By George Schissler
(January 2013) Although it has put a total of $11 million into improvements during the past 17 years Bridger Bowl in Billings, Montana is planning to invest $4.1 million in two Skytrac triple chairs next summer.
Lifts will be ready for next winter and will replace the Alpine lift, a double chair which was installed in 1967 with a capacity of about 1,100 skiers per hour. The new lifts will carry 1,500 to 1,800 skiers per hour which will more than double capacity on the northern end of the ski area.
“It’s a lot more capacity, and they’ll both have loading carpets, so the real load capacity is higher because we have fewer slows and stops,” said Mountain Manager Randy Elliott. “It’s also less wear on the lift operators because they’re bumping fewer chairs.”
Both of the new lifts will originate just north of the current Alpine chair–and for good reason. In a statement the ski area explained it this way: “One of the major reasons for the positioning of these two lifts is to move them, as well as beginner and intermediate skiers and boarders, away from the avalanche paths found at and around the top terminal of the current Alpine lift.” This strategy will also help connect the existing terrain to a future terrain expansion. www.bridgerbowl.com.