Copper Mountain Resort expects new American Eagle lift to open Saturday
Copper Mountain Resort said on its social media channels Tuesday morning that it expects to open its new American Eagle chairlift on Saturday.
The new American Eagle is a Leitner Poma high-speed lift that includes a combination of both 6-person chairs and 8-person gondola cabins. The new lift is supposed to increase uphill capacity by over 40 percent. It replaces Copper’s former American Eagle lift, which was a high-speed quad, in servicing some of the resort’s most popular skiing and riding terrain out of Center Village.
On Saturday, Copper also will host its inaugural Snowsation event in Burning Stones Plaza in Center Village. The event is scheduled from 3-4:30 p.m., and will feature a free live show by the The Strumbellas.
Saturday’s expected open comes in the wake of a few setbacks for the opening of the lift. At the start of the month, Copper reported the American Eagle lift was on track to be completed before Thanksgiving while the American Flyer lift was scheduled to be completed shortly thereafter. The resort said the delay later than the resort’s Nov. 16 opening day was due to the fact that two physical lift parts — one for each lift — manufactured in Europe were in transit to Colorado.
Crews from Copper Mountain and Leitner Poma — the manufacturer and construction contractor for the lift — then continued to work on the lifts through the month, as, on Friday, Copper reported on its new lift website page that the Colorado Tramway Board was on site completing load tests and inspections.
Then during testing on Monday morning, a gondola cabin for the new American Eagle lift broke free and crashed to the ground just after exiting the base terminal. Because it was not open to the public, no one was injured.
In a statement, Copper Mountain said a review by Leitner-Poma indicated that no critical components were damaged and the resort does not anticipate any delays as a result of the mishap.
As for the new American Flyer lift, it will be a Leitner Poma, high-speed six-person chair with bubble enclosures that should increase uphill capacity by 33 percent. In a Facebook video posted Sunday, Copper spokeswoman Stephanie Sweeney said the Leitner Poma crew had moved their focus to that lift.
“They are working on splicing the cable and getting that lift up and running as soon as possible,” Sweeney said in the video. “Same with that. As soon as we have any updates, we promise to share them with you guys. And we, again, we will be enjoying these all so soon.
The resort also says the new American Eagle and American Flyer are the first two lifts in North America to run on direct drives as opposed to a complex gear system.
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