Last week we had the pleasure to check in with Welch Village to see how their brand new Dopplemayer Quad Chairlift installation is going. We were lucky enough to be there while the team was installing the towers, which is always an incredible sight to see.
Adding a Sixth Quad to Their Lineup
If you missed their announcement last spring, Welch Village removed their old Hall double called "East Ridge Double" and replaced it with a brand new fixed-grip quad. This quad will be labeled "Cannon Valley Quad" and will run in a similar path as the old double. The exception, however, is they are moving the lower terminal to the West about thirty feet to open up more skiable area coming down the run "Harley's Easy." On top of that, this new lift will also increase their uplift capacity from 1200 per minute to 1800 per minute.
This new quad will be a great addition to Welch's already impressive lineup of quad chairlifts, bringing them to six quad chairlifts - tied for most of any resort in the Midwest (with Devils Head.)
Why Didn't They Go Highspeed?
The question of "why didn't they install a highspeed lift instead" gets asked a lot throughout the Midwest ski community, so I want to help shed some light on that question. Fixed-grip quads have the same uphill capacity compared to highspeed quads at these lower run lengths. But, of course, if there are no lines, they will move skiers/riders up the hill faster.
One element that many skiers and riders do not think about is cost and size. A high speed can cost double (or more) of a traditional fixed-gripped lift. On top of that, the regular maintenance is significantly more given the dramatic increase in moving parts. Another factor many do not consider is the footprint. Highspeed terminals are much larger, and in smaller areas (such as Welch's Cannan Valley), the terminal would eat up too much valuable real estate.
Lastly, high-speed lifts are flashy and create traffic, which is sometimes good, but can also lead to a skier/rider distribution problem. Since skiers/riders tend to be "drawn" to high-speed lifts, this means the terrain that those lifts serve is often overused compared to other areas of the hill.
All this said, we support the fixed-grip chair (especially for Midwestern Hills) and think it was a perfect addition to Welch's Eastern side.
If you want to learn more about Welch Village or the new chairlift installation, be sure to check out their website at www.welchvillage.com
We hope to see everyone out there this season!