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New lifts change America’s slopes with shorter lines and faster rides


Plunge lords on some of the best North American ski terrain, with steep, consistent north-facing slopes spanning 2,100 vertical feet. Plunge’s summit, also known as Chair 9, approaches 12,000 feet and offers skiers a multitude of choices: some of the most sustained steep mogul runs in North America, groomed runs steep enough to slow down the sharpest experts and a wooded terrain that twists between subalpine firs and Engelmann spruces. The old Plunge chairlift, a fixed-grip triple chair that was a local favorite, had been turning since 1985. The new detachable four-seater will increase climbing capacity by 70% to 1,800 skiers per hour and reduce a heavy 13-minute ride almost half.

Anyone who has had a weekend or ski vacation in Steamboat has spent a lot of time in its gondola maze. At Steamboat, the existing gondola forms the main artery of the mountain; Avoiding it takes time and several chairlifts – and often other lines. The new Wild Blue Gondola, which will augment the current lifts, will be the longest in North America, at 3.16 miles when complete, and one of the fastest 10-person lifts in the United States. With Wild Blue in place, Steamboat will be able to move 10,000 people per hour up and out of the base area, up from 6,000 previously. The lower leg of the gondola will open this winter, helping to limit lines at the base of Steamboat.

Maine’s flagship ski resort has plans for expansion in the future and the start of those plans includes the Jordan 8, which replaces the Jordan Express. While passengers in the old chair might be whipped by New England winds and gusts, Jordan 8 will be surrounded by a red-tinted bubble and offer individual heated seats for up to eight passengers. The chairs will weigh more than a ton each, but new technologies from Austrian elevator manufacturer Doppelmayr will make them one of the fastest chairs in North America, moving up to 3,200 people per hour.

Vail’s open back terrain has been attracting Central Colorado skiers for 60 years. Getting into the mountain’s natural bowls has always been easier than exiting them, with queues that can pile up at the High Noon Express #5 lift, among others. The new Sun Down Express chairlift offers bottleneck relief, with skiers now having two ways out of the popular Sun Down Bowl. Those staying in Vail’s Lionshead Village will have a much more direct way to ski home and can easily alternate runs at Sun Down Bowl and Game Creek Bowl as the lifts terminate near one of the other. The Game Creek elevator was also upgraded this year, increasing its capacity from four to six people.

As the slopes of Jackson Hole became more crowded and its population became, by some measures, the wealthiest in the United States, there was a marked overflow of homebuyers across Teton Pass into Idaho. . Those on the Idaho side, near the towns of Driggs and Victor, can choose to ski Jackson and brave the pass – whose steep slopes are often frosted with snow – or head to Greater Targhee, moreover. more popular. The resort town, still sleepy compared to Jackson Hole, has ambitious expansion plans. The first stop is the new six-passenger Colter Elevator, which leads to Peaked Mountain. This will be the first elevator-served pitch to open in Targhee in 20 years. The new 600 acres give Targhee 30% more surface area and offer steeper pitches compared to most of the resort. Colter will allow skiers to access terrain previously only accessible via Targhee’s now retired snow cats, whose steps allow them to carry people across the snow.

The new six-person high-speed chairlift replaces what was New Hampshire’s first high-speed chairlift. It will be the first detachable lift built in the United States by French MND Ropeways and will feature ergonomic seats from Porsche Design Studio, as well as a bubble that can be lowered over the chair to protect riders from New Hampshire winter winds.

As Whitefish, formerly known as Big Mountain, became more popular, it coped by building its base and accommodation – the next phase is upgrading its lifts. To reach the top of the resort and its more interesting terrain, skiers in the new Base Lodge area had to pack at least two chairs. The six-person Snow Ghost chair fixes that, as it will transport up to 2,200 skiers per hour straight from Base Lodge to near the summit in seven minutes. Snow Ghost replaces Chair 4, which ended lower in the mountain and was installed in 1978, before Base Lodge was built as the central point of the station.

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