Thunder Wolf – Big Sky, MT

big sky 2-18-07 102
Bottom drive terminal.
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Top station.
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Leaving the base terminal.
big sky 2-18-07 126
Looking up the line from tower 2.
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Back down the line.
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Breakover towers.
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Arriving up top.
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Base drive terminal.
Bottom terminal and lift line.
View down the line in the summer.
Upper lift line.
Doppelmayr Worldbook entry.
New paint 2016.
Hold down sheaves on tower 1.

21 thoughts on “Thunder Wolf – Big Sky, MT

  1. Donald M. Reif March 20, 2019 / 10:55 am

    There’s two different styles of UNI terminal on this lift. The bottom drive has the second generation design (with a stack and no ‘tunnel’), while the return station is a first generation design where only the tire banks are covered.


    • John March 20, 2019 / 12:15 pm

      For what it’s worth, they’re the same generation. The drive terminal has to have a roof over the drive machinery, which is why it looks different. The return, having no machinery to keep out of the elements, can be open like this one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Collin Parsons March 20, 2019 / 1:30 pm

        The enclosures used from 1989 to 1992 and 1993 to 1994 look noticeably different.


        • Donald M. Reif March 20, 2019 / 3:00 pm

          Shedhorn 4’s terminals are both of the first generation design, at least, when the lift was Ramcharger 4 and before the UNI G skins were built over them. The second generation design is on Thunder Wolf’s bottom drive, but the first generation design is used on the return terminal.

          While the drive station has to have the raised stack on all UNIs, there are a fair number of UNIs where there is also a matching stack on the return station (Jersey Cream Express being a first gen example, while the Timberline Express, Storm Peak Express and Sundown Express are examples of the second generation design). Another area where these UNI terminals could differ from resort to resort, I think, was an option for the bullwheel to be exposed or covered (Timberline Express enclosing both bullwheels, Shedhorn 4, Jersey Cream, the Outback Express and Peru Express only enclosing the drive bullwheel, and the Storm Peak Express, Sundown Express, Crest Express, and Thunder Wolf 4 having both bullwheels visible on the outside).


  2. powderforever45 December 14, 2019 / 11:03 am

    When they replace this or Southern Comfort they should use one of them to replace Lone Moose.


    • Tony Johnson February 8, 2021 / 6:08 pm

      With Swift Current being replaced this coming summer, we’ve been tossing around lost of grand ideas about what can be done with the “old” detachable quad (South face, Iron Pony, Lone Tree area, etc) . Unfortunately, the correct answer might be the most boring one…

      Use “old Swifty” to replace Thunderwolf, which is nearly 30 years old and probably coming to the end of its usable lifespan.

      Or even more boring… Swifty itself is too old to justify spending the money to install it somewhere else.


      • Myles Svec February 8, 2021 / 6:17 pm

        They will probably do something to Swifty like they did to the old Ramcharger by replacing various things on lifts and using new terminal skins.


      • skitheeast February 8, 2021 / 6:31 pm

        Does Thunderwolf really have that high of hours where it is an imminent replacement (I am assuming Summer 2022)? I am pretty sure there are many other detachable lifts elsewhere in the country that seem to be fine with higher hours or older age. Honestly, I feel as though Swifty’s hours are probably almost as high given its close age and higher usage. Also, I feel as though it is very un-Big Sky like to replace a detachable quad with another detachable quad and not at least a six-pack. I would much rather see Swifty be reused for any of the grand ideas you mentioned or sent to another Boyne mountain if it could be better utilized.


        • Tony Johnson February 8, 2021 / 9:20 pm

          I’m far from a lift hours expert, but I know that i’ve seen detachable lifts discussed as having a lifespan that is less than fixed grips. And I’ve heard 30 years mentioned. Without THAT many detachables having reached that age in the US, perhaps it’s a little tough to say. I agree with another commenter that it’s very “un Big Sky-like” to not more old Swifty to another part of the mountain. And if we want to be optimistic we can look to another recent in-resort move, when Old Ramcharger became new Shedhorn. Ramcharger was 1 year older than Thunderwolf, I believe, and likely would have had more hours on it than Thunderwolf, so maybe we will get to see old Swifty used for one of those grand ideas after all. For the record, my guess is Lone Tree area (not replacing, but supplementing)


        • pbropetech January 19, 2022 / 8:53 am

          Tony, detachables can last as long as fixed grips but they begin to require extensive component replacement after thirtyish years of service. Generally this means grip parts and some terminal systems, but it can mean full carrier replacement as well. After working on a modern lift for the last four years, I feel that the newer carrier designs may have a longer lifespan as there are fewer stress points- welded gussets that can crack, bolt holes that wallow out, and the like. That being said, our ’94 DS with original Uni terminals has a lot of life left. It’s one of the more reliable lifts I’ve worked on.


      • Donald Reif February 8, 2021 / 7:44 pm

        Swift Current is also only six years newer than Thunderwolf.


        • Utah Powder Skier February 8, 2021 / 8:44 pm

          It might only be 6 years newer, but it’s a different grip and different terminal. Doppelmayr still makes parts for DT-104s, but not DS-104s.


        • Chris February 9, 2021 / 10:21 am

          I’m pretty sure you can still get DS-104 replacement parts given how many of them are still in use in Europe. I can’t tell if they are all new or mostly refurbished, though.

          Liked by 1 person

        • pbropetech January 19, 2022 / 8:48 am

          Incorrect, UPS. Doppelmayr still supports the DS series. They’ll even build you a completely new one if you need a spare, as far as I know. We have no trouble at all getting parts for ours.


  3. Somebody February 8, 2021 / 8:29 pm

    Thunderwolf has roughly 9,000hrs less than Swift Current.


  4. Tony Johnson February 8, 2021 / 9:10 pm

    I assume that’s due to Swifty’s summer usage?


    • Somebody February 9, 2021 / 8:13 pm

      Correct, During Ramcharger 8’s construction and first summer instsalled, it did not have bike carriers, so Thunderwolf operated for those two summers, now that Ram has its bike carriers, Thunderwolf is no longer needed in the summer and has resumed summer hibernations. If it hadnt operayed those two summers the gap would be even larger.


  5. The Skier December 24, 2022 / 11:13 am

    Does anyone know what is going on with the Thunder Wolf lift? I thought something seemed off when they opened the Thunder Wolf terrain but only opened the Lone Moose lift, and now Big Sky’s lift status page says it is scheduled to be open but on hold for maintenance.


    • vons3 December 24, 2022 / 11:40 am

      A new electrical system installed and load tested weeks ago unfortunately the contractor is on site trying to complete punch list issues before it will be ready for operations.


      • Aaron January 31, 2023 / 1:46 am

        Looks like it’s still showing as on hold. Did anyone have any idea on when it will be ready to open?


  6. The Skier January 31, 2023 / 6:22 am

    Check out the comments under Lone Moose. This topic already came up over there.


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