Eagle Express – Solitude, UT

Bottom terminal and portal towers.
View up from the base.
Another view of the bottom station.
CTEC chairs with VonRoll detachable equipment.
Lots of moving parts.
Chain-driven turnaround.
Back view of the bottom.
There is a huge vault underneath the bottom terminal which houses the drive and storage.
View down the line in the summer.
Top towers and terminal.
Tall towers.
View down line.
Top terminal.
Return bullwheel.

47 thoughts on “Eagle Express – Solitude, UT

  1. Ryan July 2, 2017 / 12:34 am

    This lift is a beauty. She’ll be 30 years old in 2019. I wonder what they will do… likely replace her? What a shame if they do.


    • Micah March 23, 2023 / 9:02 pm

      Coolest high speed quad ever!


  2. Cameron Halmrast July 2, 2017 / 10:23 am

    It should be noted that this lift was actually a join venture between VonRoll and CTEC when they were in talks of merging when it was built. However, the merger never happened. It wasn’t like VonRoll sourcing carriers because CTEC was based in Salt Lake City for cost savings. However, I’m kind of surprised this lift never received new carriers due to it not having a taco between the hanger arm and bail which equates to a bumpy ride at times.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Carson July 5, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    I doubt that the lift will stay up much longer :( If you guys have not herd there have been many problems. First high speed in Utah!


    • Carson November 27, 2017 / 7:44 pm

      The lift chairs are very smooth on the ride really nice


    • Ted March 8, 2019 / 7:27 am

      Same year as prospector detachable at Park City.


      • themav April 4, 2019 / 11:13 pm

        Same year, different manufacturer, totally different outcome. I wonder what Solitude’s management thought when the Yan detach lifts all needed to be replaced, and their weird CTEC lift was totally fine. Also, was this the only CTEC lift to use VonRoll grips? I know CTEC switched to Garaventa basically right after this lift was built.

        I wonder how long it will be until Alterra replaces this lift. 1989 is pretty old by detachable lift standards, depending on the quality of construction, they may be able to get another 3-5 years out of it. In 2024 (hypothetically) this machine will be 35 years old. We all know what has been happening to 35 year old 80s chain-driven lifts that were installed in other areas. I have to imagine replacement parts are almost non existent for this lift. While Doppelmayr controls VonRoll and CTEC replacement parts, I’m sure there’s lots of unique parts in this lift.

        I need to go ride this lift before it’s gone, I’ll be honest I’ve never skied at Solitude despite living in Utah.


        • Somebody April 5, 2019 / 5:58 am

          As far as I know, this was just a one time partnership with vonroll when they were considering merging with CTEC, but the deal fell through. I think the next detachable CTEC built were in 1992 actually (as far as I can tell), so there was a gap where they couldn’t build detachables.


        • Collin Parsons April 5, 2019 / 6:46 am

          CTEC did build a high speed quad in 1991. It’s the one at Whitetail, PA. This was their first where they used Garaventa technology, but I’m not sure if it was after the merger or just a partnership like this lift.


        • Max Hart April 5, 2019 / 8:54 am

          The Garaventa CTEC merger didn’t really happen until 1994. From 1991 to 1993 (including Stealth I detachables) CTEC was technically building its own detachables with Garaventa detachable equipment. In 1994 (same year as the Stealth II was introduced), the merger happened but other than that very little changed in North America. Everyone seems to call Garaventa CTEC detachables “Garaventa lifts” when in reality most (all but the grips) of the technology was engineered by CTEC in Salt Lake City.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Donald M. Reif April 5, 2019 / 10:05 am

          The Great Western Express and Grouse Mountain Express were also 1990/1991 installations.


        • themav April 5, 2019 / 10:10 am

          It looks like in 1990, CTEC had another detach installation, this time in California. https://liftblog.com/bear-mountain-express-9-bear-mountain-ca/
          Based on the pictures provided it appears to have Garaventa grips.

          Does anyone know why CTEC partnered with other companies for their grips, rather than design their own grip in-house?


        • vons3 March 19, 2020 / 3:25 pm

          Doubt this lift is going away for awhile It was heavily rebuilt and should be good for another 5-10 years.

          Jan Leonard head of CTEC was an old Hall lift guy so that is were the initial idea for the von roll partnership came from unfortunately for Von Roll during the project the CTEC relationship had soured and they would never gain much market share in the US.

          Garaventa had left the US market after getting sued over the Squaw tram accident, Jan had met them at one of the triad fairs in Europe and convinced them to licence their grip and conveyor element designs so CTEC could provide detachables without having to develop the expensive technology. It was a good deal for both, Garaventa would get access to the US market without direct legal exposure and CTEC would get to sell a very economical Detachable due to being able to manufacture it entirely outside of Europe. Around 94 Garaventa realized that CTEC had developed quite a market for their product and when the opportunity arose due to a slow year (ie. CTEC was hurting financially)Garaventa bought CTEC. Like Max has said the Garaventa CTEC detachables are a Salt lake office design with elements from Garaventa’s design book.


  4. Raj Thorp February 21, 2020 / 5:28 pm

    Are there any other VonRoll/CTEC lifts in North America? Never heard of one before


    • skier72 March 19, 2020 / 10:38 am

      Nope, this was a one-off project when CTEC was going to merge with VonRoll. The merge didn’t happen, and all we have is this lift. One curious thing, the lift used to have both the CTEC and VonRoll logos on it, but these have apparently been removed.


      • Utah Lost Ski Area Project April 11, 2022 / 8:03 pm

        Pretty sure the gondola at Sugar Bowl, CA was a CTEC gondola with VonRoll grips.


  5. Tyler March 19, 2020 / 9:27 am

    It looks like the Doppelmayr European towerheads share some VonRoll DNA. The lifting frames here are from CTEC but the crossarms look a lot like the ones currently used in Europe.

    Is this the only CTEC HSQ with the “fixed grip” version of the CTEC chairs instead of the detachable ones? Later CTEC detachable quad chairs have a beefier top of the bail. Compare these to the Bear Mountain chairs.

    Curious how this is holding up compared to the CLD-260s from the same era at Vail. Those have widely used DS grips and EJ chairs and Vail has removed 5 of them so far so they must have a big parts bin to keep the remaining 3 alive.


  6. wolf March 2, 2021 / 3:25 pm

    Why does this have the old Poma logo on the depression tower sheaves at the bottom?


    • Tyler March 2, 2021 / 6:11 pm

      That looks like Solitude’s logo, a yellow stylized bird


  7. skier72 April 23, 2021 / 2:05 pm

    I found this ad for a VonRoll detachable system that looks quite unique.

    Did VonRoll make any VH-400 Light detachable chairlifts like? I searched remontees-mecaniques.net, and none of that exact terminal design comes up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Larry Wollum March 12, 2022 / 5:12 am

    The VH400 Light was unique in that the tires were underneath the grip and actually supported the carrier. It saved one rail. None were sold in North America.


  9. Bob Porteous March 15, 2022 / 8:40 pm

    I love all the talk about replacing lifts that I consider really new compared to the lift at my local ski area in North Carolina that dates back to the late 60’s. It still works quite well. I will say that they do have some newer lifts also in place. You might think that skiing in North Carolina is not real skiing but the resorts open up in early November and thanks to awesome snowmaking they have some really nice skiing close to major metro areas including Atlanta and Charlotte.


    • Riley August 18, 2022 / 9:33 am

      Unfortunately the first generation of detachable lifts have proved to be not as long-lasting as traditional fixed grip lifts. A well maintained Riblet or Hall double from the 1960s could still be around after all the detachable lifts from the 1980s have been upgraded.


  10. Tigerstripe40 November 29, 2022 / 10:16 am

    I was talking to some Solitude employees recently. I guess since this chair is effectively a one -off so that it’s ridiculously expensive to maintain. New parts have not been available since the mid 90’s so they have been scavenging parts from other chairs that have been decommissioned for years, and those sources are drying up. Now it’s getting to the point where they need to have parts custom made from the prints, or reverse engineered, adding significant costs.


    • vons3 February 11, 2023 / 4:57 pm

      Imagine what Silver Mountain idaho goes through with the gondola, VonRoll hasn’t been in the lift biz since 94-95 when Doppelmayr bought the tramway division so parts would be an issue by now, on a positive note the towerhead equipment is all CTEC.


  11. julestheshiba February 11, 2023 / 3:57 pm

    got two videos of this lift this year before it gets replaced, unfortunately the power went out in BCC and I got stuck on it while they tried to get the diesel to stay running.


    • Ryan February 14, 2023 / 7:51 pm

      That’s a bummer about the power outage and them having problems with the diesel Aux. How long did it take? She is a smooth sounding girl.


  12. Waul (@NordicNirvana) February 14, 2023 / 3:42 pm

    Gonna miss this lift when it gets replaced next year… If you’ve ever ridden this lift you’ll know how smooth it feels and how great some of the views can be. It’s really surprising just how smooth it feels, considering it was built in 1989.


    • vons3 February 15, 2023 / 1:53 pm

      A good profile design makes a lift ride well, I am guessing Jan designed this one back in the day. Wonder if the lift will get a full replacement or if they will reuse some of the old lift.


  13. julestheshiba February 15, 2023 / 2:07 pm

    One thing I wonder about this lift after looking at the clamps is I cant figure out what is the lever action which moves the spring. It seems based on watching the detaching and attaching action is it pushes from the side but I cant imagine how that would work.


    • Nic May 21, 2023 / 6:08 pm

      I just snagged one of the grips before they scrap them. You might be able to also. I gave one of the guys $80 and he put one back together and in my car. I could take a video of it moving when I get home if youd like


      • Nic May 25, 2023 / 8:05 pm

        Here is a video of the grip


    • Nic May 25, 2023 / 8:04 pm

      Heres a video of the grip


  14. Skier February 15, 2023 / 6:15 pm

    It pushes from the top, but on the inside part of the grip, between the jaw and the pair of wheels. It moves way less than a typical grip with the lever on the outside that is really easy to see move. You can kind of see it here in this video at about 6m40s. It’s a double version of the grip. The grip is open and you can see the small rollers on the top that the rail pushes down on. There was another video I saw a few years ago of a lift with these grips where the lift was running slow and there was a close up of it opening and closing. I can’t find it though. I think it was in German or French so that’s probably why I can’t find it.


    • julestheshiba February 15, 2023 / 6:37 pm

      oh wow I noticed those little rollers on eagle and wondered what they were for


  15. Carson May 7, 2023 / 11:10 pm

    R.I.P. to a ledgend sad to see it go. The eagle has landed


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