Thousands of skiers raced to the top of Whitefish Mountain Resort over the New Year's Weekend, as one of the fastest ski lifts in Montana zoomed into service. 

The new "Snow Ghost Express" started service last week, bringing a close to several years of planning, and 6-months of construction. 

The lift, which is technically the new Chair 4, replaces the old Chair 4 lift that had been in service since 1978, dating back to before the Base Lodge was even used as the entrance to the ski area. 

Montana Talks logo
Get our free mobile app

Yet there is no comparison between the two. The "Snow Ghost Express" has a top speed of more than 12 miles per hour, and can carry 2,200 people per hour to the top in under 8 minutes. That's a distance or lift, of about 2,200 vertical feet. 

The Snow Ghost not only provides faster, quicker access to terrain on the front and east sides of the mountain, but it also skiers to reach the Base Lodge faster, without the layover between Chairs 1 and 6. That's going to reduce traffic on the other lifts, including the resort's beginning terrain. 

“We couldn’t be happier to see this project completed before the new year,” said current President Nick Polumbus. “This was a massive undertaking that presented plenty of challenges, but we know it will have a big, positive impact on the way folks experience this mountain and that makes it all worthwhile. We expect this investment will pay off in the form of shorter lift lines and better use of all types of terrain.”

The other "Snow Ghost" stats are equally impressive.

-The haul rope weighs 47.5 tons and the spliced portion spans about 190 feet

-There are 89 of the six-seat chairs, each weighing half-a-ton

-The lift is supported by 25-towers, each placed by a Black Hawk helicopter

-The lift uses a direct drive motor, rather than the traditional gearbox

10 Best Steakhouses in Montana

If you live in Montana, you have to love a good steak dinner now and then. Luckily, here in Montana, we have steakhouses that spread far and wide throughout the state. If you are traveling through Montana or vacationing around the state, give one of these places a try.

More From Montana Talks