If you spend enough time in the ski biz you will hear people talk about the “best chair lift in the world”. When this conversation arises two chairlifts are always mentioned. KT-22 (Squaw Valley) and Ts MARTE (Las Lenas). Both lifts provide access to some of the best terrain on the planet but which is better?
Since these two chair lifts are located on two different continents and reside at two very different resorts we should really evaluate them on some basic categories.
KT-22 – The terrain off KT is some of the best in North America. Steeps, chutes, glades, cliff drops, groomers, you name it KT has it. KT is also home to The Fingers, a small slice of Alaska type terrain located directly under the lift.
MARTE – With hundreds of chutes descending in all directions the terrain of Ts Marte will scare even the most seasoned skiers. This combined with hike accessible terrain that is usually only found in Heil-ski operations Ts Marte is the ideal playground for adrenaline junkies.
KT-22 – With a vertical drop of 1,500 feet, most KT runs are short but sweet.
MARTE – No matter what direction you take your legs will be burning by the time you reach the bottom.
KT-22 – Rising up from the base of the mountain, KT is in a prime location. All skier traffic passes right by its loading dock yet it is still only a short walk from the parking lot.
MARTE – A trip to the base of the Marte requires two connecting chairlifts, which will take you 20-40 min. depending on the line.
KT-22 – Once KT opens for the season it is almost a sure thing that it will be running on a daily basis. If you are lucky enough to hit KT on a storm day you will be blessed with one of the best ski days of your life.
MARTE – Wind, snow, rain, low visibility just about anything will close Ts Marte. During the 2006 season the Marte was closed for over a month; straight.
Up Hill Capacity:
KT-22 – High Speed Quad
MARTE – Standard Double
THE VERDICT: These two chairs are VERY different. The Marte provides access to skiing that is by far and away crazier then anything that you can find off KT. That being said, KT provides reliable access to super fun terrain that can be skied day after day. So it really comes down to if you are in the mood for busting out laps on the alternate playground or you want to scary the shit out of yourself on some Andes Mountains slack-country.