Copper Mountain brings back bubble chairs for its “American Freezer” lift


A then-new enclosed chair provides extra comfort for Copper Mountain Skiers in this Dec. 31, 1972, photo. (Denver Post file photo)

Here’s a “Back to the Future” idea that Copper Mountain skiers and snowboarders are sure to welcome this winter on cold or stormy days: The rebirth of the “bubble chair.”

Copper’s two workhorse lifts out of the main base area are being replaced and one of them, the American Flyer, will have pull-down canopies on each chair with plexiglass windows that offer shelter from wind and snow. The American Flyer, which ends high on Union Peak near timberline, previously was nicknamed the “American Freezer” by resort employees because it could be a real face-stinger when the weather was nasty.

Longtime Colorado skiers will remember the original “bubble chair,” a double from the base area that was one of Copper’s original lifts in 1972. It was removed in 1989 to make way for the American Eagle, a high-speed quad. That lift is being replaced this year by a new lift with a combination of six-person chairs and eight-person gondola cabins.

Vail also used to have a bubble chair called the Vista Bahn Express that was installed in 1985. The bubbles were removed in 2004 to improve efficiency and the chair was replaced by Gondola One in 2012.

There will be four more new lifts in Colorado this year: A 10-person gondola at Winter Park, a high-speed quad at Loveland, a four-person chair at Arapahoe Basin that will serve a 468-acre terrain expansion and a high-speed quad at Wolf Creek.



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