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article imageSugar Mountain Chondola Grand Opening — November 14, 2015 Special

By Elizabeth Parker     Oct 1, 2015 in Lifestyle
Banner Elk - Sugar Mountain spent summer 2015 busy bringing skiing in North Carolina into the modern era, installing the first Chondola in the state. Time from base to the 5300' summit will be under 5 minutes.
The resort plans the grand opening of the new Summit Express Lift on November 14, 2015. According to Kim Jochl, marketing manager, the lift will be ready to go and testing done by November 1, 2015. Kim has informed me that the lift is a Chondola, or wikipedia says a hybrid chairlift, which means it can hold both chairs and 8 person gondolas. Kim says it will open this year with high speed 6 pack chairs in place. The resort hopes to add some gondolas to the lift for the 2017 season.
Installations and improvements to Sugar Mountain ski Resort during the summer preparing for the 2015...
Installations and improvements to Sugar Mountain ski Resort during the summer preparing for the 2015 Ski Season.
With the addition of the new Doppelmayr Chondola to Sugar's existing lifts along with last season's added run, Gunter's Way, Sugar Mountain is making the resort a viable vacation choice for South East skiers to vacation and a great mini stop for the golfer with a ski bug. The Doppelmayr high speed, detachable, six passenger chairlift will make it to the top in less then 5 minutes giving access to the full 1200 foot vertical drop off one lift as noted in the resort's press release in March 2015. Ski Southeast reports this will increase the top to bottom skier capacity by 2,000 skiers/hour making the uphill capacity 10,000 skiers/hour, highest in the state.
Installations and improvements to Sugar Mountain ski Resort during the summer preparing for the 2015...
Installations and improvements to Sugar Mountain ski Resort during the summer preparing for the 2015 Ski Season.
You can see the installation is coming along very well in mid September when I was able to go take photos. The new base station and top station tower have been installed with work going on putting up the lift towers which are much higher then the old brown lift towers.
The old Summit Express, now the GW Lift has been installed at the the top of Easy Street to ferry skiers to the top of Whoopdeedoo, Northridge and Gunter's Way.
GW Lift installed in fall 2015 at Sugar Mountain in it s new position at the top of Easy Street to s...
GW Lift installed in fall 2015 at Sugar Mountain in it's new position at the top of Easy Street to service the Gunter's Way run.
This lift can be accessed from the top of the Easy Street lift or by skiing down to it without having to ski to the bottom of the hill through the beginner skiers.
The poles installed up the mountain for the GW Lift at Sugar Mountain moved from the old Summit Expr...
The poles installed up the mountain for the GW Lift at Sugar Mountain moved from the old Summit Express lift.
The installation appears to have been completed in its new position with poles already running up the mountain between the trees.
While many northerner's head to the Carolina's for great rates on fall and winter golf or to view the fall foliage, few realize they could take a day to golf in late November or early December in the low lands and then head up the mountains and ski the next day. Sugar Mountain, North Carolina has some of the earliest opening dates on the east coast due to their great snow making capacity and cool overnight mountain temperatures. Here's hoping this year follows suit and has snow for the grand opening, but either way they will be having their grand opening of the lift on the 14th of November.
With reported daytime highs by the US Climate data in the 40's in January and through the winter, all the improvements looking like they will greatly improve traffic flow on the mountain runs and in the lift lines, there has never been a better year to go check out the quaint town of Sugar Mountain and Banner Elk for some winter fun. The kids will love the mild temperatures and you will love when they stay out and ski all day. Go enjoy the snow this season at Sugar Mountain, North Carolina.
More about Skiing, upgrades, North carolina, USA, Banner Elk
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