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New chair lift will cost roughly $3 million at Red Lodge Mountain



Red Lodge Mountain, Montana – Construction on a new, high-speed chairlift at Red Lodge Mountain is expected to be finished in October.

The old Miami Beach lift in the base area will be replaced by this project, which will cost close to $3 million to construct.

Despite the size of the investment, Red Lodge Mountain General Manager Jeff Schmidt believes it will improve the visitor’s overall experience.

“Well, it’s not often we can pull something like this off,” Schmidt said. “We’re a small to midsize operation, and this is going to be awesome.”

Construction on the lift finally began this spring when the snow melted after years of planning, and it is already beginning to take shape. The new towers were installed last week using a helicopter service.

“Regardless of if you’ve seen it or not, it’s pretty darn cool,” Schmidt said, referring to the helicopter service.

According to Lift Manager Larry Freeman, the job has been challenging and the days have been long for his construction crew.

“We’ve had a crew of about 12 working just the steel, the concrete, and this side of it for 6 or 7 days since the snow melted,” Freeman said. “There’s a lot of milestones, but I’ve told the guys I’m not celebrating until it’s officially open to the public.”

Finishing the towers and terminals, according to Freeman, is a huge step forward since it means the lift is finally beginning to take shape.

“This has been fantastic to get the steel in the air and be really showing the progress,” Freeman said. “Last week, it was just steel in the parking lot and now, all of the sudden, it’s a recognizable ski lift.”

The outdated lift has taken the place of the 1973-built Miami Beach chair. The new chair will provide guests with a lot more effective and adaptable experience because it is faster and will ascend the mountain higher.

“The old lift was probably 450 people per hour could get up the lift,” Schmidt said. “This one will be more like 1,800 people per hour that can get up the lift.”

A modification like this will enable skiers and snowboarders to access Palisades directly from the base area, Freeman said, echoing Schmidt’s delight. Before the construction of this lift, travelers from Miami Beach had to trek up the mountain to get to that location.

“I think that’s really going to change how people use the ski area and really just the overall experience,” Freeman said.

As they attempt to introduce a new feature to the slopes for the upcoming season, it is a substantial expenditure, but one Schmidt thinks will be worthwhile.

“Time will tell,” Schmidt said. “If nothing else, our long-time customers will enjoy a faster way out of the base area and access to more terrain easily.”


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