Late this November, Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the brand-new Buttercup ski lift. As a lift for beginners, many new skiers, young and old, learn the ropes on Buttercup. Prior to the rebuilding, each chair only carried two people and the lift moved notoriously slowly. Now, the lift will carry 70% more people per hour, and the speed will increase by 30%. Additionally, the terrain around the Buttercup lift will be redone to accommodate for different levels of skiing ability and learning, adding 3.2 additional acres of beginner terrain. Another exciting component of this lift is the loading conveyor. Changed to be more like the beginner Ballroom Carpet run, which carries skiers up the gradual slope on a wide conveyor belt, loading will be safer and easier. As skiers enter the Buttercup lift, they are carried at the speed of the arriving lift chairs by the conveyor, requiring less stopping and slowing of the lift for nervous first-time skiers. Additionally, the conveyor features an auto height adjustment, which automatically raises smaller skiers up to a foot to reach the height of the seat, furthering the efficiency of the lift.
Dave Tragethon, head of social media and public relations at Meadows, hopes the lift will “accelerate [the skiers’] abilities so they can get better, faster.” He notes that the progression from the Ballroom Carpet to the conveyor on Buttercup will help new skiers progress quickly and more comfortably. Tragethon hopes that this progression will get skiers to higher lifts in one day, instead of the usual two to three days.
Snowboarder Ethan Snyder (11) is excited about the efficiency the lift will grant. “I have a lot of friends that don’t ski and being able to take them up and get them to Vista by the end of the day [is really exciting],” he says. Vista is the second-highest lift at the resort, granting a 360º view of the mountain and forests below. “It’s something new… I’m excited to try out the new technology,” Snyder adds.
The new lift replaces the 1979 technology, increasing both efficiency and quality that will last long beyond its predecessor’s. Tragethon notes that although the new lift is more complex, requiring more maintenance and training, it is all a part of the process that will yield success and enjoyment for skiers in the long run.
For those who have spent their lives on the slopes or for those who are just beginning to think about taking a ride on the new Buttercup lift at Mt. Hood Meadows, it will be a great way to spend the weekend.