Mount Bachelor is busy replacing its Skyliner chairlift with a new, six-person, high-speed lift. And due to its location, a lot of the work is an aerial attack.
“It’s going great. We just wrapped up concrete last week and we got four towers set up. We are working to align the towers to make sure everything is straight,” Mountain Operations Director Dustin Smith said Wednesday.
Smith describes the new Skyliner as a giant erector set. The new lift will have 15 tall towers with a thicker cable, which means more tension between lift towers and a smoother ride for people riding the lift.
“We’ll get an uptick in uphill capacity. One of the advantages of the six-pack lift is they perform better in the wind, especially when they are loaded with people. It should improve our ability to operate in challenging conditions,” Smith said.
A helicopter brings the towers up the mountain one section at a time, lowers them into position and crews bolt them into place.
Smith says one more day of helicopter flights are required to finish placing the lift towers. After that, crews will string cables on the towers and start testing.
“We’ll get the rope on the lift. Get the chairs on. Go through all the proper testing procedures with the Forest Service to get it certified and we’ll be open in mid-December,” Smith said.
There will be periodic closures of downhill mountain bike trails that pass under the Skyliner lift during construction. The resort will notify riders and hikers in advance of the closures.