A-Basin to replace Exhibition Lift | AspenTimes.com

A-Basin to replace Exhibition Lift

Julie Sutor
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Mark Fox/Summit Daily NewsThe Exhibition Lift at Arapahoe Basin will be replaced this summer with a new high-speed quad.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. – Arapahoe Basin will whisk skiers and riders up the mountain more quickly next season.

Summit County’s highest ski area announced Tuesday that it will replace its Exhibition fixed-grip triple chair with a high-speed detachable quad this summer.

The new lift is scheduled to start turning at the start of the 2010-2011 season. It will bring guests from the base area to mid-mountain in less than three minutes – half the time Exhibition now takes to do the job. Detachable lifts ease loading and unloading for beginner and intermediate skiers, so ski area representatives expect the new lift to have fewer stops and starts than the current one.

“Each year, we receive hundreds of comments suggesting we make this change,” A-Basin general manager Alan Henceroth said. “Finally, after working on this project for the last five years, we are very excited to christen a new chairlift for the 2010-2011 season.”

Exhibition moves more people than any other lift at A-Basin. It is the first lift to open at the season’s beginning and the last to close in all of Summit County in spring or summer. Henceroth describes it as “the real workhorse of the fleet.”

“With its increased capacity, shorter ride time and ease of loading, the new detachable chairlift will be a tremendous benefit to our guests,” Henceroth said.

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Exhibition provides access to Black Mountain Lodge and to the mountain’s upper chairlifts – Lenawee, Norway and Montezuma. The current lift has been in place since 1978.

The new quad lift will provide easier access to the mid-mountain lodge for special events and weddings year-round.

Exhibition’s replacement will be the ski area’s third new lift in 10 years. The new lift will have a capacity of 2,000 people per hour, a length of 2,877 feet and a vertical rise of 719 feet. The location of the bottom terminal will not change; the upper terminal will be slightly uphill and to the west of the existing one.

The ski area has contracted Leitner-Poma to build and install the lift, with construction scheduled to begin mid-June. It will not impact this season’s tentative June 6 closing date, according to spokeswoman Leigh Hierholzer. The project will cost about $4 million.

The fate of the existing lift is not yet determined, but, “It will be reused or recycled, with very little thrown away,” Henceroth said.

The new lift will not go by the name Exhibition. And who better to name it than those who will ride it?

Henceroth is accepting suggestions via e-mail at alanh@a-basin.net. Whoever dreams up the winning name will receive a 2010-2011 A-Basin season pass or a $300 gift certificate to Arapahoe Sports.

jsutor@summitdaily.com