Cannonball Express – Cannon Mountain, NH

Tri-leg fixed bottom terminal.
View up from the base.
Doppelmayr top terminal with counterweight tensioning.
View down the line.
Bottom terminal overview.
Top terminal from below.

15 thoughts on “Cannonball Express – Cannon Mountain, NH

  1. northeastchairlifts May 26, 2017 / 8:07 pm

    Why would they make a fixed tri-leg terminal? It doesn’t make sense. Also, tensioning at the top terminal could get a little shady with bullwheel unloading


    • Max Hart December 1, 2017 / 3:15 pm

      The ramp is enormous on this lift, and I have never had a problem unloading.
      I am not sure why Doppelmayr went with a tri-leg bottom terminal (especially because I don’t know of any other tri-leg Doppelmayr terminals, drive or return, tensioned of fixed, until the merger with Garaventa CTEC). It could be a case of wanting more space for the lift operators when loading chairs. That’s my best guess. Also the tri-leg terminal allows the depression sheaves to be mounted on the terminal frame rather than on a tower.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Collin December 1, 2017 / 5:09 pm

      Tri-leg returns are not at all uncommon on 80’s Doppelmayr lifts. The since retired High Noon Triple at Vail and Drink of Water Double at Beaver Creek both had them. What is uncommon about this lift is that it is top tensioned. I don’t know of any other 80’s Doppelmayr top drive fixed grips that are.


      • Max Hart December 2, 2017 / 12:02 pm

        I think the main reason the drive is at the top is so that spare parts and maintenance crews could utilize the tram to access the top terminal, and because (to my knowledge) Doppelmayr did not manufacture a tensioned return terminal at the time, the tensioning was put at the top with the (relatively standard) drive terminal. The tri-leg return must be a one-of-a-kind from Doppelmayr.

        I also think this was the last new lift built in New England with counterweight tensioning (until the Valar T-Bar was installed in 2016). I’m not sure why Cannon / Franconia Notch State Park went with the counterweight, but given their financial situation at the time it could have been a case of not being able to afford the modern hydraulic tensioning. Or, it could be that Cannon wanted the “maintenance free” benefits of a counterweight, especially because it is in one of the harsher lift environments in the east.


        • Will Partridge January 6, 2019 / 9:05 pm

          This lift probably endures the harshest conditions of any lift in the east. Extreme wind speeds of the four thousand footers near the presidential range, and temps in the negatives on some nights. While the tram endures the same, it has a whole building to itself, while this poor lift lies out in the cold.


        • chip0 March 7, 2019 / 7:27 pm

          Another reason for the drive to be at the top is that the two T-bars it replaced were also top-drive, so there was already power at the top, and not at the bottom.


      • Collin December 2, 2017 / 6:22 pm

        Top drive lifts are more efficient than bottom drive lifts, so lifts are typically top driven if it is possible from an ease of installation standpoint. You’re right that they could use the tram to bring spare parts to the top of this lift so it was easier to configure as a top drive. I think it is the only top driven lift at Cannon.


      • Northeast Chairlifts December 14, 2017 / 2:52 pm

        Well, my point is if you make a fixed return, why waste all of that extra time and material to make it tri-leg instead of just pedestal?


    • snowbasinlocal12894 October 11, 2018 / 5:32 pm

      Another reason for a tri leg or quad leg is you can add a loading carpet without replacing the whole terminal.


  2. Ryan December 3, 2017 / 10:53 pm

    Interesting that they call it “express” when it’s not a high speed lift. 450 FPM hardly qualifies as express, don’t ya think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Max Hart December 4, 2017 / 1:16 pm

      When this lift was installed in 1990, it was one of Cannon’s workhorse lifts (and still is today, but since the installation of the Peabody Express in 1999, it has moved down the list). Before, the only access to the upper mountain (other than the Tram) were the T-bars via the Peabody Double, a mid 1960s Roebling double. When the Cannonball Quad was installed in 1990, not only was it the highest capacity lift on the mountain, it was also probably the fastest (excluding the tram of course, which typically runs at 5 to 6 meters per second, but can run at 12 meters per second according to a lift operator, but I have never seen it run this fast). The other lifts at Cannon at the time were a 425 fpm 1984 Doppelmayr Triple (Zoomer), a 1962 Roebling Double (Peabody), and a 1972 Pullman-Berry Double (Hong Kong), so the Cannonball Quad, at 450 fpm, was likely the fastest chairlift on the mountain at the time.

      However, as of recently, the Cannonball Express quad has been referred to on trail maps and Cannon’s website as the “Cannonball Quad Chairlift / Lift E” despite the sign at the lift (which has probably been there since it opened) saying “Cannonball Express Quad Chairlift”.


    • Collin December 4, 2017 / 2:44 pm

      The tram definitely can’t run at 12 m/s. That’s 2362 fpm and I don’t think any lift built today is able to go that fast much less one from the 70’s. This site says it can run at 7.5 m/s which is 1476 fpm, and if they run it 6 m/s that would be pretty typical. I remember reading that Big Red at Jackson Hole is rated for 10 m/s and runs 8 m/s in winter and 6 m/s in summer.


      • Max Hart December 4, 2017 / 4:49 pm

        The tram is never actually runs at 12 m/s when open to the public, but according to lift operators at Cannon, it could (although probably is never allowed to) run 12 m/s, similar to how most detachable quads run at 1000 fpm when open to the public, but are capable to turning 1200+ fpm. Considering the upgrades (VonRoll and Garaventa) the tram has had since it was in new condition and the fact that it is 40 years old, it would probably fall apart if it were to ever run that fast today.


      • Max Hart December 4, 2017 / 4:57 pm

        Also when I say “according to lift operators at Cannon,” I’m referring to a conversation that I had with one in the red car at about 3:00 pm on Superbowl Sunday, February 5, 2017, a freezing cold day during which they were running the tram faster than usual (~6.5 m/s) due to nobody wanting to ride the freezing Cannonball Quad.


    • chip0 March 7, 2019 / 7:23 pm

      When they replaced Peabody with a detachable, I was hoping it would be named “Peabody Quad” for consistency, but it’s “Peabody Express”.


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