Top 5 Longest Chairlifts in North America

Anton Lengyel | | Industry NewsIndustry NewsBrainsBrains
The Burfield Quad at Sun Peaks, BC, is the longest fixed-grip chair in North America. It is 9510 feet long and takes a whopping 21 minutes to ride. (Credit: Liftblog)

Chairlifts have a love-hate relationship within our sport. They are a necessity (for most of us) to get us on the slopes, while also giving us a bit of time to rest our burning legs and enjoy the scenery. However, chairlifts are also known for pushing our patience to the limit. We’ve all been on that one lift, that always seems like eternal damnation, stopping every few seconds for every beginner, and taking what seems to be forever to reach the top.

This made us wonder: what really is the longest chairlift out there? The following lifts are the five longest in North America as measured in length, stretching across miles, and providing skiers with some excellent terrain.

5. American Flyer at Copper Mountain, CO

American Flyer
The upgraded American Flyer lift’s top terminal. (Credit: Leitner-Poma)

American Flyer at Copper Mountain, CO, is the longest bubble chairlift in the world with a length of 9,907 feet. The only lift on this list under 10,000 feet, it was originally constructed in 1986 as a high speed quad, and upgraded by Leitner-Poma to a six-pack bubble chairlift in 2018. It offers access to a large amount of beginner terrain, as well as more advanced bowls and a few terrain parks. The lift is also one of the newest chairlifts in Colorado, giving a 33% increase in uphill capacity, according to Copper Mountain.

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4. Village Express at Aspen Snowmass, CO

Village Express
Looking down Village Express, with the half-station visible. (Credit: Liftblog)

Village Express at Aspen Snowmass, CO, has a length of 10,074 feet and connects Snowmass’ base to Sam’s Knob. The longest six-pack lift on this list was constructed by Leitner-Poma in 2005 and replaced two smaller lifts. The lift was also the first six-pack at any Aspen Snowmass resort and is the only lift on this list with a mid-unload station and serves terrain suited for all abilities.

3. Sunshine Express at Telluride, CO

Sunshine Express
Looking down Sunshine Express from near the top unloading station. (Credit: Liftblog)

Sunshine Express at Telluride, CO, used to be the longest detachable chairlift in the world, with a length of 10,732 feet. Constructed in 1986 by Doppelmayr, the lift has a 10.5 min ride time and provides access to Telluride’s Prospect Bowl area and ski-in/ski-out properties. It serves great beginner terrain with mile-long groomers and the Ute Terrain Park and is a secondary way to get to Telluride’s more advanced terrain. The lift is also the oldest on this list, reaching its 40th birthday in a few years.

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2. Chile Express at Angel Fire Resort, NM

Chile Express
Looking up Chile Express at Angle Fire Resort, NM. (Credit: Liftblog)

Chile Express at Angel Fire Resort, NM, is just 20 feet short of holding the title for the longest chairlift, coming in at 10,992 feet. Constructed by Poma in 1996, the lift rises 2,000 vertical feet and connects the base area to the summit. It is just one of two high-speed quads at the resort and serves a majority of the terrain on the mountain.

1. Slide Brook Express at Sugarbush, VT

Slide Brook Express
Slide Brook Express, looking towards Mt. Lincoln at Sugarbush, VT. (Credit: Liftblog)

Slide Brook Express at Sugarbush, VT, is the longest ski lift in North America, with a length of 11,012 feet. Also recognized as one of the fastest lifts in the world, operating at 1,150 feet per minute, the 2.1-mile-long lift connects the Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen areas at the resort. Without interruptions, the lift typically takes 12 minutes to ride. However, the lift can only operate if there’s sufficient snow underneath for safety reasons, and in recent years the resort has struggled to get it open regularly.

These marvels of engineering are what unite skiers and snowboarders alike. We all spend much of our day sitting in a metal chair, just having a good time on our way to the next run. Whether it be a beautiful sunny day or a heavy storm, the chairlifts are always there and (typically) spinning, ready to take us up for the next run.

The Slide Brook Express entry in Doppelmayr’s 1996 Worldbook. (Credit: Doppelmayr)

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3 thoughts on “Top 5 Longest Chairlifts in North America

  1. Love your content Anton, but pretty sure you need to sharpen your pencil here. Killington’s Skyeship Gondy and Jackson Hole’s Tram both top 12,000 feet long!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Matt! You are right, but for this article, I wanted to focus on just chairlifts. My apologies, I should’ve been a little more specific. However, it’s a great idea for a future article about the longest gondolas/trams.

  2. Sunshine Village Gondola 14,894 ft
    (Since your going by length not vertical, yes it is predominately used for access but it can be skied continuously in 1 run which is generaly open for almost the whole season)

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