Madonna – Smugglers’ Notch, VT

The iconic Madonna double climbs more than 2,000 vertical feet and has 37 towers.
Loading at tower 1.
There is a vault drive on the floor below.
View up from the base area.
In 2002, Doppelmayr CTEC replaced the large counterweight tensioning carriage and bullwheel with a compact hydraulic model.
View down from the summit.
Breakover towers.
Top station overview.
Steep upper part of the lift line.
Mid-station unload for intermediate skiers.
Lower part of the line.
Middle section of the lift.
The entire line seen from the base lodge.

13 thoughts on “Madonna – Smugglers’ Notch, VT

  1. Northeast Chairlifts January 31, 2019 / 10:48 am

    I noted that the midstation is actually pretty much useless, because it only serves blue trails, but there is also at least one blue trail off the top. I never got off at the mid unload once. The only reason I would see it being useful is to have a short run.

    Liked by 1 person

    • conradmward March 23, 2019 / 7:06 pm

      I rode up the lift with a guy who said that when he was a kid, the one time him and his friends would use the mid-station was to time the last chair as best as possible, getting off around 3:55 and getting back on around 3:59 to ride to the top!


      • reaperskier March 23, 2019 / 7:12 pm

        How many chairs does this lift have? I’m guessing over 200.


        • Vtonny January 25, 2021 / 12:29 pm

          190 something if I remember correctly. The spacing is quite distant due to the high speed they run the lift at (in order to max out capacity of an entire mountain relying on an ancient double chair) and due to the severe winds at the top (to cut down on lateral forces).


        • Ryan Burczak April 5, 2021 / 10:55 am



    • Vtonny January 25, 2021 / 1:28 pm

      It’s more of a leftover from the days before they had Madonna II, where they would open to midstation only when snow was bad or winds were high. There isn’t really any reason to use it now but it is still staffed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • VTONNY February 18, 2021 / 3:25 pm

        Update – it does get used sometimes by ski school classes who need to fit in a quick run before the deadline, or by those who really like that part of the liftline.


  2. Northeast Chairlifts January 31, 2019 / 10:51 am

    operating speed (the day i filmed it): 530 fpm
    ride time: 12:45


  3. Collin Parsons March 11, 2019 / 10:13 pm

    If you watch Northeast Chairlifts’ recording, you’ll notice all the lettered towers. I do not believe these were part of the original build of the lift. They were most likely added later to lower the line height and allow operation in higher winds. When the return was replaced, it looks like the breakover was also lowered for the same reason.


    • Vtonny January 25, 2021 / 12:33 pm

      Good point. (33A inserted after 33, etc.) The rebuild did greatly reduce the heights as this lift has long struggled with cross winds and very likely did include such changes.


  4. Ryan May 30, 2021 / 5:53 am

    what a beautiful old lift. I’d love to ride this one.


  5. BB17 June 3, 2021 / 8:56 am

    This looks to be one awesome lift. I’m amazed that they were able to get such a compact tension terminal to work for such a long lift with such a varied profile (granted, the original tension terminal was much larger than the current one).


  6. Tyler R Perry July 23, 2021 / 9:45 pm

    Anyone have any pics before the line was lowered and the old counter weight. Hopefully some of these old doubles start getting recognized like the MRG single


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