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Ski Resort Life

The 14 New Chairlifts We’re Looking Forward to Riding This Winter

Despite news to the contrary, there are lots of new lifts coming online this season. We're stoked on these.

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With Whistler’s delayed gondola debut, Park City’s canceled lifts, and Keystone’s no-go on the much-anticipated terrain expansion, it feels like there’s been an awful lot of bad news in the run up to the 2022-’23 season. 

We’re here with your silver lining: There are a lot of new lifts, and even some expanded terrain, coming online this winter. Here’s what you can look forward to as you click into your planks at ski resorts across North America.

Top Capital Improvements (That Are Actually Happening) This Season

 

Snow Ghost Express, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Mont.

The independently owned Northern Montana ski area is finally getting an express six-seater. This season’s Snow Ghost Express will replace Chair 4, which has been hauling skiers since 1978, and will run from the resort’s base area to the summit of Inspiration Ridge. Ride time will be a scant seven minutes, which is no small matter if you’re familiar with a typical Whitefish winter. Status: Opening in mid-December, conditions permitting

Rip’s Ride, Breckenridge Resort, Colo.

Rip’s Ride has been replaced with high-speed quad, and although it serves beginner terrain, this crucial lift will also help disperse skiers out of the popular Peak 8 base, making it a more important upgrade than it appears on the surface. Status: The new Rip’s Ride is already up and running.

Base-to-Base Gondola and Red Dog Quad, Palisades Tahoe, Calif.

Red Dog lift Palisades
The old Red Dog on a powder day. (Photo: Courtesy of Palisades Tahoe)

The Base-to-Base Gondola connecting Palisades with sister resort Alpine Meadows finally debuts this season. The 16-minute ride lets people disembark at the KT-22 mid-station, and allows skiers to more easily access both sides of the resort without having to drive or shuttle. Also, the Red Dog quad will be upgraded to high-speed six-seater. Status: The Base-to-Base is scheduled to open on Dec. 17; the Red Dog Express is scheduled for mid-December.

Creekside Gondola, Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.

Creekside gondola
(Photo: Vail Resorts/Christie Fitzpatrick)

The Creekside Gondola might be delayed, but it will open this season, especially now that the haul rope is off the ship and en route to the resort. The Creekside gondola upgrade will replace the old six-person gondy with eight-person cabins, increasing uphill capacity out of the popular Creekside base by 35 percent.

Game Creek Express and Sun Down Express, Vail Mountain, Colo.

Vail Mountain’s two lift upgrades—Game Creek Express and Sun Down Express—help skiers access the resort’s excellent bowl skiing. Game Creek is an upgrade from a quad to a high-speed six-pack, Sun Down is a new lift that connects Sun Up and Sun Down bowls to Wildwood, easing the way to the Back Bowls. Status: Depending on conditions, early December for Game Creek and mid- to late-December for Sun Down.

Colter Lift, Grand Targhee, Wyo.

Targhee’s first new lift and terrain expansion in over 20 years, the Colter Lift will debut on Peaked Mountain and will access 600 acres of former cat skiing or hike-to terrain. The new terrain is mostly intermediate to advanced, with a couple of double-blacks for added challenge. The expansion increased the resort’s skiable acres by a legit 30 percent. Status: The resort hasn’t shared a date yet.

Sundance Express, Mount Snow, Vt.

The lift upgrade at Mount Snow this season will greatly impact skier flow and lift lines. The resort is replacing the Sundance and Tumbleweed fixed-grip lifts with a high-speed six-pack, which will increase uphill capacity by a whopping 70 percent and greatly ease base area congestion. Status: TBD

Chair 9 (Plunge Lift), Telluride Ski Resort, Colo.

The resort’s iconic Plunge lift (Chair 9), an old fixed-grip triple, is getting retired this season, and a new high-speed quad will take its place. The new lift will nearly half the current ride time, taking it down to a brisk seven minutes. Status: The chair is scheduled to open in late December.

North Bowl Express, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Calif.

The North Bowl Express replaces the old fixed-grip triple that’s been hauling skiers for decades.  The upgrade will increase uphill capacity by 40 percent and help to ease congestion at the nearby Stagecoach and Olympic lifts, too. Status: The resort is aiming to fire up the new lift in mid-December.

Wildwood Quad and Terrain Expansion, Sundance Resort, Utah

(Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Resort)

Sundance is amplifying its beginner and intermediate terrain for the season, unveiling 40 new acres featuring 10 green and blue trails accessed by the fixed-grip Wildwood Quad. This south-facing terrain pod is higher up on the slopes, thus more snow sure, and offering beautiful views for skiers still getting their legs under them. Status: TBD

Comstock Express, Northstar Resort, Calif.

This Tahoe resort is zeroing in on improving skier flow on a mountain chokepoint with the upgrade of the Comstock quad to a high-speed six-pack. The improvement will nearly double uphill capacity and greatly ease congestion at this popular mid-mountain spot. Status: Scheduled to open Nov. 25, conditions permitting.

Sunrise Express, Stowe Mountain Resort, Vt.

Replacing a fixed-grip Mountain Triple with the Sunrise high-speed six-seater will likely have a positive effect on queues at the Mansfield base this winter. The resort has also extended the lift down the Mansfield base lodge, eliminating the annoying hike. No complaints there. Status: TBD