What is believed to be the most advanced chairlift yet built will be installed at the Montana ski resort of Big Sky this summer and be operational for winter 2018-19.
The new lift, which will also be the first eight-seater chairlift to be installed in North America will feature a host of hi-tec functions, some of them visible to users, others to the lift’s operators.
The next generation Doppelmayr D-Line chairlift will provide feature the signature Big Sky blue bubble covers for added warmth and seats that are heated, form-fitting and wider than any ever made, providing what Doppelmayr say will be the most comfortable chairlift ride yet conceived.
Other features include an integrated 30’ x 10’ high resolution LED screen in the lift’s base station for guest information and engagement, height adjustable conveyor loading for safety and efficiency, improved suspension and grip design for a noticeably smoother ride, and fully automated chair parking in an underground facility to keep the chairs in optimal condition.
Additionally the lift will feature an audio system for communication with guests during uphill transport as well as a child restraint system for optimized safety. These advances and features combine to take the experience with the new lift–for both riders and operators, to an entirely new level.
“D-Line technology and features developed by Doppelmayr are visionary. So much so, the system boasts 31 innovations and holds 14 patents,” said Doppelmayr president, Mark Bee. “In my opinion, this addition at Big Sky will make riding many older lifts like flying coach versus the upgraded experience of flying first class.”
The direct-drive motor is the first of its kind at a North American ski resort, eliminating the traditional gearbox and resulting in significantly increased reliability, ultimately creating what Doppelmayr say is the quietest and most energy efficient design in existence.
It’s not the first time that Doppelmayr and Boyne Resorts have worked together on an industry first lift. In 1992 the two introduced the first high-speed six-place chairlift in the U.S. On that occasion, the lift was installed before any six-seater had appeared in Europe; this time it’s two decades since the first eight seater chairlift, albeit a much more basic model, was installed at Vradal in Norway.