The Hawk is Soaring to Completion!
Work is well underway on the new Hawk chairlift that will open up new intermediate terrain at Mount Washington. The lift line was cut last year and the bulk of the runs were done then, too, said Dave Hampshire, Public Relations Director at the alpine resort.
"The lift line was cut last year because we knew we wanted to put (the new chair) in, we knew we wanted to do it today."
The Hawk will be able to carry riders 6 at a time... 2400 riders/hour!
The six-seat, high-speed Hawk replaces the old Red Chair, which was a slower, three-seat lift. The cables for the Red Chair were dismantled in May, and the Swiss company that is putting in the lift was in town in late June to assemble both the up-load and off-load stations at each end of the lift.
"It will be pretty exciting when the helicopters come in to put in the towers," Hampshire added. The new Hawk will open up 200 more acres of skiable terrain.
The resort decided to go with a six-pack for convenience's sake. "The area the Red serviced was primarily an intermediate area. What we had was a lift that was beyond handling the capacity of people that wanted to get on that lift." There was also a bottleneck at the top of the lift, as people disembarked the Red Chair, Hampshire said.
"We looked at a quad that would have worked quite well, but looking at doubling the amount of people on that chair just made sense."
The Hawk will be 10 per cent longer than the Eagle Express, which means it will be the longest chairlift on Mount Washington.
The Hawk will be operational in time for opening day, Hampshire said. "It will actually be running sometime in the fall, to test it out." As for the old Red Chair, Hampshire said there are plans to sell it ? just like the Blue Chair was sold to Mt. Baldy when that lift was replaced by the high-speed Eagle Express.
"It's still a great lift. There's a lot of life left in it," Hampshire said. But the Red Chair has outlived its usefulness at Mount Washington. "We couldn't make it go any faster and still safely put people on it. With the Hawk being high-speed, it's going to be very easy to get on, and safer, too," he said.