Helo lift install

A Sikorsky UH-60A, operated by Timberline Helicopters, lifts one of 11 towers that will support a new $5 million Doppelmayr ski lift at Bogus Basin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019.

It took less than an hour-and-a-half on Wednesday morning for all 11 lift towers for Bogus Basin’s new Morning Star chairlift to be installed and set by a helicopter crew.

“Those guys did a hell of a job — that’s pretty impressive,” said Nate Shake, Bogus Basin mountain operations manager.

Wednesday’s work leaves the mountain on track to open the new high-speed quad chairlift around the end of the first week in December — which is the nonprofit ski resort’s projected opening date.

The new $5 million Doppelmayr lift — paid for in cash, thanks to a strong ski season last year and record season-pass sales — will cut the ride from the base to the upper lodge from 9 minutes down to 3 minutes.

“It will at least double, if not triple, the capacity,” Shake said.

The new lift replaces the creaky old Morning Star triple chair, the bane of beginners moving up from the bunny hill and advanced skiers headed for the backside alike. It should spell the end of the gigantic waiting lines that Morning Star often developed, particularly on busy weekend ski days.

It’s part of $18 million the ski and summer resort has invested into improvements on the mountain in the past three years, all paid for in cash. That includes the Glade Runner mountain coaster and a new snowmaking system, funded in large part by community contributions through a capital campaign. You can read my full story here at idahopress.com, or pick up Thursday's edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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