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Faster Chairs At Sun Valley, Jackson Hole Aim To Ease Congestion

New-Sun-Valley-Cover At big mountains Sun Valley and Jackson Hole, a couple of new chairs will get more skiers and riders on the hill. (Image via Sun Valley Facebook)

Two of the West's most recognizable ski and snowboard mountains will be replacing a pair of aging chairlifts with swifter versions during this year's summer work season.

The projects at Sun Valley and Jackson Hole are elements in multi-year improvement plans that have been approved by the U.S. Forest Service, from whom the resorts lease use of public land.

At Sun Valley, the last five construction seasons have been about upgrading chairlifts all over the 2,000 acres that sit under Bald Mountain. They took care of the Warm Springs side of the mountain -- far skier's left -- with new and realigned chairs. Now it's time to fix up the other side.

This summer, installation crews will turn their attention to Seattle Ridge, an all-green pod on far skier's right off Bald Mountain. Since 1993, more and more skiers and riders looking for gentle, quiet terrain have ridden 4.5 minutes on the high-speed Seattle Ridge quad.

Now, this summer, Sun Valley crews will put up a six-pack detachable chair, which will allow 600 more folks per hour to get onto Seattle Ridge's collection of easy-going trails.

Management hopes this project will reduce wait time in one of Bald Mountain's busiest intersection along the Broadway runout. The Seattle Ridge high-speed shares loading space the 50-year-old fixed-grip Mayflower triple that heads up to the 9,150-foot summit of Bald Mountain.

Next up in 2025 construction season will be replacement of the detachable Christmas quad with a six-pack "chondola," creating a base-to-summit gondola route and hopefully moving people more readily through the busy mid-mountain Roundhouse area.

About 450 miles to the east, Jackson Hole got the go-ahead from the USFS in January for replacement of the fixed-grip Sublette four-seater. For nearly 40 years, Sublette has been the way to get skiers and riders into a trio of bowls just below famed Rendezvous Bowl.

For the 2024-2025, Sublette riders will feel the speed with a new detachable quad that will cut riding time down to about four minutes. Unloading area will be enlarged, and a new traverse will run under the tram to Tensleep Bowl.

This project follows on the heels of making Thunder chair a detachable quad that brings skiers and riders from the bottom of the Headwall amphitheater back up to the ridge at Laramie Bowl. It also is the only new lift included in Jackson's six-year plan to realign trails, modify visitor venues, develop a full menu of summer activities, and mitigate avalanche danger.

 

 

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