How Much Does A Ski Lift Cost?

by Frank V. Persall

There's no doubt about it, ski lift construction is expensive. Regardless of the brand, ski resorts shell out at least $2 million for good-quality, reliable ski lift equipment. 

But, as you may well expect, the whole "buying new ski lifts" ordeal is quite a stressful, tactical task that requires far more than simply opening up your wallet.

So, let's get into the specifics.

How Much Does A Ski Lift Cost?
How Much Does A Ski Lift Cost?

The Cost To Build And Install A Ski Lift

Replacing — or installing brand new — double or triple quad ski lifts is a huge task for any ski resort, regardless of how much money they make. It's an insane investment.

These days, resorts are looking at spending at least a couple of million on a decent ski lift. However, if they decide on a quad ski lift, they are likely to be spending over double that (around $7 million).

While the length of the ski lift does play a part in how much it costs, the ski-lift manufacturer plays a surprisingly significant role too. And, the more high-tech, the more you will have to shell out.

Let's look at an example. We'll take a Poma ski lift — these seem to be rather popular — to see how much we'd have to spend if we were to set up a resort.

Poma is a ski lift manufacturer that makes rather basic and high-tech products. They're "Telemix" option is a hybrid lift that is detachable and comes equipped with chairs and gondola cabins. These are found all across Europe (specifically, the French Alps) and New England.

In 2014, Okemo Mountain Resort installed its Poma ski lift. Guess how much they paid (the answer will shock you) — 8 million dollars! Yup, that's a hefty chunk of change. It was the first ski resort in New England to have two bubble chair lifts — hence the staggering rate Poma charged them. 

But That's Nothing Compared to This!

All the way back in 2008, Whistler Blackcomb bought their well-known and favored Peak-2-Peak Gondola ski lift. This famous ski lift stretches across the peaks of Blackcomb Mountain and Whistler Mountain, the resort's namesakes.

This cost them a whopping 51 million Canadian dollars. 

Yup, you read that correctly. Suddenly, 8 million dollars seems like petty cash!

Then, when 2014 rolled around, they shelled out an additional 18 million dollars to install the Crystal Ridge Express Quad Chair Lift on Blackcomb Mountain. They also managed to implement their new Harmony 6 High-Speed Ski Lift on the Whistler Mountain at the same time.

Put simply, buying a ski lift is not for the faint-hearted. It'll certainly leave a gaping hold in your pocket.

The Cost To Run A Ski Lift

But, it's not just the installation costs that ski resorts have to worry about, it's the running and maintenance costs. While it is hard to work out exactly how much this is, we'll give you a rough estimate now.

In a report of Europe's ski resort's operating costs, it was shown that as much as 48% of their income went on paying for and running ski lifts. Almost half!

However, we do need to take this with a pinch of salt. Why? Because every ski resort is different. Just because one in Switzerland spends this much of their income on ski lifts, doesn't mean that those in New England do too.

In fact, it's been said by a previous employee that, with Whistler Blackcomb's 37 lines, they spend around $5 million per year on ski-lift operation. Trust us, they make far more than that!

What Is Alpine Skiing?

About Frank V. Persall

Frank is originally from the UK, but he has a passion for skiing that knows no bounds. He has made it his life's mission to visit the best ski resorts across the USA and the World. Frank loves spending time with his wife and three children on ski slopes, as they all share his love for the activity.

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