Forest Service approves $8 million High Alpine lift replacement at Snowmass

Staff report

The United States Forest Service approved an $8 million lift replacement and realignment at Snowmass on Tuesday that will reduce the ride time from 11 minutes to 5.6 minutes.

Aspen Skiing Co. will replace and realign the High Alpine lift on Snowmass, install snowmaking equipment on two existing trails and implement additional trail and glade construction projects this summer, Skico announced Tuesday. The new chairlift will be a high-speed quad.

The project received Forest Service approval after a 45-day objection period for the draft decision notice. All construction activities are within Snowmass Ski Area’s special-use permit boundary. Construction will begin this summer and the new lift and improvements will debut for the 2015-16 ski season.

“With the realignment and the additional trail work and glading, our guests will have a vastly improved experience in the High Alpine pod on Snowmass,” said Steve Sewell, Snowmass general manager. “The new alignment will allow guests to ski from Rock Island, AMF and the Cirque without dropping to the lower mountain to access the High Alpine area. Additionally, skiers and snowboarders can now easily access Upper Green Cabin without a long flat traverse — especially important for snowboarders. This will improve the upper mountain circulation. There is no change in access to the Hanging Valley and no change in the uphill lift capacity”

“I am pleased to move forward with this decision,” said Scott Fitzwilliams, White River National forest supervisor. “The projects outlined in this analysis will greatly enhance recreational experiences at Snowmass and provide for better operations at the resort.”

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