Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, B.C. is  making the leap from a local ski hill to a regional destination resort. The installation of a new chairlift is one of the first steps to change the resort into a regional hotspot.

The resort began installation of the new Glory Ridge Chair this summer and planned to fly in towers early October. The Dopplemayr triple, a top-drive lift purchased from Vail, required 2,154 feet of cable for power to reach its upper terminal. It will service the terrain known as the Backside and bump the resort's vertical up to 2,042 feet.

"Whitewater has, for a long time, been known as the best snow around, but was lacking the necessary total vertical to draw the hard core tourists. Well, we now have that," Brian Cusack, general manager, told OnTheSnow. "We are still on schedule for the Dec. 1 completion date, which should allow us to open the terrain when it's skiable after then."

The new lift accesses gladed terrain. Cusack described the glades as steep, with some lines topping out at more than 40 degrees. "The lift installer remarked that he would refer to this lift as an elevator because it is so steep," he added.

About half of the new 18 gladed runs accessed by the lift will be available this winter with the other half completed for next year. The treed and groomed runs are for intermediate through expert skiers. "The runs are mostly on a northwest aspect and should benefit from the southwest moisture flow as well as stay cool during the spring," said Cusack.

Other improvements at the resort include the addition of 41 parking spots at the base of the new chair for passholder convenience. Upgrades to lodges have added a new retail outlet and improved the kitchen.