WAKEFIELD, Mich. (WJMN) – Snowriver Mountain Resort in Wakefield has announced it will introduce the first high-speed detachable chairlift in the Upper Peninsula during the 2023-24 winter season. Snowriver Mountain Resort is the new name for the recently-purchased resort previously known as the Big Snow Resort.
The resort says the new high-speed lift will replace the Chippewa Double, Leelinaw Triple, and Voyagers Quad chairs out of the Jackson Creek Summit, an area previously known as Indianhead. The new lift will become the only 6-person chairlift in the region known as ‘Big Snow Country’ for its large amounts of powdery snow, according to a release from the resort.
The new lift will feature 53 chairs and have a capacity of 2,800 people per hour, with a three-and-a-half minute ride to its top by traveling 1000 feet per minute. Current lifts take 8-10 minutes, plus stops, to help visitors reach the top.
“The new lift will greatly enhance our guest experience at Jackson Creek Summit,” stated first year GM Benjamin Bartz. “Because the new lift will be much easier for guests to load and unload, we anticipate smoother operations, meaning guests will spend more time skiing and less time sitting on a lift.”
The Chippewa Double, Leelinaw Triple and the Voyager Quad are three of the original chairlifts from the 1960s, installed after the resort’s founder Jack English brought skiing and riding to the U.P. in 1959. The line for the new lift has already been cut and will bring skiers from the base of the existing Leelinaw Triple to the top of the former Chippewa Double for access to lodging, guest service facilities, and food and beverage outlets.
“With the installation of the new lift, we look forward to bringing the modern mountain experience to the historic heart of Snowriver Mountain Resort,” Bartz said.
“High speed lifts are a perfect fit for our Midwest ski areas. Most skiers need to stop and rest every 500-700 vertical feet, about two-thirds of a mile, which happens to be the length of our runs,” said Charles Skinner, President, and Owner of Snowriver, Granite Peak and Lutsen Mountains. “So, rather than stopping to rest on the side of the trail as is the case for most skiers on a longer Western slope, skiers at our resorts simply rest on the 3-minute ride back up the mountain. High speed lifts transform the ski experience at our resorts from spending most of the ski day riding the chairlift or waiting in line to enjoying most of the day skiing down the hill.”
While the new lift will open next year, tickets for the 2022-23 are up for sale, with a 20% discount for those purchased before November 15. You can learn more about purchasing passes here.