The new lift will increase uphill capacity by 35 percent through the use of alternating gondola cabins and six-person chairs. The new lift is expected to be in place for the 2014-2015 ski and snowboard season, and the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.
On Dec. 9, 2013, the resort had announced its intention to replace the Centennial lift with a traditional six-person chairlift, but after further consideration and discussions with the lift manufacturers, chose a more robust, flexible and guest-oriented approach. The new combination lift will provide the same uphill capacity as a six-person chairlift, but allow guests to have a choice of whether to ride in a gondola cabin or on a chair, which will be served by two separate queuing lines. This type of lift will be a significant benefit to beginner skiers and riders, and kids, particularly those engaged in ski school lessons, as riding in the gondola cabins offers a much easier load and download experience at the beginning and end of the day. In addition, with the combination lift, guests who prefer to keep their skis on will be able to use the lift in the same way they do today. Finally, by having gondola cabins as part of the new lift, guests will be much better able to access the Spruce Saddle area for current and future nighttime and summertime dining and recreational activities.
“The unique and dramatic benefits to our guests to be able to install a combination lift with gondola cabins and chairs and replace one of the most utilized lifts at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain are tremendous and completely in line with the Beaver Creek brand promise to deliver high-quality guest experiences,” said Doug Lovell, vice president and chief operating officer for Beaver Creek Resort. “After careful consideration, we believe this is exactly the right solution to position Beaver Creek for the future and address the resort’s continued growth and diverse guest needs.”
The new combination lift will transport 3,400 people per hour in a combination six-passenger chair and 10-person gondola cabin format (up from the current capacity of 2,800 people per hour).
Beaver Creek received U.S. Forest Service approval in 2013 to upgrade the Centennial lift to a six-person lift; the Forest Service reviewed the modification to a combination lift and determined it was consistent with the original decision. The resort plans to begin installation in June 2014, weather-permitting, and hopes to complete the project by mid-November.