Originally Posted by bunion
One thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to Boyne, there are actually 2 Boynes.
Steve Kircher and John Kircher.
John Kircher is and has been involved with Crystal Mtn. Steve is and has been involved with Big Sky since John moved to Washington.
Since John left, there has not been a lift added that wasn't a real estate lift. This summer that is changing.
Big Skys newest high speed lift, Swiftcurrent, is 10 years old. The other 2 High Speeds (Ramcharger and Thunderwolf are more like 15 years old. The Sountern Comfort high speed (paid for by the Y/C) is much newer. Big Sky's infrastructure (lifts) is aging.
Brighton, while owned by Boyne is mostly operated by the Doyle family. Boyne pretty well stays out of the major decisions. There has never been much real estate potential at Brighton, or Cypress.
Respectfully, Big Sky needed accomodations after JK left and needed to round out its offerings. With over 3,600 acres of skiing and only 300,000 skiers Big Sky has likely the lowest per acre skier counts of any public ski area in the US and thus there wasn't much to add. However, Sounthern Comfort was needed to be upgraded and paid 100% for by Boyne/Big Sky Resort and we did that in 2004/2005.
Just again clarify, the information about the Southern Comfort High Speed is not accurate. Big Sky Resort and Boyne USA paid for the entire cost of the Southern Comfort Lift. Big Sky has a development partnership with Spanish Peaks to allow access to Big Sky and there are certain reinumerations from Spanish Peaks for that access that are to be paid. Y/C had nothing to do with any aspect of the transaction.
This summer the New Dakota lift is going to be a pure skiers lift and will create much better access to the glade skiing of the Bavarian Forest and much better returns from the new Dakota Bowl and out of bounds skiing of Wyoming Bowl. This is a completely reworked triple fixed grip which came from Soc Co. The line speed will be higher as will the caliber of skier making for a much more enjoyable ride. It is also much shorter and thus a very good access lift to additional terrain. Future plans to call for a very low volume lift to access the Liberty, Marx and Lenin to back up the Tram and create the ability to stay on that side of the Mountain for extended periods. Big Sky is planning as part of this lift (hopefully in 2008) a small restuarant near the top of Shedhorn. Large deck and great views too.
It should be noted that Big Sky Resort and Boyne are also planning several new lifts for 2008 and beyond including a major update to the gondola creating direct or near direct tram access and an on mountain restaurant at the top of the bowl (which provides year round access to Lone Peak). Note also that high speeds are being evaluated for a new extended Explorer lift and the bowl. However, at 5m per high speed and 12-14m for gondolas they don't come cheaply.