Boyne Mountain to Replace Boyneland, Superbowl Chairlifts in 2023
Renaissance Continues at Boyne Resorts’ original property
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If you’ve never skied the Midwest, let me give you a primer: the chairlift-to-terrain ratio is astronomical. Like, to a crazy degree. To the point that many resorts resemble skiing’s version of the Winchester Mansion, with its hundreds of rooms multiplying wildly in all directions. Chairlifts everywhere, side-by-side, bunched around clear-cut slopes that often have no discernable barrier from one “run” to the next. To illustrate my point, I present to you the trailmap for Afton Alps, Minnesota, 21 lifts wrapped around a 350-foot ridge totaling 300 acres:
But we’re not here today to talk about Afton Alps. Our many-lifted Midwest subject on this Tuesday is Boyne Mountain, Michigan, the birthplace and kind-of HQ for the mighty Boyne Resorts, Ikon Pass pillar and owner of Big Sky. Boyne doesn’t have as many lifts as Afton Alps, but the same chairlift bunching, the same one-run-spliced-into-four trail inflation, defines the resort’s frontside:
Dense as that network appears to anyone peeking in from the outside world, the mountain once ran even more lifts to serve about half the current terrain footprint. Check out this 1985 trailmap, which shows Boyne Mountain running 10 chairlifts, compared to today’s nine (the huge Disciples Ridge section looker’s right on the modern map did not open until the late ‘90s):
The Mountain Express six-pack, opened in 1992, knocked out the Express double, McClouth quad, and North Boyne double. The terrain from Meadows to Super Bowl, served by up to four lifts in the ‘80s and ‘90s, now does fine with just two, including the carpet-loaded Meadows quad, built new in 2008. And this year, Boyne yanked a pair of old triples on Disciples Ridge to make way for one of their spectacular eight-packs.
Cool Brah, thanks for the history lesson, but way to bury the news, Brah. What’s your point here?
Good question Brah. My point is that, as much work as it has done modernizing and consolidating its lift fleet, Boyne Mountain isn’t done yet. Today, the ski area announced two more lift upgrades for 2023: Superbowl, an old Riblet quad, will make way for a new Doppelmayr carpet-loaded triple; Boyneland, the super-green gateway triple that moves the bulk of skiers over toward Disciples, will upgrade to a Doppelmayr carpet-loaded fixed-grip quad on a new line.
Nice, Brah. I like that, Brah. But why upgrade a quad to a triple, Brah? And what’s with the loading carpets, Brah? And will the new Boyneland lift still require carrying my 4-year-old 100 yards through the snow, Brah? And why does Boyne keep building new lifts like it forgot to cancel them on Amazon Subscribe & Save and they just keep showing up on the porch and they have to put them somewhere, Brah?
All good questions Brah Bro. And all addressed below for people interested in supporting independent ski media with a paid subscription to The Storm Skiing Journal and Podcast (and thank you very much to all who do):
Below the paid subscriber jump: more detail on each new lift project, including a rendering of Boyneland’s new line; an inventory of Boyne Mountain’s remaining legacy lifts; a survey of Boyne Resorts’ lift projects, and more.