Friday, February 14, 2020

Retiring Pallavicini Lift

As many of you already know, this is final season for the Pallavicini Lift. The current chair was built by Lift Engineering (YAN) in 1978. At the time, putting that lift in the North Side terrain was a very big and bold move. It has been a great chairlift, but right now it is like owning a car with 400,000 miles. The machine is still humming right along, but eventually, like a car, it has to replaced. We will be trading in this 1978 YAN fixed grip double chairlift with a capacity of 1,200 people per hour for a 2020 Leitner Poma fixed grip double chairlift with a capacity of 1,200 people per hour. While there is a heck of an argument to build a much bigger lift here, there is also an argument to replace Pali with the same type of lift. The Pali Lift and terrain work so well, we didn't want to mess with that little chunk of paradise. Looking back to 1978, I think Jon Reveal, Bob Maynard and John Rutter knew what they were doing when they built Pali.

So the next question is always, "What are we doing with the chairs?"  Well, we are going to sell about 100 of them. The majority them will be offered in a lottery sometime in May. The lottery will be very similar to the lottery we did for Norway a couple of years ago. Lottery details will be available in the coming weeks.

We are going to auction four of the chairs. The first chair will be auctioned at the Enduro Party April 8 in the 6th Alley. The second chair will be auctioned at the Pali Party, a going away dinner for the Pallavicini Chairlift April 25 at Black Mountain Lodge. The final two chairs will be auctioned online in May. All proceeds from the four Pallavicini chair auctions will be donated to the Summit Foundation, FIRC (Family and Intercultural Resource Center), Summit Community Care Clinic and a couple of A-Basin employees going through some significant medical challenges this season.

Pallavicini is an incredible chairlift. It is my favorite chairlift, anywhere. The new lift will be just as good and the spirit and culture and vibe of Pali will be as strong as ever.


70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Al,
I have two friends, any chance you could make it a triple?

Anonymous said...

RIP Pali. Many fond memories.
As long as you don't go full Ikon or Epic again, a 2 seater should be perfect. Keep the legend going !

Anonymous said...

Hi Al,
I have two friends but I don't really like one of them so that's great you're sticking to a double. Although...if I end up getting on with the one I don't like it could be awkward, and upset the one I do like, but I'm happy to take my chances.

aaron said...

I get keeping the spirit of Pali alive, however the issue with replacing it with another 2-seater of identical speed is you now have the Beavers and Steep Gullies accessible directly off of that lift, so saying the 2-seater is perfectly matched to the terrain isn't exactly the case anymore when it was just main street and the alleys. The result is significantly longer lines of people trying to access the undisputed best terrain at abasin, in particular on a pow day. Last weekend the Pali lines were 30 minutes+, even on Saturday when all the terrain was open. Made abasin feel more like Vail than ever. Putting a fixed grip 4-pack there seems like the best balance for the terrain. But who am I to say.. I'm just an abasin skier who has been frustrated with the lift lines on the pow days that matter.

The operations philosophy of keeping a 2-pack doesn't make sense either. All it does is make a bottle neck. The only way to ski pali terrain is via the pali lift. So forcing people to wait in line won't reduce the number of skiers on pali, it will just keep the people who want to ski it standing in line longer. Operations bottleneck. I can only assume the crew at abasin knows this and the goal is to incentivize skiers to go elsewhere, thereby physically metering the terrain. So instead of allowing guests to enjoy it, they're forcing guests to have a poor experience at the base and use negative reinforcement to push them to other areas on the mountain. This doesn't make me want to choose abasin on a pow day. I'm sure this will allow the people who prefer 1 pali run to 10 runs elsewhere happy. I'm not that person, nor do I think the abasin skier is.

Anonymous said...

Hope you add a safety bar. Also think a triple would make more sense. After yesterday's breakdown of the black mountain express, that leaves pali as the only way up.

Bob Campbell said...

Great choice on keeping the double.

JohnnieKav said...

Love it! This place keeps making all the right decisions! 😄

Fort Worth Printer said...

I lived on that Chairlift for two ski seasons. I left Texas for Keystone and worked in the kitchen, washing dishes at night. Because Keystone made snow for the Thanksgiving skiers and A-Basin stayed open so late, I skied 147 days without missing a day, my first season there. Most of my time was spent riding up on that lift. Even when we could ski free the first week of every month, at Copper and Breckenridge, I stayed at home because their employees used that week to ski my mountain. Its a special place to me and that is such a special lift.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to dissent and say that it should be a high speed triple. I'm guessing it is all moot and that orders have been placed but nothing makes me happier than when a lift upgrade gets me more laps.

Anonymous said...

And the line speed will still be 525?

If the life expectancy is 40+ years, seems like a triple might make more sense. Start with wider chair spacing to keep hourly capacity at say 1500 and in future can always add more chairs.

Kyle said...

The people who want a 3 or 4 pack just don't understand. Plenty of other ski areas in CO with 6 packs or whatever that will get you to decent terrain on a pow day. People with freshy frenzy are the problem, not the lift capacity. If people commenting were really basin skiers, they'd know where the goods are long after the storms anyways.

Fort Worth Printer said...

My favorite lift anywhere. I left Texas to take a break from school and wash dishes at night in the Keystone Lodge. Because Keystone made snow for Thanksgiving and A-Basin stayed open so late, I skied 147 days without missing a day, my first season there. Most of my 2 seasons was spent riding Pallavicini. I rode it many a day when there was no exposed skin requirements. I rode it when the weather banged us into the towers and we would tell people not to say anything, for fear they would shut it down that day. I rode it and watched as they set off charges to break snow loose and watch avalanches slide down the mountain and across the road. I rode up this lift, with so many interesting people from all over the world. A-Basin was well-known by people of other countries was their destination over other mountains. We could ski free at Copper and Breckenridge the first weekend of every month, but we stayed home most of the time because their employees used that weekend to come ski on my mountain. This is a special mountain and this by far my most special chairlift.

Unknown said...

If the pali lift on serviced the pali face and sgs this would make sense. However it's the only other base lift on the mountain so you're kind of screwing yourselves and your guests in the event bme malfunctions. That lift has the ability to sevice the front side, park, pali, and the beavers. I think you'll regret keeping it a double

Anonymous said...

The double is a perfect choice. Preservation is important!!!! Great choice.

Alan Henceroth - COO said...

Aaron, thanks for the feedback. While I don't quite agree with everything you said, you did bring up a lot of great points. More than anything, your commentary showed how difficult the decision was. Thanks. Alan

Carlson and Raul said...

That's the last of the 1978 A-Basin vintage lifts left. 3 doubles and a triple were put in that year to completely replace a bunch of ancient and rickety contraptions. At the time we were so happy to get to ski Pali face without a bunch of arduous transfers and traverses. I worked at Keystone and served Bob Maynard and his wife dinner many a night in The Garden Room whilst skiing laps on Pali face during the day.

It's refreshing to leave things as is. There is only one intermediate way down and it gets pretty crowded at the top as it is.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear. A 4 person chair is the way to go!

Anonymous said...

That leaves Molly Hogan Lift as the oldest chair.

One request for the new chair paint it black.

HungryandThristy said...

Flawed logic is funny

Anonymous said...

Fixed grips can run in higher wind and after 3 foot storms there will probably be long lines regardless of high speed quads (look at Fail Mountain last weekend)...who would have thought? If you don't like A Basin's fixed grip lifts...I implore you, go elsewhere, you don't get it and I don't want you to anyway.

Anonymous said...

It is the perfect chair as a double. The only argument with any merit is reliability issues with Black Mountain. Outside of that no change is required. A Basin has a character that is its appeal and to make slight changes to be like larger areas would be an unsuccessful tweener, harming the character and the experience. The clowns chasing the "POW" harm the experience more than anything.

Anonymous said...

When you hop off Pali and there's still powder in the alleys for many many laps you know it's nothing like Vail. Sorry you come on weekend powder days and have to wait in line. I was there last sunday and after one 20 minute lift line everyone cleared out to Zuma and Beavers and we were able to do pow laps off Pali all day with no line.

Unknown said...

I like the two chair vibe. Great place to have a 5 min conversation with a cool stranger. Three's a crowd

Anonymous said...

I cannot understand why anyone would want more than the current double that is there?
Pali Chair is a legend in of itself and keeping it a double maintains its heritage.

Outside of a handful of powder Saturdays, the chair is never that busy.
Weekdays its ski right on the lift.

If you want to ride 6-packs go elsewhere.

Unknown said...

Hi speed quad up to the top!!!!

Anonymous said...

I was surprised when i was skiing in colorado. The best snow i ever saw, but small resorts, old and slow lifts and its so expensive. In europe nobody would built a new 2seat, fixed grip. A skiarea with fixed griped lifts would be empty. 6seat bubble express are just standard, for less money. For a small skiarea with old lifts like a basin, in europe you would not pay more than 45$ for a day ticket. And there are no peak or black out dates.

The Skiing Judge said...

I never encountered a lift line there in 40 years, so you really don't need a faster, more expensive lift. Just one that is safe and reliable. From an accounting standpoint, keeping the lift ticket prices down and The Basin open, they made the right decision.

Sad Cow said...

RIP, old friend.
Favorite Pali memory: breaking up with a girlfriend mid-ride. Dressed as a cow. The freedom of the ensuing West Turbo run is yet unrivaled.

Sad Cow said...

Goodnight, Sweet Prince.

Favorite Pali memory: breaking up with a girlfriend mid-ride. Dressed as a cow. The freedom of that next West Turbo run is yet unrivaled.

Anonymous said...

double. forever.

Anonymous said...

That's a relief. More capacity = more tracks = worse conditions.

Anonymous said...

My back still hurts from waiting in line last Friday and Saturday. Please start throwing the tennis ball again on busy days for a free trip to the front of the line. At least it was entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping it a similar chair. It’s the best chair at the Basin by far. I only hope you also leave off those stupid footrest/safety bars. Those are the worst.

Unknown said...

This may be an insane question but any way to bid at auction remotely and if so would you ship me a chair to Pennsylvania?

Alan Henceroth - COO said...

There will be 2 online auctions in May. Shipping could be arranged.

Jim Shields said...

Pali chair has always been so perfect, thanks for keeping a good thing going Al!

Jim Shields Keystone.

Anonymous said...

Leaving Pali as a fixed grip two seater, while stating that the future Lenawee lift will go high speed is a good compromise (at least that's what I remember in a previous blog). Curious as to the timing of the Lenawee upgrade. Perhaps 2022?

SystemLock said...

NEVER?!?!

SystemLock said...

Enjoy Europe. We'll hold down the Basin

Conrad Schmidt said...

In an era of ski areas outdoing everything and putting more people on sacred terrain that don’t belong, leave it to A Basin to do the right thing. Well done.

Davidh said...

The Pali lift line is all way's insane on weekends, it's just dumb to put in a slow 2 seater.

Davidh said...

The lift line at Pali is always sick on the weekends, it's just dumb to leave it as a two seater.

David in WNC Mtns said...

Al,
From 79 to 82 we rode Pali 80% of the time. Had no idea it was a new lift. For the most part we'd ski Slalom Slope and Exhibition and back to Pali - we saw that as a lot of skiing from a short lift ride. I recall a day when the empty chairs ahead of us were tapping the towers..yeah it was a nasty day.
Sounds to me like AB has a good plan; not sure why folks don't just go with the flow in a case like this.
Peace

Anonymous said...

You could always replace it with a single chair ; )

Anonymous said...

Between kicking the wahoos from fail resorts and keeping pali a two seater at the same rate per hour, I will be riding the basin until I am 80. Anyone who rides/skies pali consistently knows that the chair is a welcome rest. Turbo , main street, rock garden, and steep gullies ain't free. I have seen the crowd thin out fairly quick more often than not..Why complain about a lift that most people use 2 times at most?

Unknown said...

Its gonna be a double. I rode with a knower today. Awesome.

beebuzz said...

"Good things come to thiose who wait". Ah yes, words to the wise. To those who complain about standing in a line now and then I say, what's the rush? Do you eat a fine meal with good friends as fast as you can? Metering access to the terrain preserves the snow quality. So you get one less run that day. Over time you will realize its about quality. I rode the current lift when it was new and I'll ride this one. The Japanese have a saying that goes like this, " Nothing good ever happens in a hurry." Slow down, people. Soon your knees will give out and you will be down at Keystone riding up as fast as technology can offer. Yuck.
Perhaps Foghat's lyrics say it best,
Slow ride......... take it easy................

the garden sherpa said...

An argument to replace something older, with a newer version that does the same job, makes very little business sense. To honor the Palavicini lift, to honor anything, one must show evolution. Skiing is a business, and the new lift should be unique as the Pali double chair, but at the same time, better serving the growing population of skiers and boarders. Having this chair on the front side of the mountain is very critical.

So the brain trust that owns and runs Arapahoe Basin replaces it with a double chair? How original. It should be a triple chair, and it should be the offspring of the old Pali lift. What the heck do I know. I am just a soul skier, someone who skis to lose himself and find himself at the same moment. Someone who's first run of the season, the day, is a double black technical line. Arapahoe Basin is the most unique place to do that, Pali lift or not. VAYA CON DIOS!

Anonymous said...

Well said. Some people just don’t get it.

Anonymous said...

Copper absolutely destroyed Tucker Mt by putting in the Three Bears chair. You are totally right about putting the wrong/too many people on sacred terrain. Anyone that disagrees with the decision to keep Pali a double should go take a look at Tucker in its new lift served state. Limiting traffic on big terrain makes everything so much better. If you don’t have the patience for a hike or a slow lift, just go someplace else and leave that terrain for people that get it.

Anonymous said...

This is a poor decision on how to utilize this hard earned capital. Get to the 30,000 foot, 20 year perspective and make the overall wiser decision with a triple or a quad. This will be your only opportunity for at least 20 years. Skier counts are heading, as I am sure you prefer, in the upward direction. Failure to plan appropriately for this will likely be a regretted.

Luke said...

I hear all the comments about a lift with more capacity, but at the end of the day, I think Al & the Basin crew made the right call. I'm happy to have a little bit longer wait or a little bit longer ride to have less people on the runs. The Pali is my favorite chair in the world and I'm glad it's staying the same.

Nice work guys!

Tele Leslie said...

Way to make the right decision, Al. For those who want (need) high speed 6 pack lifts, I will gladly point you to any of the other resorts! #TheLegend

Unknown said...

Oh the days when Keystone had Trivia questions to go to the front of the line. Still remember the day when the questions were cartoon dogs and I knew them all so they let my whole group go to the front of the line! Also remember when Keystone had tear off tabs for lift rides. Have I skied too long? Hope not.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if it's feasible, but I sure hope that the new chair still has that "Pali Hop!"

Aragon said...

Long live the two seater! The speed is just right, I’ve watched so many rippin snow riders from perch of the Pali ride... so many different styles and perspectives on Pali face , turbo, etc. it’s inspiring. A slow double Pali lift is synonymous with Colorado skiing. There’s always California for folks who don’t agree with me.

Aragon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the garden sherpa said...

I reiterate, a double chair is a poor business decision in running a business for profit. Arapahoe Basin is in business to make money while providing jobs a long with the most unique skiing and boarding experience in USA. Look at it this way, Arapahoe Basin breaks business connections with the Epic pass, bringing down overall skier and boarder numbers at the resort for this current season. Is that the logic behind a double for a double?

More and more Epic pass holders are learning, why buy an Epic pass if you live in the front range. From Denver proper, Abasin is 72 miles away over Loveland pass and seaon pass in the $400 range. How much is an Epic pass? how much additional travel and expense to reach Vail Resorts. Most Epic pass holders utilize a few days of the season at Walt Disney World Vail, only to be stuck on that side of vail pass, or on vail pass for hours at a time, no thanks, I stopped skiing vail 12 years ago.

A renaissance is happening, Coloradans want to ski, not be stuck on the highway and sit in lift lines at Vail Resorts. That is the appeal of A-basin. The future of quality skiing and the mountain experience is Arapahoe Basin. Replacing a double chair with a double chair on the front side of the resort is mindless and very bad business. Think about it, adding 1 rider per chair boosts the number of riders per hour bye how much? 50? 65, maybe be more? seriously small sacrifice.
Wake up already. I even have a new marketing concept for the extreme terrain of A-basin. Unfortunately, my intellectual property is not free, that would be a poor business on my part.

Darren said...

Get over yourself and stick to your day job. Sounds like you should go back to Vail if lift capacity is what your looking for. The Pali terrain would be skied out faster by people who don't belong on it. So I suppose you think Silverton should replace their double with a higher capacity lift as well? The reason people know these places is because of the terrain which would suffer immensely from more traffic. More expert skiers would just hit the back country which isn't tracked out. Btw, one extra person per chair would be waaay more than 50 more people an hour. More like hundreds. I don't think they want your "intellectual property". Al's got it bro.

Craig said...

@garden sherpa - you miss a very critical point or maybe you just disagree with their strategy that they are laying down.

Their brand is about skier experience and this appears to be their North Star. This will attract the clientele that is serious about skiing and one that will be very loyal. Through catering to this demographic they can maintain a solid core customer base and pique the interest of people looking for something different than Vail Resorts. Adding higher capacity (however small) is a direct hit to that brand and could confuse the messaging and experience.

You might have wonderful ideas about how to grow and make more profits but that isn't the only motivation that drives A-Basin. Sure they want to make money, but that will come with a superior skiing experience and loyal customers. It seems that your ideas are much more aligned with the Vail Resorts model and wouldn't be a great fit at the Basin.

I wholeheatedly agree with your assessment on a "renaissance" happening but I disagree (looks like the Basin does too) with your methodology on how to handle the changes.

Just my biased .02 from someone who has been an A-basin season passholder for over 10 years. I hope they keep doing what they are doing as it is what has kept me (and my family) loyal for a long time.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a triple chair would overload the terrain and it would ease waits on peak days, so I really don't think it would be a bad idea. Plus fixed-grip triple is almost as much of a throwback these days as a double, so it wouldn't like be out of character or anything. But, Al's in charge and I respect his judgment so who cares?

DJF said...

Does anyone else wish that Lenawee was a faster chair? Personally, I'm happy with Pali staying a double because it's not that long of a ride and is sheltered by trees. But Lenawee gets brutally cold at times and is fairly long vs the time it takes to get down that terrain, which can be a quick clip-- and especially now with the Beevers chair, it would be nice to have a way to get to the back faster.

strobes said...

Two funny things I read in these comments. A high speed triple, and Molly Hogan isnt going to be the oldest chair there, it will be the newest, along with Pali, as it is being replaced as well, eh?

strobes said...

Lenawee is a rather new chair

the garden sherpa said...

Arapahoe Basin will need some critical marketing and business guidance to survive the long haul. Eventually it will be swallowed up by Vail Resorts for business decisions such as these. I am retiring early to start surfing again, it is cheaper and the chicks are wearing way less clothing. #naturalart. You people are like the mafia, you live bye an omerta that eventually tears you down or locks you up. Live free and ride. JLR

Anonymous said...

I rode Pali on Sunday 02/16. Powder. By 11 am I was done at the bar. As usual the crowd thinned out fairly soon. I went back to the lift hoping for a line so I didn't go down Turbo so quickly. 8 runs in less than

Those that want more capacity must ask Al for the data. Every time lift ops scans our passes captures lift name, time, etc.

Or maybe they should start riding/skiing Pali.

Kyle said...

People have been hating on A basin and claiming it will fail for decades now. Too many rocks, slow lifts, no lodging, no rfid pass, limited parking, wind/weather/exposure, poor grooming, etc. What they fail to realize is, there's nothing wrong with the legend, it just isn't for everyone and that's ok.

Thanks for doing your part and leaving CO, we'll hold it down at the basin for many years to come.

Anonymous said...

Total bummer. I was hoping for a single.

Knarf said...

Last Saturday is a really bad example. It was 40+ inches of snow with the highway closed for 2 days. And if you were there the whole day you would know it was a brief bottleneck in the AM then the whole mountain had little to no liftlines while everywhere else had hour plus liftlines..

Anonymous said...

Get rid of all the posers and beaters who can't deal with a double chair. A-Basin still is trying to represent what is still all and right with skiing and avoiding what is going on with all the mega-resorts in the state.

Call me old, but I'm young compared to a lot of the old-school people at the Basin. Been skiing since the 90's there and now life is far more complicated, more responsibilities, and riding the Pali chair takes me back to all the glorious ski days of years gone by.

Skiing with my dad, skiing with college buddies, ex-girlfriends, friends I don't see as much as I used to, random people I've had awesome conversation with, times to help get me out of a funk in life, all sorts of weather good/bad/ugly.

Glad you guys are staying the course. A lot of people clearly don't get it and they aren't the type of people I want to ski or ride the lift with in the first place.
They can take their insta-book self gratification to other resorts.