The sun shone brightly this past Saturday for the opening of Ragged Mountain’s new lift, the Spear Mountain Express. The brand new Dopplemayer detachable quad, installed this fall, transports skiers and riders to the summit of Spear in just 4 minutes, a fraction of the 14 minutes spent on the old lift. The $5 million lift travels at 1100 feet/minute and currently has 68 four passenger chairs. According to Lift Maintenance Manager Jim Hjermstadt, if more trails are cut on the Spear Mountain portion of the resort, 22 more chairs could be added for a total of 90 without impacting the skier density on the hill. Meanwhile the Spear Mountain trails, which had been underutilized due to the long ride up, should see more skiers thereby spreading out trail usage on both peaks.
The new lift is powered by an electric motor with two backup diesel drives in case of emergency. The first diesel backup can run the lift at full speed should there be a power failure. The auxiliary power unit or APU, also diesel, would run the lift at a slow speed to get riders safely unloaded at the summit. “The only time we would have to do a rope evacuation would be in the case of the cable coming off the sheaves or some other catastrophic mechanical failure,” says Hjermstadt.
Ryan Schramm, Ragged’s Director of Business Development and the first rider on the lift along with three special guests, says “This new lift is going to have a positive impact on the area experience. Changing the ride time from 14 minutes to 4 minutes is huge. This is the first step in a long term development plan which is really exciting.”
Other improvements currently in the works are the construction of Cardigan Cabins along the edge of the Barnyard beginner’s area. The first three out of a planned 20 units are now under construction. These units range from 1200 to 2000 square feet and will be available for rental when completed.
Last year Ragged added a new carpet lift servicing a terrain based learning area and a tubing park with its own carpet lift, warming hut and complete snowmaking.