The face of Marmot Basin Resort started changing two years ago when the resort installed the top-to-bottom Canadian Rockies Express. Now, a $7 million project will add two more lifts this summer, further upgrading the resort.

The resort plans to run its skiing and snowboarding season until May 1. But upon closing, crews will immediately begin installing the two new lifts.

"Once we shut down, we go hard and heavy on the lifts to be ready for opening on Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, 2011," Vice President Brian Rode told OnTheSnow. "We are a mountain on the move."

The project involves more than adding two lifts, due to the fact that the resort sits in Jasper National Park. Protection of the ground cover and flora is paramount, requiring the resort to move equipment over snow and perform extensive reclamation around towers and terminals. "If and when the snow disappears, everything is moved by air," added Rode. "We make no impact to the surface ground. That's a good thing, because we're preserving what's really attractive to people."

The lift improvements include one new high-speed lift and one triple lift swap. The new high-speed Paradise Express quad will be located further north of the current Paradise Triple Chair. The base of the lift will be lower, making it much more accessible for those crossing from mid-mountain. "It'll be a longer lift with 42 percent more lift, but the ride time is shorter," said Rode. "Instead of the seven-minute ride on the existing Paradise Lift, the new one is a 4.6-minute ride. This will accommodate a lot of people who like to ski just in the upper area."

The current Paradise Triple Lift will be removed and used to replace the School House T-bar. "We're taking real ideal novice learning terrain and replacing the T-bar with a chairlift, which will make it so much better for those skiers," said Rode.

Skiers and snowboarders heading to Marmot Basin this spring will find a strong snow pack, due to a good winter of snow and the fact that the Canadian Rockies hold their snow far longer than many other ski areas on the continent. "Snow conditions are superb," added Rode. "We're going to have great skiing right through the end."

Marmot new lifts 2011

This map shows the placement of Marmot Basin's two new lifts with dotted lines. Photo: Marmot Basin Resort.