| Projects | Archive | 2011-03-09

Sugarloaf: New fixed-grip, quad chairlift

Sugarloaf announces installation of new chairlift, part of $4.3 million in offseason upgrades

New lift to replace Spillway; additional lift and terrain upgrades scheduled

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine  –Sugarloaf officials announced the installation of a new chairlift for the 2011-2012 ski season to replace the existing Spillway chairlifts. The new lift represents the next step in the Sugarloaf 2020 plan, and will be the centerpiece of $4.3 million in offseason upgrades at Sugarloaf, which will include additional lift-upgrades, and the continued expansion of new terrain on Burnt Mountain. 

The Sugarloaf 2020 Ten-Year Road Map was announced by Sugarloaf last summer and represents a comprehensive ten-year vision for development at the resort. The first phase of the 2020 plan, the 270-acre Brackett Basin development on Burnt Mountain, opened this season. 

The new lift will be a state-of-the-art, fixed-grip, quad chairlift built by Dopplemayr, and will be installed in the same path as the existing Spillway East lift. The overall cost for the new lift will be roughly $3 million. 

“When we announced the Sugarloaf 2020 plan last summer we said that a new Spillway was the top priority in our lift replacement strategy,” said John Diller, Sugarloaf General Manager. “The new lift will provide greater uphill capacity for our guests, and its design will ensure reliable access to some of Sugarloaf’s most unique and storied terrain.”

The new quad will feature a conveyor loading system, which will improve the lift loading experience, reduce lift stoppage time, and allow the lift to run at speeds of up to 500 feet per minute, making it 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. (Click here for photos of similar model lift as seen at Bridger Bowl, schematic drawings of proposed terminal, and to download video of a conveyor loading system.)

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.

 “With the Sugarloaf 2020 plan, we’re confident that we have a good vision for development, that is uniquely tailored to fit the true DNA of Sugarloaf,” said Stephen Kircher, President of Boyne’s Eastern Operations. “This year skiers and riders saw the plan come to life, and we’re excited to be able to take this important next step.”

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

For more information on the Sugarloaf 2020 Road Map, please visit  For more information on Sugarloaf, please visit

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