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Wishlist for Improvements to Ski Areas


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Here's a fun topic, your wishlist for improvements to ski areas that you would like to see happen.

I'll start!

Mont Cascades - New summit chalet and the additional new ski slopes on the other sides of the mountain that they have been teasing for 5-8 years time now. Although a new and improved main chalet at the base would likely come much sooner due to the fire this past summer.

Calabogie Peaks - Detachable high speed lift to replace the slow fixed grips, at the very least on the Lakeview quad.

Camp Fortune - Detachable lift on Skyline and Meech and more trails in this sectors (the current lift takes nearly 10 minutes to ride up). The lift is more likely than new trails, only for the simple fact of the NCC seemingly not wanting the ski area to expand much further.

Edelweiss - More improvements to the chalet and some more trails to the right of the Shotgun trail (old trails maps from long ago had this as additional trails with another lift). Lift not necessary though. And a new detachable chairlift for when the Edelbahn Express needs to be replaced. Although based on how they replaced the seldomly used double chair to the right with a Poma quad and it serves the same as the Edelbahn, they may be thinking of just using that as the main lift if ever the Edelbahn gets retired and removed, which I hope won't be the case. So hoping very much for a new detachable lift to take its place when the time comes. Could be in the next 5 or so years as the Edelbahn dates to 1987.

Mont Ste Marie - Better link from Vanier to Cheval Blanc. Currently it is a flat trail or a short ride on the little tram tractor wagon. Would be nice if there was a lift of some sort to cross over more easily. Incidentally, on old trail maps from the 1990s, it shows a Poma lift that did exactly this route from Vanier to near Cheval Blanc. Overall, a better trail connection in the actual mountain would be even better.

Ski Vorlage - There was talk a few years ago of replacing the North Slope T-bar with a double chairlift and opening the slope underneath as a new ski trail. Would be really neat if this does come to pass at some point in the future. Would also love to see a top to bottom beginner trail off of the blue chairlift, perhaps to the right of Cote-des-Neiges.

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I agree with almost every point, you literally took the words right out of my mouth! The one thing that wouldn't make sense is meech getting a HSQ. It doesn't get enough skier traffic, it would be a long and expensive build, don't have night sking due to its base being in an area with no road/parking access, and only services two trails. Otherwise, I think that skyline needs an express lift. Especially because most intermediate/advanced skiers frequent that area. Long lines for the painstakingly slow skyline quad are a problem on some nights. It appears like it was built in 1990, so replacing it isn't a far stretch of an idea.

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Agreed. On average, from the moment you sit down to the moment you stand up to get off, the Skyline quad takes about 6 minutes. A high speed could certainly do the trip within 3 minutes as the line length is only 2200 feet. Although even doing an upgrade of a loading carpet for this lift would permit them to run it at a higher speed, for example move from 2.0m/s to possibly 2.5 m/s. Could easily shave a minute or minute and a half off the trip.

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True but a detachable would still be a smart idea as skyline can get pretty busy, especially if more skiers visit due to the rising popularity of the sport. Also I think skyline runs near 1.5m/s, due to the lift line being so steep. I doubt it could do 2.5. I've heard from a friend who has the night pass that the lines have been pretty long this season, in particular on weekends and wednesday nights (a theme I have also noticed this year).

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Yes you are right. I ran the numbers. It is 580m long and takes 6:02 minutes to ride. That gives us a speed of 1.6m/s, which is slower than I thought. If it ran at a higher speed like l'Etoile at Saint-Sauveur with a loading carpet (2.5m/s), it would reduce the ride to 3:52. If it was a detachable running at a modest speed of 4.5m/s, 2:09 ride time, in other words 1/3 the time. Of course the capacity would be about the same as either way it is spaced at a 7 second interval for loading. But the ride time would be significantly improved. Imagine riding for just 2 minutes compared to 6. Would be great.

Sadly, I don't think they would ever invest in a detachable lift. The Sudermanns do lease the mountain from the NCC, which might limit how much they would be interested in investing in a single piece of fixed ski infrastructure.

The current Poma quad was installed in 1990, so around 31-32 years old. Still fairly young when we see fixed grip lifts that date from the 60s and 70s running perfectly well. Detachables tend to have shorter lifespans due to all the mechanical components, so a 25-30 year old detachable is more likely to be replaced at that point than a fixed grip lift. My thought, if and when it needs to be replaced, they would likely replace with more or less the same thing, a fixed grip quad, although a loading carpet would be nice and allow for a higher speed, which as I said before, jumping from 1.6 to 2.5m/s would knock 2:02 off the trip.

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Ok so I did some more calculations, l'Etoile (with loading carpet) at Saint-Sauveur seems to operate at 2.15m/s. At this speed for comparison it would mean a 4:39 ride up on Skyline compared to the 6:02 current trip. Still shaves a good minute and a half off the ride.

For further comparison and stats, I used my lift videos and timed the ride from the moment you sit down on the chair to the moment you stand up. Here are some numbers from Saint-Sauveur.

Atomic
Length: 900m
Calculated Speed: 3.5m/s

fleche
825m
3.66m/s

express avila
655m
3.74m/s

cote 71
705m
3.36m/s

etoile
700m
2.15m/s

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Peter Suderman from Camp Fortune just replied the following to my question: 

 

Matteo, 

Changing out a lift at skyline for a highspeed lift is easier said than done. One they are expensive it would be approx. $6million to install. Yes I would like to do this but it will take time and I hope that with some of the opportunities we are initiating in the summer will generate the revenues to be able to do this within the next 5years.

Will keep you posted

 

Regards 

 

 

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My fear with a high speed quad on Skyline is you end with with to many people on the hill. Yes its has been busy some night with long lines but last night there was no line at all. They should have kept the single person poma lol. 

Regarding MSM cross over access, they could easily put in a rope tow to pull people across the flat section. I've seen them out west in places like Alta. They also really help snowboarders who can't skate ski flats. 

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Unless they increase the capacity on a new lift on Skyline, the end result of flow would be the same. If a quad is replaced with another quad and the loading interval between chairs is 7 seconds, then it would be the same. Of course, a detachable has the potential to stop less frequently so you would hit your theoretical capacity more often. The biggest change is the ride time being halved or less and a smoother loading and unloading.

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More comparison, the Edelbahn Express at Edelweiss runs at about 2.43m/s, a good 1m/s slower than the detachables at Saint-Sauveur and Mont Ste Marie (also 3.5m/s). I do remember back in the early 2000s, it would run noticeably faster.

The new Sommet Express runs 4.28m/s.

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I did the math for the edelbahn chair. The 2.5m/s speed was based on your video of its recording during the day; you also posted a video of it at night. In the night ride, it travelled 910 meters(its length) in 5:10-as opposed to 6:10 during the day. The faster of the two speeds was 2.99m/s, which is still really slow for a detachable, but much better than Edelweiss' two slow fixed grips that run at <2m/s and take 8-10 minutes to ride. Also, the edelbahn express can be considered 'prehistoric' when compared to newer detachables, hence they have to run it slower to prolong its lifespan. I assume that in a few years les sommets will replace it with a new detachable.

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Yeah there is a difference in the day to night speeds. I do have an old video riding it back in 2000-2001, a time in which I feel like it did run faster than the night video. After reviewing the video, it did the trip in 5:10 (approximately) so ultimately the same speed then as it does now.

I always felt like it had gone faster in the past. It was installed in 1987, pretty much the same year or a year later than the Avila Express and the Cote 71 at Saint-Sauveur, yet those run at 3.5-3.6m/s. Oh well. I'm just hoping that when it does end up getting replaced that they put another detachable, and not just switch over full-time to the two fixed quads instead, which would potentially be very likely. The Streif quad does run parallel to the Edelbahn and gives access to exactly the same thing. Fingers crossed I end up being wrong.

Incidentally the Streif quad was installed in mid-2010s, however it is important to note that it was purchased used several years earlier from Stratton in Vermont (installed new back in 1989). It was formerly the Kidderbrook quad, also a seldom used (or under-utilized) chairlift. Bottom line, it is 2 years newer than the Edelbahn, yet has seen significantly fewer hours, and is also a fixed grip which would have a longer lifecycle than a detachable. At Stratton, it was installed as a top drive, (like the Meister 4000), however at Edelweiss it is a bottom drive. The top return is also different than the original bottom return.

I have some old Edelweiss lift pics here if you are interested : https://www.slopeedge.com/forum/topic/761-edelweiss-valley-new-chairlifts-and-trails-2000-2015

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No edelweiss needs a detachable-their lines would be unbearable without one. Already I've waited in line for 10 minutes for the express with both or one other quad being open. Just having the two being open will not cut it. Since it is owned by les sommets, they will likely shell out the 6-8million to buy a new one, as opposed to a standalone resort. Prices at Edelweiss are some of the highest in the area, so customers will expect newer lift. Just my opinion

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was at Edelweiss two nights ago, and the trip up the express took approx 5:30. Since I am not sure what the official length is (I measured both 910 and 920 from google earth), its speed was between 2.7-2.8 m/s. I think it ran slower due to the fact that no one was there, despite it being the last night of the season.

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