Franklin Countys First News

Sugarloaf: Spillway East to be replaced by new quad lift

Photographer took a few rides up on the Spillway East chairlift yesterday at Sugarloaf. (Photo by Stephan Mitman)

CARRABASSETT VALLEY - Sugarloaf announced today it's building a new $3 million quad lift to replace the Spillway East lift line that deroped on Dec. 28, 2010, and dropped five chairs to the ground and sent eight people to the hospital. The lift has since been repaired, inspected and reopened two days ago.

The new lift will be a fixed-grip, quad chairlift built by Dopplemayr, and will be installed next summer in the same path as the existing Spillway East lift and, running next to it, the Spillway West lift.

Replacing the older lifts installed in the 1970s has been part of Sugarloaf's decade of planned development upgrades that was announced last summer. A total of $4.3 million in off-season upgrades at Sugarloaf, which will include additional lift-upgrades, and the continued expansion of new terrain on Burnt Mountain, located next to Sugarloaf Mountain.

According to Sugarloaf, the new quad to be installed is the fastest fixed-grip lift on the market. The lift will travel 3,746 feet, rise 1,457 vertical feet, feature a total of 16 towers, and will be powered by a 400 horsepower motor. An additional 400 horsepower Cummins Diesel engine will serve as a backup.

The new lift has been designed to be as wind-resistant as possible. It will travel at a lower height, and will be installed closer to the treeline to reduce its exposure to wind. The specially designed chairs will be heavier than a standard four-person chair, making them more wind-resistant and less susceptible to chair-swing.

The presence of this new, high-capacity quad in the center of the mountain is expected to rebalance the flow of uphill traffic on the mountain, thus reducing pressure on other lifts and decreasing lift lines across the mountain during peak times.

Deconstruction of the existing Spillway lift is scheduled to begin in May, following the completion of the current ski season. Construction of the new lift is scheduled to be completed by mid-November.

In addition to the new lift installation, Sugarloaf has also allocated $150,000 to upgrade the drive systems in the Sugarloaf SuperQuad. The upgrades, which will convert the systems from analog to digital, will result in more reliable and consistent operation, with fewer stoppages.

Sugarloaf will also continue work on its terrain expansion to Burnt Mountain this summer, with an additional 135 acres of glades scheduled to open for 2011-2012. Phase Two of the Burnt Mountain expansion will provide access to a second above-treeline area at the summit of Burnt, and will open new lines on some of the steepest and most challenging terrain at Sugarloaf. The new terrain will bring Sugarloaf’s total acreage to 1056 developed, skiable acres, the most in the East.

Sugarloaf is operated by Boyne Resorts, and is owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties.

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  1. Great news. Looking forward to the new ride to the top!

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