Stowe Mountain Resort will build a new high-speed quad chairlift on Mt. Mansfield this summer that will give skiers and riders better access to most of Stowe's trails.
The new lift will replace Stowe's FourRunner, a high-speed quad built in 1988, and will be ready to operate when the resort opens for skiing and riding next season.
The lift will be a Doppelmayr, as is the existing FourRunner Quad; the project will cost $6 million; the new chairlift line will follow the existing path to the summit of Mt. Mansfield; but the loading and unloading terminals will be repositioned slightly to improve loading, and trail access. The unloading area will be moved uphill slightly, so skiers and riders will have direct access to Nosedive.
"Our goal is to provide the very best experience possible for all of our guests," Robert McEleney CEO and president of Stowe Mountain Resort, said in a press release. "The terrain on Mount Mansfield is the heart and soul of the resort. This brand-new detachable quad lift will provide superlative lift service to the very best alpine terrain in the East."
"The reason for the replacement is to provide better access to most of our terrain," Stowe's Jeff Wise told OnTheSnow. "The FourRunner Quad is the one high-speed quad we have that gives skiers and riders access to most of our terrain. The old FourRunner has been the first to open and the last to close, not only every day of season, but for the season-long calendar.
"After 20-plus years, we need a better lift to provide the level of access we think is appropriate. The new lift will also be more reliable, not only from a mechanical standpoint because it's new, but also we're putting more thought into the installation of the towers, and using compression zones to get a lower profile so the lift won't be as subject to wind holds," Wise said.
The new lift will run at 1,000 feet per minute, comparable to the existing chair, but will increase uphill capacity from 1,500 passengers per hour to 2,400 passengers an hour, because of new technology that allows closer spacing of chairs.
Wise said the chairlift also will be 60 percent more efficient in energy use.