Copper Mountain Resort opens new American Flyer lift

The American Flyer high-speed 6-person chairs with bubble enclosures await their opening day as seen on Dec. 18, at Copper Mountain Resort. Copper announced Thursday that the lift is now open.
Hugh Carey /

Copper Mountain Resort announced on its social media channels on Thursday afternoon that its new American Flyer chairlift is now open.

“American Flyer is the longest bubble chair in the world,” Dustin Lyman, the resort’s new president and general manager, said in the announcement video,”covering nearly two miles and taking us to an elevation of 11,600-feet.”

The new Flyer lift, like the old one it replaced, is the best way to access the resort’s west-side terrain from Copper’s Center Village. The new lift will primarily serve the easy and intermediate side of the resort’s naturally-divided terrain and also will provide expedited access to Copper’s advanced-level high-alpine bowls.

The revamped American Flyer lift is a high-speed six-person chair with bubble enclosures that should increase uphill capacity by 33 percent. The new Flyer lift and the resort’s new American Eagle lift — which opened early last month — are the first two lifts in North America to run on direct drives as opposed to a complex gear system.

The opening of the Flyer comes in the wake of several setbacks and delays for the lift. Last month, Copper said it hoped to have the Leitner-Poma lift up and running by Christmas, though they were explicit in that communication that the date wasn’t set in stone.

Most recently, on New Year’s Day, Copper posted an update to its American Flyer website page that the lift would be delayed further due to unexpected complications related to the lift’s automation software. Copper also said in the update tht the technology being used for Flyer is state-of-the-art.

“As with any new technology, it is critically important to Copper Mountain staff and Leitner-Poma that all components of the equipment are fully vetted before opening the lift to our guests,” Copper said in the update.

The opening of the Flyer now provides service on all of the resort’s lifts and, in turn, to all of the resort’s terrain as Copper — as of earlier this month — had opened 100 percent of its skiable terrain at some point this season.

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