Saturday marks one big day for one big mountain in Maine. Sugarloaf will debut the new Skyline Quad at noon, when a ribbon-cutting will precede the first riders on the $3 million Dopplemayr lift installed this summer, replacing the two old Spillway double chairs that accessed the same mid-mountain terrain at Sugarloaf.
The first thing skiers and riders will notice about the new Skyline quad is the conveyor loading system, it's like a magic carpet that eases loading, therefore reducing human error and lift stops. The conveyor system, already used successfully at Mount Snow, Okemo, and Shawnee Peak, allows the quad chair to run at top fixed grip speeds of up to 500 feet per minute. The 1,457-foot vertical Skyline Quad features more towers, a total 16, which are shorter than their predecessor, and heavier chairs which should both provide better wind resistance. Several hundred feet of wind fence was also installed, so Sugarloafers should definitely see less downtime on this key lift that connects much of the best terrain of the mountain.
Not since the 90's has Sugarloaf seen a new chairlift, when the SuperQuad debuted, along with a new Whiffletree quad, and the Timberline Lift was added to the summit (which was actually the previous Whiffletree lift retrofit and relocated), to service the upper mountain previously accessed by the retired gondola.
These are exciting times for 'Loafers; a brand new quad before Christmas. It was last Christmas holiday week when the old Spillway East lift de-roped. This new Skyline lift obviously addresses wind issues while increasing capacity in the heart of Sugarloaf's ski trails. Boyne continues its Sugarloaf 2020 plan of increasing terrain, improving lift service, and amping up snowmaking at the 61 year old resort.
Don't expect to get first chair on the Skyline Quad this Saturday though; those first official spots were auctioned off to benefit local Sugarloaf charities. The vintage Spillway double chairs were also auctioned in the spring. However, the first 100 riders on the new chair will receive a commemorative Skyline t-shirt.
Photo by Greg Burke
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familysktitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.