Alyeska, Anchorage's backyard resort with 1,400 acres of rideable terrain, a 2,500-foot vertical, and nine uphill conveyances, including a 60-passenger aerial tram, has plunked down more than $3 million over the off-season to improve its lift system for the coming season.

Chairlift #3 is being replaced with a fixed-grip Dopelmayr quad. The new lift alignment places the unloading station halfway between the old top station and the top of Lift #7. The bottom station has been moved closer to the Sitzmark deck. The new lift will provide greater uphill capacity while eliminating a large amount of stops per ride due to passenger loading and unloading.

Chairlift #7 was modified to include a midway unloading station and a conveyor loading system at the bottom station. These improvements will allow better utilization of the terrain for lower-level skiers and boarders and allow the lift to be operated at a higher speed than in the past.

The redesigned lift also will provide a more streamlined point for kids and adults accessing the beginner lift directly behind the Hotel Alyeska. This will provide guests learning to ride a much easier loading and unloading experience and, one hopes, encourage them to come for another go or two at it.

Alyeska's upgraded lift system will be able to whisk more than 10,000 people per hour up to the slopes this winter.