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A Pair Of New Lifts Add Uphill Capacity At Santa Fe, Red River

NM-Santa-Fe-Cover New lifts at a pair of New Mexico resorts will put more folks up and onto the slopes next season. (Image via Ski Santa Fe Facebook)

After a better-late-than-never storm cycle in New Mexico, the 2023-2024 ski and snowboard season is heading to the finish line, but it's never too early to look at the new lifts planned for next season.

Once the snow melts, crews at Ski Santa Fe and Red River Ski Area will begin work on replacing a pair of chairlifts that are more than 30 years old. These upgrades follow a trend among resorts in the West to increase uphill capacity as more and more skiers and riders than ever line up to ride lifts.

At Ski Santa Fe, the day-trip mountain will be its first high-speed chairlift. The workhorse Super Chief Quad -- one of two fixed-grip chairs that get folks out of the base area with access to the steeper upper mountain -- will be succeeded by a detachable quad along the same footprint.

In replacing the fixed-grip four-seater, mountain officials say that the ride will be cut from 10 minutes to four minutes. Serving the popular blues and greens on the mountain's west side, the new lift is expected reduce lift lines that plague the locals' mountain on busy days -- and provide quicker access to a crossover to the mountain's two upper chairlifts that rise to above 12,000 feet elevation.

Built in 1988, the Super Chief remained Ski Santa Fe's newest lift until 2005, when the upper-mountain Millennium triple was installed. The mountain's other three chairlifts are pre-1990 models.

Up north at Red River (209 a., 1,600 vert.) another old faithful chair will come down this summer. The two-seat Copper Chair went up in 1993 as Red River expanded to its eastern edge. The lift loaded in the middle of town, right behind what is now the community center, and helped mitigate lift lines on the only other bottom-to-top chair, the Platinum lift.

After 30 years, a new triple fixed-grip chair will go up along the same footprint. It's the first new lift at the northern New Mexico resort since the Platinum got reworked into a triple in 2016. The rest of Red River's lift fleet serves either the dedicated learning Goldrush area or the steep stuff around the 10,030-foot summit ridge.

 

 

 

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