The Interstate 93 corridor in New Hampshire could soon be a hotbed of lift construction. Four exciting projects appeared on the White Mountain National Forest proposed actions page this week. In what would be a major move, Loon Mountain is seeking to replace the Kancamagus detachable quad with an eight seater chairlift. Next, the Seven Brothers triple would be replaced with a detachable quad, presumably utilizing equipment removed from the Kanc. This project would be similar to one Loon’s owner Boyne Resorts completed last year at Big Sky. There, the Ramcharger detachable quad was replaced by North America’s first eight passenger chairlift and the old machine moved to replace a Heron-Poma double.
Just to the south at Waterville Valley, the White Peaks Express is proposed to be replaced by a six passenger detachable lift. The current machine was built in 1988 and shortened to its current length in 1996. In a second project, the Sunnyside triple would be swapped for a fixed-grip quad and the Northside double removed. Both of these lifts were built decades ago by Stadeli. Waterville Valley has been independently owned and operated by a local group of investors since 2010. They recently replaced another aging Stadeli lift with an LST T-Bar.
It is unknown whether any of these new lifts will feature bubbles and/or heated seats, which have become popular across New England. The Forest Service expects to make decisions on whether to approve the projects in December.
When Loon Mountain in New Hampshire’s White Mountains designed their South Peak expansion a decade ago, they needed a way to move skiers between Loon Peak and South Peak over terrain too flat to ski. Doppelmayr CTEC engineered the Tote Road quad, a two-way chairlift to transport skiers between the mountains. This was a cheaper solution than building heavily-graded ski trails or a detachable gondola.
The drive terminal was sited along the Upper Bear Claw trail near the summit of Loon. After loading here, the lift rises sharply to allow skiers coming from the other direction to cross underneath. Tote Road descends modestly before climbing to the summit of South Peak. The return terminal is located adjacent to the top of the Lincoln Express which also opened for the 2007-2008 season. On the return trip from South Peak, skiers unload at a ramp well before the drive terminal but still close enough for the loading and unloading ramps to share one set of controls and a single lift shack. To my knowledge, each end of Tote Road is always staffed by two operators even though Loon could theoretically get away with just one.
Tote Road has 11 towers; the first three are split towers with different heights on each side. Its 89 chairs move 2,400 skiers per hour in each direction at 450 feet a minute. Because the lift goes down before it goes up, the vertical distance between terminals is only 95 feet. Slope length is just under 2,000 feet with a ride time of 4.3 minutes each way. By these numbers, Tote Rode is a small lift but it is a very important link at one of the most visited resorts in the East.