Jul 1, 2011 | Marmot, Summer 2011

Bye Bye Green Chair… Hello Magic Carpets?

The venerable Green Chair Lift is gone. In its place, four covered Magic Carpets will be installed - the latest in people moving technology for North American ski resorts.

And with them, a revamped beginners’ ski and snowboard area will be developed this summer.

“This is great. We really need to create a better beginner experience,” Director of Business Services Don Sharpe said. “Mount Washington on Vancouver Island needs to create their next generation of skiers.” The Resort will do so in a safe and easy manner, he added.

The Green Chair, Platter and Handle Tow were dismantled in May and sold to two smaller ski resorts. The slider and handle tow went to Powder King, near Prince George. Some of the Green Chair parts were shipped to Mont Sutton in Quebec, primarily for parts.

The area between the Bradley Centre and the Hawk Chair will be leveled out “so you won’t have the sensation of being pulled to the left when you’re skiing for the first time,” Sharpe said. “That will be a big change for us.”

The Magic Carpets are a new trend at ski resorts, although Mount Washington’s will be covered, this is cutting-edge technology, Resort President Peter Gibson said.

One 250-foot covered conveyor will be centred near the top of the new beginner slope on Green Acres. There will be three covered conveyors (550 to 650 feet long) installed on the Green Face to replace the chair. They will be staggered, but generally run up the middle of the run, creating a number of teaching pods.

“The key here is we want to develop this whole concept of snow play. The idea is to get people to come up and play in the snow, and find out it’s not intimidating,” Gibson said.

The Green Zone plan has been in discussions for a couple of years, he said. “We’ve always known at some point we would have to upgrade the beginner experience. Now the time has come.”

The new Magic Carpets won’t affect overall lift operations, Resort Director of Maintenance and Operations George Trousdell said.

“It will be almost the same. The chair takes a few more people to operate and the carpets take a few less. But because there are so many, it works out the same.

“It will definitely improve the beginner experience,” Trousdell said. “That old double chair is old technology and a bit of a white-knuckle ride for beginners.”

The four carpets, said Gibson, will run at 80 per cent of the speed the old Green Chair did, but because they will run constantly they will be more efficient. The chairlift used to stop and start all the time, and on busy days it took a long time to get to the top of the Green Face.

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