Six-Pack Bubble Chair Under Construction At Vermont's Okemo
Skiers and snowboarders at Okemo Mountain Resort this winter will view their ride up the mountain through the bright orange tint of a retractable, transparent dome. A new, high-speed, six-pack bubble chairlift with heated seats – the first of its kind in North America - is under construction at the Ludlow, Vt. resort.
The new detachable lift, with chairs that seat six people, will be outfitted with heated seating pads and retractable acrylic domes to protect passengers from wind and weather. The new lift, built by Leitner-Poma, will replace Okemo’s Northstar Express and is scheduled to begin operation in December.
“There is excitement in the air on the mountain and a buzz around town and among our loyal Okemo skiers, as our Mountain Operation crew dives into the installation of this state-of-the-art lift,” said Okemo’s Executive Vice President and Co-owner Diane Mueller. “Over the years Okemo has had many “‘firsts,’ beginning with construction of Vermont’s largest snowmaking pond. This lift adds another ‘first’ to the list.”
The length of the new lift will be 6,430 feet with a vertical rise of 1,670 feet. The new six-pack bubble chair will carry 113 chairs at a speed of 1,000 feet per minute and deliver skiers and riders to the summit of Okemo Mountain in 6.4 minutes. The cost of the lift, including installation is $6.9 million.
Plans include the construction of a heated barn at the base of the lift. Six-pack chairs will be removed from the cable at the end of each day and stored in the barn overnight; preventing a need for snow removal after an overnight snowstorm. In the event of unfavorable nighttime weather, it will also allow the lift cable to be de-iced more efficiently, minimizing lift-opening delays and potential inconvenience to skiing and riding guests.
Photo: Chair on new six passenger lift at Okemo (Okemo Mountain Resort)