Cloudsplitter – Whiteface, NY

The Cloudsplitter Gondola opened in 1999, providing the first-ever one seat ride to Little Whiteface Mountain.
The bottom terminal and first two towers near the base lodge.
Doppelmayr Uni return terminal.
View down at tower 7.
Side view of the bottom station.
Tower 1.
Another view of the big lower station.
Riding over the Bear double.
Depression assemblies on tower 8.
View down at T13.
There is a short downhill section around the mid point of a ride.
Tower 19.
Reinforced lifting frame on T15.
The tallest towers of the whole lift – 4 and 5.
Conveyor into cabin parking.
Most of the lift seen from the Whiteface access road.
View up at tower 8.
A cabin ascends the first steep rise.
The last section before the summit is even steeper.
Tower 19 with a view of the summit.
Big depress assemblies on 15 and 16.
Towers 22-25.
The best breakover in the East!
Small maintenance rail up top.
Another view of towers 23-25.
This is the drive location.
Looking down towards the base.
Arrival side up top.
The turnaround with pin rails.
A big shack for a big lift.
Another angle on the drive.
The top of the gondola seen from the actual Whiteface summit.
Gangloff cabin with a DT-108 grip.
The Bear crossover from the side.
Towers 1-3.
Cabins seat 8 with exterior ski racks.
Combo assemblies on tower 3.
The lift line.
Loading area at the base.
Tunnel into the parking facility.
In 2020, this lift received new CWA cabins.
One of the new cabins during the first few weeks of operation.
Cabin 12.
View down at tower 13.
Much of the lift line is very rugged and steep.
New cabins on the upper half of the line.
View down.
Riding over the breakover.
A new cabin in the top station.
Arriving up top.
Riding into the breakover.
View from the summit.
Shiny new cabins.
Lower part of the lift line.
View towards the base area.
Doppelmayr Worldbook entry.
Any American lift that gets two pages in the book is a major machine.

39 thoughts on “Cloudsplitter – Whiteface, NY

  1. Collin Parsons October 15, 2018 / 7:13 am

    While still an cool lift, there are several operational issues with Cloudsplitter. It is plagued by wind closures, being down at least once every 2 weeks. The bear crossing, top of the first climb, and the breakover are the problem spots. They are also not allowed to install wind fences as part of APA regulations. The other issue is that it is not run anywhere near full speed and they only allow 6 people to load each cabin, so the capacity is around 1000/hr for what is functioning as the the main out of base lift and workhorse lift that everyone laps. That results in long wait times almost every weekend. The 2018 Unit Management Plan does provide a solution by installing a high speed quad to replace the Freeway Lift on a different alignment that will start at the base and end on the approach trail, providing a much needed alternative and relief to the gondola.


    • snowbasinlocal12894 October 15, 2018 / 3:31 pm

      Strawberry gondola at snowbasin UT has problems with wind at the top because the top terminal is on a ridge. The main gondola needles has less severe wind problems but one time the needles doors opened up while still on the cable because of the wind rushing inside of the cabin from the open windows which scared everyone inside of the cabin. This gondola and the 2 at basin have a lot in common. All three gondolas have wind problems. Needles gondola crosses over a chairlift and this lift does too. Same manufacture and are roughly the same age. Snowbasin still runs both gondolas almost full speed and loads at max 8 passengers. Also none of basin’s gondolas have pins. Does this gondola have X model cabins or are they omegas? X models are super rare and basin’s both gondolas and Banff gondola in Alberta have x models


      • Peter Landsman October 15, 2018 / 3:36 pm

        The Cloudsplitter cabins are neither Xs nor Omegas but rather Gangloff Spacecabs. Gangloff is now a wholly owned subsidiary of BMF. I think it’s a shame the cabin manufacturers are no longer separate from the lift manufacturers. We probably won’t see any more Gangloff cabins in the US because of it.


        • liftnerd January 22, 2023 / 6:24 pm

          Is Swoboda independent?


    • BeyondtheLodge January 22, 2019 / 3:08 pm

      Is there an update on when that project will be done?


      • Collin Parsons January 22, 2019 / 5:43 pm

        There are 3 lift projects ORDA wants to complete there in the near future. One is being done in 2019 which is the Bear Den Quad to replace the Bunny Hutch Triple. The next priority will be to replace the Bear Double with a quad on an extended alignment to the top of Draper’s Drop. After that is a high speed quad from pretty much right next to the gondola to the top of the Empire trail. Included would be two more trails off of it that they are going to try to make intermediate but will really be advanced trails.


  2. Collin October 15, 2018 / 3:49 pm

    There are several Doppelmayr gondolas that were built around this time. In 1998 it was Needle’s and Strawberry at Snowbasin, Upper Panorama at Mammoth, and Telecabine Express at Tremblant. In 1999 it was Cloudsplitter at Whiteface and Lower Panorama at Mammoth. In 2000 it was the gondola at Heavenly. Mammoth and Heavenly have Omega cabins, Snowbasin has X cabins, and Tremblant and Whiteface have Gangloff cabins. They are all long lifts with a high vertical rise, have good looking breakovers, and design speeds of 1200 feet per minute (give or take).

    Here’s a video I took of Cloudsplitter back in March:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carson January 22, 2019 / 3:15 pm

    A doesn’t look like many runs of the top of the gondola!


    • Collin Parsons January 22, 2019 / 5:41 pm

      There are 3 ways off the top, but they split into many more trails as you go further down.


  4. atc1701 February 3, 2019 / 11:34 am

    Has this lift ever run at 6 m/s (or 1200 fpm) for the public before? Or at all, in recent years?


    • Collin Parsons February 3, 2019 / 12:11 pm

      Never in recent years. Today it’s running at 1000 feet per minute which is the fastest I’ve seen it all year. Normally doesn’t even reach 900 and is frequently 700-800 when windy. I think they should run it at the design speed of 1212 feet per minute because it’s a flagship lift and usually has big lines (15+ minutes) on weekends.
      Tremblant’s very similar gondola is much faster on average.

      Liked by 1 person

      • atc1701 February 3, 2019 / 8:38 pm

        We run the Telecabine between 5 to 5.5 m/s (or 1000-1100 fpm) and it still get 15+ minute lines on weekends!
        It’s a shame this gondola doesn’t go at its design speed, since that’d make it quite the tremendous machine with its length and vertical.

        Liked by 6 people

        • Collin Parsons February 4, 2019 / 6:16 pm

          I’m never sure whether to love or hate this lift. It has one of the most interesting routes and most scenic rides anywhere, is supremely capable in terms of speed, length and vertical, and provides a break from the elements at possibly the coldest and windiest mountain in the northeast. But I always find myself annoyed with the long wait times, lack of alternate routes (Freeway, Little Whiteface, and Mountain Run are often closed), and the fact that the actual speed and capacity are nowhere near the design specs.

          I wonder when ORDA decided the cabin heaters weren’t worth it anymore or if they were ever used in the first place. I also wonder the same for Tremblant as it also says the cabins were heated in the World Book.


        • atc1701 February 5, 2019 / 3:25 pm

          The heaters haven’t been used at Tremblant in a very long time, if ever, and I’m not even sure how to turn them on!

          I’ve been to Whiteface once and was amazed by this machine – you said it: legnth, vertical, and route. I was a little disappointed it didn’t run faster, considering it’s the sister ship to the gondola at Tremblant, but otherwise it’s a marvellous lift!


        • Collin Parsons February 17, 2019 / 8:49 pm

          This weekend I was at Tremblant on Saturday and Whiteface on Sunday and the two gondolas ran at equivalent speeds of about 5 m/s. I only rode each once and it was either very early or very late in the day as the lines were ridiculous. Seems like this lift was sped up and Tremblant’s slowed down. It used to be I’d find Telecabine would run at about 5.5 and Cloudsplitter at 4.5.


        • atc1701 February 18, 2019 / 5:59 pm

          It was windy enough Saturday (I think it was around 15-20 kph) to run it 5 m/s. It happens more than you’d expect!


        • icefaceny June 6, 2019 / 10:38 am

          Collin, I’m also never sure whether I hate it or love it. I used to ski Whiteface a lot as a kid in the early 2000’s, and the gondola was probably the coolest thing I had ever seen. Back then, it would seem to run pretty quickly, however I definitely saw lower speeds as the years went by. The worst year I visited, the gondola was down for a whole week for maintenance, forcing larger crowds onto the Little Whiteface lift (which is slow, long, and very cold), and freezing my toes. I remember the gondola would often be closed in the mornings due to winds, and would sometimes open later in the day.

          On the topic of the heated cabins, I do distinctly remember one of my ski instructors telling me all about the heated cabins, and they did seem pretty warm at the time. However, on my last visit (2010 probably, it was before lookout mountain opened), I don’t think the heaters were working/turned on.

          Another thing to note, is that I love the Gangloff cabins. They are super comfortable.


      • liftnerd January 22, 2023 / 6:29 pm

        At this point, one wonders whether variable-speed drives were really a good invention.


        • Teddy's Lift World January 23, 2023 / 4:22 am

          ? Why would they not be a good invention? There are many reasons as to why a lift may have to run slower.


        • pbropetech January 23, 2023 / 6:18 am

          There’s no question they’re a good thing. Being able to dial in the speed of the lift for various considerations is much better than the alternative- say, not being able to lower the speed for wind and just having to close it altogether.


  5. Collin Parsons January 25, 2020 / 8:22 pm

    I asked and found out that the reason this lift doesn’t run full speed is they have trouble loading people before the doors close. The last couple years they never had it over 5 m/s to my knowledge. They have however run it faster than 5 on multiple occasions this season. Last weekend it ran 5.2, and today they briefly had it running 5.4 with no loading issues. However, it quickly threw an RPD fault and had to be slowed down to half speed for the rest of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Collin Parsons February 1, 2020 / 9:58 am

    This lift is running 5.6 m/s or 1100 fpm today. This is the fastest it’s gone in normal operations in years.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Skiz February 1, 2020 / 1:02 pm

      Could you get a vid?


    • Collin Parsons February 1, 2020 / 5:02 pm

      I took two videos.




  7. Mason Schade July 23, 2020 / 8:58 am

    So now that ORDA is replacing the cabins, what will happen to the old ones, sold or thrown out?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Collin Parsons August 26, 2020 / 7:18 pm

      The old cabins are still in the Bear Den parking lot. Not sure what’s going to happen to them. In April, they were listed on resort boneyard, but then the listing was taken down, likely because they couldn’t have people picking them up during the pandemic. They had planned to send some to Tremblant because their gondola has the same kind of cabins, but the border closure is likely preventing that from happening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tyler October 30, 2022 / 3:58 pm

        If you look at the pictures of the Tremblant 6 person gondola, the Gangloff cabins look like they are a generation older or a different model, than the Cloudsplitter gondola, the Cloudsplitter cabins look more modern with the angular lines, vs Tremblants rounded cabins. They look somewhat similar, but I feel like I would have noticed these newer angular Gangloff cabins contrasting to the existing Tremblant cabins when I skied there last winter.


        • OttawaSkier October 30, 2022 / 4:11 pm

          I think it’s the main gondola at Tremblant that uses the Gangloff cabins. That and Cloudsplitter were built at roughly the same time.


        • Tyler October 30, 2022 / 5:41 pm

          @Ottawaskier, im also from Ottawa so shoutout, but im not talking about the Casino gondola with CWA cabins, if you look closely at the telecabine express cabins, they are slightly different from the cloud splitter cabins built in the same period. You can really notice it below the front and back glass panels, where the plastic is angular on the cloud splitter cabins, and rounded in more of a retro look on the Tremblant ones. Not sure if Whiteface just spent more on upgraded cabins or more modern looking cabins, but they are undoubtedly different from one another


        • Collin Parsons October 30, 2022 / 7:37 pm

          The only difference was that Whiteface opted for front and back opening windows, while Tremblant omitted them. The front and back window mechanisms were awful. They’d never stay fully opened or closed, so they would bounce and rattle like crazy on the depression and combo towers. They also left little gaps that resulted in a loud whistling noise from the wind.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Tyler October 31, 2022 / 10:27 am

        Oh okay thanks! Must be the paint scheme thats creating an illusion that the cloudsplitter gondola looks more angular


  8. Collin Parsons August 26, 2020 / 7:24 pm

    Cloudsplitter is now the 4th gondola in the Northeast to have the cabins replaced. First was Stratton in 2014, then Killington and Loon in 2018, and now Whiteface in 2020. Interestingly, the gondola at Gore isn’t having the cabins replaced, despite the fact that they’re the same age, and in much worse shape than the old Whiteface cabins.

    I like the new cabins on this lift. The door mechanisms are much improved, and the ski racks will accommodate wider skis better, allowing for easier loading and a more efficient, and faster operation. The top speed is still 1212 fpm. This was never achieved with the old cabins since I became a passholder, but I hope it can be with the new cabins. I do think they could’ve done a better job with the upgrade if they took the extra time and effort to get level walk in cabins. I also think they should’ve optioned the new cabins with leather seats like the old cabins had.


  9. Collin Parsons December 26, 2020 / 5:14 pm

    An update on this lift now that it’s operating in the winter with the new cabins. They are a huge improvement operationally for multiple reasons. The ski racks are much better. The old ones were terrible and caused a lot of loading issues. The doors are wider, speeding loading even more. The new cabins also perform a lot better in high winds as they are heavier and more aerodynamic. These factors have significantly increased the operating speed of the lift and it has exceeded 1100 fpm on non-windy days. The reduced capacity with covid restrictions does make loading easier, so it will be interesting to see how things work in a normal season. I think the speed will still be a lot better than with the old cabins.


  10. Chris December 27, 2020 / 1:28 am

    What model are the new cabins? Omega 4?


  11. Bo Lupp May 3, 2021 / 1:29 pm

    The new benches are super uncomfortable. Happy that the rope is back running at higher speed though. And to answer your question, Collin, from a few years back, I don’t recall the heaters being used beyond about Year 2 of Cloudsplitter, so 2001ish. Those first couple of years, I distinctly remember them being on on warmer days and off on colder ones. So, backwards. But I have skied Whiteface an average of probably 20 days a year since 1994, so not a heavy user. The HSQ from base to Approach needs to happen, pronto.


  12. BB17 September 15, 2021 / 12:45 pm

    Looks like a cool lift! Has anyone ever attempted to ski down the lift line, even though it’s not an official trail?


    • Bo Lupp September 15, 2021 / 3:26 pm

      Might be skiable near the summit of Little Whiteface, but after that first drop you’d have to hike around the work road or up and over (there’s a decent-sized saddle to deal with). But the liftline is not clean by any stretch; would need a ton of snow. Hence, the top part might be doable in a good year. Below that I doubt it.


  13. icefaceny October 20, 2021 / 11:35 am

    The new benches are indeed super uncomfy, it’s a far cry from the plush green leather inside the gangloffs. However, I can offer another report that while the mountain in general is still plagued by bad wind days, the gondola was operating at around 1100fpm (if not faster!) when I skied feb ‘21. Something minor that I was surprised at was the new cabins seem to vibrate more, I wonder if the removal of the leather seats removed a spot for vibrations to dissipate.


  14. adrskier787 March 18, 2022 / 1:38 pm

    The new cabins look way better, great addition


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