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Best lift systems.

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I know it's a bit geeky but I love the way some resorts publish the vertical and time of their lifts (Sun Valley and Snowmass for example). Do any other mountains do this?
Sun Valley's Lookout Express lift is certainly express with a vertical gain of 2670ft in just 5 minutes. I can't find anything that quick in other resorts but most don't publish the data.
Any idea of where to find that info? Anyone point me to a quicker lift? Or a better lift system than Sun Valley?
post #2 of 29

You might look around Liftblog.  Doesn't have every ski area, but has info on lifts for a lot of places.

 

https://liftblog.com/lift-database/

 

When I saw the lift stats on the Aspen/Snowmass trail maps, that was a first.  So relatively rare, even at destination resorts.  I've noticed that no matter how slow or fast lifts are, it's rare to find out with a ride time on a chairlift of much more than 12 min.  Most rides are 5-8 min.  But 8 min on an old fixed double doesn't get you nearly as far as on a detachable quad or six-pack.

post #3 of 29

Lookout Express is not five minutes and never has been. More like eight or nine. I don't know where the five minutes on the map came from.

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
@Bill Miles. You're raining on my parade!
Even so the lift system seems impressive. I will check it out first hand early 2017.
Marznc - thanks for the link.
post #5 of 29

Sun Valley has a great lift system and steep terrain to take advantage of if you like racking up the vertical, especially the Challenger lift on the Warm Springs side of the mountain.  I believe that Snowbird also gives out this information on their trail maps.  Snowbird is steep too and is my favorite mountain for big vertical as all of the lifts are fast and they all service great terrain.

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 


​^^^^^^^^

After a quick look at the liftblog site and particularly the mountains that have a number of lifts that gain over 1500 vertical feet quickly it appears Sun Valley does in fact have the most - more than Snowbird even. Of course the aerial trams are another league altogether - they travel at twice the speed of a high speed quad. I remember long lines for the tram at Snowbird so maybe that cancels the advantage out somewhat?

Those stats also tell a story about the average steepness of a hill too I guess.

Whistler eats a lot of vertical too apparently. I do recall do plenty of skiing per day day both times I was there.

I'd be interested to see the stats on lifts at Telluride and Mammoth if anyone can point me in that direction?

post #7 of 29

A long steep chair, such as at Sun Valley, beats a Tram such as Snowbirds due to such factors as schlepping your ski across the deck (and across the bridge in late season) and thru the maze, lines, and just missing the outgoing tram and having to wait another ten minutes.

 

Back to back Trams at Snowbird, can do three laps per hour with no lines= 8700 vertical/hour.

 

Challenger lift at Sun Valley, can do four laps per hour with no lines=12,500 vertical/hour.

 

I can't keep either up all day of course.

 

Mammoth won't do as well, in myh limited experince, since their lifts are shorter althoughy numerous.

post #8 of 29

Telluride has fast lifts, except in the one spot where it would be needed the most...supposedly, the locals like Lift 9 just the way it is.  However, I think upgrading that lift to a detachable high-speed quad would be a significant improvement.  A 13-14 minute lift ride should be a thing of the past.

 

One other resource you might look into:

 

https://jollyturns.com/resorts/

post #9 of 29
Pretty sure Telluride mountain including the lift info is on wikipedia. Probably a bunch of other resorts too
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
I don't remember Alta's lifts feeling as slow as they apparently are. I'm glad I got it during the week at the end of the season. I imagine crowds would overwhelm the lift system quickly.
Thanks for the other link.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post

I don't remember Alta's lifts feeling as slow as they apparently are. I'm glad I got it during the week at the end of the season. I imagine crowds would overwhelm the lift system quickly.
Thanks for the other link.


Well, the Supreme triple is certainly not a speedy lift.  It's all relative.  The lifts at Alta used to be really slow.  When I started skiing there regularly in 2008, I was very glad the Collins lift had replaced the previous pair of lifts needed to reach the top.  Pretty sure the old Sugarloaf chair was a lot slower too.

 

Certainly true that lift lines on weekends at Alta can mean waiting 10-15 minutes when conditions are good enough to bring out locals as well as travelers.

 

One reason some people like Snowbird over Alta is that Snowbird has more high speed lifts.

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 


Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Well, the Supreme triple is certainly not a speedy lift.  It's all relative.  The lifts at Alta used to be really slow.  When I started skiing there regularly in 2008, I was very glad the Collins lift had replaced the previous pair of lifts needed to reach the top.  Pretty sure the old Sugarloaf chair was a lot slower too.

 

Certainly true that lift lines on weekends at Alta can mean waiting 10-15 minutes when conditions are good enough to bring out locals as well as travelers.

 

One reason some people like Snowbird over Alta is that Snowbird has more high speed lifts.

My family of intermediates did Alta/Snowbird late last March. We only ventured to Mineral Basin at Snowbird and that area was impressive. It had obviously had some freeze overnight so I can't wait to ski it in winter conditions. This time around we'll try Snowbird proper for a day. I suspect it will be too advanced for us generally (specifically my wife who likes open wide cruisers best). The Gadzoom area looks like it may have something for us.

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post
 


Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Well, the Supreme triple is certainly not a speedy lift.  It's all relative.  The lifts at Alta used to be really slow.  When I started skiing there regularly in 2008, I was very glad the Collins lift had replaced the previous pair of lifts needed to reach the top.  Pretty sure the old Sugarloaf chair was a lot slower too.

 

Certainly true that lift lines on weekends at Alta can mean waiting 10-15 minutes when conditions are good enough to bring out locals as well as travelers.

 

One reason some people like Snowbird over Alta is that Snowbird has more high speed lifts.

My family of intermediates did Alta/Snowbird late last March. We only ventured to Mineral Basin at Snowbird and that area was impressive. It had obviously had some freeze overnight so I can't wait to ski it in winter conditions. This time around we'll try Snowbird proper for a day. I suspect it will be too advanced for us generally (specifically my wife who likes open wide cruisers best). The Gadzoom area looks like it may have something for us.


Gad2 is a good lift for intermediates wanting to get away from the crowd.  But not exactly wide trails.  If there is fresh snow, consider wandering over to Baby Thunder.  There are short trails over there for all ability levels.  The blacks with deep snow tend to stay untouched for a while since advanced skiers spend there time elsewhere

post #14 of 29

Kicking Horse 12 minutes up, 4133 down. Almost all black or above. Even  7or 8 laps is a decent day. That 12 minute gondola rest is great.

post #15 of 29

Okemo in VT used to publish ride times, and their sister resort at Mt Sunapee still has them listed on their trail map online.

 

The big problem is the max line speed and the actual running speed of a lift are often not even close.

 

I read in an interview once at Snowmass determines the type of lift they will install based on the desire to keep all lift rides roughly around 8 minutes. Enough time to cool down on tough terrain, but not long enough to freeze. 

 

Wildcat hypes the speed of the Express with an actual ride time in frequent publications.

 

Steep lifts tend to make for much faster rides, as is the case at Sun Valley. The FourRunner at Stowe, Wildcat's Express, North Peak at Loon, North Ridge at Mt Ellen, and Skye Peak and Superstar at Killington are all steep HSQ here in New England. The FourRunner is probably theist lift in VT in terms of ride time and terrain variety.

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by noncrazycanuck View Post
 

Kicking Horse 12 minutes up, 4133 down.

 

That's amazing.  My type of lift right there.  (except for the lift lines that are prone to develop as a result)

post #17 of 29

The upper gondola at Revelstoke covers approx. 2900' vertical in 7.5 minutes, but that is not my favourite.

 

The Burfield fixed grip quad chair at Sun Peaks covers 2894' vertical in 22 minutes making it the slowest quad chair that you have ever been on. Most people ride it once and never come back, making it one of the least ridden chairs ever. It can be busy in the rest of the resort (the village is a couple of miles away) and you have no way of knowing. The Burfield base has its own boot change area and washrooms. You can show up at noon and even during the Xmas holidays you are likely to find a parking spot in the 30 space parking lot. I often wait on a powder day to show up after 10:30 due to skiing other parts of the mountain, and still can find untouched black diamond runs under the Burfield chair.;)

post #18 of 29
Crystal mountain in Washington. The mount rainier gondola is 9:30 with 2460' climb
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Dano T - that Burfield chair sounds like torture!

Some of the gondolas travel much quicker than the high speed quads by the look of it.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post

Dano T - that Burfield chair sounds like torture!

Some of the gondolas travel much quicker than the high speed quads by the look of it.

On cold days I dress for long lonesome rides on the Burf while the wimps ride the high speed lexan dome equipped Sunburst quad chair (aka the Bubble) out of the Sun Peaks Village 2 miles away.

post #21 of 29

Snowbasin published ride times for a few years back when the lifts were new.  They rarely run them full speed any more but 10k an hour of mostly black terrain is still pretty doable on John Paul quad.

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by noncrazycanuck View Post
 

Kicking Horse 12 minutes up, 4133 down. Almost all black or above. Even  7or 8 laps is a decent day. That 12 minute gondola rest is great.


I like Kicking Horse a lot too but the Gondola is only 3500 vertical feet.  To get the 4133 vertical you have to take another lift and hike a bit.

 

Revy does have a fast and steep gondola as Dano T mentioned.  Whistler's gondola also deserves a mention, it is 3800 vertical feet with a 15 minute ride time.  Aspen's gondola is 3300 vertical feet with a 13 minute ride time.

 

As other have said, you get to the top faster if you don't have to take off/on your skis.  Top vertical lifts in US (per skilifts.org)

1 - Sun Valley Resort - Idaho - 10 Challenger - High Speed Quad - Doppelmayr - 3,142
2 - Sun Valley Resort - Idaho - 5 Lookout Express - High Speed Quad - Doppelmayr - 2,673
3 - Stevens Pass - Washington - Double Diamond/Southern Cross - Triple - CTEC - 2,466
4 - Snowbasin - Utah - John Paul Express - High Speed Quad - Doppelmayr - 2,435
5 - Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort - Utah - Peruvian Express - High Speed Quad - Doppelmayr CTEC - 2,421
6 - Mount Bachelor - Oregon - Northwest Express - High Speed Quad - Doppelmayr - 2,336
7 - Keystone Ski Resort - Colorado - Summit Express - High Speed Quad - Doppelmayr - 2,303
8 - Copper Mountain Ski Resort - Colorado - Super Bee - High Speed Six - Poma - 2,293
9 - Snowmass - Colorado - Sheer Bliss - High Speed Quad - Leitner-Poma - 2,212
10 - Snowmass - Colorado - Village Express - High Speed Six - Leitner-Poma - 2,174

 

Some of the steepest lifts are FG lifts:

Solitude - Utah - Honeycomb Return

Moonlight Basin - Montana - Headwaters

Alpine Meadows - California - Scott
Stevens Pass - Washington - Tye Mill
Mount Baker - Washington - Chair 5
Aspen Highlands - Colorado - Deep Termerity

 

I don't have a list of the steepest high speed lifts.  In practice, longer lifts get you more skiing due to time to load/unload.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post

Dano T - that Burfield chair sounds like torture!

Some of the gondolas travel much quicker than the high speed quads by the look of it.

On cold days I dress for long lonesome rides on the Burf while the wimps ride the high speed lexan dome equipped Sunburst quad chair (aka the Bubble) out of the Sun Peaks Village 2 miles away.


heard they used to supply blankets in the Todd days (I never got one) but I did share the ride on more than one occasion with someone who got frostbite. 

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by noncrazycanuck View Post
 


heard they used to supply blankets in the Todd days (I never got one) but I did share the ride on more than one occasion with someone who got frostbite. 

 

The original two seat Burfield opened in 1961 (pre dates Whistler) and was an 18 minute ride for its first 15 years, slowed to 20 minutes (if it didn't break down) in its final 15 years of operating to mitigate wear and tear. At a 360/hour uphill capacity the powder could not be skied off in a day. Nowadays that is still a possibility due to slow speed plus lots of empty chairs on many mid week powder days.

 

The blankets that I remember from the 70s were blanket lined canvas capes. This was in the days before synthetic underwear, Goretex, Polartec, or offset baffled down jackets or even warm up pants.

post #25 of 29

Chair #1 at Aspen Mountain was probably the longest (in time) ride in ski resort history.  It climbed 2,540 ft but had 49(!) towers and took 30 minutes if you were lucky.  Other members of my family actually rode it in '66 or '67 before it was closed in 1971.

post #26 of 29
Personally think Vail has killed it with the lift game, all high speeds and I'm not complaining at all!
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockerTwo100 View Post

Personally think Vail has killed it with the lift game, all high speeds and I'm not complaining at all!

Vail is still a second class resort until they replace Wapiti with a conveyor belt.  :D

post #28 of 29


^ I can only imagine what they might charge when that happens

post #29 of 29

From an efficacy standpoint and the terrain opened from a couple of double chairlifts you have to admire what Crystal Mt. has done.

 

High Campbell (Chair 6) opens the whole Southback.

Northway Chair gives the Northback opens up huge amount of country.

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