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Solitude to put chair lifts up for public auction

Jul 27, 2023, 10:35 AM

Solitude chair lifts in a row on the ground...

A photo of the Eagle Express lift chairs that Solitude Mountain Resort is putting up for auction. The resort's 2023 online auction begins on Aug. 1 and wraps up on Aug. 7. (Solitude Mountain Resort)

(Solitude Mountain Resort)

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON — Solitude Mountain Resort’s Eagle Express changed the experience of a ski resort when it opened in 1989.

Billed as Utah’s first high-speed detachable chairlift (because it beat Park City Mountain to the punch by four days), it offered guests access to the resort’s Challenger, Serenity and Sunshine Bowl runs and continued to do so through this year’s record ski season. But as the lift’s mechanical parts become “increasingly difficult to source,” resort officials are ready to move on to another option.

“It’s been the ingenuity of Solitude’s lift maintenance crew that’s kept Eagle flying for more than three decades,” resort spokesman Travis Holland wrote earlier this month. “True, Sunrise and Link are older lifts, but the mechanical simplicity of fixed-grip chairs has made it easier to keep them spinning.”

The resort initially announced plans to improve the chairlift experience in March, replacing the original Eagle Express with a high-speed, six-person lift. It’s expected to shorten wait times during the resort’s busiest days and potentially decrease congestion at other parts of the mountain when it opens by the end of the year.

What resort officials didn’t expect from that announcement is the “tremendous interest” skiers and snowboarders have had in acquiring the outgoing lift’s four-person chairs since that announcement. That’s why the resort announced Tuesday it is setting up an online auction, where skiers can bid on 75 available chairs starting next week.

“Eagle Express has been one of Solitude’s core lifts for more than 30 years and we can’t wait to see these chairs go out to their new homes,” said Solitude president and chief operating officer Amber Broadaway in a statement.

Opening bids will start at $500 per chair beginning at noon on Aug. 1. Anyone interested will have until noon on Aug. 7 to submit their final bids. Winners will be able to pick up their chairs at the resort by checking in at the Moonbeam ticket office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. between Aug. 11 and Aug. 13.

Any chairs not collected by 4 p.m. on Aug. 13 will be put back up for auction. Resort officials say the conditions of the chairs “may vary” but every chair includes a chair pad and hanger.

They add that all auction proceeds will go to the newly-created Solitude Fund, which offers assistance to staff “in times of unexpected hardship.”

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Solitude to put chair lifts up for public auction