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|You can pretend you don't care what's happening in chairlift upgrades. But let's see you spend a season without chairlifts. See. That's what we figured.|
Chairlifts may not be the most glamorous aspect of skiing, but they sure are crucial. With that in mind, we decided to take a look at what's new in the world of chairlifts for this winter.
This small ski area in British Columbia is doubling its terrain and increasing its vertical this winter, thanks to a hand-me-down chairlift that served for many years as Vail's Chair 5. At Whitewater, the chair will turn the backside bowl, which was previously ski-down-and-hitchhike-back-up-the-road sidecountry terrain, into lift-accessed. "It's not like it was a secret stash," says Whitewater local Ken Roy. "On good snow days, people would just clog the road trying to get rides back to the base."
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
A-Basin is replacing their slow triple Exhibition chair with a new higher-speed quad called Black Mountain Express. The new chair will cut ride time from nine to three minutes and capacity will increase by 20 percent. A-Basin locals, don't fear: Your beloved Palaviccini chair is remaining untouched.
The Canyons, Utah
We've covered this already, but the Canyons is installing North America's first heated chairlift. The good news is that the chair will whisk skiers to the top of the mountain in a mere nine minutes and will increase uphill capacity by 47 percent.
Silverton Mountain, Colorado
Silverton's one chairlift, a double bought from Mammoth Mountain over 10 years ago, is already a legend in the ski world, but it does occasionally have a lift line. So owners Jen and Aaron Brill have doubled the lift capacity with an infusion of chairs bought from Park City.
Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire
New Hampshire's state-owned Cannon Mountain recently orchestrated a land swap with the federal government to acquire neighboring Mittersill, a small ski hill closed since the 1980s. It will be connected to Cannon with a new double chair the state is building. Management plans to keep it ungroomed, backcountry-like terrain -- just with a lift.