6-pack lift planned at Whitefish ski resort
The Chair 1 lift plaza at Whitefish Mountain Resort. (Matt Baldwin/Daily Inter Lake)
Daily Inter Lake | April 5, 2021 2:00 PM
A new six-person chair lift is in the works at Whitefish Mountain Resort, officials announced Monday.
According to resort CEO Dan Graves, the France-based company Leitner Poma has been chosen to install the resort’s first high speed six-pack lift out of the Base Lodge area. The lift will transport skiers to the top of the Inspiration Ridge below the old top terminal of Chair 5.
Graves called the project the “largest lift investment Whitefish Mountain Resort has ever made.”
From the top of the new lift, skiers will be able to access most of the upper mountain terrain, including Ptarmigan Bowl, the south ridge of Hellroaring Basin, runs to the east off of the Inspiration Ridge as well as access to Chair 5 and East Rim.
The new chair will replace the current three-person fixed-grip Chair 4, which was installed in 1978.
When Chair 4 was built the Base Lodge didn’t exist, the resort’s website notes. Today, however, most skiers use the Base Lodge as their primary portal to the mountain.
According to resort Public Relations Manager Maren McKay, crews will begin prepping for the new Chair 4 as soon as the current ski season ends this weekend.
Full construction will take place in the summer of 2022, and the lift is expected to be ready for the 2022-23 ski season.
McKay noted that the magic carpet beginner area will be reworked to accommodate the new lift at the Base Lodge.
She said officials decided on a six-person lift over a quad lift to help keep up with increasing visitation. Whitefish Mountain Resort hit a new high mark for winter season pass sales this season, topping 12,500 for the first time.
“As we're seeing growth and knowing so many guests are going in and out of the Base Lodge area and using that area as an access point, we wanted to account for current and future growth,” McKay said.
The difference in price between a quad lift and six-pack is about 10%, she added.
The project has already been approved by the Forest Service.
The announcement of the new lift comes as the resort is preparing for another big infrastructure project this summer.
Graves also announced Monday that Salt Lake City-based SkyTrac has been contracted to move the Hellroaring lift to its new location. The lift reconfiguration will put the Hellroaring bottom terminal at Grand Junction and the top terminal on the Toni Matt ridge at the split off with Big Ravine.
Crews are expected to complete the lift installation for the start of the 2021-22 season.
Last summer the resort performed grading in several areas of Hellroaring Basin, cleared trees for the new lift line and re-sloped portions of the Hell Fire Run.
Future plans call for another new lift from the Grand Junction area to the top of Hellroaring Peak, as well as a cat track between the saddle below Hellroaring Peak and the Gray Wolf Run. A timeline for that project has not been decided.
“I think it is important for passholders to know that the resort continues to reinvest into its infrastructure each year providing more value to the season pass," said Graves.
“These are truly exciting times at Whitefish Mountain Resort.”
A season pass to Whitefish Mountain Resort will cost a bit more next season after the resort held steady on pass prices for the 2020-21 winter.
The resort announced Monday that early season pricing for an adult pass will be set at $689. An adult pass was priced at $675 for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
A senior pass is $589, teen pass $389, junior pass $199 and super senior $145. Kids 6 and under ski free.
The early season prices are available through Sept. 30.
Managing Editor Matt Baldwin can be reached at 758-4447 or email@example.com