Snowshoe Mountain Resort’s mountaintop village continues to expand, and next season, the Soaring Eagle Lodge should open -; with a new, high-speed chairlift landing at its doorstep. Earlier this week, the West Virginia Resort announced that it had purchased a new detachable lift from Doppelmayr CTEC, which will replace the existing Widowmaker Lift this summer. The lift will be installed this summer and should be operational in time for the 2006-2007 winter season.
The top of the lift will deposit skiers and snowboarders just steps away from the Soaring Eagle Lodge, a new condominium facility under development that should also be completed in time for the 2006-2007 season. Located near the Top of the World building, the Soaring Eagle Lodge will provide over 100 fully-furnished condominium units with advanced amenities such as flat-screen televisions, balconies, and among the largest floorplans at the resort. The facility will include a landscaped garden, outside fire pits, underground parking, and a full-service restaurant. During the winter, the Soaring Eagle Lodge will provide ski-in, ski-out access.
The Soaring Eagle Lodge is the latest upscale residential development at Snowshoe. In recent years, Snowshoe’s mountaintop village has undergone a renaissance with the development of Rimfire Lodge, Highland House, Allegheny Springs, and the Seneca. Most units in the Soaring Eagle Lodge are expected to be placed into Snowshoe’s rental program.
The new chairlift will be installed by Doppelmayr CTEC beginning this summer. The $3.3 million lift will travel 1,000 feet per minute and reduce the lift time from 8-10 minutes to less than 3 minutes, compared to the existing Widowmaker fixed-grip lift. Uphill capacity will increase from 1,500 skiers per hour to over 2,400 skiers per hour. The lift should help reduce crowds that can sometimes pool at the base of the Ballhooter Express lift, currently Snowshoe’s most popular lift in the basin area.
The new lift will be Snowshoe’s third high-speed detachable quad. In 1997, Snowshoe replaced its Ballhooter quad with the Ballhooter Express, a high-speed lift built by Garaventa CTEC. Snowshoe next focused its attention on the 1.5-mile long Cupp Run trail, which was serviced by an aging and slow fixed-grip lift. That lift was replaced during the summer of 1998 with the speedy Western Express, a high-speed lift also built by Garaventa CTEC. DCSki was on hand during the helicopter-assisted lift installation, and provided this Firsthand Report.
Snowshoe’s third high-speed lift will share a common lineage with the previous two lifts; the manufacturer, Doppelmayr CTEC, is a company formed by the 2002 merger of Garaventa CTEC and Doppelmayr.
Plans for the new lift originally leaked out in June, after some details were shared during a Property Owner’s Weekend at the resort. The new lift may portend future trail expansion past the Widowmaker trail, although the resort has not announced any terrain expansion plans at this time.
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.
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