Bubble Six Pack Coming to Sunday River’s Barker Mountain

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.

Sunday River to Build Second Merrill Hill Chairlift

Sunday River Resort will get another boost next winter with the addition of a second chairlift on Merrill Hill. The first Merrill lift debuted just weeks ago and connects the South Ridge base area to the hill’s summit, where a few ski-in, ski-out homesites remain for sale. The next new Doppelmayr fixed grip triple in this section of the resort will service steeper trails on the back side with a vertical rise of 495 feet over a 1,963 foot slope length. Sunday River says the four minute lift ride will not only service new real estate but also access newly cut runs with sweeping views. The move also sets the stage for future expansion into the Western Reserve beyond Jordan Bowl.

Merrill Hill 2 will be at least the fourth new lift in five years for Sunday River. In addition to the first Merrill Hill triple, Sunday River debuted a new competition T-Bar in 2019 and eight place bubble lift in Jordan Bowl this season. The resort and parent company Boyne Resorts plan to continue investing in lifts and other projects under the Sunday River 2030 plan with new installations planned on Barker Mountain, Aurora Peak and Tempest.

News Roundup: Busy Busy

News Roundup: More Than a Mechanic

Breckenridge Ski Resort confirms at approximately 10:35 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22, a chair dislodged from the haul rope of the Peak 8 SuperConnect as it was reaching the top terminal. One guest was on the chair at the time and fell approximately 13 feet. Ski patrol responded immediately. No injuries were reported and the guest declined further care.  

The Peak 8 SuperConnect was closed for the remainder of the day on Thursday. The resort’s lift maintenance team was on site at the time of the incident and worked with the Colorado Tramway Safety Board to report the incident.  

At the time of this event, the resort was following all standard operating procedures. The wind direction was predominantly favorable for operation of the Peak 8 SuperConnect when it opened for the day at 10 a.m., however an abnormal wind gust across the top terminal, in addition to the chair coming into contact with components of the upper terminal, created the circumstances of this event. 

Since the event, the resort’s lift maintenance team has conducted a thorough inspection of the Peak 8 SuperConnect and consulted with the Colorado Tramway Safety Board. The lift resumed operations at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23.

News Roundup: Back in Action

News Roundup: Gondola Party

News Roundup: All Good Things

News Roundup: Alterra, Boyne, Powdr and Vail

News Roundup: Succession

Cabin Falls From Sunday River’s Chondola

A 17 year old guest sustained minor injuries in a lift incident at Sunday River last night. “At 5:37PM, a gondola cabin detached from the haul rope of the Chondola lift as a result of a high gust of wind causing the cabin to misfeed into the top terminal of the lift,” Sunday River said in a statement. “The cabin fell approximately 10 feet and was occupied by one guest who sustained minor injuries and was transported to the base of the mountain by ski patrol and released.”

The Chondola is a hybrid lift with both chairs and gondola cabins built in 2008. It features Doppelmayr UNI-G stations and Agamatic grips. “Due to increasing winds, the lift was being unloaded and running at half speed under high wind protocol at the time of the incident,” the resort said. “All guests remaining on the lift were safely unloaded and night skiing operations were suspended.”