BIG SKY - Construction is once again underway on Lone Peak to finish building the new Big Sky Tram in time for next year’s opening day.
The original Big Sky Tram was built in 1995. This is the first new tram being built in the United States since Jackson Hole built theirs in 2008.
Project Manager Jas Raczynski says working on this project means a great deal to him.
“Just really excited to see this and I want to make sure I don't mess it up. So, let’s get this thing opened by Thanksgiving,” Raczynski said. “Definitely a dream job. I had no idea that it was since 2008 that a tram hasn't been built here, so I knew I was lucky, but I didn't know I was that lucky.”
Lone Peak is the highest scenic overlook in Montana. The new tram will have larger cabins for both skiers and scenic rides. This tram will add 600 vertical feet to the ride and you can expect to reach the peak in under four minutes. A gondola will later be added for non-skiers to be able to leave from Mountain Village to the peak.
Vice President of Construction Chad Wilson says a big project like this doesn’t come without challenges.
“Some of the challenges, of course, are resources,” Wilson said. “There's not a whole lot of people that know how to build trams just sitting around looking for jobs, right? So that's obviously a big, big challenge. Also too, the geotechnical aspect of it and figuring out where a foundation can be set was super challenging.”
Weather is also a great challenge for the helicopter that assists with getting supplies up to the peak.
“They were flying this morning they got, I think two or three laps in, and then we got socked in here and that's it until the weather clears,” Raczynski said. “So we try to get as much material up here as we can so that when the weather does change, we still have work to do.”
The tram will operate this 2023-2024 ski season without an enclosure at the top. In the following year, the enclosure will be finished with new scenic additions.
“There will be a glass viewing platform, with a glass floor that you can kind of overlook the Big Couloir,” Wilson said.
Stick with MTN News as we follow the progress of the new tram which is sure to shape the future of high-altitude outdoor recreation in Southwest Montana.