BIG SKY, Mont. – Construction on Big Sky Resort's "Swift Current 6" chairlift is well underway and looks to be one of the biggest regional attractions for the upcoming ski season.
The original Swift Current lift was installed in 1996 to replace Gondola II, the third high-speed quad to be installed on the mountain, but the new Swift Current 6 features six heated seats, a weatherproof bubble, and individual headrests and footrests.
One of the biggest benefits of the new lift will be cutting down ride times as the Swift Current 6 is the fastest six-person chairlift in North America.
The main lift takes skiers up Lone Mountain from Big Sky’s Mountain Village at 1,200 feet per minute cutting down total ride time from 12 minutes down to under seven minutes which aims to reduce congestion and long lines around the base area.
Up on the hill, the new 90-degree unload will exit skiers toward the bowl on Jay Walk, creating a smoother skier flow as well.
According to Big Sky Resort General Manager Troy Nedved, the resort saw around 15% fewer guests a day during the pandemic 2020-2021 ski season compared to 2019-2020 as a direct result of reduced lift ticket availability and limiting Ikon reservations.
According to the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce tourism, rooted in outdoor recreation, is the leading industry driving Big Sky’s growth and contributing substantially to the $3 billion statewide tourism economy.
Big Sky Resort Public Relations Manager Stacie Mesuda said the sound of the helicopter bringing pieces of the new chairlift around the mountain has brought a feeling of excitement throughout the valley.
"It’s just a really exciting time for the whole community to get involved in ski season its our business and its also our lifestyle here so it’s really important for all of Big Sky to be open for this winter," Mesuda said.
The new chairlift is all part of Big Sky 2025, a vision for the resort’s future to transform into "America’s Alp." A cornerstone of this transformative vision includes creating the most technologically-advanced chairlift network in North America, similar to what can be experienced in the Alps.
Swift Current 6 is the fifth major chairlift infrastructure project at Big Sky in the past five years, revolutionizing the way skiers access nearly 6,000 acres of terrain.
You can find more information and keep up with the Swift Current 6 project here.
Tickets for the upcoming ski season as well as all Big Sky Resort has to offer outside of the winter season can be found here.