Challenger – Sun Valley, ID

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Top terminal, lift shack, maintenance rail with work chair.
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Another view of the top.
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Parking rail.
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Bottom terminal at Warm Springs.
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Lower lift line.
Loading area.
View up the very long lift line.
Doppelmayr EJ chair and DT grip.
Side view of the top terminal.
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Bottom terminal from above.
Doppelmayr Worldbook entry.
Tower 12.
Challenger ascends more than 3,100′ in 9 minutes.
Yan Y tower.


38 thoughts on “Challenger – Sun Valley, ID

  1. Carson June 22, 2017 / 8:14 pm

    What happened to the teardrop chairs?


      • ACA Allertor August 28, 2017 / 4:46 am

        Where is that?


      • p4rtridg3 March 12, 2022 / 12:59 am

        I assume that’s somewhere under Bald Mountain? I may be visiting Sun Valley at some point soon and I’d like see them just out of historical interest. Did you have to get permission to see them or are they just sitting there in a field?


        • Peter Landsman March 12, 2022 / 4:34 am

          The Cold Sorings mountain bike trail used to go right by the boneyard though it has been rerouted now.


  2. Cameron Halmrast June 22, 2017 / 9:00 pm

    They were retired to the boneyard. The ones in use today at Sun Valley and Mammoth Mountain were the last design produced by Lift Engineering. However, I’m not sure why Christmas and Broadway (Mammoth) received them after having the second generation carrier design. I wish I could remember the name of the new carrier design. LE did a full page ad in one of the old SAM Magazines showcasing them. Of course, the company was no longer 3 months later.


    • Will September 3, 2017 / 9:49 pm

      Why did Yan not build any new lifts in 1995 if they had a new carrier design? Any more info/pics of that yan advertisement or any other doppelmayr/yan/other chairlift manufacturer advertisements?


      • Max Hart September 5, 2017 / 11:49 am

        The carrier design wasn’t the problem. Personally I like Yan’s chairs. However, the girps were the problem, which put them out of business before the could design a new one.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Myles Svec January 22, 2021 / 9:12 am

          I would love to see Yan come back but with modern technology and a fresh new face. Personally I love the design of the Yan HSQs and too bad they didn’t do metal grips.


        • Utah Powder Skier January 22, 2021 / 9:25 am

          I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon until Janek Kunczynski leaves Mexico and faces prosecution for his accident on one of his funiculars.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Myles Svec January 22, 2021 / 11:01 am

          How long would he be prosecuted for? Probably a few years I’m guessing.


        • Myles Svec January 22, 2021 / 11:10 am

          Also he is 83 years old so that’s likely to not happen.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Russ Fox July 16, 2017 / 12:00 am

    This lift appears to be the tallest (most vertical) chairlift in the world. 2nd place appears to go to Sun Peak’s Burfeild quad (although that one gets first place for the most painfully long ride at 20 minutes).


    • RMurphy November 20, 2017 / 10:20 pm

      Those are the two North American chairlifts with the most vertical. I have no clue as to the rest of the world.


  4. Jeff Lynne September 9, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    LMAO “With a great deal of skill and personal initiative.” It’s not like they had a choice, Dopppelmayr. Whichever marketing employee wrote that obviously didn’t speak English as a first language.


  5. Donald Reif December 19, 2019 / 7:58 am


  6. skitheeast May 15, 2020 / 12:22 am

    This lift is getting old for a detachable, even though it did have the retrofit in 1995. I think replacing it with a gondola would be a good idea.


    • Somebody May 15, 2020 / 5:48 pm

      I’d rather see it become a bubble chair. From what I’ve heard this lift is a really fun lift to lap because of the crazy 3,000 vert and having to take skis off for a gondola would kinda ruin that. In addition, Sun Valley already has a gondola out of the main base.


    • pbropetech May 16, 2020 / 7:54 am

      Not that old. The lift definitely has few more years left, based on what I’ve seen on our (even older) Doppelmayr. I’m not familiar with the DT grips as we don’t have any, but I imagine the machine is as well-built as the DS series was. I can’t speak for the Yan drive equipment of course, but unlike the grips that was typically overengineered.


    • Donald Reif February 22, 2021 / 7:16 pm

      I think it could at least get additional chairs to boost the capacity up to 2,800 pph at minimum.


  7. Paul January 21, 2021 / 11:22 pm

    Idea: replace Greyhawk and Challenger with an High Speed 8-Pack with bubble chairs with the first part of the lift going from the bottom of Challenger to the top of Greyhawk, then a mid station to unload, then have the second part of the lift go from the top of Greyhawk to the top of Challenger.


    • Utah Powder Skier January 22, 2021 / 8:15 am

      Sun Valley likes gondolas more than bubble lifts. I think also an eight pack is a little overkill. I was thinking that 3000 pph gondola would make sense for replacing Challenger. They operate a total of three gondolas and one tram for their two resorts, which makes me think that if this lift is going to be replaced, it would be a gondola. I do think there are some higher priorities than this lift currently, including a Middle Bowl replacement at Snowbasin.


    • Donald Reif January 22, 2021 / 11:29 am

      An eight-pack is overkill, but a gondola doesn’t seem practical either because of the amount of terrain you have to use Challenger to lap.

      I think the more practical solution would be one of two things:

      1. Replace Challenger with a chondola that combines high speed six pack chairs and eight passenger gondola cabins.

      2. Replace Challenger with an eight passenger gondola, and build a high speed quad running from the bottom of Flying Squirrel to the top of Lookout. This option would be a bit more inconvenient for those with an aversion to gondolas, since they’d have to take two lifts (Greyhawk to Flying Squirrel 2.0) to get to the summit, but it would actually be an arrangement similar to how Vail uses the Born Free Express and Pride Express lifts to supplement the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Myles Svec January 22, 2021 / 11:35 am

        Would it be possible to put bubble chairs on a Chondola? That would give sun valley some extra bragging rights as only chondola in us to have bubble chairs.


        • Utah Powder Skier January 22, 2021 / 11:52 am

          I’m pretty sure that bubble chairs on chondolas are just promos used by Doppelmayr for showing off their lifts. Most customers want either a gondola, or a bubble 8 with heated seats. It does look pretty cool though.


        • Chris January 22, 2021 / 12:23 pm

          Of the many chondolas only one does not have bubbles, and that one is a very low-budget lift (and probably the last UNI-G installed in Austria). I expect the NA market that doesn’t have a whole lot of bubble lifts is different, but it is everything but just a promo.


      • Utah Powder Skier January 22, 2021 / 11:48 am

        If Sun Valley thought that gondolas are a pain to lap, they wouldn’t have built two of them for lapping for lapping purposes at Snowbasin. Chondolas and bubble lifts existed then, but they instead went went with gondolas. I would think that Sun Valley would most likely go with option 2. They definitely have the money and the room for it, along with redundancy in case one of the lifts goes down.


        • Donald Reif January 22, 2021 / 11:52 am

          I listed the second option as when Challenger goes down, the Warm Springs side of the hill is cut off because Greyhawk doesn’t go high enough to reach any other lifts (it used to reach Flying Squirrel before that lift burned down).


        • Donald Reif January 22, 2021 / 2:18 pm

          The approach of ‘build a high speed quad from the base of Flying Squirrel running up Limelight to the summit’ concurrent with a Challenger gondola would be a pragmatic move anyways, because in addition to ensuring a secondary way up if this gondola broke down, it would just make sense so gondola-phobes could get out of the Warm Springs area.


  8. Donald Reif February 22, 2021 / 7:12 pm


  9. Donald Reif June 22, 2021 / 1:42 pm


    • julestheshiba February 28, 2023 / 3:10 pm

      more of this awful trend of removing backup lifts with no replacement


      • pbropetech February 28, 2023 / 3:25 pm

        It’s become apparent in recent years that backup lifts aren’t really necessary. Most places aren’t going to keep an entire lift operational for the one, maybe two days a year where it would be needed.


      • OttawaSkier February 28, 2023 / 3:59 pm

        The backup lift is Flying Squirrel, a different alignment but you can now actually get back to the rest of the resort.


  10. 208 Skier April 21, 2023 / 3:56 pm

    I’ve been watching the live cameras at Sun Valley as they remove this lift and Greyhawk. They’re bulldozing them, not taking them apart, so I’m guessing there’s not much of a market for buying an old, heavily modified Doppel-Yan detachable.


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