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Challenger lift at Big Sky done for 2015-16, Challenger and Triple replacements for 2016-17

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

After an evacuation was required on the Challenger lift at Big Sky a couple weeks ago, the decision was announced this week that Challenger will not run for the rest of the 2015-16 season.  A planned replacement will be installed over the summer.  Season pass holders and employees were notified by email.  The news was available in local media outlets and Facebook on 2/15/19.  Upper Challenger terrain can still be access via the Headwaters lift over at Moonlight.

 

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/big-sky-resort-to-replace-challenger-lift/article_9d653620-e54e-5175-9051-01d7d6aceb2a.html

 

For those unfamiliar with Challenger, some pics of the existing old double chair:

http://liftblog.com/challenger-big-sky-resort-mt/

 

The other lift that will be replaced over the summer is the Lone Peak Triple that dates from 1973.

 

http://liftblog.com/challenger-big-sky-resort-mt/

 

 

There is some discussion of the location of the planned lifts in the ongoing Big Sky thread.

  http://www.epicski.com/t/145044/big-sky-2015-2016

post #2 of 19

A truly scary ride and amazed they let it survive so long.  Didn't know it was evacuated.  Boyne is certainly having their share of lift issues over past few years.

post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddsski View Post
 

A truly scary ride and amazed they let it survive so long.

The offload sure is fun!

 

https://youtu.be/j6yk_rIz3cM?t=37s

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Great pics of construction underway for the Challenger replacement and the new 6-pack.  Peter took a field trip to Big Sky.

 

https://liftblog.com/2016/06/26/construction-underway-on-new-lifts-at-big-sky/

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

More pics of the on-going lift construction on Lone Peak.

 

https://liftblog.com/2016/08/21/challenger-lone-peak-six-updates-from-big-sky/

post #6 of 19
Rode Challenger once. That was enough. High and no bar. I have a severe 'respect' of heights. I glad to get off it.cool.gif
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square View Post

Rode Challenger once. That was enough. High and no bar. I have a severe 'respect' of heights. I glad to get off it.cool.gif


Heights don't bother me.  But it was a low snow year the first time I was at Big Sky.  That made the landing pad for the Challenger double really small.  With lots and lots of exposed rock to maneuver around.  Glad to know the new landing pad will be bigger.

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Heights don't bother me.  But it was a low snow year the first time I was at Big Sky.  That made the landing pad for the Challenger double really small.  With lots and lots of exposed rock to maneuver around.  Glad to know the new landing pad will be bigger.


+1.  It was dodgy even in a good snow year!  Only did it a couple of times, but with the wind blowing and a black diamond off load ramp to a knife-edge on top I look forward to something a bit easier.

 

Interesting that they have a conveyor at the bottom - should mean a faster dismount . . . 

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
 

Interesting that they have a conveyor at the bottom - should mean a faster dismount . . . 

Didn't remember that there will be conveyor loading for the new Challenger lift.  What do you mean by "faster dismount"?  Assuming you were being serious.  :)

 

The skiers who had problems when the conveyor loading was added to Supreme at Alta were the advanced skiers who are used to trying to move fast when loading.

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Didn't remember that there will be conveyor loading for the new Challenger lift.  What do you mean by "faster dismount"?  Assuming you were being serious.  :)

 

The skiers who had problems when the conveyor loading was added to Supreme at Alta were the advanced skiers who are used to trying to move fast when loading.


Maybe I'm misinterpreting, but Liftblog reports a loading conveyor and the Big Sky site mentions a carpet load.  Presumably that allows the chair to move faster than it otherwise would to pick up skiers. Indeed, Liftblog mentions 25% faster uphill speed. But it's fixed grip, so the chairs won't slow down at the top.  

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Didn't remember that there will be conveyor loading for the new Challenger lift.  What do you mean by "faster dismount"?  Assuming you were being serious.  :)

 

The skiers who had problems when the conveyor loading was added to Supreme at Alta were the advanced skiers who are used to trying to move fast when loading.


Maybe I'm misinterpreting, but Liftblog reports a loading conveyor and the Big Sky site mentions a carpet load.  Presumably that allows the chair to move faster than it otherwise would to pick up skiers. Indeed, Liftblog mentions 25% faster uphill speed. But it's fixed grip, so the chairs won't slow down at the top.  


For a chair that leads to advanced terrain, I would think conveyor loading won't make nearly as much difference as for a lift that has intermediates loading on a regular basis.  The Supreme lift used to stop more often because an intermediate had a problem loading.  Not sure it runs much faster with conveyor loading, but it definitely doesn't stop as often.

 

Personally, I like conveyor loading.  I learned to use one at my home mountain, Massanutten, which is a small ski hill in the southeast with mostly beginner and intermediate skiers.  Made a big difference when the two base lifts had conveyor loading installed several years ago.

post #12 of 19

I'm trying to remember (and I was there last winter)--does Supreme have lift ops bumping chairs or does the conveyor make that unnecessary.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

I'm trying to remember (and I was there last winter)--does Supreme have lift ops bumping chairs or does the conveyor make that unnecessary.


With conveyor loading, the lifties do not handle the chairs at all.  There is still a liftie standing close by in case someone messes up completely.  For instance, every so often someone gets their pole caught in the automatic gate.  Or just gets totally scrambled and ends up sitting on the belt instead of in a chair.  Pretty rare though on Supreme.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Sounds like the construction of the new lifts at Big Sky will get done just in time.  It's already snowed a little.

 

Lots of pics and updates:

https://liftblog.com/2016/09/12/big-sky-flies-towers-for-americas-most-high-tech-chairlift

 

" . . . The new Lone Peak lift will feature contour loading in an improved location and significantly more space at the unload underneath the tram line.  “It’s all about space and ease of access, “says Mike Unruh.  “The lift will have 90 degree loading with load gates and guests will be able to exit right or left after getting off the chair.”  He also told me they’ve created a couple more runs in the bowl that will be groomed using winch cats this winter. . . ."

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Sounds like the construction of the new lifts at Big Sky will get done just in time.  It's already snowed a little.

 

Lots of pics and updates:

https://liftblog.com/2016/09/12/big-sky-flies-towers-for-americas-most-high-tech-chairlift

 

  He also told me they’ve created a couple more runs in the bowl that will be groomed using winch cats this winter. . . ."

 

The additional grooming is great news for the average vacation skier, who are the folks that will use all that added uphill capacity. It adds some above tree line "alpine" skiing that guests really enjoy. it also adds variety by adding some intermediate loose snow skiing and better snow than the lower mountain during warm weather. 

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


With conveyor loading, the lifties do not handle the chairs at all.  There is still a liftie standing close by in case someone messes up completely.  For instance, every so often someone gets their pole caught in the automatic gate.  Or just gets totally scrambled and ends up sitting on the belt instead of in a chair.  Pretty rare though on Supreme.

 

On the Supreme lift, the conveyor runs slightly slower than the chair.  What happens to me is the front of the chair bites my calves at boot-top level at the very end of the load zone.  I need to find the right wax for conveyors, apparently.

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


With conveyor loading, the lifties do not handle the chairs at all.  There is still a liftie standing close by in case someone messes up completely.  For instance, every so often someone gets their pole caught in the automatic gate.  Or just gets totally scrambled and ends up sitting on the belt instead of in a chair.  Pretty rare though on Supreme.

 

On the Supreme lift, the conveyor runs slightly slower than the chair.  What happens to me is the front of the chair bites my calves at boot-top level at the very end of the load zone.  I need to find the right wax for conveyors, apparently.


When you land on the conveyor, do you always keep moving?  My goal is always to go very slowly when the gate opens and stop as soon as I hit the rubber.  Of course, that's easier for me as a lightweight.

 

The first season with the conveyor the gates were opening timed to the chairs even if no one was waiting.  Wasn't a good idea.  Quite a few advanced/expert skiers would ski through the open gates, like they used to do without the conveyor belt.  Needless to say, some of them ended up off the end of the conveyor well before a chair was there to sit on.  Seemed pretty funny to me since my daughter and I had been using conveyor loading at Massanutten.  First place in the Mid-Atlantic to install it. 

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

Video of heli work on the triple on Sept. 10.  There are a bunch of videos on the Big Sky website.

 

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

Both lifts are expected to be ready by Thanksgiving.  That's when Big Sky hopes to be open, weather permitting.  Peter of Liftblog got a special tour recently.  Lots of pics.

 

https://liftblog.com/2016/11/11/first-look-at-big-skys-powder-seeker-six-and-challenger-2-0/

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