North America's First HS8

Photos and charts on Liftblog.com and Big Sky.

Big Sky to Launch North America’s First Eight
Passenger Chairlift

March 7, 2018Peter
Landsman

This afternoon couldn’t have been a more beautiful one for
unveiling what will be America’s biggest lift.  Over the next nine months,
Big Sky Resort and Doppelmayr will create Ramcharger 8, a machine packed full of technology on
Andesite Mountain.  The current Ramcharger high-speed quad will move to Shedhorn and replace one of Big Sky’s most popular
high-alpine lifts while a two-stage North Village gondola and more will
eventually follow as part of Big Sky 2025.  “The Biggest Skiing in America
is getting bigger and better, again,” said Big Sky Resort General Manager and
President Taylor Middleton before the bombshell announcement.  Never before has America seen an 8-passenger chair of
any kind, let alone one packed with every bell and whistle available.

 

We trail Slovakia in 8-Passenger chairlifts, Stephen Kircher
noted to laughter in the gathered crowd.  Not anymore.

I was lucky enough to be invited by Big Sky Resort and the
Kircher family to be part of this momentous day in the Mountain Village, where
Boyne Resorts’ Stephen Kircher detailed plans for being the North American ski
industry’s D-Line launch customer.  Kircher emphasized Big
Sky’s lengthy path to this point and how the community has really come together
in the past decade.  “My family is proud of its 42-year commitment to
southwest Montana and will continue the momentum that is underway at Big Sky
Resort,” he said. “We are excited to bring the biggest chair in the world to
Big Sky, and to work with the resort team and community to recognize the
Resort’s full potential – rivaling the best of the Alps and our North American
brethren.”  With a huge snowpack, the Biggest Skiing in America is on
track to have its best season ever with more than 500,000 skier days – a feat
once only dreamed of here.

 

Lone Peak on an afternoon that turned into a historic one in Big
Sky, Montana.

Following in the footsteps of Powder Seeker, Big’s Sky’s two-year old six-pack with
bubbles and heated seats, the new Ramcharger 8 will feature an in-terminal
multimedia display and automated underground parking.  “A fully integrated
high-resolution LED screen at the lower terminal will provide up-to-date guest
information and engagement,” Big Sky says.  The new lift will move 3,200
passengers per hour initially at 5 m/s with an ultimate capacity of 3,600 with
8-second chair spacing.  The chairs will weigh some 2,200 lbs. each and,
according to Kircher, “cost as much as a Porsche.”  They will be highly
wind-resistant to somewhere around 60 miles per hour.  Safety bars will be
auto locking and unlocking but will not lower unless initiated by the
rider.  We all know even one fall from a chair is too many and this lift
will be the safest on the continent, particularly for children. 
Ramcharger’s loading carpet will be the only in North America to raise and lower
for guests of varying heights.  Both the chairs and bubbles will be
totally unique in Big Sky blue with powder coated bails rather than being
galvanized.  The 65 chairs will be heated, of
course.  “We’re building this for the long term,” Kircher noted.

According to Big Sky, Ramcharger 8 will be one of the largest
lift in the world with a direct drive and no traditional gear reducer. 
The controls will be Doppelmayr’s next-gen system with tablets called Doppelmayr Connect.  Towers will even feature
public address to communicate with riders in the event of an emergency. 
VIP-style gondola cabins are an option for a later date (there’s an awesome
restaurant at the top) and summer ops will feature bike-specific
carriers.  The whole thing is being imported from Austria with tapered
towers and is the first eight-seater D-Line chair on the planet.  I
probably forgot something amid all the innovations.

 

D-Line is here!  The new return terminal will be located
about 50 feet uphill of the current one with a steep climb out for better skier
flow.

You know it’s a wild day when a new high-speed quad is an
afterthought.  The new, speedier Shedhorn will include components from
Ramcharger with new Uni-G enclosures.  Ride time will decrease from ten
minutes to around five.  Any local who doesn’t care about the new
Ramcharger will surely love the new Shedhorn.

The Heron-Poma at Shedhorn, which was originally the predecessor
to Ramcharger, will come down this spring and be replaced by an Andesite lift
for the second time.

After
this construction season, Big Sky will continue its sustained commitment with a
two-stage gondola to the Bowl replacing Explorer around 2020-21.  By 2025, there could be
a new tram, Iron Horse, Lone Moose, Headwaters and more.  Asked by a local
reporter how much all this will cost, Kircher replied simply, “More than the
first chair we brought back from Sun Valley.”  That set his father back
$5,000.

Comments

  • edited April 26
    Well, after reading that "bombshell announcement" we know that the Iraqi Information Minister is alive and well!


    image
    information minister.jpg
    650 x 491 - 66K

  • Wow,--- what's wrong with just a gondola? 8 people per chair? 
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • Hey if six works, why not?  Are chairs more efficient than bubbles?

    I'm thinking chairs have more mis-loads than gondy slip & falls, so I wonder if it evens out.





  • The yearly maintenance on that thing is going to be north of some area's operating budget.
  • edited April 26
    bmwskier said:

    Wow,--- what's wrong with just a gondola? 8 people per chair? 

    I hate taking my skis off - my gloves get wet, I have to carry and load my kids skis, quite often I am sharing the inside of a gondola with a dripping snow board, I have to peal off clothes to avoid getting overheated when I am inside a gondola - I would rather just ski right on and right off a chairlift and start skiing. Gondolas seem to have more wind holds, too. The best thing about gondolas is they take many people off other lifts.:D
  • A gondy usually runs at half the normal capacity. So an 8-pax gondy runs in the ballpark of 2400 pph.

    The 8 pack is just a marketing ploy like Boyne's six pack was. A 6 pack can easily serve the same as the proposed capacity in the article.

    That said, may God bless those lifies. There's enough trouble organizing a corral and successfully loading a lift with 6 people across. Let alone 8. Too many aloof people.
  • obienick said:

    A gondy usually runs at half the normal capacity. So an 8-pax gondy runs in the ballpark of 2400 pph.

    The 8 pack is just a marketing ploy like Boyne's six pack was. A 6 pack can easily serve the same as the proposed capacity in the article.

    That said, may God bless those lifies. There's enough trouble organizing a corral and successfully loading a lift with 6 people across. Let alone 8. Too many aloof people.

    I agree with the corral. Somedays it's just rough. I cannot imagine a lift evac on an 8 person chairlift.
  • Meanwhile, Swifty (a... or THE main artery), is still stopping for 15 min at a time, multiple times a day.
  • obienick said:

    A gondy usually runs at half the normal capacity. So an 8-pax gondy runs in the ballpark of 2400 pph.

    The 8 pack is just a marketing ploy like Boyne's six pack was. A 6 pack can easily serve the same as the proposed capacity in the article.

    That said, may God bless those lifies. There's enough trouble organizing a corral and successfully loading a lift with 6 people across. Let alone 8. Too many aloof people.

    I ski at Stratton on a regular basis - there are 4 HS6 chairs and 99% of the time there are no problems.
  • Those people-scoops AKA 8-packs work just fine. I’ve ridden the one at Flumserberg many times and even on a busy day has little issue with passenger flow.
  • obienick said:

    A gondy usually runs at half the normal capacity. So an 8-pax gondy runs in the ballpark of 2400 pph.

    The 8 pack is just a marketing ploy like Boyne's six pack was. A 6 pack can easily serve the same as the proposed capacity in the article.

    That said, may God bless those lifies. There's enough trouble organizing a corral and successfully loading a lift with 6 people across. Let alone 8. Too many aloof people.

    I ski at Stratton on a regular basis - there are 4 HS6 chairs and 99% of the time there are no problems.
    Agree!! Stratton has the loading of a six pack figured out very well!!! Not sure whether its the design of their queue's, their lifties, their clientele, or a combo of the three, however those 6's stop far less frequently than most other 6's I ride....
  • rick, thanks for bringing back Baghdad Bob, though he doesn't look the same without huge columns of smoke behind  him as he denies that anything was amiss in Iraq.
    On the eight-pack, is it in fact the first in North America? If so, it ought to be fun to watch eight people load at the same time, especially when lots of people have trouble loading four at a time. It should be even more sun watching them unload. I hope we get pictures.
  • I hope they have a better queue strategy than Snow. It ought to be fun to watch the Park & Club Rats do the pull back & non load method for 2, 2, 2 & 2 at a time.
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • ski_it said:

    I hope they have a better queue strategy than Snow. It ought to be fun to watch the Park & Club Rats do the pull back & non load method for 2, 2, 2 & 2 at a time.

    Lol, equally nice to watch a certain crowd kill themselves to dash through the line like it's frogger and squeeze into that one empty slot at the last moment. To be fair this is not really an issue at Snow and on the weekends it simply doesn't fly.

  • At Mt Snow on weekends, about half my rides stop due to morons skiing PAST the end of the load ramp.
  • Gotta love those good old doubles & triples
    - Sam
  • edited April 27
    Sully said:

    ski_it said:

    I hope they have a better queue strategy than Snow. It ought to be fun to watch the Park & Club Rats do the pull back & non load method for 2, 2, 2 & 2 at a time.

    Lol, equally nice to watch a certain crowd kill themselves to dash through the line like it's frogger and squeeze into that one empty slot at the last moment. To be fair this is not really an issue at Snow and on the weekends it simply doesn't fly.

    Oh it’s an issue with me. Hey if there’s no one there I don’t care but when the queue is filled it just proves how privileged and selfish we are. I’ve seen groups of kids under 8 do it this year. There is no one at the gate at the B.B. to do say or do anything about it. And the way the line goes around that corner at the last minute there’s no order at all. Personally I’d make them exit and have an exit lane. At Carinthia last week I did see the attendant admonish a group not to do it again & to look at the line behind them but that’s all he could do. I guess it’s just me a GOM.
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • obienick said:

    At Mt Snow on weekends, about half my rides stop due to morons skiing PAST the end of the load ramp.

    Ok I’ve never come close to doing it but that’s another thing I don’t care for on those lifts. Do they have to have a 2 ft drop off on the load zone? That must scare the bejeevus out of some beginners.
    And that left most seat gets some people with its sudden hairpin turn. IMHO if they are type to keep the load on their feet they can get “ejected” into the pit of dispair as their feet get dragged behind them as their upper body is swung forward. At least that’s what I think happens in some cases. Why can’t there be just straight on loading and eliminate both turns? You could still have two sided corrals which work well with a good liftie.

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

    obienick said:

    At Mt Snow on weekends, about half my rides stop due to morons skiing PAST the end of the load ramp.

    Ok I’ve never come close to doing it but that’s another thing I don’t care for on those lifts. Do they have to have a 2 ft drop off on the load zone? That must scare the bejeevus out of some beginners.
    And that left most seat gets some people with its sudden hairpin turn. IMHO if they are type to keep the load on their feet they can get “ejected” into the pit of dispair as their feet get dragged behind them as their upper body is swung forward. At least that’s what I think happens in some cases. Why can’t there be just straight on loading and eliminate both turns? You could still have two sided corrals which work well with a good liftie.

    Easy answer for no straight loading for the Bluebird. There isn't enough physical distance between the bottom terminal and the base lodge to have a straight in load in plus queue lanes, and  ski racks for storage and also a passable lane for people going from the Canyon Quad to the Grand Summit Quad and vice versa. And this was after the bottom terminal for eh Bluebird was moved uphill slightly from where the old Summit Local bottom terminal was.

    Queue lanes for major lifts, especially six packs and greater capacity lift just plain and simple need a bunch of surface area, and many major lifts are in locations where there just isn't always going to be a bunch of extra space available
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