Copper Mountain Resort opens West-to-Center village connections, moves forward with American Flyer |

Copper Mountain Resort opens West-to-Center village connections, moves forward with American Flyer

The American Flyer high-speed 6-person chairs with bubble enclosures await their opening day as seen on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at Copper Mountain Resort. Copper is still hopeful the new chair will be open to the public in time for Christmas.
Hugh Carey /

As Copper Mountain Resort finishes building its new American Flyer lift, skiers and riders again have access to skiable on-mountain connections between West and Center villages.

That access between West and Center villages will remain open through the rest of the season, Copper spokeswoman Taylor Prather said on Tuesday.

Through the first weeks of the season after Copper opened in mid-November, skiers and riders were unable to connect between the two villages due to the initial American Flyer construction that needed to be completed.

Also on Tuesday morning, Prather said Copper is still hopeful it can open its updated American Flyer lift by Christmas. However, that schedule could change based upon Leitner-Poma’s progress, the lift company that is installing the new lift.

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 two weeks ago — are the first two lifts in North America to run on direct drives as opposed to a complex gear system.

A family affair

Additionally, Copper released a video on Tuesday profiling the man who led the charge last week to complete the cable splicing for the American Flyer lift.

Justin Knight, who conducted the splicing, works for Knight Equipment Company out of Bowling Green, Missouri. Knight said in Copper’s video that the company launched in 1945 before his father took over the business in 1975. Knight and his brother Justin have been working with their father splicing cables for new ski and scenic lifts across the country since they were both in high school.

In the video, Knight gave a glimpse into the nitty-gritty of how the cables for new lifts are actually spliced together.

“The American Flyer and American Eagle are a 52-millimeter seven strand, which is 240-feet overall splice length from one end to the other,” Knight said. “So, with such a large rope, you’ll need approximately 27 to 30 people to do the overall unwinding of the strands and seeding all of the strands back together so you’ll have the same diameter through the entire length of the splice.”

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