Loading Carpet

TomWhiteTomWhite advanced
in NELSAP Forum Posts: 452

The Loading
Carpet Solution

January 2, 2016Peter
Landsman

This winter, 57 lifts in
North America will feature loading conveyors, a higher number than
ever before.  Since the first carpets debuted in 1995, the
technology has improved as resorts seek to increase comfort and loading
efficiency.  The Austrian-based market leader, Chairkit (formerly
ChairkiD) has installed more than 460 carpets worldwide. Another
manufacturer called Emmegi built more than a dozen in the United States
before going out of business in 2010.  Italian conveyor company Compac has
dabbled as have Rocky Mountain Conveyor (maker of Magic Carpet®) and Doppelmayr
with its own version called LaunchPad.  As with bubble chairs, loading carpets are ubiquitous in Europe
but not so much around here.


The logic behind a carpet is simple.  It helps beginner
skiers who struggle to move quickly enough to the load point and reduces the
relative speed between skier and chair on fixed-grip chairlifts.  The goal
is fewer mis-loads/stops/slows and increased loading efficiency.  Some
Chairkit carpets add a lifting table so that a lift operator can raise the
entire loading platform by about four inches to safely load small children.
Bridger Bowl, Crystal Mountain (WA) and The Summit at Snoqualmie opted
for this feature on their respective beginner lifts.

The vast majority (84 percent) of carpets in North America are
the longer type designed for fixed-grip lifts.  They stretch about 30 feet
from the wait here board to well past the load point and
move slightly slower than the lift’s rope speed.  Eight high
speed quads and six-packs in the United States now have shorter carpets
designed for detachables.  Vail Resorts operates five of these on its
newest six packs at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Park City and Vail.  Boyne
Resorts is another major adopter of loading carpets with seven of them across
its mountains.

South Ridge B, a
Poma Alpha fixed-grip quad at Okemo has the distinction of being the only lift
with both loading and unloading conveyors.  The top ramp is barely a ramp
at all with a long conveyor inclined only slightly to move riders away. This
system was installed by Emmegi in 2008 and hasn’t been replicated.  My
complaint would be the noise associated with such a fast belt – see the
video below.

A fixed-grip lift with a
loading carpet can be a lower-cost alternative to a detachable lift.
 Take the Skyline example at Sugarloaf, Maine.  In
2011, Boyne Resorts needed to replace an aging lift that had a
high-profile accident the previous winter.  At 3,750 feet
long, it could have been replaced with a relatively short detachable
quad.  Instead, Boyne opted for a fixed-grip quad capable of
spinning 485 feet a minute with a carpet (without one, fixed-grip quads
can only go 450 fpm by code.)  Sugarloaf likely saved a couple
million dollars and settled for a ride time only 3.8 minutes longer.

A
loading carpet reportedly costs around $100,000 and can be
added underneath an existing terminal or installed with a
new lift.  So far, 27 lifts have debuted with carpets from day one
while the rest were retrofits.  2012 and 2014 were the biggest years for
loading carpets with 8 built each year.  Only three such
carpets have ever been removed – a testament to their
effectiveness.  I see the use of carpets continuing to grow
on short- to medium-length fixed-grip lifts, especially ones serving
beginners.

Liftblog.com

Comments

  • NELSBEERNELSBEER advanced
    Posts: 245
    Mount Snow has 2 high speed lifts with carpets the Blue Bird (6 pack bubble) and summit quad next to it. Between them the wait times on even the worst weekends @ peak hours are way down.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,079
    Still hate those things but if they move lines faster, what the heck, I guess they're good for the sport.  
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing expert
    Posts: 674
    I see about a crash every 10 chairs or so on the carpet lifts I have seen that serve beginner areas. Not scientific by any means, but I know it is hard for some people to load them. The problem is they ski onto them and don't anticipate that they will stop sliding and fall *ss over teakettle. 
  • ski_itski_it expert
    edited September 27 Posts: 1,687
    There's no loading conveyor on the Bluebird unless they put it in this summer. If they wanted to speed loading time there at peak times, get rid of that 180 degree turn right before you get on. Or have a liftie at the load point kick out of line the 2-3 park rats who purposely don't load so they don't have to share a full chair, so that can smoke a duber.

    Yeah I agree with lotsoskiing. I find them harder to load for experience riders who expect to slide. Instead you've got do the 2 foot shuffle, on skis anyway. But if they are spending that kind of money on them there must be something to them.
    https://liftblog.com/2016/01/02/the-loading-carpet-solution/


    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • DrJeffDrJeff advanced
    Posts: 284
    Lean on gate.... Stand still.... Let the carpet do the work.....

    Most people have difficulties both paying attention and following directions.

    And has been already pointed out, the only loading carpet at Mount Snow is on the Grand Summit Express, no carpet on the Bluebird
  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,687
    Aww I hate following directions. But that's what the signs says to do.
    The liftblog calls it the Yankee Clipper but it was renamed over a decade ago.
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • trackbikertrackbiker intermediate
    edited September 27 Posts: 95
    ski_it said:


    I find them harder to load for experience riders who expect to slide. Instead you've got do the 2 foot shuffle, on skis anyway.
    https://liftblog.com/2016/01/02/the-loading-carpet-solution/




    That's your problem. DON'T do the 2 foot shuffle and do as Dr. Jeff says above.

    I find most people (cough, rickbolger, cough, cough) who have problems still want to shuffle or slide forward. Let the carpet do the work.

  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing expert
    Posts: 674
    The key (in addition to following instructions) is the steepness of the snow leading to the carpet/band. If it is steep and you slide down to the carpet, you pitch forward when you hit the carpet. If the snow is relatively level and all you do is push out on it, it is less of a shock and less likely that you will be "That Guy".

  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,079

    I find most people (cough, rickbolger, cough, cough) who have problems still want to shuffle or slide forward. Let the carpet do the work.




    He just doesn't like the fact that I grab hold of him and scream when we get on a loading carpet ;)
  • NELSBEERNELSBEER advanced
    Posts: 245
    Guess the Bluebird just has the gates & reminded me of carpets, it is well pitched to get you where you need to be when you need to be there without effort.

    Lean against the gate and let it slide is the best advice providing everything is pitched right. First time is always tenuous.

    I do like the idea of giving new life to longer/colder old (or new) triples by pushing them to legal max. speed with the loaders. There are lots of cases where a HSQ just isn't going to happen for financial reasons or because the trail pods would get overrun with too much lift capacity but a faster ride would be really nice on a cold day.

    A few triples I can think of that might be nice to speed up since replacement isn't imminent:
    • Attitash Summit (crosses over HSQ) - limited trail count makes triple appropriate.
    • Mount Snow North Face (both) - more main face work to be done before North Face gets attention 
    • Waterville 'new' Green Peak - lift is right size for now, as trails fill out quicker ride/shorter line would be goodness.
    There might be a few older long doubles that would benefit from them at some of the smaller/colder traditional areas provided rope speeds can be bumped up. 
    • Magic summit lift(s) - surrounded by big areas
    • Tenney Mountain Summit Double - read more comments about this as a refrigerator.
    • Mittersill  >:) >:) .. I know its brand new & fits a footprint but this baby can be cold. 

    I patrol at Crotched, so know more about Peak areas... maybe this can be the start of a list...


  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,687
    I don't have problems, I just don't really care for them. I don't have problems getting into any chair on time. Now if Waterville would build one from the parking lots up to the chair....
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • Posts: 1,964
    NELSBEER said:

    Guess the Bluebird just has the gates & reminded me of carpets, it is well pitched to get you where you need to be when you need to be there without effort.

    Lean against the gate and let it slide is the best advice providing everything is pitched right. First time is always tenuous.

    I do like the idea of giving new life to longer/colder old (or new) triples by pushing them to legal max. speed with the loaders. There are lots of cases where a HSQ just isn't going to happen for financial reasons or because the trail pods would get overrun with too much lift capacity but a faster ride would be really nice on a cold day.

    A few triples I can think of that might be nice to speed up since replacement isn't imminent:
    • Attitash Summit (crosses over HSQ) - limited trail count makes triple appropriate.
    • Mount Snow North Face (both) - more main face work to be done before North Face gets attention 
    • Waterville 'new' Green Peak - lift is right size for now, as trails fill out quicker ride/shorter line would be goodness.
    There might be a few older long doubles that would benefit from them at some of the smaller/colder traditional areas provided rope speeds can be bumped up. 
    • Magic summit lift(s) - surrounded by big areas
    • Tenney Mountain Summit Double - read more comments about this as a refrigerator.
    • Mittersill  >:) >:) .. I know its brand new & fits a footprint but this baby can be cold. 

    I patrol at Crotched, so know more about Peak areas... maybe this can be the start of a list...



    I see where you're coming from as far as Tenney and Magic are concerned, but I think carpets would negatively impact the experience of these classic lifts. I also don't care for them in general.
    - Sam
  • conradconrad novice
    Posts: 16
    If I recall both chairs at Magic are loading from the side so that would be an extra hurdle to account for in building a carpet loading system.
  • Posts: 1,964
    conrad said:

    If I recall both chairs at Magic are loading from the side so that would be an extra hurdle to account for in building a carpet loading system.


    correct, both are
    - Sam
  • Posts: 1,964
    image
    - Sam
    image.jpeg
    1920 x 1080 - 355K
  • NELSBEERNELSBEER advanced
    Posts: 245
    It is somewhat a question of lines & runs per hour vs. tradition. I wonder if the technology or implementations are improving for these with experience? I read somewhere that some of the ramps can be raised up to 4" for kid loading, things like that could make a big difference.

    Sunday River mentioned that the ride time up Spruce Peak will be reduced by 1/3 with their new lift w/carpet. For that on a cold day I'll load a little faster.

    Wonder if we could talk Mount Snow into a preference test on the North Face? 2 triples on a cold face pretty well matched for speed and crowds on weekends. Put a loading carpet on one, leave the other and gauge reactions.

    Pat's Peak is also going with a loader on their 'new' (Ascutney) triple and advertising a faster lift experience for it... we'll see preferences develop there quickly.  
  • TomWhiteTomWhite advanced
    Posts: 452
    I've only ridden the one at Okemo. It was fine. While that's not a cold lift, speeding up a fixed grip and making loading easier (I think) is good. The one at the top for unloading doesn't seem necessary.
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