One of New England’s best independent ski areas is dealing with a myriad of lift issues to start their season out. Magic Mountain in Vermont is currently operating its Green Lift, but this only gets skiers and riders up to mid-mountain. A major renovation project over the summer to the Red Chair, but mechanical issues and supply chain delays have pushed back its opening. After briefly opening on December 29th, one of the chairs going down the slope aggressively smashed into a lift tower and fell off the rope line. The lift was evacuated, and luckily, no one was hurt. The Red Chairs reopening date is unknown. Magics description of the situation is below:
“While the Red lift passed its inspection and load testing yesterday, some mechanical issues arose with the new drive during operation late yesterday. Adjustments were then made to the new drive by the contracted electric drive engineer and was ready for operation by midday. After a couple of hours of operation, the lift had a mechanical failure with the drive system. During that failure, one lift chair on the non-passenger downhill side of the lift line swung violently against a tower and fell off the line. All passengers on the uploading side of the lift were successfully and safely off-loaded at the top with the lift running on slow speed. The Vermont state lift inspector was here soon after to review the lift situation. Both Pfister Mountain Services and the electric drive engineer will be working with us to diagnose and fix the mechanical failure in the drive system. It will most likely take some time and we will keep you posted on our findings.”
The other summit lift, the Black Chair, has been under construction for multiple years. Stratton sold one of their old quad chairlifts to Magic, but various mechanical issues have delayed its opening as well. Based on their prior Alpine Updates, it sounds like its completion is close, but they want to finish off the Red Chair first before committing their efforts to the Black Chair. Here’s what they said on social media about it: “A few key parts [are] still being machined for Black. They will try to tackle tower 13 if they get an opportunity in between fixing Red.”
It’s a disappointing situation for locals, but Magic Mountain leadership deserves a lot of credit for being transparent about the hiccups involved in this renovation process. Their Alpine Updates do a great job of explaining what’s happening on the mountain. They email them to their guests and respond frequently to guests who have questions. It’s a great lesson for marketers in any industry.
One positive for Magic in this brutal situation is that this won’t really hurt them on their visitation numbers. The weather has sucked so far this winter, and crowds haven’t been a factor compared to other slopes due to limited open terrain and a lack of snowfall. While Magic does have a rapidly improving snowmaking system, it’s not at the level of the major players of Vermont, meaning they need a lot of snow to hit their stride. Hopefully, they can figure things out before we finally get some snow. Image Credits: Magic Mountain