Fifty years ago, the two passenger, fixed-grip Easy Street chairlift was installed at Sugar Mountain. This summer, the North Carolina ski resort will retire the old lift and replace it with a brand new, state-of-the-art quad detachable. Built by chairlift manufacturer Doppelmayr, the new lift is designed just for beginners, slowing significantly at the top and bottom for gentle loading and unloading.
The new lift will double uphill capacity from 1,050 passengers per hour to 2,400, increasing the resort’s overall uphill capacity from 10,518 passengers per hour to 11,868.
“The majority of our guests are beginners who go on to develop skiing and snowboarding as a life-long, family activity,” said Gunther Jochl, owner of the resort.
“Generation after generation lays roots right here on our beginner terrain. That hasn’t changed in Sugar’s fifty year history. Replacing the original Easy Street lift is not just an upgrade, it is an example of the continued commitment to offering our guests an exceptional mountain experience,” he added.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.
For a relatively short lift, the detachable seems like overkill and a waste of money.
Why not just do what other resorts do and the run the lift slowly? If they want to increase uphill capacity, fine - make it a fixed grip quad.
It's a guess, but the new lift may also be used for mountain biking during the summer. The family that owns Sugar knows their market very well. Beech is only 20 min away so there is direct competition. Each place caters to a slightly different market. The lift to the summit at Sugar went from a very slow double to a chondola relatively recently even though it's only been used as with chairs so far. They are thinking for the long run, not short term profits.