Doppelmayr will build the first D-Line lift in Utah this summer, a six pack replacing the aging Crest Express at Brighton Resort. In typical Boyne Resorts fashion, the replacement lift will feature 90 degree loading with a conveyor and video screen. Riders will enjoy a 5.3 minute ride time with an hourly capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour. In the summer, Crest will serve mountain bikers with three Bike Clips on each chair. The lift won’t have bubbles or heated seats.
Brighton also announced construction of a new mid-mountain restaurant and implementation of a parking reservation system for next season.
Crest 6 is the 9th new lift project announced by Brighton owner Boyne Resorts for the 2023/24 ski season. Construction is expected to begin in May.
Ontario’s Mount St. Louis Moonstone has ordered a first-of-its-kind chairlift to replace the aging Adventure Express. The groundbreaking Adventure 8 will feature a unique L-shaped Doppelmayr D-Line terminal with 90 degree loading and a massive 4,250 passenger per hour capacity. It will travel from the Moonstone base lodge to the Moonstone summit. The lift will also feature a direct drive, loading conveyor and heated seats. Together with Whistler Blackcomb’s Fitzsimmons 8 project, Doppelmayr will build Canada’s first two eight place chairlifts simultaneously in the East and West. This is also the first time in North America a six passenger chairlift will be upgraded to a larger lift.
Family-operated Mount St. Louis Moonstone is known for investing heavily in lift and snowmaking technology with a fleet of four six passenger chairlifts already on the mountain. “My family remains dedicated to providing the finest skiing and snowboarding experience in Ontario,” said General Manager Robert Huter. “This advancement helps guests spend more time on the slopes and less time waiting in a lift line.”
Just hours after announcing a new lift project on Merrill Hill, Sunday River Resort this afternoon unveiled plans for a much larger machine replacing the Barker Mountain Express. When it debuts next season, Barker 6 will be among the fastest lifts in North America, featuring D-Line technology, bubbles, heated seats and a direct drive. With Jordan 8 in Jordan Bowl and Barker 6 on Barker Mountain, Sunday River will become the only resort in Eastern North America with two flagship D-Line bubble lifts. Barker 6’s chairs and terminals will closely match Jordan 8 but in six passenger gauge.
Few skiers will miss the current Barker quad, a Yan-Poma frankenlift first constructed in 1987. Over the years that machine became known for extended breakdowns and was frequently lampooned on the internet. Barker 6 will be everything Barker 4 wasn’t with 63 ergonomically designed chairs and a 4.5 minute ride time at six meters per second. Each chair will weigh nearly a ton and come with a Sunday River red bubble. The lift will transport up to 3,250 skiers per hour up Barker Mountain with 13 towers.
Doppelmayr will construct the Merrill Hill II and Barker 6 lifts simultaneously this summer and both are expected to open for the 2023-24 ski season. “The recent opening of the Jordan 8, the announcement of Barker 6, coupled with dramatic snowmaking system investments and the addition of a second Merrill Hill lift, all represent big next steps in Sunday River’s 2030 Plan,” said Sunday River President Dana Bullen.
Today’s news continues an extraordinary streak of investment by Boyne Resorts that started in earnest with Ramcharger 8, the first eight place chairlift in the Americas at Big Sky in 2018. After a brief Covid pause, a similar project debuted at Loon Mountain in 2021 and this season Boyne debuted the first D-Line in the midwest and the first eight place lift in Maine with Jordan 8. The 2023 construction season will prove even bigger for Boyne and Doppelmayr with D-Line bubble lifts going in at Sunday River and The Highlands, a brand new tram at Big Sky and terrain expansions with new lifts at Sunday River, Loon Mountain and Sugarloaf. With additional projects at Boyne Mountain and others in the pipeline, the third largest North American resort operator will likely invest significantly more than larger rivals Alterra and Vail Resorts this offseason. Next winter Boyne will operate half of all the D-Line lifts at North American ski areas and 100 percent of eight place chairlifts in the United States.
The fifth Boyne Resorts property to launch a D-Line detachable will be The Highlands, Michigan come 2023. Camelot 6 will include the first modern bubble chairs in the Midwest and the first fully automated safety bar system in the United States. Ergonomically designed D-Line seats will also feature heating and individual footrests. The lift will be the fastest in the Midwest with a line speed of six meters per second and ride time of just three minutes.
The flagship chairlift will replace three Riblet triples – Camelot, MacGully and Valley – all of which date back to the 1960s and the earliest days of triple chairs. Unlike the current Camelot, the new Doppelmayr will extend to the top of the Upper Camelot slope on the southern end of the mountain.
The Camelot zone features some of The Highlands’ most popular beginner and intermediate terrain adjacent to the Day Lodge. Appropriately, Camelot 6 will feature the first fully automated closing, locking and opening bar mechanisms in the US in addition to a height-adjustable loading conveyor. “We’re coming full circle in lift innovation from the world’s first bubble chairlift in 1963, to the Midwest’s first modern bubble lift with unrivaled guest comfort, speed, energy efficiency, and safety in 2023,” said Mike Chumbler, President and General Manager of The Highlands. “This will be the most kid-friendly and safest lift ever built. The addition of Camelot 6 will transform the guest experience on the southern end of our slopes for all levels of skiers and riders,” he added.
Camelot will become the fifth Boyne destination to debut Doppelmayr D-Line technology. Big Sky Resort, Boyne Mountain, Loon Mountain and Sunday River all feature six and eight passenger D-Line detachables, many with bubbles and heated seats. While Alterra, Vail Resorts and other operators have also purchased D-Line lifts, Boyne’s level of commitment to the technology remains unrivaled in North America.
Camelot 6 is the first significant on mountain investment as part of The Highlands’ Transformational Journey, a vision guiding resort growth with an array of new offerings and enhancements through the year 2030. More lift upgrades are expected to follow in the coming years.
Camelot 6 will debut for the 2023-24 ski season. Once complete, it will serve both day and evening skiers as well as becoming the primary access lift for summer sightseeing and mountain biking.
Alterra Mountain Company today affirmed plans to open big new lifts in 2022 and more next year as it increases investment across its 14 resorts. This year’s $344 million plan includes $93 million in increased capacity and terrain expansion, $91 million for skier services upgrades, and $16 million in guest experience technology with a focus on Palisades Tahoe, Steamboat, Crystal Mountain, Mammoth Mountain and Deer Valley.
At Palisades Tahoe, the $65 million Base-to-Base Gondola will be completed this summer after two seasons of construction. The Leitner-Poma gondola will connect the two mountains of the resort for the first time, giving skiers and riders access to a combined 6,000 acres of terrain and making Palisades the third largest resort in North America. The 16 minute gondola ride will take skiers and riders between The Village at Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Lodge, reducing road congestion in the region and making it easier to enjoy both mountains in a single day. It is the first gondola of its kind in North America, with four terminals connecting two base areas via a climb of nearly 2,000 vertical feet.
Winter 2022-23 will also see phase two of Steamboat’s Full Steam Ahead redevelopment completed with $90 million of investment to include the relocation of the lower terminal of the Christie Peak Express and the first leg of the Wild Blue Gondola, which will take guests to the new Greenhorn Ranch learning center at mid-mountain.
Wild Blue will become the longest gondola in North America and the fastest 10-person gondola in the country. With the lower leg opening in 2022-23, and the upper leg opening in 2023-24, the state-of-the-art Doppelmayr D-Line gondola will feed skiers/riders through a newly created mid-station adjacent to Bashor Bowl with the final destination of Sunshine Peak. It will feature the first Omega V cabins in the United States. At a total length of 3.16 miles, the new gondola will increase the out of base capacity from 6,000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour, getting skiers from bottom to top in 13 minutes. The recently re-graded Rough Rider/Bashor Basin area will be home to Greenhorn Ranch, an area dedicated to beginner skiers and riders. It will feature progressive terrain-based learning and a dedicated chairlift.
For winter 2023-24, 650 acres of advanced terrain will open on Pioneer Ridge, making Steamboat the second largest ski resort in Colorado. This expert, gladed terrain will be serviced by a new detachable chairlift.
At Washington’s Crystal Mountain, $100 million will be spent over the next five years. The largest investment ever made at Crystal will focus on greater access, more space and significantly enhanced skier services. Work will begin this spring with $25 million for additional parking and a new 25,000 square foot skier services facility called Mountain Commons. No lift projects were announced but Crystal Mountain President Frank DeBerry has made no secret his wish list includes a replacement for the Rainier Express, a new gondola to the summit and relocation of the current Mt. Rainier Gondola to Campbell Basin.
At Mammoth Mountain, summer 2022 will see ground and infrastructure work to facilitate the replacement of the Canyon Express at Canyon Lodge and Broadway Express at Main Lodge. Doppelmayr initially planned to build these lifts in 2020 before the Coronavirus pandemic postponed the project. The new high-speed six packs are planned to finally debut in winter 2023-24.
New for winter 2022-23 at Deer Valley, the Burns Express chairlift will debut at the Wide West learning area. This high speed chairlift will connect the Snow Park base area to Little Baldy Mountain, offering ski school access to more beginner teaching terrain and providing an additional option for skiers to navigate out of the main arrival area. The $6 million investment to improve the learning area on Wide West will also include enhancements to the existing Snowflake chairlift, installing and reconfiguring surface lifts and grading beginner terrain.
“This historic investment is clear evidence of our commitment to deliver a premier guest experience at our North American destinations and our engagement towards the long-term future of our mountains,” said Rusty Gregory, CEO of Alterra Mountain Company. “More than ever, we continue to infuse meaningful capital into projects that will transform our base areas while significantly improving our physical and digital on-mountain offerings to ensure that our guests experience the best of the mountains.”
Some previously-approved projects were absent from Alterra’s latest announcement, namely the Red Dog replacement at Palisades, Timber expansion at Tremblant and Pioneer Express upgrade at Winter Park.
The final chapter of Big Sky 2025 will be the largest yet, with a new gondola and tram connecting Big Sky Resort’s Mountain Village to Lone Peak. This multi-year project will cement Big Sky as a leader in lift technology among North American resorts.
Big Sky embarked on the 2025 initiative six years ago to enhance the mountain experience with a focus on lifts and dining. Boyne Resorts partnered with Doppelmayr to bring North America’s first eight place and fastest six place chairlifts to Big Sky in 2018 and 2021 and now the companies will build two more signature lifts leading up to 2025.
A new Explorer Gondola will load at the north end of the village and replace Big Sky’s last remaining original Heron-Poma lift which turns 50 next year. Together with Ramcharger 8 and Swift Current 6, three high capacity D-Line lifts will all load in the village. An intermediate gondola station will house a new ski school center and underground parking for cabins. This station will also include a direct drive powering both gondola haul ropes via a double-grooved bullwheel. Cabins will turn 22 degrees before ascending to a second new lodge near the top of Big Sky’s original Gondola One. Unlike Boyne Resorts’ five other D-Line lifts, the Explorer Gondola will feature squared glass enclosures, matching the style of the new tram stations and Bowl restaurant. The architecture alone will be unlike anything else in North American skiing.
Garaventa will build the reconfigured Lone Peak Tram, which will start at the new mid-mountain hub and operate year round. Large cabins will pass one tower before arriving at a glass-enclosed terminal at 11,166 feet. The new tram will be nearly twice as long as the current one but also faster and more capable.
“The new lift system from the base area to the summit of Lone Peak will revolutionize the way we access ‘America’s Matterhorn’ in both winter and summer,” said Big Sky Resort president and COO Taylor Middleton. “In creating this must-do experience accessible to all, we will offer the premier high-alpine experience on Montana’s highest scenic overlook.” Although tram cabins will be able to accommodate more passengers at once than the current 15 person tram, Big Sky plans to carefully manage throughput depending on conditions and season.
“We couldn’t think of a more significant and emblematic series of initiatives to close out the transformation we’re accomplishing with the Big Sky 2025 vision,” noted Stephen Kircher, CEO and president of Boyne Resorts. “Coupling a truly world-class tram experience with the most architecturally thoughtful on-mountain food and beverage and Mountain Sports facilities will set a new standard for mountain communities in North America. This innovative project will kick off an exciting new chapter in transforming the future of tourism in Big Sky and across southwest Montana, and sets the stage for planning Big Sky’s next steps.”
Construction will begin this summer although a project of this size will take multiple construction seasons to complete. The current Lone Peak Tram and Explorer lifts will remain in service throughout the process with the new tram set for completion in Fall 2023.
The one-of-a-kind gondola at a California winery will not run again, Sterling Vineyards has announced. The 1972 Hall installation, which travels in a triangle alignment, was closed in 2020 due to Covid and subsequently damaged by a wildfire. In its place, Sterling and Doppelmayr USA will partner to construct a detachable eight place gondola running in a similar historic alignment. “Over the past twelve months, our team has been working diligently to safely assess and stabilize the property and fully scope this major project,” the company wrote. “We are excited to share that we are now moving into reconstructing the winery in preparation of a re-opening in Spring 2023.”
“After careful assessment, it was determined that our beloved and historic Aerial Tram must be replaced,” the statement continued. “The Aerial Tram has been, and will continue to be, central to our visitor experience, as well as an iconic feature of the winery. We anticipate a full year of hard work ahead of us, to bring this special property back to you safely and beautifully.”
The new lift will be as modern as the old one was quaint, becoming the first D-Line lift in California and featuring Omega V cabins from CWA. The one way journey will remain similar with three stations and drive/tensioning systems located at the valley station. There will of course still be a glass of wine waiting for each rider at the first angle station. “We welcome you to join us behind the scenes as we give you sneak peeks through photos and videos of the site during construction and watch Sterling Vineyards literally rise from the ashes, regaining its historic splendor, and bouncing back to once again be one of the most visited sites in the Napa Valley.”
Doppelmayr will build the fastest eight place chairlift in North America for the 2022-23 season, a Sunday River Red bubble chair in Jordan Bowl. Dubbed Jordan 8, the lift will feature the world’s first red-colored bubbles along with heated seats, a loading conveyor and direct drive. Jordan 8 will spin a blazing 6 meters a second, shaving a minute off the ride time of the current Jordan Bowl Express and transporting 3,200 skiers per hour. “We are proud as a team and so excited to bring the latest Doppelmayr technology to Sunday River,” said Stephen Kircher, CEO of Boyne Resorts. “With each milestone in the Sunday River 2030 plan, Boyne Resorts is enhancing the experience across the board with major investments in infrastructure.”
The current Jordan high speed quad will be refurbished to replace the Barker Mountain Express for winter 2023-24. Some may wonder why Jordan for a D-Line lift rather than Sunday River’s original peak with an older detachable quad. The answer lies in Jordan Bowl’s popularity with guests, the amount of wind and snow it sees as well as the fact Sunday River owns thousands of acres next door. The Jordan/Oz peaks and future terrain beyond will be known henceforth as the Western Reserve. “The Jordan 8 is a significant jumping off point for the Western Reserve, creating a portal that could double our skiable terrain in the coming decades,” said Dana Bullen, President of Sunday River. “This lift also acts as an immediate catalyst for upcoming renovations to the Jordan Hotel, new activities and amenities.” Both Jordan 8 terminals will feature glass weather protection, allowing all 60 chairs to be parked without a separate storage building. Each chair weighs 2,262 pounds, making the lift wind resistant during storms.
Jordan 8 is the third major lift project announced by Boyne Resorts for 2022. Also in New England, the company is relocating the former Kancamagus detachable quad at Loon Mountain to replace Seven Brothers. Last week, Boyne Mountain unveiled plans for Disciples 8, the Midwest’s first eight passenger chairlift. When Disciples 8 and Jordan 8 open next winter, Boyne Resorts will operate eight seat chairlifts at four of its nine mountains and 80 percent of all the eight seaters in the United States.
North America’s fastest six passenger chairlift is on track to open this Thanksgiving at Big Sky Resort. For the past three days, teams from Big Sky, Timberline Helicopters and Doppelmayr placed 23 towers and removed another set from the previous Swift Current quad. The new, conical towers are so burly it took nearly 200 heli trips to complete installation.
Swift Current ranks among North America’s largest new lifts this year and will complement Ramcharger 8, the trailblazing eight place bubble chair on neighboring Andesite Mountain. Swifty 2.0 features the same three ring Doppelmayr Direct Drive motor and 125 Big Sky Blue bubble chairs with heated seats. The previous Swift Current detachable quad will be placed in storage for re-installation somewhere within the Boyne Resorts portfolio.
The nearly complete bottom terminal sits just uphill of the old loading point, freeing up space the base area. The bottom is also no longer the drive station, increasing efficiency and reducing noise in the village. Together with Ramcharger, two D-Line lifts will lift up to 6,600 skiers per hour out of Big Sky’s Mountain Village.
Like at Ramcharger, an indoor parking facility is taking shape adjacent to Swifty’s top terminal, which will will feature 90 degree unloading and totally reimagined flow. Skiers and snowboarders coming from Shedhorn will enjoy a wider skiway around the top terminal instead of dodging unloaders from Swift Current. Snowmaking will reach the top of Swifty for the first time ever this season, a welcome addition to a high traffic spot subject to sun and wind. Come summer, 38 bike carriers will come out of the parking facility and carry four mountain bikes apiece.
Big Sky will now feature four distinct bubble chairlifts on Andesite Mountain, Lone Peak and Spirit Mountain. Along with the Swift Current project, the Lewis & Clark high speed quad is in the process of receiving new blue bubbles and a capacity increase to coincide with the planned Christmas opening of Montage Big Sky.
With seven new lifts in five years, there’s always something exciting going on at Big Sky. As Swift Current 6 nears completion, I can’t help but wonder what this mecca for modern lifts will build next.
With skier visits up 17 percent this season from a previous record, Grand Targhee Resort will spend more than $20 million on improvements the next two years, including a new six place chairlift on Peaked Mountain.
The Peaked lift will become Targhee’s fifth chair and the seventh Doppelmayr D-Line system in the United States. Introduced in 2015, D-Line features more than 200 improvements to previous Doppelmayr detachable technology. The lift will transport 2,000 people per hour, gaining 1,815 vertical feet in just over five minutes. The Peaked area will offer unmatched views of the Tetons with access to over 600 acres of intermediate and advanced terrain. Heavier six passenger carriers will improve the lift’s ability to operate in windy conditions and full carrier parking will help speed storm recovery. Cat skiing will be offered on upper Peaked Mountain for one final season in 2021/22.
Tower/terminal foundations, communications trenching and the lift’s power supply will be completed this summer with steel installation to follow in 2022. New chairs will also be added to the nearby Sacajawea high speed quad during the summer of 2022 to bring its uphill capacity to 2,000 guests per hour. The resort will also construct new employee housing, increase parking and complete a new maintenance shop this summer. “Due to the efforts of many dedicated employees and the support of our guests and partners during challenging times, Grand Targhee is fortunate to be able to announce these projects,” the resort said in a statement.