I woke up this morning and realized that we at Unofficial Networks haven’t really addressed the insane Disciples 8 chairlift at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, MI.
Let me provide a little bit of context so you can see why I chose the word ‘insane’ to describe this new chairlift, and you’ll quickly learn that I’m using that word in the clinical sense.
So, Boyne Resorts– we’ve all heard of them, right?
They’re one of the largest ski resort companies in the country and their catalog includes an impressive lineup- Big Sky Resort, MT, Brighton, UT, Loon Mountain, NH, Sugarloaf, ME, Sunday River, ME, and Summit at Snoqualmie, WA, to name a few.
The company has invested millions of dollars to install fancy state-of-the-art D-Line 8-person chairlifts at Big Sky, Loon, and Sunday River over the last few seasons.
These chairlifts have replaced older models, and most people (depending on who you ask) agree that the chairs have improved the skier experience.
^Ramcharger 8 at Big Sky Resort
Alleviating lift lines and spreading skiers out at a humongous place like Big Sky makes sense, but putting a similar chairlift at somewhere like Boyne Mountain Resort? That’s where I start to scratch my head.
While Big Sky boasts over 4,000 feet of vertical and 5,850 acres, Boyne puts up a measly 500 feet of vertical (and that might be a little bit of a stretch) on just 415 acres of terrain.
I’m not trying to knock Boyne and other small ski areas, in fact, I absolutely love Midwestern ski areas for what they are, but is it really feasible to slap an 8-person high-speed chairlift on a ‘mountain‘ so small?
Maybe I’m just a pessimist, but I foresee some major crowding issues at Boyne Mountain because of this lift.
Some might argue that it won’t make a huge difference considering the Disciple 8 is replacing two fixed-grip 3-person chairlifts, but I beg to differ.
^The Disciples Ridge and Disciple II chairs (circled above) are being replaced by the Disciples 8 chair
The two chairs being replaced were slow, and I’ve heard through the grapevine that one of the chairlifts hardly ever ran.
Tack on the fact that the new chairlift will take just over 3-minutes to reach the summit, and I’m starting to wonder what in the hell was Boyne Resorts thinking?
Installing a flagship chairlift at the resort where the company started seems like a good idea on paper, but was anybody thinking that maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t such a good idea?
I hope I’m wrong. Truly. I hope somebody emails me on President’s Day Weekend and tells me that I’m an idiot and the mountain’s trails aren’t over-crowded, but that seems highly unlikely unless I’m missing something here.
I just don’t see how endlessly ferrying 8 people at a time up a relatively-small 500-foot vertical mountain won’t lead to over-crowded trails and an all-around clusterf*ck.
Boyne is currently finishing up the Disciple 8 installation so that it’s ready-to-go for the Winter ’22-’23 season. Again, here’s hoping that I’m wrong and that I look like an absolute moron in a few months.
I’d rather that happen than a bunch of skiers and snowboarders get hurt because the trails are flooded with too many people.
All Images Credit: FACEBOOK/Boyne Mountain Resort