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New and Improved: Red Lodge Mountain spending nearly 3 million on new chair lift

Lift Towers
Posted at 1:58 PM, Aug 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-29 08:04:18-04

RED LODGE - Red Lodge Mountain is adding a new high-speed chairlift to the resort, with construction scheduled to be completed in October.

The project will cost nearly $3 million to complete and will replace the old Miami Beach lift in the base area.

It's a large investment, but one Red Lodge Mountain General Manager Jeff Schmidt said will add to the visitor's 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."

Planning for the lift has been going on for years, but construction finally kicked off this spring when the snow melted and now the lift is starting to take shape. A helicopter service was used to put up the new towers last week.

Helicopter Chair Lift

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

Lift Manager Larry Freeman said that the project has been daunting and that the days for his construction team have been long.

"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."

Freeman said getting the towers and terminals finished is great progress, as now the lift is really starting 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 new lift is in place of the old Miami Beach chair, which was built in 1973. The new chair is quicker and will go up higher on the mountain, offering a much more efficient and versatile experience for the visitors.

"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."

New Chair Lift

Freeman echoed Schmidt's excitement and said that a change like this will allow skiers and snowboarders to access Palisades straight from the base area. Before this lift, people would have to hike up to reach that point of the mountain from Miami Beach.

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

It's a large investment, but one Schmidt hopes will be worth it, as they try to add a new element to the slopes for the upcoming season.

"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."