Opening of new American Flyer lift at Copper Mountain delayed...again | PostIndependent.com

Opening of new American Flyer lift at Copper Mountain delayed…again

Antonio Olivero
Summit Daily
The American Flyer high-speed 6-person chairs with bubble enclosures await their opening day as seen on Dec. 18, at Copper Mountain Resort.
Hugh Carey / Summit Daily

The holidays came and went at Copper Mountain Resort without the opening of Copper’s new American Flyer chairlift.

The resort said in December it was hopeful the new American Flyer lift would be open by Christmas, though they made it clear that timeline was subject to change. Most recently, on Tuesday, Copper posted on its social media channels that unexpected complications related to the new lift’s automation software have caused the most recent delays to the opening of American Flyer.

“We expect these programming malfunctions to be resolved within days and allow the project to get back on schedule,” Copper said on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

“The technology being used for Flyer,” Copper said on its Facebook page Tuesday morning, “which is the world’s longest bubble chair, is state-of-the-art. As with any new technology, it is critically important to Copper Mountain staff and Leitner-Poma that all components of the equipment are fully vetted before opening the lift to our guests. As soon as we feel confident that the lift will operate reliably on a daily basis, the American Flyer will be opened for everyone to enjoy.”

Copper said American Flyer testing with the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board began on Friday. The resort added that the board’s approval process can take anywhere from three days to a week.

The new American Flyer lift is a high-speed, six-person chair with bubble enclosures that should increase uphill capacity by 33 percent. The new Flyer lift and the resort’s new American Eagle lift — which opened earlier this season — are the first two lifts in North America to run on direct drives as opposed to a complex gear system.

As of Wednesday, despite the delay in opening the new American Flyer lift, Copper had opened 100 percent of its skiable terrain at some point this season. That includes their snowcat-accessed Tucker Mountain terrain, which Copper opened for the first time on Friday.