$1.5 million project will install chair that accommodates novice skiers
By Kaitlin Mayhew -- firstname.lastname@example.org
BASYE -- Bryce Resort is due to begin construction on a new state-of-the-art chairlift that will more easily accommodate beginning skiers this summer.
The lift will replace Bryce's existing "Chair 1," which was part of the resort's original construction in 1965.
Rob Schwartz, general manager of the resort, said the replacement is not due to any functionality problems with the old lift.
"While people say that chairs have a life span, that's not entirely true," he said. "As long as you maintain them and get parts for them they can keep on trucking."
Schwartz said the main reason for the change is the desire to update the resort. He said the plans for a new chair lift have been in the works for 10 years, but that prior to this year, it just wasn't affordable.
The entire project will cost $1.5 million. Schwartz said the funding will come from both bank financing and using in house money for the first $800,000.
Construction of the new lift will be done by Skytrac, a lift design, manufacturing and installation company based out of Salt Lake City.
The new lift will span 2,490 feet with a vertical rise of 437 feet. It will be capable of loading up to 1,800 people per hour. The current lift can only load 800.
Schwartz said this will ensure that even on peak weekends, there will be no lift lines.
In addition to that, the lift will be equipped for young and beginning skiers.
"Above and beyond updating the resort [the construction] really focuses in on what the resort is known for," Schwartz said. "It's a great place for family skiing and a great place to learn how to ski."
The chair lift will start lower on the mountain so skiers don't have to hike up to it. Also the way the lift will load is, according to Schwartz, more beginner friendly.
"Essentially it's a 60-foot moving walkway. All the guests have to do is stand in front of the gate. The moving walkway is timed with the chair, so no more rushing to get into place or having the chair knock them on the back of the knees," he said.
Skytrac also uses all U.S.-made parts in their construction, which Schwartz said played a factor in the resort management's decision to choose the firm.
"It wasn't the deal sealer, but it helped, there's no doubt," he said.
Demolition of the old lift will likely begin in early spring, with completion planned for the 2012-13 ski season.
Schwartz said he is hoping that the new lift will bring a higher number of skiers to the resort, but even more so, he hopes Bryce will get more families coming to learn to ski.
"That's our bread and butter," he said. "We are one of the best beginner mountains I've ever been a part of, and anything we can do to help boost those statistics, that's key for us."
Bryce Resort has a beginner ski school that starts with pupils 4 years old and above.