A-Basin says goodbye to its Exhibition lift
ARAPAHOE BASIN – Little remained of Arapahoe Basin’s Exhibition chairlift Monday afternoon, as a K-Max helicopter soared overhead, carrying the lift’s 5,000-pound towers from their pads and depositing them in the Early Riser parking lot.
Crews from chairlift manufacturer Leitner-Poma brought the helicopter to A-Basin in one of the final steps to make way for the ski area’s newest lift – the Black Mountain Express, a high-speed quad that will bring skiers and riders from the base area to mid-mountain.
Though none of the old lift’s parts can be reused in the new one, Exo’s remains won’t go to waste, according to A-Basin general manager Alan Henceroth. The ski area will keep most of the steel towers, converting them into avalanche control towers or other resort infrastructure.
“Who knows what crazy ideas we’ll come up with in the next 10 years,” Henceroth said.
The ski area will donate some of the towers to Colorado Mountain College, where they will be used for an outdoor sculpture project.
Over the weekend, A-Basin fans picked up 110 of Exo’s 118 chairs, for which they paid $450 apiece. The chairs sold out only seven minutes after they went on sale earlier this spring. The ski area reserved eight of the chairs to donate to charity auctions by local nonprofits.
Exhibition’s electronic components and sheave assemblies (pulley systems atop towers that guide the cable, or haul rope) will serve as spare parts for A-Basin’s three other lifts of the same vintage. Some parts went to the Basin’s sister ski area, Bear Valley, in California; the last remaining pieces will be recycled.
“We’re not planning on sending anything to the landfill. And we have a really nice diesel motor for sale, if anyone’s interested,” Henceroth said.
Next week, workers will prepare the areas for Black Mountain Express’s top and bottom terminals. In July, they’ll install its tower foundations.
A-Basin officials are planning to unveil the new lift to the public in late August with a community barbecue.