Zendo – Breckenridge, CO

This short lift accesses the new Peak 6 expansion along a relatively flat profile.
First section of the line.
Poma “Z” return.
Load station.
Riding up the line.
Poma Alpha top drive.
Unloading area.
Drive bullwheel and brakes from below.
View down the line.
Looking up the line.

31 thoughts on “Zendo – Breckenridge, CO

  1. Duncan N. March 9, 2018 / 12:38 pm

    Why is Zendo a fixed grip quad while the only lift it services a six pack going at almost 6 m/s?


    • Donald M. Reif March 30, 2019 / 3:09 pm

      It regulates the traffic flow, since Kensho has a higher uphill capacity than Zendo. There’s a similar setup on Peak 8 with having to use the T-Bar or Lift 6 to reach Imperial.


    • Donald Reif September 27, 2019 / 9:37 am

      Also, it does ramp up the tension headed to Peak 6, especially as you clear tower 9 and the trails begin to show themselves. You can see the Kensho SuperChair climbing the hill ahead of you, and you can sort of map out where you want to head since you can see the south side of the ridge as well as everything between Bliss and Reverie (helpful if you’re a groomers-type of skier and are sticking to those trails).


  2. Jonathan March 25, 2018 / 6:01 pm

    Every time I come to Breck, I wonder that too. It would make more sense as a High Soeed Quad. Maybe that want to reduce some traffic on Kenso Lift. Each skier and rider would ride the lift 1.5 times per day on average. You don’t lap this lift


    • Donald M. Reif February 6, 2019 / 12:11 am

      It also controls traffic entering Peak 6 because Zendo has a lower uphill capacity than the Kensho SuperChair.


  3. Collin March 25, 2018 / 6:45 pm

    You just answered why it’s not a high speed quad yourself. It’s not a lift you lap. Also it’s pretty short. I doubt it ever has a line except maybe first thing when everyone is migrating over to Peak 6 after it opens.


    • Donald M. Reif February 22, 2019 / 9:10 am

      This configuration of having to take a fixed grip lift (Zendo) to access a high speed lift (the Kensho SuperChair) is not unique in the Breckenridge lift system. Peak 8 has the same arrangement with the Imperial Express SuperChair: you have to take the slower Lift 6 or the T-Bar to access it.

      With Peak 6, it’s important to note that the arrangement of the lifts is also partially influenced by the fact that Breckenridge Ski Resort had to work around a tract of private land. In fact, on the master plan for Peak 6, one can see that the original proposal didn’t call for separate lifts (https://skimap.org/data/510/916/1349971857.jpg), but rather, for a single lift that started at the bottom of Zendo, and had a midway turn station where the Kensho SuperChair starts. It’s probably for the best that they went for the two-lift configuration, where Zendo is dedicated to access and the Kensho SuperChair is dedicated to laps. Zendo has a lower uphill capacity (2,000 pph) than the Kensho SuperChair (3,000 pph), so the arrangement better regulates the flow of traffic going onto Peak 6. Zendo truly is the only way to get onto Peak 6 (there is the Wanderlust catwalk from the Independence SuperChair, but that’s not very well marked, and I’ve never used it)


  4. Jonathan February 22, 2019 / 3:10 pm

    What about a low capacity high speed quad like Chet’s Dream at Loveland?


    • Donald M. Reif February 22, 2019 / 9:32 pm

      You’re only really gonna use Zendo once on most days, since its main function is as an access lift to get over to Peak 6. The lower capacity allows the resort to control the inbound flow of traffic coming from both Peak 7 trails and from the Rocky Mountain SuperChair. And the slower speed honestly increases one’s anticipation in heading up Peak 6, especially when it’s in sight of you as you approach the unload area.

      The lift line as it is, is also not long enough to justify a high speed lift.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jonathan February 22, 2019 / 3:14 pm

    What about a low capacity high speed quad here and move this lift to replace Rip’s Ride?


    • Donald M. Reif February 24, 2019 / 12:10 pm

      This lift wouldn’t be long enough to replace Lift 7. And Lift 7 doesn’t necessarily need the capacity upgrade (although I could see Breck upgrading it to a triple chairlift or fixed grip quad in the next ten or so years).


  6. Donald Reif December 26, 2019 / 10:54 am

    I’m actually curious how much traffic will still use this lift after the new high speed quad is built next season on Peak 7, since that lift will be starting on Lincoln Meadows just downhill from Zendo, reachable from the Rocky Mountain SuperChair via the Peak 6 Parkway, and I’d say that there is a fair amount of skier traffic that might prefer logging a few hundred more vertical feet by taking that high speed quad and then navigating to Peak 6 via the Wanderlust catwalk, rather than take Zendo.


  7. Phoenix March 8, 2020 / 11:18 pm

    What’s the red crane on the drive terminal for?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. afski722 March 9, 2020 / 8:49 am

    Cable winch/hoist used to lift the chair/carriers on and off the line or for re positioning on the cable

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Donald Reif December 25, 2020 / 11:35 am

    I partially wonder how much traffic Zendo will continue to receive after the infill high speed quad is built, seeing as expert skiers will have the option to take the infill lift up to Pioneer Crossing and traverse over to the Kensho SuperChair via Wanderlust. Part of me thinks “maybe a little,” but most of me thinks “not much” because I think, even with the snail’s pace that Zendo runs at, it’ll still be faster to ride Zendo over than to take the infill lift and traverse over on Wanderlust. Especially when this is what Wanderlust is like:


      • ShangRei Garrett March 23, 2023 / 11:05 pm

        Yeah even as a skier it’s not particularly pleasant. Something you don’t really see in that video is that the trail gets really busy, so you often come up upon one of those big uphills with enough speed but someone else who got stuck is blocking the way, forcing you to stop and lose all of your speed.


  10. afski722 December 28, 2020 / 9:45 pm

    Doubt the infill lift changes much for Zendo. Its still basically the main way for anyone on a groomer to access Peak 6.

    Wanderlust is a bit uphill from the top of Independence, somewhat obscure entrance, and basically a glorified and bumped-out traverse.
    Its a crap ski trail. More fun to drop through Ore Bucket, or just ski down Monte Cristo than Wanderlust (traverse)

    The Infill lift changes traffic patterns for anyone leaving Peak 6 and/or cycling the trails on the northern section of Peak 7.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif December 28, 2020 / 11:30 pm

      I do see the infill lift definitely taking at least 50% of the Independence SuperChair’s traffic, namely the lap traffic on Monte Cristo, Angel’s Rest, Lincoln Meadows, and egress from Peak 6 (you’ll still have to use Independence for Wirepatch, Swan City and Pioneer).

      As for Zendo, it’d be nice if they replaced the bars on it with ones that had footrests, given the ride time that it has due to the snail’s pace it runs at.

      Definitely true that Wanderlust’s entrance is pretty obscure. Even with the sign right at the unload area, I can’t see where it is. Because of that, I like to act like it doesn’t exist, and therefore, the Kensho SuperChair is one of those rare detachables that you can only access by taking a fixed grip lift, much like Imperial (which is only accessible via the T-Bar or Lift 6).


  11. skitheeast December 28, 2020 / 10:30 pm

    Who owns the small private land parcel that necessitated this lift in the first place? It seems rather odd that there is a small, non-Vail owned tract of land surrounded by USFS property. My best guess is that it is an old mining claim? But in that case, why not sell out to Vail?


    • Donald Reif December 28, 2020 / 11:32 pm

      With Breckenridge’s history as a mining town (quite a fair number of the trails on Peaks 7, 8 and 9 are named for the claims), I wouldn’t be surprised. But I get the feeling it probably isn’t a mining claim.


  12. afski722 December 29, 2020 / 10:29 pm

    The inholding above Zendo Chair, was originally an old mining claim that was held privately going back to the 1960s.
    At some point, after Breck opened Peak 7 and had its eyes on Peak 6 something happened.
    The owner apparently rejected offers from Vail Resorts and/or the USFS to acquire the land.
    The original owner was in no hurry to sell the property and wanted the highest offer from whomever, probably thinking that VR would pay whatever it took.

    At some point a few years ago, the property was sold and another private individual bought the property and built a house/cabin on the property.
    There is an access road above the top terminal of Zendo to the property. There is road access in the summer months, but in the winter is all ski/snowmobile/snowcat access only.


    • Donald Reif December 29, 2020 / 10:39 pm

      Looking at the satellite imagery in Google Earth, the house was built between 2013 and 2019.


      • afski722 December 29, 2020 / 10:53 pm

        Pretty cool I guess to have your own private mountain cabin, I’m sure in well in the the 7-8 figure range, but man its a long way from anything. I have stayed often with friends who have a place in Peak 7 Neighborhood and even that feels a long way from town. I can’t imagine how difficult access is to this place well up on Peak 6/7. Awesome once you are there, a PITA to get there and get food/supplies. Then again, with the 1%ers who probably own the place, they probably just pay someone else to get all the gear and supplies up there whenever they jet into town.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. afski722 December 29, 2020 / 10:42 pm

    I doubt the infill lift on Peak 7 has as big an impact in total as you think. Its going to be very time-dependent on the day.
    The biggest thing is that it will put more skiers on the northern side of Peak 7 trails as said, but in the afternoons take the pressure off of Independence for anyone returning from Peak 6.

    Independence is still likely to be slammed in the the mid-mornings as everyone comes on the Gondola and with all the skiers migrating from Peak 8 to Peak 7 trails.

    The Infill should help if anything on the run-out from Peak 6 back to Peak 7 which gets an insane amount of skier traffic and was getting downright dangerous at times with the mixing of skiers and abilities on the the trail back to Peak 7 base.

    It will be interesting to see how this changes things but probably should’ve been done 3-4 years ago.

    (Also upthread, not sure why anyone things Zendo needs to be anything more than it is; this is an access lift not a lift anyone laps, its never busy other than first chair on a powder day when they open but once the surge is gone its quiet)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif January 4, 2021 / 9:14 am

      I’m betting it would’ve made a big splash if the infill lift was built concurrently with the Falcon SuperChair getting upgraded.


    • Donald Reif February 5, 2022 / 1:34 pm

      Breck messed up when installing the signboard at the bottom of the lift for its first season of operation. The sign called this lift the “Zendo SuperChair”.

      They eventually fixed it by that spring.


  14. Donald Reif January 14, 2021 / 10:34 pm

    A Zendō is a type of meditation hall in Zen Buddhist culture. A pretty fitting name considering one could fit in a whole meditation session in the time it takes to ride this thing, given its relatively low speed of about 400 fpm..


  15. Raymond Bostock February 5, 2022 / 9:11 pm

    Have you ever ridden it Donald? It’s not that long of a ride and you don’t lap it. But then again you think everything should be a high speed 8 pack chondola with heated bubble party seats.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Donald Reif February 5, 2022 / 9:48 pm

      This is a lift I think is fine as a fixed grip, although I do wish it ran a little bit faster at times (though understandably, the limited space at the unload area might be a reason for the slow speed).


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