Ski chairlifts are the appeal necessary for many of us to hit the slopes each winter. A beloved ski lift can be a great spot to spend the entire season or ski day learning each and every little nuance. Chairlifts range immensely in capacity, length and terrain serviced. Some chairlifts have grown legend like status for their speed, extreme ski terrain and unique charm. Listed below are some of the most rewarding chairlifts to ride in the United States. Just remember, no easy routes down!
KT-22 Express at Squaw Valley, CA
Perhaps the most fun chairlift ride for people watching, KT-22 is infamous for dropping riders right into the thick of extreme terrain. Since becoming a high speed quad KT-22 makes hot laps a breeze when the lines don’t clog. If your up to the challenge test your luck on the lines Shane McConkey pioneered off the Palisades. The KT-22 Express moves riders an impressive 1800’ of vertical in under 6 minutes.
Pallavicini at Arapahoe Basin, CO
Called ‘The Center of the Universe’ by locals, the top of the Pallavicini chair at Arapahoe Basin fits this title. From a skiers perspective the double chair has every type of terrain to offer. Riding up the lift line is truly intimidating as you watch skiers and riders charge the steep bumps, cliffs and cornice lines. The Pali chair is fittingly slow in comparison to modern lifts but helps rest your knees on the 7 minute 1329 vertical foot ride back up top.
Single Chair at Mad River Glen, VT
Besides being the sole single chairlift operating in the east, MRG’s iconic lift is also fast and a gateway to great terrain. Rising 1,972 feet in 8.7 minutes the single chair is a reason for the motto “ski it if you can”. Perhaps the most famous ski chairlift in the United States, the single chair has been an institution of MRG since 1948. The namesake of its own beer, every serious skier should make the effort to ride the single chair at least once. We aren’t holding our breath for snowboarding at Mad River Glen anytime soon however.
Schlasmans at Bridger Bowl, MT
The newest lift on our list is a hand me down from Snowbird, UT that found a second home in Montana. The Schlasmans lift is unique for requiring a beacon but helped to make sections of Bridgers ridge terrain skiable without hiking. Servicing 300 acres and 1700 vertical feet of cliffs and chutes the chairlift truly is an expert only area. The lines may swell on cold smoke powder days but the chairlift is a testament to how excellent and gnarly the terrain at Bridger Bowl can be.
Millicent Express at Brighton, UT
Often overlooked for the more famous ski areas in Utah, the Millicent lift line at Brighton demands serious respect. Dotted with cliffs, trees and pillows the terrain accessible right off ‘Milly’ is just the start. Riding the quad lift to just below Mt. Millicent also provides great access to backcountry and rewarding hike terrain. The 1100’ of vertical offered by the Millicent chair is a satisfying way to hot lap another excellent Utah powder day. Originally a single chair, than later a double and recently a new quad chairlift; Milly has adapted for the times in a way that the skiing is better than ever.