At the top, the new Lift 1 ends where the old Lift 5 used to end. This new placement means skiers and riders can drop into green White Feather, blue Porcupine, black Al's Run, and double-black North American – all from one lift.
Decades ago, Ernie Blake and his crew installed the iconic Lift 1 at Taos Ski Valley to run up the steep face of the black diamond Al's Run.
His vision was to give snowsport enthusiasts immediate access to world-class terrain. On Thursday (Nov. 22), Blake's vision is re-imagined and modernized as the resort unveils a new high-speed quad.
Dave Norden, CEO of Taos Ski Valley, said, "We think this may be the only lift in the country where directly out of the base area, you can access greens, blue, blacks and double-blacks."
At the top, the new Lift 1 ends where the old Lift 5 (dismantled in 2017) used to end. This new placement means skiers and riders can drop into green White Feather, blue Porcupine, black Al's Run, and double-black North American trails – all from one lift.
"Also, with one lift instead of two on Al's Run, there's less hardware. So I think Al's Run will ski a lot nicer," Norden said.
The new high-speed quad elevates its passengers at a brisk five minutes, reducing the length of the chair ride almost in half from the old lift's time.
In addition to speed, the new lift's detachable machinations make for a smoother ride.
"You won't have that stop-and-go you had with old Lift 1. Very often when we loaded ski patrol with avalanche dogs or sleds, or when we loaded young children, we'd have to stop the old lift. We don't need to stop the lift anymore. That convenience will be part of the new ride," Norden said.
He explained that the rope speed, the speed of the cable, is considerably faster than a fixed-grip lift. As the chair comes into the terminal, the grip detaches so the chair keeps moving through the terminal but at a much slower rate than the cable. Passengers board with convenience. However, the overhead cable keeps its speed.
"After people get on the chair, the chair will slide down, the grip will tighten back on the cable and you'll be up and running," said Norden.
Taos Ski Valley is also landing its first Taos Air flight at Taos Regional Airport on Dec. 20.
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