Big Sky Resort will unveil its new eight-passenger ski lift to the public on Saturday, Dec. 15, with a grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m.
The ribbon-cutting will be held at the base of Andesite Mountain before the chair opens to the public at 11 a.m.
Ramcharger 8 is the first eight-seat chairlift in North America. Here's a few facts about the flying couches:
Each chair is nearly 15 feet wide and 13 feet tall, and weighs over one ton.
A single chair weighs in at 2,262 pounds, roughly the weight of four adult grizzly bears.
Each grip, the clamp that holds the chair on the cable haul rope, weighs about 350 pounds.
3,200 skiers per hour can ride up Andesite Mountain at a speed of more than 11 mph.
Ramcharger 8 will have 64 chairs that are heated, ergonomically designed, have headrests and footrests and can be covered by a weather-proof bubble.
The bubble on each chair is 4.19 feet deep from front to back at its widest point.
At the base of the lift a huge LED screen linking together 40 separate panels has been installed. The screen will feature videos, user-generated content, and up-to-the-minute weather conditions.
It took a team of 40 workers to splice the haul rope. The term "haul rope" is used for the wire rope, or cable, as many skiers refer to it. As the haul rope is spliced, the rope is essentially held together by tension and friction. The total weight of the haul rope on the spool was 78,000 pounds.
The bull wheel, which turns the haul rope, measures 24.28 feet in diameter.
The Dopplemayr Direct Drive is a whisper-quiet gearless drive, which in turn makes it energy efficient, low-vibration, and low-noise. It uses a water-cooled "hermetically sealed permanent magnet synchronous motor." Since it is water-cooled, the noise from fans is eliminated.
To build the new lift teams moved more than 50,000 cubic yards of dirt, which is more than 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of material.
The system includes a remote stop button that is worn by the lift operator, so the stop button travels with the lift operator when the chairlift is in operation.
Ramcharger 8's chair barn, located at the top of Andesite, is roughly 150x50 feet and two stories tall. The barn will store the high-tech Ramcharger 8 chairs each night to protect them.
The massive chairlift was designed by Dopplemayr in Wolfurt, Austria.