Beaver Creek to Install Hybrid Gondola Chairlift

Beaver Creek is replacing its primary express quad from the base area with a new high-speed combination chairlift and gondola. The new lift will increase uphill capacity by as much as 35 percent through the use of alternating 10-passenger gondola cabins and six-person chairs. The new lift is expected to be in place for the 2014-15 ski and snowboard season, during which Beaver Creek will host the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.

Less than a month ago, Beaver Creek said it planned to replace the Centennial Express quad (Chair 6), which dates to the mid-1980s, with a new six-pack chair. But further consideration and discussions with the major lift manufacturers led the area to choose a more robust, flexible and guest-oriented approach.

The new combination lift will have the same uphill capacity as a six-person chairlift—3,400 riders per hour. It will also allow guests to choose to ride in a gondola cabin or on a chair, which will be served by two separate queuing lines. This will benefit beginner skiers and riders and kids, particularly those engaged in ski school lessons, as the gondola cabins offer a much easier load and download experience. In addition, the gondola cabins will allow more comfortable access to the Spruce Saddle area for current and future nighttime and summertime dining and recreational activities.

The benefits deliver on “the Beaver Creek brand promise to deliver high-quality guest experiences,” said Doug Lovell, vice president and chief operating officer for Beaver Creek. “We believe this is exactly the right solution to position Beaver Creek for the future and address the resort’s continued growth and diverse guest needs.”

Beaver Creek received U.S. Forest Service approval in 2013 to upgrade the Centennial lift to a six-person lift; the Forest Service reviewed the modification to a combination lift and determined it was consistent with the original decision. The resort plans to begin installation in June 2014, weather permitting, and hopes to complete the project by mid-November. However, no manufacturer has been chosen yet.