As you may have seen on facebook, or if you hiked American Express this summer, Sunday River’s Spruce Peak triple had a mishap. The top terminal of Spruce Peak Triple “took a tumble” July 10, 2016. Can you say Risky Business? Spruce chairlift’s bullwheel detached from the ground, Sunday River management immediately reported it to the State of Maine Tramway Safety Board. Being summer, the lift was not operating.
Well, the squeaky wheel, a 1986 Borvig triple, gets more than grease this time – Spruce Peak will get a new Doppelmayr fixed-grip triple chairlift with a conveyor loading system, carrying skiers and snowboarders two minutes faster, but not until 2017-18 winter.
Since the Doppelmayr ski lift guys are still designing the lift (break out Boyne’s American Express), it won’t be ready for ski season 2016-17. You can access Spruce Peak’s trails from Aurora’s Quad to Borealis and a short hike or herringbone (do you know how to do that on skis?) up Sirius to get to the cord on American Express, Risky Business, and Downdraft. In fact those classic ski trails will likely stay corduroy longer since most folks flake at the word “hike.” Earn your turns at Spruce Peak this season.
Also getting a lift at the River is the Locke Mountain Triple, just a new top terminal – call it insurance since its similar vintage and design to the Spruce lift that toppled. In the event Locke’s facelift is also not ready for opening day at Sunday River, typically around Halloween, Sunday River says “we’ll make snow on Aurora Peak to be accessed by the Chondola.”
Don’t wax too sentimental about the old Spruce Peak Triple, the new one will be just as scenic, just 120 seconds swifter to your sweet skiing. But do wax your skis, #winteriscoming.
Other new ski lifts around the country include:
Big Sky Resort in Montana replaces the Challenger Double with a new Doppelmayr triple chair.
Big Sky’s Lone Peak triple will upgrade to a new Doppelmayr Bowl6 – six passenger bubble covered high-speed lift. #Sweet
Grand Targhee Wyoming replaces the 1974 Blackfoot double chairlift with a new fixed-grip quad.
Vail’s Back Bowls Sun Up fixed-grip triple will become a new high-speed quad.
Mt Bachelor Oregon adds the Cloudchaser – a high speed quad on the eastern most terrain, opening up 635 acres at Sunrise and the catchline from the summit.
Purgatory at Durango in Colorado gets a surface lift along the valley floor between lower Bull Run and the bottom of the Legends (Lift 8) high-speed quad.
Arizona Snowbowl, sister to Purgatory, gets its first six-pack chairlift.
Next season, Jackson Hole adds a Sweetwater Gondola between the Bridger Gondola and Teewinot high-speed quad.
By Heather Burke, photos by Greg Burke