Friday, September 21, 2007

Dollar set for full facelift by next year

City approves two more high-speed quads

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Co. has been moving full speed ahead this summer with the replacement of two old chairlifts on Dollar Mountain with new high-speed lifts. The city of Sun Valley approved Thursday the planned replacement of two additional lifts. Photo by David N. Seelig

As construction crews on Dollar Mountain near completion of the replacement of Quarter Dollar and Dollar lifts, the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved Phase 2 on Thursday, Sept. 20, paving the way for the replacement of the mountain's other two lifts, Half Dollar and Elkhorn.

The replacement of the Half Dollar and Elkhorn lifts is slated to begin next summer, and barring any unforeseen obstacles both will be fully operational in time for the 2008-2009 ski season. Both lifts will be the same make and model as the lifts currently being installed. The detachable, high-speed Doppelmayr quad lifts are seen as the standard in ski lift evolution, featuring the latest in technology and safety.

"The routes will be in the same general path as the existing lifts," said Mark Hofman, community development director for the city of Sun Valley. "A survey for the Elkhorn lift still needs to be conducted to ensure the 35-foot setback (required by Sun Valley building codes) is met."

The Sun Valley Elkhorn Association owns part of the land on which the Elkhorn lift will sit, and the association will have to grant Sun Valley Co. a separate approval prior to the beginning of construction.

The demolition and construction processes will mirror the work Sun Valley Co. crews undertook this summer. Helicopter permits will have to be issued, and public notice will be given prior to any flights.

The wheelhouse section of the lifts will be roughly 20 feet longer than the existing Half Dollar and Elkhorn lifts. The Planning and Zoning Commission is still working with Sun Valley Co. on the exact color of the lifts. In fact, a color for Quarter Dollar and Dollar lifts has not been determined, and a decision is expected in the next six or seven weeks. Colors under consideration include white, green, blue or a combination thereof. The goal is to blend the lifts into the surrounding elements as much as possible.

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