STEVENS PASS — Stevens Pass Mountain Resort opened $4.5 million in improvements Saturday with the launching of a new high-speed chairlift and expanded terrain on the mountain’s backside.
The detachable quad chairlift, called the Jupiter Express, is the resort’s first new lift in 15 years and the only new chairlift in the state this year. It replaces an older lift and will cut skiers’ ride time in half — from 8.5 minutes to about 4 minutes, 10 seconds — on the 3,775-foot span.
Construction of the lift began in April and took eight months to install.
Saturday’s grand opening of the lift “is an exciting moment for the resort,” said Karl Kapuscinski, president and CEO of Stevens Pass Mountain Resort, LLC. “The new lift is going to drastically change how our guests are able to enjoy skiing and riding on the (facility’s) backside.”
On the mountain’s backside, new gladed terrain has been opened in five Mill Valley ski areas, including South Park, Lower Gemini, Shooting Star, Pegasus Gulch and Borealis. Terrain has also been expanded in the South Park area to provide more tree skiing.
The new lift and terrain improvements mark the first major capital improvements for Stevens Pass Mountain Resort which acquired the resort in 2011 from Harbor Properties.