North Pole/South Pole – Whitecap Mountains, WI

The drive station for this up and over lift is at the north end.
View up the North Pole side of the lift.
Hall drive station with tensioning.
North loading area.
Riding south.
View towards the top.
Looking back down.
Nearing the top of the North Pole side.
Riders coming from the north must exit at the first ramp.
Guests are no longer allowed to ride the middle third of the lift due to its height.
View down the north side.
Lower part of North Pole.
This lift has three large depress towers.
The part of the line which no longer carries passengers.
North Pole unload.
Crossing over the golf course.
Return terminal.
Riding up the south side.
Middle part of South Pole.
South Pole overview.
Towers count down as you ride up this side.
The middle section.
Riders used to be able to load and unload at a total of six different points on this lift.
South Pole summit at Eagle’s Nest.
Two depress towers in a row.
The steepest part of the lift line.
Departing the south end.
Breakover towers.
The tallest section.
The part where skiers can no longer ride.
One of the tallest lift towers in the midwest.

23 thoughts on “North Pole/South Pole – Whitecap Mountains, WI

  1. skier72 December 31, 2020 / 4:36 pm

    Here’s a video of the high point, back when you were allowed to ride it:


  2. Utah Powder Skier December 31, 2020 / 5:28 pm

    If they were so concerned about the height of the lift across the golf course, why didn’t Whitecap put safety bars or footrests on this lift. It must be a pain to have to tell people that they can’t ride over a certain section. Also, I’m sure they stop the lift for when people try to ride it past one of the stations, and a lift like this with 4 total areas for loading and unloading could use some help with emergency stops.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adam January 11, 2021 / 8:12 pm

    I haven’t been there in 20 years. When did they stop people from using the flyover?


    • wetpants16 February 18, 2022 / 7:28 pm

      They actually stopped letting people cross over for two main reasons, they got new ownership, and they now have national ski patrol. I remember in 2018 they allowed people to cross over, but not in 2020. Since NSP joined in the 2019-2020 season, they have forbidden crossing over due to in case of emergency, rescue is near impossible. They do need some more signage, or maybe a stop gate, but note it is an old lift. They can’t really stop it every time someone tries to go over, but they can do a little more than putting a sign on the unload ramp.


  4. BrandonM February 4, 2021 / 7:16 pm

    I wonder if re-engineering that section of the to go down and back up the valley with normal height towers has ever been considered.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nathan May 2, 2021 / 9:47 am

    At this point it appears they are more likely to go out of business than afford any lift upgrades. Over the last 20 years they have reduced service: removed newest lift (1991 CTEC triple), reduced hall quad to a triple, disabled riding between eagle and thunderhead peaks. I sure hope they find a way to stay in business though. Whitecap is a very unique ski area with winding runs and a unique multi-peak layout. They also get 3-4 time as much snow as most Midwest areas and have some of the steepest runs. The lack of customers might put them out of business but for now you can find fresh powder all day on a powder day.


    • Skier4lyfe September 13, 2021 / 8:36 am

      Fortunately Whitecap now has a new owner that actually cares about the place and is trying to put new life into it.


  6. CharlesO July 1, 2021 / 10:58 am

    The high section goes right over part of the golf course, it looks like, so that’s probably why it was built that way.


    • Nathan January 7, 2022 / 1:22 pm

      I’m pretty sure the lift predates the golf course. The two peaks are fairly close so I suspect it was cheaper to go straight across.


  7. pbropetech July 1, 2021 / 7:16 pm

    Interesting that they’ve ceased letting people ride the ‘high’ part. I’ve climbed taller towers at two different ski areas, and ridden lifts as tall. There’s no doubt that the current closed section has height, but that hasn’t stopped other places from operating lifts with similar spans. I wonder if there’s something else going on there. The difficulty of evacuating the lift if my counterparts can’t fix it, perhaps?


    • Matt January 1, 2022 / 10:44 am

      Do you recall which lifts have been taller/have had taller towers?


      • Randy January 1, 2022 / 11:44 am

        I know tower 9 on Arapahoe Basins Zuma lift is 3 sections tall and rides along the top of the trees in the area, Also Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has a stretch between tower 5-4 that spans over buildings and walkways that has to be this tall. Both these lifts have safety bars which this north/south chair doesn’t. As someone with a fear of heights these stand out in my memory.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Donald Reif January 1, 2022 / 1:29 pm

          I know which span on Zuma you’re referring to.

          The first Falcon SuperChair had such tall towers on the upper segment near the top.

          And the Peak 8 SuperConnect has plenty of three-segment towers. Not just where it has to cross other lifts, but tower 24 on the upper segment above the mid-load. These high spans are pretty nerve-wracking to go through especially in high winds, and there’s a lot of bounce if the lift should slow or stop.

          These are all spans much higher than on the North Pole/South Pole gap. Then again, those lifts have safety bars with footrests and this one doesn’t.

          Liked by 1 person

      • pbropetech January 3, 2022 / 2:50 pm

        Tower 3, original American Flyer. Tower 15, chair 8 at Baker, tower 8, old chair 6 at Crystal (WA). Higher spans- tower 6-7-8 S-lift (Copper), tower 12-13, A-1 lift (Copper). I’ll stop now :)


        • Matt January 7, 2022 / 9:08 am

          Some of those look intimidating indeed for those who don’t love heights! Which span do you think is the longest and highest of all of them?


        • Nathan January 7, 2022 / 1:52 pm

          To the naked eye and based on my first hand experience at most of the “taller” lifts, my perception is that the Whitecap lift is taller. I know that’s not very scientific though. Is anyone making these statements based on an actual measurement?

          I tried to measure based on picture alone which I know introduces some error but should be generally accurate. If you assume the seat width (per person) is constant, you have a scale in both picture and based on that, the Whitecap lift about twice as tall as baker chair 8, tower 15. Both measurements are of the tower height but it should be noted that the tower is not the low point at whitecap so the height above ground is greater after the tower.

          First hand measurements would be much more accurate but I suspect they do not exist which is why the picture caption says what it says.


        • pbropetech January 8, 2022 / 9:10 pm

          Nathan, I don’t know how tall the tower and adjacent spans are on the Whitecap lift we’re referring to. I do know that the towers and spans I referenced are pretty up there. In order from my post: T-3 O-1- 70′. T-15 C8- 63′ T-8 C6- 75′. 6-7-8 S-lift- 75′. 12-13 A-1 lift- 80′ (approximately, I haven’t measured it but the manlift we tried to use there only went to 75′ and you’d have had to stand on my shoulders to reach the sheaves). There are plenty others in the country as tall. Whitecap’s span may well be taller but it doesn’t look like it to my eye. If it is I apoligise.


  8. Ciscokid February 19, 2022 / 8:25 am

    Thanks wet pants for the explanation of the NSP being a reason. I guess I just assumed every area has NSP.
    Yea a rescue would be tough but I would assume since ‘71 there’s been a few in fifty years.
    Peter there’s absolutely no way this lift is 652’ vertical. Probably about half that.
    I played golf there just before Dave sold it and it was like the shining, only a few other people, course in horrendous shape, steepest golf cart trails, wife and I loved it!
    Kinda curious what new owner(s) paid and how much if any debt Dave was in trying to keep it going while his wife was ill.
    Sadly he and wife both passed shortly after selling.
    Amazingly he was to become a minister/ pastor and ended up owning this ski area his whole life.
    Glad I got to say hi to him but sad I haven’t had the chance to get back up there to ski.


  9. Ciscokid March 24, 2022 / 9:20 pm

    Interesting story, skied here for first time finally 3/16/22 Wednesday and liftie ( won’t divulge name) gave buddy and I approval to “ forget to get off” and ride ove highest point. Said “ they won’t yank your ticket “. Well we did the right thing after going up triple and to Cortcheval south along golf hole around to South Pole. Unloading ramp at Eagles nest looked questionable condition.

    The other one of many weird things is the CTEC triple top tower is intact but cable is on ground at bottom and of course chairs off since 2009!

    They put up all new trail signs but no arrows. First time I ever had to ask a liftie how to get back to base. (Davos)
    Razed the lodge / cafeteria at summit since I golfed here 9/‘17.
    Liftie also said golf course will be closed this summer to install irrigation which is actually a good sign of reinvestment. BUT a couple of these 50 year old lifts should be replaced. Halls are good lifts but nothing lasts forever. The Borvig runs well.
    Best prime rib taco salad I ever had for $13. $32 senior ticket, no grooming done since previous weekend ( 3 days, 3 day old snow report inexcusable)
    Last day of year Sunday 3/20/22


  10. conradmward March 25, 2022 / 7:17 pm

    Per a November 23, 1971 Ironwood Daily Globe article, the lattice tower is 86 feet high. All the other towers are between 20 and 40 feet high.


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