Northwoods Express (Chair #11) Construction Update

Aug. 2, 2017

Construction of the new,  revamped Chair #11 is underway!

The new high speed six person chairlift will reduce wait times and increase capacity by 25 percent and will improve the flow of skiers and snowboarders to the legendary Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin throughout the day, including end of day, creating a better flow of traffic exiting Blue Sky Basin and moving across the mountain..

The current lift – a Doppelmayr detachable-quad– was installed in 1985, along with a group of lifts including, the original Vista Bahn Express (#16), Mountain Top Express (#4) and the current Game Creek Express (#7). The Vista Bahn Express was upgraded in 2012 to the 10-passenger Gondola One, and in 2013, Mountain Top Express was upgraded to a detachable six-pack.

All photographs by Todd Harper.

Leitner Poma, which is headquartered in Grand Junction, CO, designed and is building the new NorthWoods Express lift. Some of the terminal pieces are already done and on their way from the factory to top and bottom locations.

The original CH11 in the midst of the tear down/reconstruction phase. Here is the top terminal without all of its side panels in place. Complete removal of this terminal took several days to complete.

Some parts for the new top terminal are already on site. Once the ground area has been fully prepped, the build process will begin.


Chair lift upgrade FAQ’s:

Q: How many trips does it take to get a lift here from the Leitner Poma headquarters?

A: 23 Trips

Q: When will all the parts arrive in vail?

A: October 20th

Q: How long does it take to build a lift from start to finish?

A: 7 months

Q: How long is the haul rope?

A: 12,200 ft. (or 34 football fields length!)

Q: Where is the rope made?

A: France

Q: How powerful is the drive mechanism?

A: 900HP. (a Honda Civic, one of the most popular vehicles in the US, has about 160hp.)