Magic works to install quad chair ahead of ski season

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Concrete bases form a line up the mountain. The notch to the left is where the new quad will go, while the right notch is where the old black line chair went.

There’s an old saying in the ski industry that goes “the season doesn’t start until Dec. 26.” And that leaves just over 11 weeks for Magic Mountain in Londonderry to install the fixed quad lift it bought from Stratton Mountain a year and a half ago, but Ski Magic President Geoff Hatheway is optimistic.

“There’s a lot to do, and the terrain is challenging, but we’re working at it,” said Hatheway last Friday. The project has 13 of the 19 bases that will support the lift towers once they are installed. That work involved difficult digging for each base and towing concrete trucks up the steep roads that crisscross the mountain. Once all the bases are in, Hatheway would like to use helicopters to fly the towers into place, but that will depend on availability.

“A lot of them are working in the Bahamas,” said Hatheway referring to hurricane cleanup.

The venerable Black Line Chair lift has been removed

The quad lift will replace the old Black Line Chair, which gave up the ghost in recent years and had to be replaced. But moving the path of the lift to the left and extending it to the top of the mountain will allow the “new” Black Line Quad to discharge skiers where they can ski down either side of the mountain. In the past, the shorter Black Line limited the paths skiers could take.

Last year, Magic opened the Green Chair, which takes passengers to the mid-mountain. Construction of that lift had been started in 2003 but never completed. While getting that project done was more difficult and time-consuming than expected, the mountain celebrated the first runs of the Green Chair on Jan. 5, 2019.

The schedule is tight, and even small, simple glitches can mean delays. But if they miss the Christmas holiday, Hatheway wants the lift operating for the busy Martin Luther King holiday weekend, which will be Jan. 18-20 in 2020.

“When this is running,” said Hatheway, “there will never be a line at Magic.”

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