This will greatly increase the uphill skier capacity while shortening the lift ride time by close to half.
Chair 4 provides primary lift access from the Daylodge base area of the resort to the upper mountain and the base area adjacent to The Hotel Alyeska. Servicing high volumes of day users including families, ski buses, and other groups, Chair 4 serves as a pivotal launching point for getting skiers and riders uphill. The existing chairlift was originally installed in 1992.
“I am very excited for this new lift,” said Di Hiibner, ski area general manager. “It will be the second high speed quad installed at Alyeska Resort, along with Chair 6, and the only two high speed lifts in all of Alaska. “
Construction and installation of the chairlift will begin early summer of 2012. The new chairlift is manufactured by Doppelmayr USA Inc, an Austrian company, with offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. The chairlift is being fabricated in the U.S. The hardware for the new lift cost approximately $4 million. Installation has been estimated at $1 million and the Resort also plans to spend close to $1 million on summer grading work for terrain improvements on trails fed by the new Chair 4.
The necessary ground work for the chairlift installation includes terrain re-grading for both top and bottom lift terminals, removal of existing lift towers, extensive electrical and utility work, as well as overall summer road improvements in order to accommodate the heavy machinery needed to install the chairlift. The installation is scheduled to take five months. The Resort also plans to tackle additional terrain work designed to improve user access, decrease skier speeds and create a safer corridor for users.
The estimated ride time for the new chair will be approximately five to seven minutes; 40% faster than the previous chairlift. In addition to a quicker and more enjoyable chair ride experience, the new chairlift will provide greater terrain utilization for skiable terrain accessed by the new chairlift.
Previously, based on tracking by the Resort’s RFID (radio frequency identification) gate system, intermediate and advanced skiers preferred staying in the upper mountain area accessed by Chair 6. The improved ride on Chair 4 will provide skiers more reason to explore terrain in the Lower Bowl and Race Trail areas. The easier access to lower mountain terrain will also ease some of the traffic and congestion on the upper mountain during the resort’s busier periods.
“A high speed quad at the Daylodge base area will change how our guests ski the mountain,” said Hiibner. “The new chairlift will create a better top-to-bottom ski experience.”
This large-scale construction project has required the support and approval from a number of organizations. The planning for the replacement chairlift has taken two years. The Resort’s mountain management team worked with a number of experts in the field including The SE Group to determine the best chairlift plan. The Resort has contracted with Outdoor Engineering and Summit Lift to install the new lift with support from the Resort’s mountain operations crews. The chairlift installation planning has also included collaboration through permitting processes from Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources and the Municipality of Anchorage.
The Resort’s primary owner, John Byrne, is scheduled to be in Girdwood, Alaska as keynote speaker at the 12th Annual Girdwood 2020 Meeting and Banquet on Saturday, April 21st. This year’s banquet theme is “Celebrating Girdwood: One of the Best Ski Towns in the World” as designated by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. During his keynote address, Mr. Byrne plans to officially announce the new chairlift project; he also intends to highlight other Resort priorities and future plans.
The Girdwood 2020 planning committee anticipates attendance by a number of state and municipal leaders at this year’s event. Mr. Byrne is also discussing with the family of former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens possible names for the new chairlift. The anticipated opening date for the new chairlift is Wednesday, November 21, 2012 – opening day of the 2012/13 ski season.
About Alyeska Resort (www.alyeskaresort.com)
Alyeska Resort is Alaska's premier year-round destination featuring The Hotel Alyeska, an award-winning 304 room full-service property. Located just 40 miles from Anchorage and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Alyeska Resort is your base camp for summer and winter excursions. The resort is within close proximity of three national parks and the Kenai Peninsula, and is home to the northernmost coastal temperate rainforest, part of the Chugach Mountain Range. Alyeska Resort stands out during ski season with 650” of average snowfall annually and the longest-continuous double black diamond ski run in North America. Learn more about the resort and plan your Alaskan adventure at www.alyeskaresort.com or 800.880.3880.