Superstar Express – Killington, VT

The Superstar lift runs one of the longest winter seasons in the American ski industry, from November through June.
The lift is short but steep and popular.
Lift overview.
Leaving K-1 base.
Yan Y tower.
The top terminal.
Unloading area.
The Yan terminal was upgraded by Poma but kept some design elements like the integrated sheaves.
Top terminal seen from the other side.
Lift line with short towers for wind reasons.
View down the line.
Tall towers 3 and 4.
Bottom terminal and tower 1.
The drive terminal and line.
Superstar Glacier seen from Snowshed.

33 thoughts on “Superstar Express – Killington, VT

  1. Collin Parsons February 28, 2019 / 1:16 pm

    Towers 1 and 2 are not original. When Poma modified the lift, they replaced two half towers (former numbers 2 and 3) with the one tall tower which is now Tower 2. Tower 1 was also replaced. The rest of the lift’s towers from the current 3 to the top were renumbered one lower than they were before. I think this route is the ideal candidate to become the first bubble 8 pack in the east and first by Leitner-Poma. After the North Ridge replacement this summer, I believe this lift is the next replacement priority. Killington was on Peter’s short list of likely candidates to be the first to build an 8 pack in North America.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Max Hart February 28, 2019 / 7:24 pm

      Maybe when Traversington replaces this, Boyne will take a hint and replace Barker…


      • Collin Parsons February 28, 2019 / 7:44 pm

        All the Yan detachables in the east except Grand Summit Express (which got a second modification and only runs on weekends) are unofficially up for replacement I’d think. Who knows, maybe Someday Bigger might make the move first. Either way, replacement of those two lifts will most certainly be opportunities for one resort to one-up the other.


  2. Connor July 17, 2019 / 1:48 pm

    Does anyone know if the integrated breakover at the top terminal was original or not? I’ve seen a few older videos of Killington from the late 80’s that seem to show two normal breakover towers at the top of this lift. Wouldn’t surprise me if Yan later replaced them with this design as a prototype, as I believe this is one of the earlier lifts to use it.


    • Collin Parsons July 17, 2019 / 7:33 pm

      I’m pretty certain it is. What you thought was the second tower was likely the first terminal mast. Can you post links to the videos?


      • Connor July 19, 2019 / 8:37 am

        This one from 1991 appears to show two normal breakover towers at 6:30:

        This one from 1993 shows the current integrated breakover at 5:02:


        • Donald Reif July 19, 2019 / 2:25 pm

          You can also sorta make out the half-towers at the bottom at 7:37.


        • Collin Parsons June 5, 2020 / 9:10 pm

          At 11:55, you can see the Snowdon Double. It was not a Hall. Poma modified by Yan. Which explains the Yan return that the Snowdon Quad had.


  3. skitheeast July 29, 2019 / 1:53 pm

    Killington’s Director of Mountain Ops was quoted at a town hall this summer saying this lift (along with Ramshead) is next in line to be replaced. Given that it operates until Memorial Day, Killington is embracing its “Beast of the East” motto, and Powdr has shown it is willing to be aggressive in its lift upgrades in the past couple years, I expect this lift to be replaced in either 2020 or 2021 with a six pack if not an eight pack.


    • Collin Parsons July 29, 2019 / 5:51 pm

      This lift, Ramshead, and Outpost are the next three replacements scheduled in no particular order, and I think at least one will happen in 2020. A bubble-8 I think is a definite possibility for either Superstar or Ramshead. Quite “Beastly” if you ask me.


    • bobby smith December 30, 2019 / 1:25 am

      I have a feeling that if Killington can manage to get a longer term extension to the World Cup (they have one more year left on the current extension) it will be immediately announced this will be replaced. I can’t see FIS going back to Aspen any time soon with (1) Aspen’s development still yet to start and (2) Aspen putting them in a long abandoned restaurant for the Finals a few years ago.

      With such a short construction season I feel it is possible that the foundation work is done in one summer and the flying of the towers, terminal work, and such is done the following year. This past year Killignton had to close the North Ridge Triple early so it could make early October turns. Killington will not give up the May/June skiing nor will they want to give up the World Cup date. The USSA definitely won’t like that option since the World Cup pulls in such massive crowds (c.f. the pitiful crowds for the ladies drew at Aspen and the pitiful crowds at Birds of Prey).


      • bobby smith December 30, 2019 / 1:28 am

        I see Tower 4 moving up hill by ~200 feet to make more racing lines possible and to kill the inevitable “S” every spring. That would be a pretty big span – 650 feet or so.


      • skitheeast October 19, 2020 / 8:00 pm

        If Killington were to replace this lift and continued hosting the World Cup, they could simply shift spring skiing elsewhere and close this area early. North Ridge is a prime candidate, as they have the snowmaking up there to bury the trails and it could be operated very similarly to their October-Early November season.

        Killington could also elect to not host the World Cup. They do lose money doing so, and they only do it for marketing and press.


        • Somebody May 16, 2021 / 11:46 pm

          Cascade via Canyon quad could also be a decent substitute for Superstar spring skiing. I feel like North Ridge is too short/flat for them to really bother, since the spring skiing “glacier” uses a lot more resources than the fall opening on North Ridge does.


        • Tom White May 17, 2021 / 6:43 am

          I’ve skied June 1 at Killington three times. The first was 1983. The first and second times were via the Killington Peak double using the mid-station. The third was Superstar. I’ve also skied several May Days. I think the fun slalom was always on the middle section of Superstar. The advantage of Superstar now is, only one lift is needed. If the peak were to be used, 2 lifts are needed, 3 could be used. While they still host the World Cup, I think sticking with Superstar is good. They make much snow there early, just keep going. The year they replace Superstar Quad, they may switch to the peak. That would give them the ability to stay King of the Spring but get an early start at dismantling Superstar.


  4. stmeyer2015 October 3, 2019 / 3:22 pm

    Is there a benefit to using fixed-sheaves on the breakover instead of using normal sheave assemblies? I can only think of one other lift with fixed sheaves on the break-over: Chair 10 at Kirkwood (Fixed Triple also built by Yan). It makes sense on Chair 10 since the breakover is so steep and compact. It’s interesting to watch as empty chairs don’t apply enough weight to the cable for it to make contact with the first and second sheaves on the breakover. This causes the sheaves to consistently start and stop spinning depending on chair loads. Still curious if there are any other lifts out there with similar designs and if any other manufacturers used this method?


    • Bob July 22, 2022 / 6:04 pm

      I can think of a few other examples of fixed sheaves, such as J2 and J4 at June Mountain, CA. Both of these lifts were SLI doubles retrofitted with new Yan terminals, so I’m guessing the fixed sheaves are Yan’s. I believe J1 also has fixed sheaves, but I can’t tell for sure (Riblet double also modified by Yan). The only other one that immediately comes to mind is Alpine Springs Express at Water World, CO, which is a Yan pulse gondola/tram which features fixed sheaves on towers 2A/2B, as well as in the terminals. I’m sure there are more examples, but this is all I can think of right now.

      From this extremely limited information it seems Yan is the only manufacturer who made fixed sheaves. There is a chance Riblet made fixed sheaves as well, but I have a very high chance of being wrong as I’m not sure if J1’s breakeven features fixed sheaves.


  5. gavin November 2, 2019 / 5:18 pm

    If detach quads usually go 2400 pph (sometimes up to 2800 pph) and 6 packs can go 3600 pph, why can 8 packs only go 4000 pph? shouldn’t they be able to go 4800 pph


    • Somebody November 3, 2019 / 1:23 am

      I’m pretty sure 8 packs can go up to 4800 pph, however I think once you go higher than 4000 pph you start running into issues with trail capacity and overcrowding.


      • zjroeber November 27, 2019 / 11:08 am

        Also, 4800 PPH is assuming a chair spacing interval of a standard quad lift. That makes for a lot of eight-place chairs, which can be expensive for a resort. To add on to that, it’s probably difficult to get eight people at a time to move fast enough to get on the chair with a spacing interval as small as that of a quad.


    • Thomas Jett October 20, 2020 / 8:44 am

      Load efficiency decreases with wider seats, as it’s a lot harder to form a group of 8 every 6s than it is to form a group of 4 or even 6. That’s also why you see wider spacings on some D6Cs: lower grouping efficiency.


  6. Somebody May 7, 2020 / 1:08 am

    if they aren’t going to replace this lift for a while they should install a fixed loading midstation (similar to western chair at snowshoe) near tower 6 or 7. They could extend their season by a few weeks by adding that.


    • skitheeast May 7, 2020 / 10:34 am

      Killington has been very open that this lift is next on their replacement list. Also, they have mentioned that they often lose money on late-season skiing, so a midstation to extend the season would likely lose them even more money.


  7. skitheeast January 10, 2021 / 2:18 pm

    Vermont has told its ski resorts to expect all COVID regulations to remain in place through Labor Day. Therefore, spring skiing into May/June is likely not happening at Killington. So, this would be the perfect time to replace/upgrade Superstar without having to worry about a short construction window.


  8. Somebody April 30, 2021 / 9:41 am

    It seems like poor planning that what might be the most important lift on the mountain is a 1987 yan HSQ with basically no redundancy. Like, if there’s a problem with this lift and you need to get to Bear, you’re screwed. K1 always has a terrible line as is, so when this lift breaks or has a bad line you pretty much have to wait in 2 lines and traverse across civilization to get to Bear. They should definitely replace it with a HSS, but a redundancy connector chair might not be a bad idea either. Use old parts to make a fixed grip from the bottom of Superstar to top of Needles Eye?


    • skitheeast April 30, 2021 / 10:09 am

      Yes, this lift should be upgraded to a 6 or 8. But, I disagree that there needs to be a new redundancy lift. K-1 is the redundancy. It really is not that difficult or too flat to go from Killington Peak to the base of Bear. K-1 does have long lines, but that’s fine in this case because it is a redundancy. It is a complete waste of money to try and solve the problem of lines being long when one of the key lifts is down.

      Also, it is not as though K-1 then becomes the only lift holding Killington together when Superstar goes down. If people want to head over to Bear from the main base and avoid both Superstar and K-1, they can either ski down to Snowshed and take Snowshed Express to Needle’s Eye or take either Snowdon lift to North Ridge and use High Traverse.


      • Mike B April 30, 2021 / 11:03 am

        100% this.

        This post should be framed b/c there isn’t a single word I’d change.


  9. Munier Salem October 24, 2021 / 6:57 pm

    Has POWDR made their CapEx announcements for 2022? After Vail’s giant 2022 lift roster and Boyne’s “an 8-pack in every home”, you gotta imagine the pressure is on for POWDR. Particularly after their recent marketing SNAFU with fastpass.


    • Peter Landsman October 24, 2021 / 7:48 pm

      Nothing confirmed from Powdr but they have projects in the pipeline. Multiple approved lifts at Lee Canyon, one at Eldora and one at Copper. Ramshead and Superstar should be addressed soon at Killington. Same story with Outback at Bachelor. Snowbird has been talking about Mary Ellen, Mineral Basin and Wilbere replacements for years.

      Liked by 1 person

    • skitheeast October 24, 2021 / 8:15 pm

      Powdr typically makes their announcements in March, similar to Alterra. However, that is subject to change. Vail typically makes their announcements in December, but they did theirs this time around in September.


    • pbropetech October 25, 2021 / 8:10 am

      No announcement yet. I would have thought we’d have some idea- seems both manufacturers are pretty booked already and if we don’t watch it anything not already ordered will stretch into ’23- but at this point we’ve been told nothing. I’ll definitely let Peter know as soon as I hear anything.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Myles Svec October 25, 2021 / 2:38 pm

        They probably have everything all ready ordered considering supply chain issues this year. I’ve heard they plan these things years in advance.


        • pbropetech November 5, 2021 / 9:46 am

          Oh, definitely. We already have bids for the new lift at Copper. What I mean is that I’ve been harassing my bosses all summer as to how much maintenance I need to do to the current lift -will it stick around for several more years, or is it going away after this winter- and I’ve been told nothing either way. Powdr may not announce things publicly all that early, but we’ll usually know internally well before that press release- which tells me the head office itself doesn’t yet know.


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