Siberia Express – Palisades Tahoe, CA

Upper two thirds of Siberia seen from High Camp.
Top terminal with integrated top two towers.
This lift replaced an older Poma high speed quad.
LPA drive terminal at the base.
Side view of the drive.
Lift overview.
Tower 3.
Towers 5 and 6 re-used old concrete.
View down from 6.
Upper section of the line.
Top station seen from the Headwall.
Entire lift line.
View down from near the top.
Unique breakover tower setup from below.
Top towers side view.
Unloading ramp and return terminal.
Looking back from near the summit.
Leitner-Poma upholstered chair.
LPA grip, taco and hanger.
Loading area with parking rail above.
Bottom terminal overview.
Big Blue sister lift next door.
Lower section of the line.
Top section of the line.
Steep section just below the return.
Breakover towers.
Unloading area.
Riding up near the top.

20 thoughts on “Siberia Express – Palisades Tahoe, CA

  1. Spencer Meyer September 26, 2017 / 6:32 pm

    Do resorts have a maximum uphill capacity they have to stay under? Seems odd to replace the old Siberia express (3000pph) with a new detachable 6 person at (2400pph). Especially on such a vital part of the mountain. The old lift without a doubt needed to be replaced, just curious about the capacity change. Squaw has been removing redundant lifts non-stop over the last few years. Is this to free more uphill capacity space?

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    • Collin February 15, 2018 / 11:31 pm

      It’s also possible that the old Siberia Express was not run at full speed because 3000pph on a quad requires a loading interval under 5 seconds which I think would be unloadable for most. I’m not sure but I think I read somewhere that they can add chairs to this lift at a later date if they decide they need more capacity.

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  2. Cameron Halmrast September 26, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    Hi Spencer and great question. To answer your question, it depends on several factors. You may have a lift that is underutilized and therefore has its capacity slashed due to low ridership (Northwest Express @ Mt. Bachelor is a good example). Other times there are simply too many people skiing in that pod such as Siberia Bowl at Squaw where at one time, 3,000 pph was fine for Siberia Express. However, as more new lifts were built to service this same terrain (Gold Coast & Headwall Express and even Big Blue), it was dumping too many people into this section of the mountain causing mishaps. I’ve noticed that several of the riders who ride Siberia Express simply take it up, cut over to the top of the Gold Coast Express and then ski down. Having so many people skiing all the same runs, especially now Gold Coast is the location of the terrain park was causing severe slope congestion.

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    • Spencer Meyer September 27, 2017 / 5:29 pm

      Thanks Cameron. Are you a local at squaw? I was also curious about the installment of the Far East Express. It seems a little over kill to have a detachable 6 person in its location. It may help relieve the parking lot on crowded days and serve the race course area, but there were plenty of other lifts on the mountain that could have used upgrades at the same time as its instalment.

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      • Cameron Halmrast September 27, 2017 / 11:42 pm

        No, but I frequent the ski area several times a year. Far East Express was installed as part of Intrawest Resorts huge village expansion to be a transport lift only. Locals were furious over the ordeal and caused quite the uproar. Due to this, Intrawest Resorts’ mega village was never completed with the exception of stage 1. Therefore, the Far East Express does look quite out of place based on its location without knowing its history. The lift should be relocated to Alpine Meadows where it can be better utilized. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to swap the Lake View lift at Alpine Meadows with the Far East Express.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Spencer Meyer September 28, 2017 / 1:51 pm

        Squaw locals do love their mountain.. They’re still fighting the development of Squaw Valley, primarily the water park, mountain coaster and gondola to Alpine. Not choosing sides here: But I think development is inevitable. Squaw is trying to make a more family oriented resort, which I understand, but I don’t think squaw has the terrain for that. Shirley and Gold Coast are really the only family terrain on the mountain. Northstar/Heavenly blow Squaw out of the water when it comes to miles of intermediate groomed runs and family oriented facilities. I think Squaw should follow Snowbirds marketing plan: http://unofficialnetworks.com/2017/09/21/snowbird-reverse-psychology-marketing-ploy-is-going-viral-too-advanced/
        And aim for skiers who enjoy more advanced terrain.
        But hey, those are just thoughts.

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  3. Duncan N. March 22, 2018 / 11:28 am

    More random questions on random lift pages: What are the requirements for making a chair capable of downloading, and what limits capacity?

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    • John August 6, 2018 / 4:37 pm

      The lift’s braking system needs to be capable of stopping the lift under worst-case loading, which is uphill-empty. The downline side of the towers need to have enough sheaves to support an increased load, and not just empty chairs. Those things considered you can design whatever capacity you want or need.

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  4. Maxwell Uguccioni March 25, 2019 / 10:50 pm

    How come in this video the bars have footrests but they don’t have them in real life?

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    • Donald M. Reif March 26, 2019 / 1:17 am

      Neither the Siberia quad nor Siberia six pack have ever had footrests. You must be confusing this lift for another.

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      • Donald M. Reif March 26, 2019 / 11:36 pm

        EDIT, I guess Siberia six pack had them at first, but they were quickly taken off before opening day, leaving just the stubs:

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        • Alex Lee January 3, 2021 / 5:32 pm

          I think that since the footrests got taken off for the launch on…I think if Sibo 6 needs any update it should be as minor as adding those footrests, and adding retractable hoods in some shade
          Of BLUE in a way that the blue matches part of the Squaw Valley logo IMO.

          Gold Coast Express IMO with I believe that showing it’s age, I think it could get an upgrade to a bubble 8 by Leitner Poma to keep the theme of Leitner Poma detachables for the mid mountain

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  5. Donald M. Reif March 26, 2019 / 1:20 am

    The unique design of the breakover tower is a tribute to the high speed quad’s big portal-style breakover at the top, which was probably the signature defining feature of that lift.

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    • Myles Svec February 17, 2021 / 8:02 am

      You can really see the old portal tower on the old lift here

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    • Chris February 17, 2021 / 9:23 am

      I doubt they built a tower like that for vanity reasons. I bet there is a geological feature that required the split foundations, and the portal and inverted Y towers are just two different ways to cope with that.

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      • nvskier February 17, 2021 / 10:44 am

        My understanding for the reason for the huge double portal tower breakover is that Siberia Ridge is extremely windy. It’s position at the top of the crest of the Sierra means that ridge sees winds in excess of 180mph during strong storms. Viewing the breakover from the side, it likely would have needed 3 traditional towers to support everything which probably would have been difficult in that spot. I suspect the new chair being a high speed six gave it better wind tolerance and eliminated the need for such a massive breakover.

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  6. Donald Reif January 23, 2020 / 12:26 pm

    Between towers 7 and 8 is about where the quad crossed over Newport.

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  7. J Rose March 10, 2021 / 9:30 pm

    On the afternoon of Mar 10, 2021 Siberia had a shutdown while I was waiting in line that the operator attributed to a “brittle bar fault”. My understanding is that a brittle bar fault occurs when something hits and breaks a brittle bar on a tower. The idea is that a cable jumping a sheave will break it. You can see them sticking up from the sheave assemblies on the towers.

    I hopped on Granite Chief instead and by the time I got back down it was operating again. I would think a brittle bar fault would require some sort of inspection to see what triggered it. Anybody know how such faults are addressed?

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    • BC Skier Guy March 10, 2021 / 11:05 pm

      On high speed lifts, there are two redundant derail systems to monitor the cable position on the towers. The first of these is CPS sensors. These are proximity switches that are activated when metal gets close to them. If the haul rope gets too far from the prox, it will fault out the loop and stop the lift. Brittle bars are the second. Current is run through the bar and if something hits the brittle bar, it will break at small notches in the bar. This stops the flow of current, breaking the loop and causing a stop on the lift. The exact design differs by manufacturer, for example the red sheaves on Doppelmayr lifts are actually heavier weighted (known as drop sheaves) that will swing down the sheave train and break a brittle bar if the haul rope derails. Other manufacturers have a brittle bar in the cable catchers that will get broken by the haul rope itself hitting it.

      If one of these loops (proxes or brittle bars) fault out but the other is still running, the lift can technically still run but a reduced speed. In Colorado for example, I believe this is 600 FPM. In this case at Siberia, a mechanical or electrical personnel probably skied down to the tower to perform a visual inspection and adjust/replace the brittle bar as necessary. Keep in mind that since brittle bars are designed to break, a multitude of non-lift related things (extreme vibration, snow/ice, wind, etc.) can break them.

      I hope this makes sense and helps, others feel free to chime in on things I may have missed.

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  8. J Rose March 13, 2021 / 1:34 pm

    Thanks . And my mistake; I meant to say Shirley Lake 9and therefore have also posted to the wrong lift blog). Despite skiing here for decades I always mix up those two names. I might repost it to the proper blog, but am reluctant to over-post.

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