MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) - The economy has hit many industries hard, including the ski industry.
Many ski areas across the world have aging chairlifts, which can last for decades with good maintenance. But designs have changed, and become more modern, making them lighter, cheaper to operate, and more comfortable for skiers.
Leitner-Poma of America has designed the new Cub lift, a fixed grip quad chairlift. It's much smaller than some of the lifts found at Vail, Aspen, and Breckenridge.
Leitner-Poma of America President Rick Spear says the Cub lift will serve those "feeder" markets. He says, "they're the ones in Minnesota with the kids' programs, then they come to Colorado for vacation."
He says Powderhorn could be considered a feeder market. These lifts cost around $700,000 to buy, compared with about $1 million for a larger chairlift. They have less horsepower, and are much lighter, so they still get more skiers up the mountain in half the time.
Once it's built, it's taken by truck to the ski area, then assembled and put into place by helicopter.
Spear says they are in talks with ski areas interested in buying the Cub lift, but he declined to say where they were located.