Sugarbush Resort skiers and boarders rode the Valley House double for the last time Sunday, April 5. The chairs and haul rope began to come down Monday. The resort plans to replace the lift this spring with a new Doppelmayr fixed-grip quad.
The new Valley House Quad will increase the uphill capacity of the current lift from 748 to 1800 people per hour and cut the ride time to approximately eight minutes. The lift should help eliminate any lift lines in the base area and provide a reliable back-up lift to the Super Bravo Express Quad.
The base of the new Valley House Quad will include a loading conveyor, similar to a Magic Carpet, allowing for easier loading and increased lift speed and will be located where the current mountain operations building now sits. The lift will load adjacent to Super Bravo Express Quad so that guests will not have to walk up the hill and around the Valley House lodge to get to the lift.
The new lift will also terminate lower, between towers 13 and 14 of the current lift on The Mall, which will eliminate the intersection of people off-loading from the lift with those skiing and riding on Valley House Traverse.
“The Valley House Lift project will really take the pressure off the base area on busy days by significantly increasing our uphill capacity. Also, the re-positioning of the lift will make it more accessible to our guests, and will alleviate congestion on Valley House Traverse,” said Sugarbush Resort President Win Smith.
The project is expected to cost around $3 million, including the lift purchase and ancillary costs related to the lift install and relocation of existing business areas.
A limited number of Valley House chairs will be auctioned to benefit the Mad River Valley Community Fund. The double chairlift was installed in 1960.
Sugarbush has received their permit from the U.S. Forest Service and is in the process of securing Act 250 and Town of Warren permits.
Now that the project has begun, access to Gadd Peak trails will be mostly closed. The designated spring skiing routes will change for the remainder of the 2014/15 season and include Birdland, Organgrinder, Jester, Ripcord, Domino, and Gondolier, all of which are accessed by both the Super Bravo and Heaven’s Gate chairs. Additional snow was made on these trails to provide snow depths well into spring.
“Our intention, as in the past,” Smith adds, “is to be open seven days a week through Sunday, April 26th at Lincoln Peak, and to reopen for one final weekend on May 2nd and 3rd.
Photo: Sugarbush's Valley House Double, installed in 1960, will be replaced this summer with a fixed-grip quad. (Sugarbush)