Big Sky Ramcharger 8

Not the east but this is an amazing lift. photos didn't download. I'm sure Big Sky has photos and video.

Pioneering Ramcharger 8 Takes Flight
October 1, 2018Peter Landsman

The most state-of-the-art chairlift in the world went vertical today under wispy Montana skies. Teams from Doppelmayr, Big Sky Resort and Timberline Helicopters flawlessly executed 71 trips to deliver hundreds of thousands of pounds of steel to Andesite Mountain in under six and a half hours. Thanks to good weather and an even better crew, that’s an average of one pick every 5.5 minutes, including refueling. As fly days go, it was amazing to watch Ramcharger 8 take shape.

In case you missed March’s announcement, Ramcharger 8 will be a lift fit for the Biggest Skiing in America. Among the innovations:
The first eight passenger chairlift in the Americas, featuring custom upholstered seats in Big Sky Blue with matching powder coated bails and bubbles.
The first Austrian-manufactured tapered towers in the U.S. The tallest, number six, is 73 feet tall with 30 yards of concrete at its base. The tube alone came in four sections designed specifically for Brian Jorgenson’s souped up Black Hawk helicopters.
The first D-Line in American skiing.
The only Doppelmayr direct drive lift in North America. It spins at just 13 rpm and weighs 40,000 lbs, increasing efficiency and decreasing noise.

The first height-adjustable loading carpet in the U.S. or Canada to more safely load small children.
The only fully-automated indoor carrier parking system in the American ski industry. It’s one button.
The largest-ever multimedia display in a lift terminal (30 feet by 10 feet.)
The brand new Doppelmayr Connect control system.
The first lift in the United States with auto-locking safety bars.
The only U.S. chairlift with Fatzer’s Compacta rope (54 mm.)

Even though Big Sky’s hotels and shops are closed until ski season, Mountain Village was electric today with employees and locals marveling at the precision flying. Although the Ramcharger lift hails from Austria, dozens of Americans are working seven days a week to build it along with a new Shedhorn lift. Even during today’s tower action, loads of terminal parts were being hauled to the summit for installation this month. Things are moving quickly as we head toward both lifts’ December debuts.


  • edited October 2
    The pictures Big Sky put on their social media pages of the Blackhawk Copter doing the lifts yesterday were impressive.There's one in particular that I was in awe of where after flying the tower cross arms and sheave assemblies into place, you see 4 Dopp guys standing on the cross arm and how small they look really puts it into perspective as to how BIG these tower assemblies are for an 8 seater!!
  • Yes, those towers are so massive the copter only takes a section (looks like 1 of 3) at a time. Clearly a HS8 chair is heavier than a same capacity gondi cabin. But I wouldn't have though such massive towers are needed. I didn't realize it is replacing a HSQ.
  • The TImberline website is interesting. One of the only civilian outfits flying Blackhawks with a 4 ton lift capacity. Also have MD-500, Kaman's and Huey's as well.
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • edited October 2
    I met a youngSwiss man who installs lift towers for this company( garavanta CTEC Doppylmayr) at the airport
    4032 x 3024 - 2M
    1600 x 1066 - 180K
    3088 x 2320 - 1M
  • I posted this for the D drive discussion. I removed some of the Big Sky stuff. I included some comments. has many photos plus Big Sky has a live web cam show work at the base.

    Meet Big Sky’s Innovative New Lifts
    October 25, 2018October 26, 2018Peter Landsman

    Ramcharger 8 at Big Sky Resort is both the first eight passenger chairlift and first Doppelmayr D-Line lift in North America. I headed to Montana yesterday for an update on this exciting project and a related one, the new Shedhorn 4. Touring Ramcharger, it became clear the decision to purchase this lift was not just about the eight passenger chairs, heated seats or loading carpet. D-Line has numerous small innovations made with mechanics and operators in mind that combine to create a new generation of Doppelmayr detachable. A few features I noticed: Every grate and cover is designed to easily open and close for quick access to moving parts. Belts that connect station tires each have individual tensioners. Stairs lead into the terminals rather than ladders. Many spots where metal meets metal are lined with rubber for noise and vibration dampening. Doppelmayr says D-Line has more than 200 improvements overall.

    The massive Doppelmayr Direct Drive motor is in place at the top terminal and will be water cooled. It will quietly and efficiently spin at just 13 revolutions per minute. Because a gearbox and related shafts have been removed from the equation, all braking will be directly on the bullwheel. There is a single diesel evacuation drive rather than separate evacuation and standby engines. The west side of the top terminal features a 7,500 square foot parking facility for the chairs in two rows. Part of the floor opens up to an equally-sized basement where bike carriers can be hoisted onto chair hangers come summer. The outside of the barn is being wrapped in plastic for this winter and will be completed next spring.
    The first four chairs and hangers arrived during my visit at the end of a long journey from Austria by ship, train and truck (the entire lift came over in containers, not just the chairs.) The 64 carriers are emblazoned with Ramcharger 8 logos, feature heated seats and sport blue bubbles. They are so large that only four fit in each shipping container!

    Steel will be set at the bottom tension station over the next 7-10 days, which we will be able to watch live. This terminal’s legs, loading conveyor and gates are already in place. Operators will be able to raise and lower the deck on demand for children to board and capacity will be 3,200 people per hour to start. The 54 mm haul rope is also on site after its trip from Fatzer in Switzerland. The comm line for this lift is completely underground as is apparently common in Europe.
    On the south flank of Lone Peak, the old Ramcharger detachable quad is now Shedhorn 4. Some towers and sheave trains are brand new, the low voltage controls are new, station roofs are new and under skins will be too. The lift will meet the 2017 ANSI standard just like a completely new machine. To accommodate an expected increased traffic at Shedhorn, Cow Flats and a few other trails have been widened and regraded with intermediate skiers in mind.

    Whenever I write about the Ramcharger and Shedhorn projects, some inevitably question why these upgrades were chosen instead of others. They represent the fourth and fifth new chairlifts at Big Sky Resort in three years and are part of decade long initiative called Big Sky 2025. “The Ramcharger lift (formerly Ramshorn) and Shedhorn lift have a long history of coinciding improvements,” Big Sky Public Relations Manager Stacie Mesuda told me. “With similar tower numbers, vertical rise, and length, these lifts are easily interchangeable. The opportunity to upgrade both lifts, by replacing Shedhorn with the pre-existing Ramcharger lift ultimately allows Big Sky Resort to provide a more world-class lift experience.”

    ROB WITHEY October 26, 2018 / 12:40 am
    Info here on all three Dopplemayr drive options

    DAVE October 26, 2018 / 5:11 am
    Rob, Thanks for the link. I thought Direct Drive motors were only used in ceiling fans. ‘seems like they would be almost maintenance free. Technology surges ahead!
    ROB WITHEY October 26, 2018 / 3:32 pm
    Once these are a little more proven you will see more of them. Keep in mind its not possible to have a diesel auxiliary drive, only a generator, and if you have a problem, it’s like losing a gearbox. Down time will be significant. These drives are also super heavy, so even though the brochure says a helicopter can lift one, my understanding is that is not possible, even if split into its three sections.
    PETER LANDSMAN October 26, 2018 / 5:14 pm
    I think the Big Sky guys told me their diesel would be coupled directly to the bullwheel for an evac. Physically it is located right next to the synchronous motor. Rob, are you saying there can’t be a second diesel other than a generator with direct drive?
    COLLIN PARSONS October 26, 2018 / 10:35 am
    The D-Line seems to only be for bigger lifts like bubble 6’s and up. I expect Doppelmayr to force the bigger lifts to go D-Line within the next couple years. They’ll also need to introduce D-Line models that aren’t overkill for smaller lifts and would be similarly sized to the UNI-G-S.
    PETER LANDSMAN October 26, 2018 / 5:05 pm
    Doppelmayr USA President Mark Bee was quoted in SAM last winter saying he expected D-Line to be three quarters of their global detachable mix within two years. “It may become our only product,” he said. That would obviously mean a quad version.
    PETER LANDSMAN October 27, 2018 / 12:54 pm
    Seems to me in North America it all depends on whether Doppelmayr can get D-Line costs down to where LPA and UNI G are.
    TOM October 29, 2018 / 9:44 am
    I can’t picture a backup motor being attached to the same bullwheel on D drives. Is that what they do? Can a diesel auxiliary drive be attached to the other bullwheel? Perhaps not as efficient power wise, but it seems less complicated.
  • edited October 31
    TOM- I responded to your question on liftblog with this-
    "If the drive bullwheel is incapacitated due to a direct drive problem, it doesn’t do any good to try and turn the other bullwheel."
    Also with this regarding turning the drive bullwheel in an evacuation situation-
    "Not sure how the D Line direct drive is configured, but the LPOA DD has the bullwheel mounted to a hollow shaft and the output shaft is inside the hollow shaft and connected to the bullwheel by a slip coupling at the bottom. If the motor was to fail (more in the next reply) the coupling can be disengaged and then the bullwheel is free to turn by means of a ring that is attached to the bullwheel and pinon set that is powered by a small diesel running a hydro static pump and motor. Sounds like the crew at Big Sky described something like this to Peter."
    Hope this helps ;)

  • Thanks. Sure if the DD is stuck (likely if not working) then trying to turn the other bullwheel is useless. That makes sense. So what you describe sounds like what Big Sky is setting up. The DD can be disengaged via the coupling. Of course there has to be a means to disengage the drive. The diesel motor is then engage.
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