Eldora Mountain Resort will launch its first detachable lift next ski season, a six-pack replacing two decades-old fixed-grips at Powdr Co.’s newest resort near Denver. Doppelmayr USA and Highlander Ski Lift Services & Construction will partner to manufacture and install the six-pack this summer and fall, reuniting the team that collaborated to launch the new Cloudchaser lift at sister resort Mt. Bachelor in 2016. Highlander also installed Solitude’s Summit Express in 2015.
“This new high speed lift is another significant improvement that will greatly enhance the Eldora experience for our snowsports community,” said Brent Tregaskis, general manager at Eldora in a press release. “The goal of Eldora and Powdr Adventure Lifestyle Co. is to service our guests and community as best we can.” Powdr bought Eldora last June and promised to make major upgrades.
The new six-place detachable will replace both Cannonball, a 1973 Heron-Poma double, and Challenge, a 1971 Hall triple relocated to Eldora from Sun Valley in 1992. The yet-to-be-named new lift will load between the Indian Peaks and Timbers lodges and rise 1,000 vertical feet in just 4.5 minutes. Capacity will reach an impressive 3,600 skiers per hour with 17 towers and a slope length of 3,829′. Eldora released renderings of the new lift showing sleek dark red and black Uni-G terminals.
A new lift changes a mountain. In this story, the mountain is a volcano and the actors are Mt. Bachelor, Doppelmayr, Highlander Lift Services & Construction, Timberline Helicopters and the Forest Service. Cloudchaser: The Story Behind Building a New Lift is one of the best videos you’ll see in awhile.
Congratulations to the team on a job well done. Thanks to their efforts, Mt. Bachelor is now the sixth largest ski resort in the United States!
“We don’t fly the helicopter and we don’t tie the knot.” – Paul Johnston, Highlander Ski Lift Services & Construction.
Since I last posted about Solitude’s Summit Express project in September, workers from Solitude and Highlander Lift Services have made a ton of progress, completing 19 towers and the top terminal. Comm-line is being installed and the haul rope is on a spool at the bottom terminal location. I say location because the lift doesn’t actually have a bottom terminal yet. Walking up to the summit today, it’s obvious why the top got priority. Not only is it the drive, the top is also located on a ridge at over 10,000 feet. These guys are lucking out with the weather to be building terminals in November with just inches of snow on the ground instead of feet. The bottom terminal will be at 8,690′ in a more accessible spot and should go up quickly. The biggest components for it are already up there and the operator house is installed.
The Summit Express is a Doppelmayr detachable quad replacing a double chair which was one of the first twenty lifts CTEC built back in 1982. The replacement high speed quad’s lift line is completely new and very steep with a bunch of challenging tower locations. At one point, the lift line crests a ridge and jogs sharply down before continuing up again. This lift reminds me of Peruvian at Snowbird (which is only a few miles away) with some very steep sections alternating with flat ones.
Deer Valley closed on its purchase of Solitude Mountain Resort in May and announced they would replace the Summit double with a new Doppelmayr detachable quad. The new Summit will be in a new, longer alignment that is easier to access from Apex Express. I checked out the progress last week.
The old lift is completely removed and stored in the Moonbeam parking lot. It looks like the Thiokol double will be used elsewhere (the last lift Solitude removed ended up at Canyons Resort.) Trees are gone from the new lift line and a lot of earth work has been done although nothing has been built yet. Highlander Ski Lift Services appears to be building the new quad. With 13 new lifts projects and counting, Doppelmayr is stretched pretty thin. I did not see any parts for the new lift but I am sure they will be arriving soon.