Monday, January 7, 2013

Mountain Creek Opens New Sojourn Chairlift

Mountain Creek is pleased to announce the inauguration of the new Sojourn Chairlift for the 2013 winter season. The first official riders, Sparta resident Geof Doubleday and his son Christian, along with Mountain Creek President Bill Benneyan and resort owner Andy Mulvihill cut the ribbon and popped Champagne at Saturday’s 9:30 a.m. ceremony while others who had turned out to mark the historic occasion looked on. The purchase and operation of this new double lift, installed over the summer at a cost of over one million dollars, is another step in the resort’s aggressive multi-year development plan designed to improve the overall guest experience.

Mulvihill, Doubleday and son Christian about to cut the ribbon.
Following last season’s unprecedented $20 million in improvements and upgrades to the resort – which included the unveiling of the new 50,000+ square foot Red Tail Lodge, America’s largest snow tubing park, and a revolutionary new rental and learning center – Mountain Creek resumed management of its water park and bike park this summer, adding five new rides and attractions plus several new mountain biking trails. The investments continued for this winter with the Sojourn lift’s completion, allowing skiers and snowboarders uninterrupted on-snow access between all four mountain peaks.

“We’re committed to improving our guests’ experiences both on and off the snow,” said Mulvihill. When the first Sojourn Chairlift was retired, guests were transported between Red Tail Lodge and South Lodge by shuttle bus. “Skiers and snowboarders will now enjoy more time on the snow with convenient two-way lift access between resort peaks and lodges.”

The new chair replaces the previous Sojourn Chairlift, a fixed-grip double built in 1971 by the Borvig Corp. connecting South Peak and Granite Peak.  The original Sojourn Double Chairlift was retired in 2010 after 39 years of service. The new Sojourn Chairlift was built by Borvig’s successor, Partek of Pine Island, NY, and installed by Ropeway Construction also out of Pine Island, NY. The lift follows the existing footprint along Southern Sojourn trail.
Benneyan helps the Doubledays board Chair #1.
Doubleday was the winner of Mountain Creek’s Sojourn Chair Sweepstakes, scoring the first official ride on Chair #1, two lift tickets, as well as a piece of vintage New Jersey ski memorabilia: his very own chair from the original Sojourn lift.  “I’ve been skiing here for 40 years and I rode the original lift many times, so this is awesome for me,” Doubleday said.  “I already know where I’m putting the old chair: on a big tree outside my house where a swing used to hang.”

Here's a video with highlights from the grand opening, including remarks by Mulvihill and Benneyan plus previews of the lift ride and a run down Southern Sojourn trail.