April 12, 2023

New Triple Chair For Sessel

The future of Alpental looks bright! This spring marks the start of a series of improvements designed to elevate the experience at this legendary mountain. These improvements are all about providing better access to the terrain you love. We’re happy to share that the first two new chairlifts in this series are already in the works! Sessel will be replaced this summer with a new Doppelmayr fixed-grip triple and crews will begin construction on the new International Chairlift.

Coming for the 2023-24 season, the new Sessel triple chairlift will be realigned and extended to create longer, more interesting intermediate descents and provide quick access to the future International Chair. The new chairlift replaces one of our oldest lifts, providing modern reliability, an easy-loading conveyor, improved safety, and quieter operation.

In addition to the new Sessel Chair, phase one construction of the new International Chair begins this May. At the lift's elevation the build season free of snow is extremely short, and construction when there's snow on the ground will be very time consuming due to the deep snowpack. Combine that with a lack of summer road access for construction crews and you have the recipe for one of the most challenging lift installations imaginable. Phase one is primarily focused on earthwork and tower footings in preparation for the installation of the lift next summer.

Construction crews also plan to pour several tower footings for the future Edelweiss triple (replacing the current double) this summer in preparation for the planned installation during the summer of 2024. Construction of Edelweiss will be extremely difficult as well. Our current target is to have the new International and Edelweiss chairlifts ready to open for the 2024-25 winter season.

Our team has already taken delivery of chairs for the new Sessel lift and we plan to begin disassembly of the old chairlift in May.


Spring Operational Impacts

Given our aggressive plans to get three lifts completed in two years and the extremely challenging installations, our contractors and crews are ramping up to start construction in mere weeks. Beginning the last week of April, Alpental will turn into a construction zone to enable blasting teams & construction crews to get started on the phase one of International Chair. Most importantly, we need to take advantage of the snowpack by building a snow road to provide efficient access to the construction sites along that chair line for as long as possible. That snow road will support the transportation of a large amount of heavy machinery, materials, and people needed to complete phase one this summer. As most Alpental fans know, we do not have summer roads on that mountain. So, once teams lose snow road access to that area, things get exponentially more difficult and time-consuming.

Alpental slopes will start to be torn up the week of April 24th as we construct those large snow access roads, dominating large swaths of the lower and upper slopes particularly on the International side and much of the lower mountain as well. Construction crews plan to get started once the snow road is complete in early May.

Regrettably, that means we need to conclude the season at Alpental on April 23rd, which is earlier than we would like. However, we know the eventual outcome is worth it. Alpental will continue to be closed to uphill travel after the operating season this year. As the lift construction teams have noted, waiting for snow to melt out at Alpental will result in a project timeline that could extend additional seasons, which is not an option anyone supports.

Although Alpental’s season is getting cut short, we are adding Friday April 14th and Friday April 21st to give everyone additional chances to enjoy their favorite mountain before construction takes over and prevents access. The show goes on across the freeway as well! We plan to extend operations at Summit Central and Silver Fir, adding April 29-30 as long as conditions permit.

We are not oblivious to the disappointment Alpental locals may feel about closing on April 23rd, but it is genuinely unavoidable to get this work safely started and stay on our project timelines.

We’re all excited for the future. For more laps, more choices, and a much higher level of chairlift dependability for decades to come. Here’s to a bright future at our favorite mountain!

New Sessel Triple Chairlift At A Glance

  • 1.8x
  • 1,790'
    Chairlift Length
  • 590'
    Vertical Rise
  • 500 ft/min

The new Doppelmayr triple can transport up to 1,800 skiers per hour up the mountain, nearly twice the capacity of the old Riblet double it is replacing. Not only does each chair hold additional riders, but thanks to the efficient loading conveyor system, it can also operate at a higher speed than the old chairlift.