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.
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.
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.