WildWest Chairlift Retrofit | Great Divide Montana

WildWest Chairlift Retrofit

September 6, 2023

Hopefully, everyone can agree that at Great Divide we take care of our chairlifts, and that it shows in our lack of winter downtime on our chairlifts. As with any piece of large machinery, breakdowns can happen at any time, but overall, Great Divide has a longstanding history of operating reliable chairlifts. 

Last season, we experienced more issues with the WildWest Chairlift than we would like to see. As with any downtime event on a chairlift (really ANY event), we conduct thorough investigations into the root cause and fix the issue, so it does not happen again. After investigating the problems we saw last season, we concluded that the diesel engine, which has powered the WildWest Chairlift since it was installed in 2001, was experiencing multiple issues contributing to the problems we were seeing. 

We had a couple of options available to correct the issue. Option one would be to rebuild the diesel engine and continue with the existing installation. Option two was to repower the WildWest Chairlift with a new electric motor driven off a diesel generator.  

After weighing the options, we decided to move forward with option two. While this is a much more in-depth (and expensive) option that requires complete engineering of the new system, it offers many benefits that outweigh the cost difference of the options.  It will allow the WildWest Chairlift to operate at its originally designed speed, be able to run at multiple speeds to assist in loading passengers that need extra time, reduce the overall noise at the load area of the chairlift, and allow greater availability of parts going forward and increased reliability overall. Along with replacing the engine with a new motor and generator, we will install a new modernized control system that monitors all safety circuits along the lift, allowing easier troubleshooting when issues arise. 

Our goal is that the only changes you, as our guests, will notice are a quieter loading experience and a faster ride up the mountain. 

While we still have a long way to go before this project wraps up, we are confident that the WildWest Lift will be ready come winter.