Best New Ski Lift - 2009
Readers' Choice: River Run Gondola, Keystone
The 700-acre Big Burn area is one of the most popular spots at Snowmass for its combination of rolling intermediate cruisers and expert glades. But for years, most of the traffic has been concentrated on the west side, served by the Big Burn high speed quad, while the east side has been underutilized because skiers were reluctant to hop on the unbearably slow Sheer Bliss two-seater built in 1975. The lift was so unpopular — especially in cold and windy weather — that the resort only ran it on weekends and busy days. That all changed in November with the opening of the $7 million Sheer Bliss detachable quad. The new, re-aligned lift takes skiers up 2,212 vertical feet — 155 higher than it used to in nine minutes instead of sixteen — and it can carry 2,000 people in an hour, twice as many as before, thus easing congestion on the west side and introducing the east side to a whole new audience of riders.