I have had a couple of really good questions about crowding early season trails with the new lift. Great questions and easy to answer. Simply, in the beginning of the season, we will turn the lift speed down a little bit so the number of people unloading the chair will be about the same as it was with Exhibition Lift.
Without sounding too much like a techie "lift nerd" there are a few concepts to understand. A lift has a design capacity and it has actual realized capacity. Old Exhibition had a design capacity of 1800 people per hour. In the very early season, Exhbition riders are very experienced lift users. We rarely hit a slow or stop button due to skier error. During that time of year actual realized capacity was about 1700-1800 people per hour. Black Mountain Express has a design capacity of 2000 people per hour. We will simply turn the lift speed down to 85-90% (1700-1800 people per hour) and the number of people on the trail will be just about the same.
Now the real benefit of Black Mountain Express will come into play once we are past these first few weeks of the season. Once more terrain and lifts are open, the more experienced skiers spread out around the mountain. Old Exhibition and, now, Black Mountain priamrily serve green and blue skiers. These riders are often just learning how to ski and require more slows and stops with the lift. Because of these slows and stops the actual realized capacity on Exhbition was closer to 1300 people per hour. Because detachable lifts are so much easier to load and unload for people learning to ski, we anticipate way fewer stops and slows. Because of this, we hope to see an actual realized capacity of 1700-2000 people per hour. Plus, the ride will be only 3 minutes. I think people will like that. All those slows and stops tend to drive me nuts. We think the new lift will be much nicer.
That was a little long. Hopefully, a few of you like that kind of detail. For the rest of you, sorry and I hope I didn't put you to sleep.