Headwall Express – Squaw Valley, CA

Headwall is a monster lift by any standard.
The top of the line is extremely exposed so there is 100 percent chair parking at the base.
Loading area.
Leaving the base.
Riding up.
Middle portion of the ride.
Arriving at the return.
Top unload ad Omega terminal.
View down the line.
Middle lift line.
Tower 7.
Towers 1-5.
Lower station overview.
Lift overview.
Note the extra protection from weather on sheave assemblies.
Top return station.
Lift line seen from KT-22.

25 thoughts on “Headwall Express – Squaw Valley, CA

  1. Donald M. Reif March 26, 2019 / 1:30 am

    These chairs used to have footrests until a few years ago.


    • Collin Parsons March 26, 2019 / 10:44 am

      Why would they remove foot rests? To save weight?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donald M. Reif March 26, 2019 / 12:20 pm

        I wouldn’t know. And This is also not the only Poma high speed lift I’ve seen where footrests were removed at a later date. The West Buttermilk Express lift at Buttermilk also is like this (it had footrests for the first five or so years, and then had them removed around 2010.)


        • Collin Parsons March 26, 2019 / 12:57 pm

          In that video it also didn’t have foot rests on every chair. Just some.


        • Donald M. Reif March 26, 2019 / 3:05 pm

          The video I linked was probably when they started removing footrests from Headwall. (The video was also before they removed Cornice II)


  2. Joshua April 1, 2019 / 6:03 pm

    wait what was that other lift next to headwall in the video. i think it was removed right?
    and does anybody know the difference between leitner poma and poma and doppelmayr and doppelmayr ctec?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Somebody April 1, 2019 / 8:10 pm

      Garaventa (Swiss) was a company that merged with CTEC (American) in the early 90s to become Garaventa CTEC. 10 years later, Dopplemayr (Austrian) merged with Garaventa CTEC to become (in the U.S.) Dopplemayr CTEC. In the early 2010s, they rebranded to go back to the original Dopplemayr name, but they are just dopplemayr CTEC with a different name. In Europe, they have been known as the Dopplemayr Garventa group since the merger.

      Leitner-Poma is a little more complicated, because Leitner (Italian) and Poma (French) still build lifts independently in Europe. They kinda merged (not quite sure of the details) in the early 2000s to build lifts in North America together, and their U.S. partnership is now branded as Leitner-Poma of America.


      • pbropetech March 4, 2021 / 9:41 am

        Michael knows more details of the Leitner-poma merger, but when they merged the Seeber Group (the parent company) opted to end marketing and selling purely Leitner lifts in North America. For quite a few years anything branded as Leitner-Poma of America was a Poma, with the detachable terminals and all towers designed and built here in Colorado and French-built grips (of both varieties)added to US-manufactured carriers. The Alpha fixed-grip terminals are also built here using mostly the French design. You’re correct in that they’re mostly independent of each other in Europe, aside from shared Leitner grips and carriers on the detaches. With those shared parts Leitner products are being used again here in North America.


  3. Tommy Boy April 1, 2019 / 6:24 pm

    Cornice II was the lift next to Headwall in the video. It was removed in 2013.


  4. Joshua April 2, 2019 / 10:11 am

    Where did cornice 2 go to and why would squaw valley remove it? Save money? Or not much use?


    • New England Chairlifts & Skiing July 6, 2019 / 9:50 am

      The removed it for both reasons. Cornice II was Removed in 2013. When it was removed, it had not carried skiers since 2011. Even then it rarely ran (mainly storm days or extremely busy days) because everything can be accessed via the Headwall Express. Must’ve been an important lift before 1999 when the Headwall Express was built when it was still a Triple and earlier a double when lines got big. It didn’t run at all in the 2011-2012 or 2012-2013 seasons, so they decided to remove it to save money.

      As for where it went, some article says it was sold, but it doesn’t say where. Something to look into. Shouldn’t be too hard to figure out because it’s certainly not every day an old Yan is (re)installed these days!


      • Maxwell July 11, 2019 / 7:36 pm

        I think it was scrapped because one of the towers still remain and the counterweight box still remains. They probably made money off of the scrap.


      • Maxwell July 12, 2019 / 7:31 pm

        The top bullwheel support is still there and the top operator house is still there with a phone inside.


      • sunshine April 20, 2020 / 1:44 pm

        They should have kept it in my opinion. It still had value and purpose to the mountain


  5. Joshua April 2, 2019 / 12:19 pm

    Is there a difference between Doppelmayr and Leitner-Poma or are they just competing against each other cause some resorts pick Doppelmayr and others pick Leitner-Poma for their detachables? Is one cheaper than the other? Sorry for the questions!


    • Donald M. Reif April 2, 2019 / 1:04 pm

      Doppelmayr and Leitner-Poma are the biggest names in chairlift manufacturing in the US when it comes to major ski areas.

      “or are they just competing against each other cause some resorts pick Doppelmayr and others pick Leitner-Poma for their detachables?”

      It should be noted that there are many ski areas that feature detachables from both manufacturers. Keystone, Steamboat, Vail, Copper Mountain, Jackson Hole, Whistler-Blackcomb and Squaw are just a few examples of ski resorts that feature both Leitner-Poma and Doppelmayr detachables in their fleet.

      “Is one cheaper than the other?” I think resorts usually pick based on various factors like brand loyalty or whichever manufacturer offers the lower bid. Some resorts are brand-loyal and others aren’t. For example, Breckenridge has only bought chairlifts from Leitner-Poma since 1985, while Beaver Creek is for all intents and purposes an all-Doppelmayr mountain. Others go back and forth between manufacturers (Vail being a great example of this: after 12 years of Leitner-Poma building new chairlifts for them, including Gondola One in 2012, in 2013 they went to Doppelmayr to build the Mountaintop Express lift, their first high speed six pack; they would call upon Doppelmayr again in 2015 to build the Avanti Express lift, their second high speed six pack. But then in 2016, they went back to Leitner-Poma to build the Sun Up Express high speed quad in the Back Bowls. And the year after that, it was Leitner-Poma who built Vail’s third high speed six pack, the Northwoods Express).

      There’s really a lot of factors at play that determine how resorts pick which company will build their chairlifts.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Collin Parsons July 13, 2019 / 3:39 pm

    From looking at the recording posted here and some other videos of Squaw Valley lifts, why are the detachables all so slow?


    • Ryan Murphy July 14, 2019 / 1:51 am

      They all seemed to be running at normal speeds when I was there in May. Might just be how open everything is, throws off the perspective in videos.


      • Skristiansen April 9, 2020 / 5:31 am

        Squaw valley also gets very windy


    • julestheshiba March 3, 2021 / 2:39 pm

      you are pretty much 100% correct Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows tend to run their detach chairs super slow. It is such trash because some lifts get huge lines because they are not running at full capacity. For example, big blue could probably clear out its line much faster considering the 3000p/h capacity yet it gets run way too slow.


      • skibumbarnes March 3, 2021 / 5:09 pm

        At Squaw Valley and Alpline Meadows a lot of their lifts, especially their HS6’s, are almost completely above the treeline. I know, especially at Squaw, lifts generally catch more wind when over trees or when there is an absence of trees. I think part of the reason Squaw Valley chose HS6’s over HS4’s or just fixed grips for a lot of their lifts is because of wind, HS6’s generally handle wind better than most other lifts. I assume most of the reason they run them fairly slow is ultimately because of wind. The only other reason I could think of is they want to keep their lifts in good shape so they don’t have to get a lot of new parts every so many years, but that is somewhat unlikely for such new lifts.


        • Donald Reif March 3, 2021 / 5:38 pm

          That is definitely the impetus behind the three six packs in Colorado that go above timberline (Super Bee, the Panoramic Express, and the Kensho SuperChair).

          Liked by 1 person

        • julestheshiba March 3, 2021 / 6:32 pm

          the thing is that on a calm day a lift like big blue can get some biggish lines and if it ran a lot faster it could better clear out the crowds. I understand running it slow on a windy day buy it seems like they always run it slow. It makes it really suck for beginners who are trying to lap the lift who then have to wait in this slow liftline on a lift that should have a 3000p/h capacity. Along with that lifts like headwall and squaw one which are much more exposed tend to run a lot faster sometimes near full speed, squaw one seems to run the fastest yet it is one of the oldest high-speed chairs there, other than cosmetic issues it seems in really good condition.

          Liked by 2 people

        • nvskier March 4, 2021 / 12:04 am

          Part of it is definitely wind exposure on some of the upper mountain lifts. KT-22 typically runs at full speed because it’s sheltered below the ridgeline all the way up to the top. The other factor on some lifts is ability level. Another reason they can run KT-22 so fast is that if you can ski that terrain, you obviously know how to ride a chairlift. A lift like Big Blue serves a lot of beginners who struggle with loading and unloading so running the lift a little slower prevents a lot of stops from people falling.

          Liked by 2 people

        • julestheshiba March 4, 2021 / 10:45 am

          Yeah, I get the beginner thing but most people I see loading the lifts who are younger kids are able to load on their own. They already slow down the lift for the ones who cant do it too well. It was one of the major flaws with clearing up the summit area. Without east broadway as the beginner lift and high camp as the transfer lift you now have both the beginners and experts using the same lift. I feel like a better idea would be to have a lift similar to east broadways alignment, ie a fixed quad or used red dog or hot wheels chair, going up to serve similar runs. It would really clear up the absolutely convoluted big blue, sibera and squaw one area.

          Liked by 1 person

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