Bridger Bowl has officially decided to replace the current Alpine lift , a 1967 Riblet double chair, with two SkyTRAK triple chair lifts with ChairKid loading carpets lifts to better serve the Alpine terrain pod. Both of the new lifts will originate from the same general location as the current Alpine Chair. Increased lift capacity, reliability and comfort to some of Bridgers best intermediate, lower intermediate and beginner terrain is the primary goal. Both chairs will also have loading carpets as are now found on several other of our lifts. The New Alpine Lift #1 will veer to the south of the current Alpine lift line and terminate below the north end of the North Bowl. This lift will serve intermediate terrain such as Powder Park Run, Powder Puff, Powder Hog and Baby Bear. The New Alpine Lift #2 will veer to the north of the current lift and terminate at the top of Montagne's Meadow. This lift will provide easy access to some of our best beginner, lower intermediate and intermediate terrain including Montagne's Meadow, Porcupine Run, Limestone, and Bobcat. One of the major reasons for the positioning of these two lifts is to move the lifts, as well as beginner and intermediate skiers and boarders, away from the avalanche paths found at and around the top terminal of the current Alpine lift. The current lift lines have already been cut for these two new lifts. This will be a major capital improvement for Bridger Bowl and will help vastly improve the beginner and intermediate skiing and riding experience on the mountain for years to come. Work on the two new lifts will commence as soon as conditions permit this spring and will be planned for opening this fall of 2013.
Alpine Riblet is a 46 year old lift which makes finding replacement parts a concern.
As a center pole double chair, it is very difficult for young skiers/riders to load; intimidating for many beginner/intermediate to load and ride; and scary to those affected by heights.
Chair swing is often an issue on the current Alpine chair and often problematic with unbalanced loads created by single riders and snowboards.
The light (40 lb.) chairs are more susceptible to cross winds than the heavier (150 lb.) triple chair.
Triple chairs would provide a more comfortable and consistent loading/riding experience as found on our other beginner/intermediate lifts.
We often have the longest lift lines on the mountain on Alpine and with triple the capacity (3,300/persons/hour versus 1,100/persons/hour) we will eliminate long lines and comfortably accommodate significantly more skiers/riders on that side of the mountain.
Loading carpets have proven to be very effective in maximizing uphill loading capacity and will effectively provide even greater uphill capacity/hour with fewer slows and stops for kids and misloads/unloads.
The Alpine terrain pod compromises about 25% of our total lift served terrain and the terrain topography makes it very difficult to adequately and efficiently access all the ski runs with just one chair. It also necessitates road cuts and long traverses which disrupts the quality of skiing and riding.
Installing two chairs allows us to better serve much needed beginner/intermediate terrain on the north side of the mountain and then separate access to upper intermediate/advance terrain found below the North Bowl on Powder Park Run and other steeper terrain leading into the 3 Bears Bowl.
The Three Bears road is a snow road and is very difficult to build and maintain. Quite a few intermediate skiers, especially snowboarders, have difficulty traversing this variably sloped terrain.
All the terrain on the Alpine side of the mountain is underutilized due primarily to the limitations and intimidating nature of the current Alpine lift. Partitioning out the Alpine lift served terrain with two divergent lifts will help spread out skiers/riders looking for either easy access to "green" terrain as compared to those who looking for quick access to longer groomed runs on intermediate/advance slopes.
Ridge skiers and snowboarders will also enjoy longer, uninterrupted runs down the Apron and Bridger Gully with the elimination of the road cuts.
When we receive big snowfalls and/or have an unstable snowpack, placing lifts in areas that will minimize potential hazards is an important and practical consideration. Many times we are delayed in opening Alpine or have to close early due to large snowfalls and growing instability of the snowpack. The current Alpine top terminal has been damaged on several occasions due it's location in a avalanche path.
From an economic perspective, there are many new local skiers and riders that we wish to continually attract to our ski area. As well, many of our destination skiers who come from the upper mid-west and Canada are looking for this type of terrain to ski and ride on their vacation. Bridger Bowl can easily handle many more skiers and riders on this part of the mountain with out compromising the quality of the ski/ride experience.
Looking up where the New Alpine Lift #1 will be running up from just north of the current Alpine base terminal veering south towards the top of Brush Run below North Bowl.
Looking up where the New Alpine Lift #2 will be running up adjacent to Wolverine towards the top of Montagne's Meadow.