8 Major Ski Resort Projects for Winter 2021 (Part 1)

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

Construction at ski resorts is roaring back after COVID related uncertainty last year. Resorts are investing in terrain expansion, lift modernization, base area upgrades, and alternative energy generation.

Building the Swift Current 6 at Big Sky. Image courtesy of Big Ski Resort.

During the depths of COVID last summer, we published 7 Transformative Ski Resort Projects Currently Underway. Only two of these projects – Arapahoe Basin's replacement of the legendary Pali Chair and Sun Valley's 380 acre Sunrise Expansion – were completed in time for the 2020-21 season. Two more of these projects – the Kancamagus 8 lift at Loon Mountain and the Swift Current 6 at Big Sky – are on track for the 2021-22 season.


> Related Post: 8 Transformative Resort Projects to Complete in 2023 and Beyond


Here are 8 major projects at resorts across North America that are on track for the Winter 2021-22 season (click the resort name to jump to that project):


  1. Big Sky Resort, MT. Installing the Swift Current 6 – the fastest 6-person lift in North America.

  2. Loon Mountain Resort, NH. Building the Kancamagus 8 lift, the "most technologically advanced" lift in North America, carrying 8 people with heated seats and a bubble.

  3. Snowbasin, UT. Building a new, high speed 6-pack to replace the Middle Bowl chair and expanding parking by 350 spots.

  4. Beaver Creek, CO. Expanding to create McCoy Park, 250 acres of secluded, new bowl skiing for beginners and intermediates.

  5. Snowbird, UT. Building a combined heat and power (CHP) plant that will make the resort energy independent.

  6. Okemo, VT. Increased lift capacity with a 6 place lift to replace the Quantum Four high-speed bubble chair. The bubble chair will also replace the Green Ridge Triple.

  7. Breckenridge, CO. Building a new detachable quad on Peak 7 that will increase capacity to the peak and alleviate congestion at the Independence Super Chair.

  8. Keystone, CO. Expediting travel from the base with a new high speed 6 place lift


Coming Winter 2021-22

 

Big Sky, MT – Swift Current 6

The fastest lift in North America will replace the Swift Current Quad


Status: In progress, delayed a year due to Covid-19

Target Completion Date: Winter 2021

As part of Big Sky’s 2025 master plan, the Swift Current 6 will replace the Swift Current Quad. The Doppelmayr D-Line traveling at 1,200 feet/minute will be the fastest six-person chair in North America. The Swift Current Six will also feature heated seats and Big Sky’s signature blue wind bubble. And to think Big Sky already has one of the most impressive lift networks in North America.


> See our insider guide to Big Sky here

 

Loon Mountain, NH – Kancamagus 8

Installation of the most technologically advanced lift in North America


Status: In progress, delayed a year due to Covid-19

Target Completion Date: Winter 2021

Loon's Kancamagus 8 Lift will be the first 8-place in the East and promises to be North America's "most technologically advanced" lift. The 'Kanc 8' is a Doppelmayr D-Line that moves at 1,100 feet/minute and will increase traffic capacity out of the Governor Adams Base by 25% to 3,500 skiers per hour. Featuring 31 distinct innovations and 14 patents including an auto-locking restraining bar, an adjustable loading carpet, and a tinted bubble to shield visitors from the frigid New Hampshire wind, this lift is a game changer in the East.


> See our insider guide to Loon Mountain here


 

Snowbasin, UT – New High Speed 6 for Middle Bowl & Expanded Parking

Increasing capacity and cutting ride times in half


Status: Beginning Summer 2021

Target Completion Date: Winter 2021

The Middle Bowl Triple will be replaced with an express 6 place chair. Image courtesy of Snowbasin.

Snowbasin is working to replace the aging Middle Bowl Triple with a new high speed six-pack, the Middle Bowl Express – doubling capacity and shaving ride times from 12 minutes to less than six. While the path of the new lift will be similar to the original, the new top terminal will unload skiers just above the Needles Lodge, enabling easier access to the lodge. Construction is set to begin this summer with plans to complete by Christmas 2021.


The resort is also planning to add 350 parking spaces in the Maples and Canyon Rim areas. The new spaces will add to Snowbasin's already impressive parking capacity. Construction will start this summer and should be complete before opening day.


> See our insider guide to Snowbasin here

 
The new McCoy Park learning area at Beaver Creek.

Beaver Creek, CO – McCoy Park Terrain Expansion

Unique, new bowl skiing experience for beginners and intermediates


Status: In progress

Target Completion Date: Winter 2021


The new learners area at Beaver Creek is currently Vail Resorts' largest terrain expansion. Featuring 250 acres of skiable terrain with 17 trails and 2 new high-speed quads, McCoy Park will provide beginners and intermediates with a unique bowl skiing experience. Access this secluded area from the top of the Larkspur Express, the Strawberry Peak Express, and the Beaver Creek Mountain Express lifts.

 

Snowbird, UT – Snowbird Power Systems

A CHP facility that will make Snowbird energy independent


Status: In progress

Target Completion Date: July 2021

Snowbird Power Systems will power up to 100% of the resort at peak operation. The system, a combined heat and power (CHP) facility, relies on natural gas and will use the waste heat from its cogeneration facility to warm its buildings and water. The new system will power The Cliff Lodge, Snowbird Center, The Aerial Tram and other chairlifts. The resort estimates this will help save 62,000 dekatherms of natural gas annually – the equivalent of removing emissions from the burning of over 4 million pounds of coal.


> See our insider guide to Snowbird here

 


Okemo, VT – New 6 Place Lift at Jackson Gore

Uphill capacity increased by 30 percent at Jackson Gore & 20 percent to the Summit


Status: In progress, delayed due to Covid-19

Target Completion Date: Winter 2021

Okemo will relocate the Quantum Four chair and replace it with a new 6-place. Image courtesy of Okemo.

A new Leitner-Poma 6 place lift will replace the Quantum Four, increasing uphill capacity by a third to ~2,900 skiers/hour. This will drastically reduce congestion in the increasingly popular Jackson Gore area of the mountain.


Okemo will relocate the Quantum Four to replace the Green Ridge Triple. This move will increase capacity to the Main Summit area by more than 20% to 2,180 skiers/hour. In addition, a new connector trail will improve access to the relocated Quantum chair and reduce the travel time from Jackson Gore to the Summit and South Face areas.


> See our insider guide to Okemo here

 
Map of the new Peak 7 chair at Breck.

Breckenridge, CO – New Peak 7 Chair

Increasing rider capacity to the peak


Status: In progress

Target Completion Date: Winter 2021


Breckenridge is building a new detachable quad on Peak 7. This lift will increase capacity to the peak and alleviate congestion at the Independence Super Chair. The lift will load skiers about halfway down the Monte Cristo run, just below the base terminal of the Zendo lift. This project will also improve access to Peak 6's intermediate terrain.


 

Keystone, CO – Peru 6 Place Lift

Adding rider capacity by replacing the Peru Express Quad with a 6 place lift


Status: In progress

Target Completion Date: Winter 2021

Keystone will replace the Peru Express chair with a new 6-place. Image courtesy of Lift Blog.

Construction is underway at Keystone to replace the Peru Express Quad with the resort's third 6 place lift. This upgrade will increase rider capacity from the base area.


> See our insider guide to Keystone here


 

This is just the beginning, inter-resort connections, massive base area upgrades and even new resorts are in the works. See our related post on 8 Transformative Projects to Complete in 2023 and Beyond >

 

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