Mon 20 Jul 2009
That’s right – Solitude Mountain Resort has begun installation on Powderhorn II, a $1.5 million improvement to the lift system. This new fixed grip quad replaces the original Powderhorn double, a holdover from its mid-70s installation – albeit with an improved lift line . Coming on the heels of last winter’s $7 million investment in two detachable express quads the resort should ski much more efficiently. That’s three new quads in just the past two years!
Powderhorn II will start from the bottom of Sunshine Bowl, travel above the Concord ski run, and end in the same location as the original Powderhorn Lift. The move to a mid-mountain starting point allows expert snowriders to make continuous laps on the upper mountain – from Diamond Lane to Sunshine Bowl – without the need to return to the base area via beginner runs. A speedy 7 minute lift ride on the new lift, as opposed to 12 on the old double, saves 5 minutes per run on some of the state’s steepest groomed terrain. Plus, the off-piste terrain in Honeycomb Canyon will still be conveniently accessed from the top of this lift.
Last winter’s new Apex and Moonbeam Express lifts introduced high speed lift access from both base areas to mid-mountain, allowing Powderhorn II to begin higher on the mountain. Accessible from all three detachable lifts, including Eagle Express, a greater on-mountain flow is achieved throughout the resort. Solitude’s goal with terrain and lift improvements, now and into the future, is to efficiently utilize pockets of terrain which are naturally separated by the layout and slope of the mountain.
Beginner and intermediate visitors will appreciate the new lift, as well, even though they may not ride it until their skills improve, as advanced and expert visitors will remain higher on the mountain, easing traffic in prime learning areas lower on the mountain. Crafting this natural segregation put visitors of like abilities in terrain conducive to their ability, creating an improved experience for all.