Cables & Chairs

Building Swift Current 6

Chair Assembly

October 2021

The Swift Current 6 chairs have been brought up to the top terminal and are being assembled in the chair barn, which is now complete. Each night, the lift will run a program automatically to move each chair off of the haul rope and store them in the chair barn overnight to protect the chairs from the elements. It also provides space for lift maintenance and off-season storage. We're very close to seeing the lift spinning!

Swift Current 6 Chair

Splicing the haul rope

October 2021

Last week, teams from Big Sky Resort and Doppelmayr spliced the Swift Current 6 haul rope. This is the earliest we have ever spliced a haul rope in the lift construction process, and we are excited to keep moving ahead on track for Swift Current 6's opening.

The splicing process begins with unraveling the strands of the rope on each end. Once enough length has been unraveled, the strands are pulled together so that the strands on each end mesh together, like how you would interlock your fingers. The core is then cut so it touches end-to-end. Then begins the process of overlaying strands on each side. As a strand is removed from the original end of the rope, a strand from the opposite end is laid in its place, connecting the two ends. As the new strand is laid in the rope is hammered so that tension remains even throughout each strand. Once that has progressed far enough on each side to hold the rope together, the strands are tucked inside the cable, replacing the center strand. The entire process creates a continuous loop without any welding, meaning that the integrity and strength of the haul rope are maintained.

Pulling the Haul Rope

October 2021

The Doppelmayr team has begun unspooling or "pulling" the haul rope to prepare it for splicing.  Due to the weight of the cable, sand lines are used to assist in pulling the haul rope over each of the towers and around the top terminal. Then the two ends will be laid out at the bottom terminal to be spliced. The manufactured cable is longer than it needs to be to accommodate for the shortening that happens when the ends are spliced to create a continuous loop.

Chairs Arrive in Big Sky

July 2021

The Swift Current 6 chairs have arrived in Big Sky! Equipped with Big Sky Blue Bubbles, each chair is nearly 12 feet wide, 13 feet tall, and weighs one ton. Fun fact, that's about as much as 3 adult grizzly bears.

Arrival of the Haul Rope

July 2021

The haul rope, the main cable for the chair, has arrived on-site in Big Sky. Weighing in at 123,000 pounds, this 3.2 mile-long steel cable will be placed around the bull wheels and over the sheaves of the towers, then spliced to form a loop. As the rope is spliced, the loop is held together by friction, so there is no welding point to create the continuous loop.

Chairs Begin Manufacturing in Austria

May 2021

In Wolfurt, Austria, Doppelmayr has begun construction of the Swift Current 6 chairlifts. Equipped with ultra-wide heated seats, automatic unlocking safety bars, and Big Sky Blue weatherproof bubbles, these chairs are a feat of technology in themselves.