Amid crappy snowfall, crowded slopes and customer complaints, the chairs will keep spinning and the resorts will keep investing millions on the dream that the snow will return and skiing will last forever. Here’s what’s new for ski areas in 2022/23!
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to Replace Thunder Quad Chairlift
That slow quad to the top is getting an upgrade. Thunder quad installed in 1994 will be replaced with a new high-speed Leitner-Poma quad this summer. It will transport guests 1,000 feet per minute, 1454 vertical feet, twice the velocity of the original Thunder, and cut riders’ time down to 3.6 minutes. The new lift will have a contour load, similar to the Teton lift, as well as a contour unload.
“The Thunder lift has been the most popular lift on the upper mountain, and it delivers access to some of the legendary terrain JHMR is known for. The new Thunder lift will dramatically cut down on skiers’ and snowboarders’ time spent waiting in line and on the lift,” said JHMR President, Mary Kate Buckley. “This substantial investment is being made to improve lift waiting times and give our guests more time on snow.”
Construction and installation is pending final Forest Service approval but JHMR expects to load test the new Thunder lift in October.
Big Sky Resort
Access to the Lone Peak Tram will still not be included with tickets, Ikon and Mountain Collective Passes, and most season passes. For 22/23, you must do autocharge to ride; no more Access Packs. The lines have just been too long and people have been waiting hours at times. So next season, to ride the Tram on any given day, guests must enable Autocharge on their pass or ticket to be charged when entering the access gate to load the Tram. The price will change depending on the day (holiday, weekend, etc). And once you scan, you are committed to the charge, even if you only get one lap. But hopefully, this sitch is only temporary.
Relief in sight:
Coming by 2025, is an all-new tram that will carry folks from the base, ALL THE WAY to Lone Peak!
Big Sky is replacing the original Explorer double chair with a 10-person, two-stage gondola (ie midstation) that will whisk skiers into Powder Seeker Bowl. At the top, they can transfer to the Lone Peak Tram which will be repositioned next to the gondola station. The new tram breaks ground this summer 2022. This tram won’t just be for winter riders. Foot guests in summer and winter will be able to ride and experience the panoramic views from an all-glass viewing platform at the Peak.
Big Sky skiers will finally have on-mountain dining as well. A new food and beverage hub will be located at the connection point between the gondola and tram; the mid-station of the new gondola will house an the Big Sky Mountain Sports School, dining area, magic carpets, and rentals.
Snowbird is replacing old red and old blue this summer. After 50 years of busting millions of skiers and snowboarders to 11,000-foot Hidden Peak, the resort’s iconic aerial cabins are getting an upgrade. After two years of planning with The Doppelmayr Group, the new Tram cabins are making their way from Olten, Switzerland, to the Wasatch and will be ready for pedestrian transport this summer.
Floor-to-ceiling windows, a rooftop balcony for summer foot passengers and three glass floor panels in each cabin. The summertime rooftop deck will be the first of its kind in the United States, allowing 15 guests to enjoy unobstructed 360-degree views of Peruvian Gulch, Mount Superior and more as an upgrade to their scenic Tram ride. Finally, the Tram drive system will receive a complete technological upgrade.
“As Snowbird celebrates its 50th Anniversary, we are recognizing both our storied past and making a thrilling upgrade to our iconic Aerial Tram,” said Snowbird President and General Manager Dave Fields.
Epic Resorts’ Plans
We’ve already mentioned what Alterra is doing. Well, here’s what Vail Resorts has planned for 22/23. It’s a given to say that these lift ‘upgrades’ are meant to ease the stress on lines and crowds their areas saw this season.
Keystone‘s Bergman Bowl will get 16 new trails, a ski patrol facility, snowmaking infrastructure, and a new high-speed 6-person chairlift. The Outpost restaurant is adding 300 more indoor seats and 75 more outdoor seats for guests.
Whistler Blackcomb will upgrade the 6-person Creekside Gondola to a high-speed 10-person gondola and replace the Big Red Express with a high-speed 6-person chair.
Northstar’s Comstock Lift becomes a new high-speed 6-person chair.
Heavenly‘s North Bowl Lift will become a high-speed quad.
Vail will introduce the Sun Down Lift, a new high-speed quad to reduce wait times at Chair 5, and the lift in Game Creek Bowl will be upgraded to a new high-speed 6-person lift.
Breckenridge’s Rip’s Ride goes from a fixed-grop double to a high-speed quad at Peak 8.
Over at Park City, the Silverlode Express goes from a 6-pack to a high-speed 8-person chair and the Eagle Lift will turn into a high-speed 6 pack chair with a new alignment and mid-station, replacing the existing lift and hopefully making it easier for guests to access the mountain from the base area.
Stowe is adding a high-speed 6-person Mountain Lift to replace a fixed-grip triple and eliminate the steep hike to the current lift.
Mount Snow will replace two fixed-grip triples, the Sundance and Tumbleweed lifts, with a new high-speed 6-person lift and upgrading the Sunbrook Lift to a high-speed 4-person chair.
Attitash is replacing the East & West Double-Double with a fixed-grip quad chair.
Jack Frost and Big Boulder, PA, are getting five lift upgrades. Three new fixed-grip 4-person chairs at Frost (one to replace the B & C lifts, another to replace the E & F lifts, and the third to replace the East 1&2 doubles), and two fixed-grip 4-person chairs to replace the Merry Widow 1 & 1 doubles and the Edelweiss Triple at BB.
Boston Mills and Brandywine in Ohio also get some love. BM will get a new fixed-grip 4-person chair replacing the Lift 5 double. At Brandywine, a new fixed-grip 4-person chair will replace the Lift 3 triple.