Sunday River Spruce Peak replacement begins May

I presume that they’re not putting in a FGQ is because an “apples
to apples” replacement is easier to be approved. However, there are two stats
that don’t jibe with the info on the lift and the article below.
The article says with the conveyor, speed will increase to 500 fpm. Yet
Liftblog says the old lift was already 500 fpm. Second, one would think that
the new (faster??) lift will have at least the same capacity. But Liftblog says
1800 pph and the article says 1480 pph for the new lift. It’s not a big deal
but there’s some conflict.

Sunday River to start
chairlift replacement soon


April 19, 2017


River Resort announced Tuesday that it would break ground on a new Spruce Peak
Triple chairlift next month, according to a press release.

by Doppelmayr USA, Inc., the new $2.1 million dollar, three-passenger fixed
grip chairlift will be built in the same location as the resort’s original
Spruce Peak Triple chairlift, and will utilize a conveyor system to help load

construction timeline for the new chairlift is six months to coincide with the
resort’s 2017/18 winter season.

4,184 feet, the new Spruce Peak Triple will rise 1,207 vertical feet from the
base of the resort’s Spruce Peak to the summit. One hundred and forty-five
chairs will carry up to 1,480 guests per hour at a rate of 500 feet per minute.
The chairlift’s modern technology will shorten guest’s ride time by
approximately one-third — from 11 minutes to eight minutes — and provide an
overall more comfortable and efficient experience.

“We are
thrilled to announce this capital project with parent company Boyne Resorts on
the heels of welcoming in our new financial partner Och-Ziff Capital Management
Group,” Dana Bullen, Resort President and General Manager of Sunday River
Resort, said.


  • Likely to do with chair spacing.  Doing the math based on 1480 capacity, that works out to roughly 1 chair unloading every 7.5 seconds, whereas the at the more common 6 seconds between unloading that gives you the 1800 per hour capacity.

    I'm guessing the conveyor loading system, and how it can cause some "chaos" when people DON'T read and follow the directions for how to use is and hence cause stops, misloading, etc, might have something to do with the extra 1.5 seconds over standard loading time..  Either that or they want to keep a some extra folks per hour off the terrain on Spruce for snow quality
  • Quad vs triple does not really effect approval process.

    I don't think standard speed was 500 for old triple.
  • I've always thought 500 fpm was normal speed and conveyors allowed a faster speed?
  • edited April 2017
    The old lift was 1800 pph and 500 fpm per  Whether or not it ran at 500 is another question. A lot of ski areas slow down their lifts slightly to get a better overall throughput (such as 20% stop time at 500 fpm = 1440 pph while 10% stop time at 450 fpm would be 1458 pph).
  • The speed thing is all pretty meaningless when staff can literally change it with the turn of a knob at any moment for a variety of reasons. 500 fpm and 1,800 pph were the Borvig design specs in 1986.
  • Peter makes an excellent point. Liftblog and others may list the original specs that were approved, or simply the manufacturer's specs. What speed the resort runs a lift at, or how many chairs are on a lift, are questions only people like us and other similar blogs are interested in. I just checked, SR doesn't give those details on their site or trail map. Killington use to do so on their map. In a quick look, I didn't see such on their site. If I recall, when Outer Limits was a triple, it had over 1900 pph. They
    ran in fast.

  • You will be hard pressed to find many fixed grips running that fast in normal service. The later Borvigs will go up to 550, obviously not legal to load without a conveyer. Most beginner lifts are in the 350 range with others around 450. But as Peter said, there is a dial in the operator building to set normal and slow FPM.
  • As I remember the old lift had a lot more chairs than demand. There were seldom more than a few people in line to use the Blue/Black trails it mostly serves. There were connectivity aspects as well, spreading out demand. Greater spacing will leave a little more time for the customer to get in place & sit facilitating greater speed. The lift tended to service a non-beginner clientele, so it sounds like it will all work out.
  • OT, but was the old OL triple really run fast or just short spacing? It's a pretty short lift. IIRC the old website for Riblet mentioned doubles serving expert terrain can be run at 5.5 second spacing.
  • I looked up some old Killington brochures. I have them back
    to the late 70’s. They say (82-83) the Bear Mt. triple had 1980 pph capacity.
    By 84-85 it was a quad doing 2400 pph. They called that Bear Mt. North. Devil’s
    Fiddle was the Bear Mt. South Quad with a 2700 pph. I only rode that quad a few
    times when parking at the Northeast Passage. The brochure says that triple was
    a 17 min. ride. The original gondola was 25 min.

  • Here's Sunday River's staff's reply to me on their blog:


    Why are you not going with a fixed grip quad. Quads seem more
    popular than triples. The chairs are heavier, thus more resistant to wind sway.
    A family of four or two couples can fit. If you didn’t want higher capacity,
    you could use fewer chairs but keep the same speed.



    Hi Tom,

    This was the recommendation from Doppelmayr based on the amount
    and type of terrain serviced by the Spruce Peak Triple. Thank you for reading
    our blog!



  • I see the validity of them going light on capacity for Spruce, though, stretching it to the base area and putting in an HSQ would be super valuable since everything off Aurora is at your disposal from the top.  It would flush out the morning crowds at North Peak much faster.
  • edited May 2017
    I call BS on the Sunday River response. You can just put the chairs further apart. For example, Big Squaw is looking at putting in a FGQ with capacity barely above that of a double.

    I'm guessing a quad would require tree removal and they don't want to spend the money required to widen the lift line.
  • I’m a fairly new Maine resident. I never used the Spruce
    triple. The times I’ve been there last season (mid-week), the Oz quad hasn’t
    been open. So I don’t know about tree trimming needed for a replacement quad. But
    from the trail map, Aurora bowl access looks easy from Spruce. Going with a
    triple seems like a ‘throwback’. The Outer Limits quad at Killington was
    originally a triple. I don’t know if the triple was built “strong” with the
    ability to become a quad, or that triples can become quads. I suspect the
    former. The new Spruce triple isn’t even the full 1800 pph that new triples can
    handle. But at least the carpet will permit a fast fixed grip. I checked Peter, who runs that blog did ask Boyne about the replacement (2nd
    below). The answer isn’t very revealing. I put a few other posts below.



    DOPPELMAYR FTW!September 26, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    the lifts have issues though. for example crossarms are poorly
    secured as we saw at timberline, and they cut corners on tower locations for
    example at the top of a steep incline they would have one tower vs. two so if
    one derailed, the chairs would hit the ground. this is part of the reason they
    were so cheap, and in turn why their were so many in the east

    PETER LANDSMANAugust 24, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    I asked the Boyne folks who were at Big Sky’s announcement today
    and a new carpet-load triple is what they thought was appropriate given the
    length and terrain.

    JOHN KAugust 21, 2016 / 6:14 pm

    There isn’t enough trail capacity to absorb more skiers than a
    triple will deliver to the peak.

    MAXJuly 18, 2016 / 8:33 am

    Everyone keeps going on about “which existing and useful lift
    (Oz and North Peak) should be used to replace Spruce”. If you took a good look
    at the pictures, the top terminal itself is still in useable condition, however
    due to the uncontrollable rain damage, the concrete footing will need to be
    repoured. Rain damage is nothing new to Sunday River (remember Little White
    Cap, and frankly the whole eastern side of the mountain in 2007), and I think
    they can have the Spruce Triple in operation with a repoured top terminal
    footing and the existing top terminal by the start of the 2016-2017 ski season.

  • edited May 2017
    The re-installation of a triple vs quad makes no sense. Go with a quad and reduce the chairs if you think downhill capacity is an issue, can always add them on later. The incremental cost going triple to quad is peanuts. All the cross arms and line gear are rated for quads anyway. Is the carpet loader not wide enough to load 4 at a time? They aren't cheap but in the grand scheme of a lift not a show stopper price wise. Rip it out and put it on Locke or somewhere else if that's an issue.
  • Here's dialogue on their blog (the first chair) between their staff (Darcy) and customer (J Alucard). I have yet to ski SR on a crowded day but JA makes a good point about crossing the ridge. On the other hand, not only is SR not building a FGQ (up to 2400 pph) but they plan to limit the triple to 1480, even though it could do 1800. So it appears that SR isn't concerned about over crowding.

    Sunday River will install a new Spruce Peak Triple chairlift in
    time for the 2017-18 winter season.

    Oh B.S., the reason there is no high speed quad is because Boyne
    didn’t want to pay for it.

    Doppelmayr had nothing to do with the decision; if anything Doppelmayr would
    love to sell a quad!

    Please don’t lie to your customers!!


    Hi J. Alucard, We definitely do not want you feeling as though
    we’ve lied to you, which is why we’re putting this information out there front
    and center. There are many who hoped for a quad, however, the parties involved
    in both purchasing and designing agreed that the amount of terrain accessed by
    this lift didn’t warrant it. We’re excited for the improved infrastructure and
    hope that you come up and check it out later this winter.


    Spruce Peak is the only way to get to Aurora, OZ and Jordan from
    Barker (without taking that idiotic Chondala). Admittedly Spruce doesn’t have a
    lot of terrain but it is how you access a great deal of terrain from Barker and
    White Cap (again without being trapped at the base lodge/ Chondala nightmare).

  • edited August 2017

    I have only spring (sprung?) skied there since the Chondala went in, but before that I had been there a lot and I have to agree with JA about the access part of his complaint. Although there is also a North Peak chair to get you over to OZ as well. I think we discussed this in another Spruce Peak post... Anyway since I'm not a regular I guess I'm not qualified to comment but I will anyway. In my view I recall SP as a busy weekend place. Because of the higher elevation it always seemed to have better conditions. IMHO people loved those 2 short & easy blues & even Downdraft which ain't too hard.  

    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
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