As a New Hampshire local, I think it’s a fair statement to say that Attitash Mountain Resort has been historically one of the most poorly run ski resorts in the state. The mountain has a whole lot of promise: varied terrain across two distinct peaks, numerous lodging locations next to the ski resort, a stunning backdrop in the Mt. Washington Valley, and infinite summer activities. The most recent owners of this mountain, American Skiing Company, Peak Resorts, and now Vail Resorts, have struggled to make it live up to its potential for various reasons. Old, slow, and frequently shut down lifts cover the Attitash side, a lack of effort in the snowmaking department by management leads to late openings, and a dearth of summer activities this year caused serious concerns among pass holders. After years of distressed locals complaining about the old lifts, Vail Resorts showed their commitment to Attitash with their first lift replacements, which will be coming in 2022. But was it the right move? Here’s a breakdown of the East/West Double replacement, and the future of a different lift that is not well-liked among the Attitash community.
East/West Quad: No More Dueling Doubles
This wasn’t the upgrade locals were hoping for, but it will certainly help improve the experience on the old side of the mountain. The side-by-side double chairlifts were installed in 1973, and service mostly beginner terrain, but also gets you access to intermediate and advanced terrain, and can get you over to the Bear Peak side. The lifts are located right next to the Learning Center Triple chairlift and is the next step up for beginner skiers and riders. Converting this lift into a fixed-grip quad will make the experience for beginners easier, and reduce crowds on what was older lifts that faced their fair share of mechanical issues. With an over ten-minute ride to the top as well, a new lift will certainly speed this process up.
The Future of the Summit Triple:
The most reviled chairlift on the East Coast is probably the Summit Triple at Attitash. Don’t believe me? Read through Attitash’s social media comment sections. The lift takes nearly sixteen minutes to get to the summit, and this doesn’t factor in stoppages. Then come the frequent mechanical issues and part replacements that the lift constantly needs, which caused the lift to not operate for most of the 2018-19 season, and delayed the opening of summer operations this year. Even the social media posts from Attitash don’t look great, which as you can see below, the chairs look extremely rusted. A replacement is needed in the near future, but the question is what kind of lift would fit the terrain. A lot of locals have called for a high-speed lift, but with only a few runs from the top, the snow quality would wear down fast. Another option could be a chairlift or surface lift that starts at mid-mountain on the Upper and Middle Highway trails. From looking through trail videos, it’s possible to add a mid-mountain lift from where the lift line of the Top Notch Double is on the Middle Highway, but the angles are too steep to pull it off around the current Summit Triples location. With the Upper and Middle Highway trails being rather narrow though, the only solution may be a new top to bottom lift. With maintenance closings still being frequent, a decision will be needed to be made soon on this ailing lift.