Mount Snow has made it official. The historic resort in West Dover, Vt., has accepted a bid to replace the aging Summit Local triple chair with a brand-new, high-speed, Leitner Poma six-pack bubble chair that will whisk passengers to the top of the mountain in 7 minutes.
OnTheSnow broke the news of the new lift in a story Feb. 25.
Peak Resorts bought Mount Snow three years ago, and in a carefully thought-out process has focused first on snow, then on lifts.
"Our goal at Mount Snow is to provide the best possible product for our guests," Jesse Boyd, VP of Operations for Peak Resorts, said in a press release announcing the details of the new lift project.
Boyd continued: "We are continuously making upgrades to our infrastructure to ensure a quality experience for our guests. We feel that installing this state-of-the-art chairlift in order to increase our high-speed capacity out of the main base area is in line with this commitment."
Peak Resorts, owner of Mount Snow, has spent $10 million on the resort since acquiring it three years ago. The cost of the new lift is pegged at $8 million.
Most of the investment to date has been in 254 state-of-the-art snowmaking fan guns, which have paid off in superb skiing surfaces and the ability to open trails with edge-to-edge cover early in the season, when temperatures are marginal for turning water into snow.
The new six-pack will become Mount Snow's main access to the 3,600-foot-high summit, with the Grand Summit Express high-speed quad operating on busy holidays and weekends, and serving as backup.
The six-pack lift will have a ride time of 7 minutes, reducing the ride time of the fixed-grip Summit Local -- built in 1978 -- by nearly half.
The new lift's bubble chairs look like conventional chairlifts but have a plastic shield, or bubble, that encloses the chair and protects passengers from the elements. Bubble chairs offer protection similar to gondolas, but also have the convenience of ski-on, ski-off loading and unloading.
"Let's face it, Vermont has its cold days," said Kelly Pawlak, Mount Snow General Manager. "After review of several lifts, I believe this six-pack lift best meets our needs. Its bubble chairs will provide protection on cold days without slowing down the loading process."
With construction of this lift, Mount Snow will have three high-speed lifts in its main base area -- the new six-pack, the Grand Summit Express, and the Canyon Express -- with a total uphill capacity of 8,100 skiers per hour. Mount Snow also has a high-speed quad at Carinthia, the Nitro Express, serving that area's terrain parks and serving as the main access to the return route from Carinthia to the main base area.
Plans call for running the six-pack chairs off the line every night and storing them in a heated barn. The advantages: The barn's steady temperature helps to prevent fogging and ice build up on the bubbles; and should the mountain receive icing overnight, the lift line can be quickly de-iced, and the lift will be able to operate as soon as the chairs are deployed.
Plans call for the lift to follow the path of the existing Summit Local. Its loading area will be moved uphill closer to the trails, to make more room in the base area. At the top, the chairs will make a 90-degree turn to the left before unloading passengers onto a slight downhill grade leading south, in the direction of Little John. Skiers and snowboarders will turn slightly left to reach Exhibition; make a sharp left and ski back under the lift to reach Cascade; or turn right and ski base the Summit Lodge to reach the North Face.
Mount Snow also will upgrade the Grand Summit Express. The loading terminal at the base of the mountain will be enclosed to shield guests from weather, and all 172 chairs will be replaced with new chairs that feature safety bars and footrests.
Deconstruction of the Summit Local will begin this month while snow remains on the trails, easing the process of removal, and minimizing environmental impacts.
Peak Resorts owns and operates 12 resorts: Attitash, Crotched Mountain, and Wildcat in New Hampshire; Boston Mills, Brandywine, and Mad River Mountain in Ohio; Hidden Valley and Snow Creek in Missouri; Big Boulder and Jack Frost in Pennsylvania; Paoli Peaks in Indiana; and Mount Snow in Vermont.
More information call 802-464-3333.