There are many new lifts ready for this season in North America. 

Take a look at this lastest round up of new lifts: 

Even Australia has an eight-seat chairlift and until this winter nowhere in North America was home to one. This has all changed following construction of the Ramcharger chair at Big Sky in Montana. The new lift was shipped over part by part from the Doppelmayr factory in Austria and is the first lift in the US to utilise the latest D-Line technology. It also features heated seats, blue bubbles and automatic locking barriers in what has been dubbed North America’s safest and most advanced lift – although as seen in Austria these lifts are commonplace! In addition, the old Ramcharger high-speed quad has been relocated to replace the Shedhorn double, adding significant capacity on the backside of Lone Peak Mountain.

 

To the south in Colorado, the resort that is always one of the first to open each October has significantly expanded its terrain this season. A new quad in an area called The Beavers at Arapahoe Basin, opens up 468 acres of new skiing, including 34 marked trails and the jewel in the crown – the Steep Gullies. These five gullies are a formidable challenge and are well worth the 20 minutes hike out back to the Pallavicini lift.

A-Basin’s main rival in the race to open first, Loveland, built their first detachable lift in time for the upcoming winter season. The new Lift 1 was named via a social media competition, with the name Chet’s Dream chosen out of almost 3,000 entries. It is named after the ski area’s legendary founder Chet Upham, who’s family still own and operate this old-school resort.

 

Down the road, not one, but two new lifts have been built out of Centre Village at Copper Mountain in one of the busiest summer’s of construction the US has ever seen. Two ageing quads – both were around 30 years old – have been replaced. The American Eagle lift has been upgraded to a chondola lift, featuring six-seat chairs and eight-seat gondolas, whilst the American Flyer lift has been boosted to a six-pack, featuring weather protection bubbles in a first for the resort. Total uphill capacity has been increased by 35 per cent, which promises to cut peak time queues at weekends and on powder days.

 

The first new lift in over ten years has been installed at Winter Park, also in Colorado. One of the most queue-prone lifts, the Zephyr Express has been upgraded to a high-spec ten-seat gondola, raising capacity from 2,600 skiers per hour to 3,600 skiers per hour. It utilises the Leitner DirectDrive technology, which removes the need for a gearbox to drive the lift, making the new gondola more reliable and less prone to breakdowns than the chair it has replaced.

 

Over in Utah and Park City has focused on investing in beginner facilities ahead of this winter. The High Meadow chair, the key beginner lift above the Canyons resort, has been upgraded to a high-speed quad. Ride time has been cut by 70 per cent, enabling the little ones to get more laps in each day. 

The 13th high-speed quad at Deer Valley was installed over the summer. The new Homestake Express is said to be the 6th shortest detachable lift in the US, but it serves a vital link between Silver Lake Lodge and Bald Eagle Mountain.

 

Meanwhile, in the Sunshine State of California and following two years of closure, the Galaxy Chair at Heavenly was finally replaced in time for the 2018-19 season. The 400 acres of gentle groomed terrain and gladed tree skiing will reopen once again, spreading skiers out better across the hill.

 

At the small resort of Tahoe Donner on the northern shore of Lake Tahoe, a new beginner lift has been built to replace the Snowbird double. The new triple lift will more than double capacity on the bunny hill at this family-friendly resort.

 

Down to the south in Taos, the biggest and most popular resort in New Mexico has finally built its first detachable lift – a high-speed quad to replace Lift 1 and Lift 5 out of the village. Travel time will be cut to 4 four and a half minutes and queues are likely to be reduced as a result. In addition, two new beginner lifts have been installed to totally revamp the lower mountain. A triple built by the US-based lift company Skytrac will access gentle slopes, whilst a new pulsed gondola will connect this area to a new base plaza and hotel complex.

 

After a solid season last winter, resorts on the East Coast have also invested heavily in new lifts. Killington in Vermont is calling 2018-19 its “Season of More” and it is easy to see why on the new lifts front. A new blue-bubbled six-pack has been installed on Snowdon Mountain, protecting guests from the elements and cutting travel time to the top. The old quad it replaces has been refurbished and relocated to South Ridge and a Poma lift has also been relocated to serve a race-training arena on the Swirl trail, high on Ramshed Mountain. If this wasn’t enough, the K1 Gondola has been completely renewed and all of the cabins have been replaced and upgraded.

After spinning for 31 years, the Snow Bowl quad at Stratton in Vermont has been upgraded to a high-speed model for this season. The new lift will cut ride time from fourteen minutes to five, which makes a huge difference in the harsh northeast climate. It was a real push to complete construction as the crews were forced to halt works between the middle of May and the end of August to protect nesting Bicknell’s Thrush habitat – a noble act that should be highly commended and underlined the resort’s environmental commitments.

 

Another major expansion has been completed in the US, this time in upstate New York at the underrated resort of Hunter Mountain. A new high-speed six-seat chair with bubbles has been built, as well as five new beginner and intermediate trails – all of which are equipped with the latest snowmaking technology – in the Hunter North project. It marks the largest terrain expansion ever carried out by the owners Peak Resorts at their 14 mountains and promises to put Hunter firmly on the map of more skiers from across the world.

 

Another major new lift has been built in the Catskill Mountains in Upstate New York, this time at the resort of Windham. A base to summit six-pack has been built to alleviate queues and as it serves almost every run on West Peak, the new chair is bound to be popular.

 

North Carolina may not spring to mind as a first choice ski destination, but Beech Mountain tops out at almost 1700m and is home to seven lifts. Two of these have been replaced ahead of the season, both with new quads. 

Canada

 

After a quiet 2017-18, the Canadian mountains have been alive with construction ahead of the new season. Leading the charge is Whistler, where an incredible C$66 million has been invested by Vail Resorts this summer and the results are impressive. One of the world’s highest capacity gondolas has been installed on Blackcomb Mountain, providing access from the village right to Rendezvous Lodge, whisking 4,000 skiers and snowboarders to the top each hour. Over on Whistler Mountain, the Emerald Express has been replaced by a six-pack, cutting peak time queues in the extremely popular family area. Keen to reuse the old lift, the quad that was replaced has been refurbished and moved across to Blackcomb where it will become the new Catskinner Express – serving the world-class Blackcomb Park and some of the cruisey mid-mountain runs formerly served by the now removed Solar Coaster Express. 

 

Further inland in BC, the extremely popular Powder chair at Big White in British Columbia has been upgraded to a quad for the season ahead. The C$10 million project looks set to cut queues, especially on – perhaps unsurprisingly – powder days where the lift is vital for serving some of the resort’s top gladed tree skiing.

 

At Big White’s sister resort of Silver Star, this winter marks the first time skiers will be able to use the new summit gondola. It has been spinning since the summer, but come December the new lift will be ferrying skiers and snowboarders to the summit from the village in just over four minutes. This is a marked improvement on the old summit double and is a fitting way to mark the resort’s 60th birthday.

CAD$60 million of work is underway at Sun Peaks, with the highlight being the new East Village quad that will be turning this winter. It will better serve the pod of runs in the sector and ensure that the ski-in, ski-out reputation of the BC resort is enhanced further. Look out also for higher capacity on the Sundance Express, where new chairs have been added and further improvements in the base villages.

 

Across on the East Coast, since being taken over by the Aspen-based Alterra Company, more capital has been available at Tremblant in Quebec. C$17 million of this has been spent this winter, including on an upgrade to the Lowell Thomas lift, converting the old triple into a brand new fast quad. It will improve access on the North Side of the mountain to popular blue runs such as Rigodon and Beauchemin Haut as well as the Evolution terrain park.

 

Although you may never have heard of Smokey Mountain in Quebec, it has to be included in this year’s list as it has replaced its entire lift fleet ahead of the upcoming season. A new quad and two new drags have been built to replaced some ancient lifts, including a bright yellow 46-year old double chair. 


Take a look out our Freshtracks holidays in North America!