Why are we choosing a fixed grip lift for The Beavers? This was a significant question. Both types of lifts would be very effective for this location. Obviously, the installation of A-Basin's first detachable chairlift, the Black Mountain Express, has been a huge success. We have also seen great success with new and old fixed grip lifts like Zuma and Pallavicini.
Financial - While still measured in the "millions of dollars", a fixed grip lift is about half the price of a detachable lift.
Installation and Maintenance - Without road access, installation and maintenance is difficult for any lift. A detachable lift is the most difficult without road access. In the lift world, more difficult also means more expensive.
Wind - Occasionally, the A-Basin Summit is just a tad bit windy. We think a fixed grip lift in this location will have less wind related downtime than a detachable lift.
Our Guests - Most of our guests don't mind fixed grip lifts. I enjoy riding a detachable lift as much or more than the next guy, but by reviewing our attendance and our guest surveys, there does not seem to be much evidence that having fixed grip lifts is hurting our business. Plus, a little rest and a little longer conversation with your friend or spouse is always good.
According to liftblog.com there were 35 chairlift installed in the US and Canada in 2016. 27 of those lifts were fixed grip. By the way, for ski area technology nerds like me, liftblog.com is a really fun website.
Many of our guests and employees have suggested upgrading Lenawee to a detachable lift. I think that is a good idea. I suspect that in a few years, after we finish our current slate of projects, we will get serious about addressing that suggestion.