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Little Cloud is going quad.
Gad II, too.
Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort plans to replace the venerable two-seater chairlifts with high-speed detachable quads, according to General Manager Bob Bonar.
Gad II dates to the resort's beginnings in the 1971-72 season, while Little Cloud has provided access to the broad bowl below American Fork Twin Peaks since 1980.
"Our guests have told us replacing Little Cloud is a top priority and they welcome the faster ride to Little Cloud Bowl and Mineral Basin," Bonar said in a news release. The lift will be built by Doppelmayr, a European company with North American headquarters in Salt Lake City.
The upgraded Little Cloud chairlift will follow the same route as the existing lift and will be operational by the 2012-13 ski season, Bonar said. He expects to install a new Gad II lift the next summer after completion of an environmental assessment for the U.S. Forest Service.
A new pump station also will be installed in Peruvian Gulch this summer, allowing simultaneous snow making there, in Gad Valley and in Mineral Basin.
"Snowbird is committed to offering sustainable, well-managed, year-round recreation to our growing number of guests," Bonar said.
Jim Morgan, a one-time Snowbird employee who works as a corporate attorney in Salt Lake City, applauds the Gad II upgrade.
"It will allow folks to ski Gad II's great terrain," he said, "without feeling like it's taking forever" to get to the slope on the slow old double chair.
Although Morgan has some concerns about whether Little Cloud's unloading zone is big enough to handle more riders, he believes a high-speed quad will help ease base congestion and help skiers get "all the terrain" they can.
Snowbird spokeswoman Emily Moench declined to disclose the cost of the projects.
Original chairs from the removed lifts will be sold, with proceeds going to the resort's Wasatch Adaptive Sports program. It provides year-round therapeutic recreational activities from skiing, snowboarding and orienteering to fishing, cycling and tram rides to people of all ages with special needs, including wounded veterans.
With a 99-inch base Monday, Snowbird plans to remain open "as long as the snowpack and other conditions permit," said resort General Manager Bob Bonar.