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In preparation for the ski season, Red Lodge Mountain presents a new chair lift



Red Lodge, Montana – With a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Red Lodge Mountain revealed its new almost $3 million chairlift, drawing hundreds of guests to the mountain to see the new attraction.

The triple chair, which takes the place of the outdated Miami Beach lift, allows skiers to access more runs more quickly by traveling higher up the mountain.

It took months for Red Lodge Mountain General Manager Jeff Schmidt and his team to complete the construction. The lift was removed from a Utah ski resort and rebuilt, but Schmidt and his crew were able to witness the culmination of their labors on Monday.

“It’s still hard to fathom that it’s here and running,” Schmidt said following the ceremony Monday. “It’s cool that we pulled this off mainly in-house with our crew here. They did great and I’m really proud of them.”

Schmidt remarked that it was like a dream come true to watch the lift operating.

“There was just so much time put into this,” Schmidt said. “We had stuff spread everywhere when we got back from Utah. Lots of trucking, lots of cranes, and now seeing it running is a great feeling.”

The grand opening of the lift coincides with the beginning of the new ski season. Red Lodge will host its opening day the day after Thanksgiving, as per tradition. Schmidt stated that although the pleasant weather aided in the construction progress, it is now time to hope for snow.

“The weather’s been great for lift building but not great for skiing,” Schmidt said. “Now that it’s done and running, it’s time for it to start snowing. We need a little help from Mother Nature.”

The new ride was tested out for the first time by locals and skiers during the well-attended ribbon-cutting ceremony. Rick McGarvey, a 48-year season ticket holder, was one of them and he expressed his passion for the mountain and how much he would welcome the new lift.

“It’s a tremendous improvement for Red Lodge Mountain,” McGarvey said as he got his turn to ride the lift for the first time. “It’ll get skiers up the mountain a lot faster and it’ll take a load off of triple chair.”

Although McGarvey usually looks forward to ski season, he stated that seeing the new lift made him realize just how near it really is.

“I’m always excited for ski season. I probably go 65 times, partly for exercise and partly for the social aspect,” McGarvey said. “Being up here today and riding this new chair is great. It’s just a great place to be.”

McGarvey expressed his excitement about the lift giving skiers who are similar to him more options.

“It’ll give people quick access to lower Miami as well as Palisades when the snow-making is going,” McGarvey said. “It’s really going to be incredible for the mountain.”

Schmidt had organized every step of the building process, but at Monday’s ceremony, he was in for a pleasant surprise. The elevator, which was originally intended to be called Miami Beach Express, was renamed The Stache Express in honor of the renowned facial hair of Schmidt.

“It was a big surprise,” Schmidt said with a laugh. “That was pretty cool of them. I guess I better not shave my mustache off.”


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