Mountain is more important and brings in more. I think once a plan for mountain is in motion there will be planning for Highlands. Highlands doesn’t have the overcrowding issues that Mountain has. Mountain has old lifts that can’t move enough people. Highlands has old lifts that for the most part satisfy their needs. Heather Express and Challenger both run day and night and in addition are the first open at the start of the season and the last to close at the end of the season. Camelot just received a new/used drive so might remain for a while. Heather and Challenger must have a ton of hours on them. The single worst lift set up at Highlands is Challenger. It starts too far up the hill. If they replaced Heather and moved Heather to Interconnect I think that would entice people to go to North Peak. Interconnect is the worst lift ride in Michigan. So long, so slow. It makes me not want to go to North Peak.

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        • Skier0224 September 30, 2021 / 8:35 pm

          I definitely agree on how nice it is to have something interesting happen, I don’t think we’ve had anything super exciting happen since like the 80s or 90s. Hopefully Boyne doing this might inspire other places like Nubs or Crystal to do stuff as well (although their lift networks aren’t nearly as bad as Boyne/Highlands).

          As for lifts on Highlands, I agree with everything you said, a low capacity detachable would be great in place of interconnect, and Challenger needs some changes. Amy’s could probably use a replacement with a fixed quad as well, and possibly another fixed lift in place of Valley/Camelot with a mid for the beginner area. Also, there’s a spot to the right of north peak that says future expansion on their map, maybe they’ll finally do something with that. I’d love to see some more night skiing at highlands too, right now it’s just Heather, Challenger, and the bunny hill.

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  9. Mi_skier October 11, 2021 / 5:19 pm

    Anyone know how they’re gonna make Disciples 8 work? The bottom areas by both current lifts are already pretty flat so I don’t see how they would combine the two lifts into one line without a ridiculous amount of flat ground skiing

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  10. Skier0224 October 12, 2021 / 3:48 pm

    anything happening to the old Disciples lifts or are they scrapping them? I know they’re old but old used lifts like those would be great for hickory Hills or Mt Holiday near Tc, both small ski areas that could use some better lifts.

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  11. afski722 October 13, 2021 / 8:14 pm

    Probably too soon to know, considering they just made the announcement and they will still be in service for this season.
    Probably just become parts donors to the rest of the fleet of Riblets across the two Michigan resorts.

    I would say outside chance they repurpose into a rumored new lift at the Highlands on North Peak, but I’m also skeptical that at this point in the 2020s they would repurpose 50 year old major lift components.

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    • Utah Lost Ski Area Project October 13, 2021 / 9:00 pm

      I wonder if these lifts might become real estate lifts at Big Sky. They relocated a lift dating back to 1958 from Brighton and make it access real estate with a few modifications.

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  12. Mi_skier October 19, 2021 / 6:24 pm

    there’s a podcast out with a TON of info about Boyne 2030-an interview with Ed Grice (Boyne’s GM): https://www.stormskiing.com/p/podcast-57-boyne-mountain-general. I don’t think anything is definite but definitely still a lot of interesting information.

    Disciples-8 seat already announced replacing both old triples. the new lift will run between the two and possibly open a few new trails. both old lifts are being scrapped and sold for parts.

    Mountain Express-pretty much what people expected, it’s being removed and scrapped, replaced with a D-line, either six or possibly eight.

    Meadows-new D-line, most likely six-pack replacing old quad.

    Superbowl-old Meadows quad moved in to replace it. it might have the same alignment, and might run up the middle of the run like the old double did. they were talking about new glade runs as well.

    Victor-this one surprised me, because it’s a nonessential lift that typically runs just on weekends right now. they’re going to replace with a detachable quad, probably D-line, with the possibility of a realignment.

    Boyneland-another one that surprised me. they weren’t very clear on this one but they said a HSQ is likely, running up to the top of Disciples and a midstation for the beginners area. this may mean Ramshead will get removed as well.

    Other lifts-confirmed that nothing is happening to Alpine in the near future, and they want to keep Hemlock because of it’s historical significance. they didn’t mention Ramshead, but if they do the Boyneland replacement I mentioned they’d likely remove it. the current quad is over 50 years old and has a decent amount of hours on it so it probably doesn’t have much life left anyway unless they do a bunch of repairs like they did on Hemlock.

    They didn’t mention Highlands at all but if they’re doing all this to Mountain, they have to be doing something over there. super exciting that they might be putting in 5 detachables here and hopefully it will force other resorts to do some stuff with their ancient lifts as well.

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  13. Jack L February 12, 2022 / 9:11 pm

    Not sure how to post an image here, but I was back at Boyne Mountain this past week for the first time in a few years. There is a sepia-toned aerial photo of the Mountain circa 1980 ish (McLouth Quad is there, but no Super Bowl yet) hanging near the fireplace in the lobby of the Clock Tower Lodge.

    The photo clearly shows the starting and ending points of the old Heron chairlifts, all of which appear to have lattice towers like Top Notch did. The North Boyne lift starts way down the hill. The Super 2/Express, McLouth, and North Boyne lifts shared some crowded real estate in the days before the Mountain Express was installed.

    The base vault of the Thunder triple is still on the hill, not far from where the “new” Meadows Quad drive terminal stands. Also, Disciples 8 banners are hanging on the base terminal of the Disciples I lift.

    FWIW

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