Killington, VT

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8 thoughts on “Killington, VT

  1. Philip Keeve April 19, 2018 / 10:58 pm

    Is there a reason why Needles Eye and Ramshead, though installed in the same year, have differing designs in the tower heads and terminals?

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    • Collin April 19, 2018 / 11:39 pm

      This is going to be my long answer to this. I’ll start with a timeline of the Challenger detachable system.

      The prototype Challengers made their debut in 1990 (While the Competition Terminal was still in production) on Zephyr at Winter Park, and Mystic at Mount Norquay. They looked kind of wonky, were very short, and only go 800 feet per minute. They had Competition chairs.

      In 1991, the first production model 1st-gen Challenger installed on High Lonesome at Winter Park when the fixed grip was converted to detachable. It was the shorter version that could only go 800 feet per minute. This one had Falcon chairs that were reused from the fixed grip. They also built a one-of-a-kind gondola at Stowe based on the 1st-gen Challenger product.

      In 1992, more 1st-gen Challengers were installed. They were Silver Queen at Crested Butte, Magic Mile at Timberline, Northstar at Okemo, and South Ridge Express at Sunday River. These were all the full length version that could go 1100 feet per minute (South Ridge can only go 800 feet per minute due to close chair spacing). These all had Competition chairs.

      In 1993, three 2nd-gen prototypes were installed with two at Snowmass and Gemini at Winter Park. Snowmass had the full length terminals and Winter Park had the shorter terminals that this time allowed for a speed of 900 feet per minute. The last 1st-gen Challengers were also built this year, which were Summit Express at Buttermilk, Cascade Express at Mount Hood Meadows, and TGV and Expo at Tremblant. They switched back to the Falcon chair this year and the Competition chair was discontinued.

      In 1994, the 1st-gen was discontinued and the 2nd-gen took over. There were two lengths. The full length version allowed for speeds of up to 1100 feet per minute, and the shorter version 900 feet per minute. The shorter version kept the 1st-gen skin, but uses 2nd gen technology. They also changed the tower heads and line gear this year, and those stuck around for 18 years, until the new LPA design took over in 2012. The gondola version of the 2nd-Gen made it’s debut on the Skyeship at Killington, ironically called the Competition Gondola Terminal with a speed of 1200 feet per minute.

      In 1996, the Omega chair made it’s debut on fixed grip lifts, and the last Falcon chairs were used on detachables.

      In 1997, the Omega chair made it’s way onto the 2nd-gen Challengers and the Falcon chair was discontinued. Three gondolas were also installed this year with a new shortened version of the Competition Gondola Terminal with a speed of 1000 feet per minute going in at Killington and The Canyons, and the same terminals as Skyeship went on the Bridger Gondola at Jackson Hole.

      In 1998, the first Omega terminals made their debut and the final Challengers were installed.

      Notice how I mentioned the thing about the line gear and tower heads changing in 1994. Well, Needle’s Eye is the only exception to that. Needle’s Eye and Ramshead are both 2nd-gen Challengers. Ramshead has the full length terminals and Needle’s Eye has the shorter ones. Ramshead also has the proper 2nd-gen line gear, while Needle’s for whatever reason has first gen line gear. My guess is that Poma had some extra inventory of first-gen line gear and they offered it to Les Otten for a good price. He often cut costs where he could.

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      • Teddy Hubbell April 20, 2018 / 4:40 am

        Zephyr at Winter Park is a completely unique design. Why did they go for it if it is less reliable (being a prototype) and if it can only run at 800 fpm?

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      • Collin April 20, 2018 / 1:32 pm

        There were two prototype Challengers built, and Peter happens to have pictures of both. Zephyr Express at Winter Park and Mystic at Mount Norquay, Alberta. I don’t really know why these two decided to get them over the Competition, but they did. Maybe Poma offered them a good price to test out their new detachable product. The two Competitions installed that year were to my knowledge the last new detachables ever built with chain-driven contours.

        The distinguishing feature of the prototype Challengers is that they don’t have a “porch” on the inside end of the terminal (where the chairs come in and out). All other Challengers have them. The support on the inside end of the terminal is also straight up and down like on the Falcon and Competition terminals, while the outside support is slanted just like on all Challengers (except the gondolas). Note that the top of Zephyr reused the support column from the Yan triple and that’s why it really looks off for a Poma. There will only be one prototype Challenger after this season as Zephyr is being replaced by an LPA gondola and will be scrapped, not relocated.

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  2. Collin Parsons October 28, 2019 / 5:21 pm

    Some corrections/additions for the removed lifts: The Snowdon Quad replaced the Snowdon Double in 1992, not 1987. The 1991 trail map shows the Snowdon Double, and the Snowdon Quad never appears on the map without the Canyon Quad also being there, which first happens with the 1992 map. However, the Double Dipper trail which the Canyon Quad follows was cut in 1987. It took them 5 years to actually build the lift. The Lower Snowdon Poma is missing from this list, but operated from 1958 to 1978. The 1978 map shows it operating concurrently with the Snowdon Triple, and then it’s gone in the 1979 map. Snowshed 2 was removed in 2016 and not 2017.

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  3. Somebody May 10, 2020 / 3:10 pm

    Why did they build the Peak walkway across such steep terrain when they could just run one of the Snowdon lifts instead?

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    • skitheeast May 10, 2020 / 4:21 pm

      They would have had to use the Snowdon Triple, which may not even be able to handle downloading. Plus, it is much more comfortable and convenient to use a gondola for pure transportation without skis. Additionally, it is roughly twice as far of a walk from the bottom of North Ridge to the top of Snowdon as it is from the top of K-1 to the top of North Ridge.

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  4. Collin Parsons June 5, 2020 / 9:13 pm

    The Snowdon Double was actually a Poma modified by Yan, not a Hall. That explains why the Snowdon Quad had 60’s Poma towers, with two Yan towers added later, a Yan return, and Yan hanger arms. I assume the drive was never upgraded until the lift was changed to a quad.

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