BIG SKY – On Saturday morning, Big Sky Resort unveiled Ramcharger 8, the first 8-person chairlift in North America.
In a news release, Big Sky Resort said Ramcharger 8 is the most technologically-advanced chairlift in the world. It’s equipped with loading carpet, an LED jumbo screen, locking restraint bar and a blue bubble weather screen.
“It is raising the bar for the rest of North American skiing, and we are excited about it happening here in southwest Montana,” said Boyne Resorts President Stephen Kircher.
Ramcharger has been in the works since March 2018 when Boyne Resorts, the company that owns Big Sky Resort, contracted with Doppelmayr USA, based in Salt Lake City, to start building the lift.
Dopplemayr USA President Mark Bee said although the company signed the contract in March, the real work started with the beginning of construction in May.
“Our crews had never put one of these things together before, so you know, when we signed the contract on March 5, we knew it was gonna be a big challenge,” Bee said.
Transporting some of the pieces from Austria along with the construction of the parking garage and complex engineering were just some of the obstacles the company had to face. In the end, Bee said the hard work and labor was worth it to see the satisfaction on people’s faces.
“I mean look at the people,” said Bee. “Look at them riding the lift. Look how they are enjoying it. It is a spectacular piece of machinery and a spectacular background.”
Skier Tom Manuel from Red Lodge has a season pass to Big Sky. Several years ago he wasn’t a fan of the hill, but with recent improvements, he’s changed his mind.
“I never used to like it and now it is world-class, right out my back door,” said Manuel. “Once you get out on the runs there is big open and the people disappear.”
Kircher said the Ramcharger is just one of the many big moves the resort has taken on the path to making the resort the best mountain in the world, his goal since 1966.
“It’s a journey, it is not a destination,” said Kircher. “We are excited about that journey and I feel that energy of that journey. It is a lot of love for this place and a lot of commitment.”
Ramcharger 8 can transport up to 3,200 skiers up the hill each hour.
The resort plans to add three Omega V gondola cabins in the 2019-2020 winter season, two for use as dining cars and one as a VIP cabin.
Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News