Take a ride on Alta’s new Supreme high speed quad

The 2017/18 ski season at Alta is a time of change with the removal of the old Cecret double chair, and the replacement of the Supreme triple with a high speed quad. The new Supreme opened Christmas weekend. There was a ribbon cutting followed by skiers riding it for the first time. But Supreme’s replacement with the latest and greatest has not been without controversy.

The new Supreme high speed quad opened at Alta on Christmas weekend, 2017. It replaces the old Supreme triple chair. (Photo: Jared Hargrave – UtahOutside.com)

The Controversy

When the resort first announced the plan, many Alta skiers were sad to see yet another cookie-cutter high speed quad at a resort that prides itself on being “old-school.” Others expressed concern that ferrying more skiers at a higher rate would diminish snow quality on the Supreme and Catherine’s Pass zones. Yet others (myself included) lamented the new lift alignment which would put the bottom terminal at Alf’s Restaurant. That meant an even longer run-out from the steeps in Supreme Bowl to catch another lift ride.

I got to ride the new Supreme chair the day after Christmas and have a few thoughts.

The New Supreme Experience

Skiers approach Alf’s Restaurant and the Supreme bottom terminal on the long, flat run-out. (Photo: Jared Hargrave – UtahOutside.com)

After making several laps on the Supreme quad, I decided that all my concerns were for naught. Sure, the run-out is longer, but by maybe 30 seconds. Plus, the lift is much faster than the triple, which negates any time lost poling in the flats to reach the bottom terminal.

Yes, a faster lift with more carrying capacity means powder gets skied out faster. But you still have to hike for Catherine’s, and only one more skier per chair won’t make a noticeable difference in the grand scheme of things. Also, families of four are very common. They often complained about the old triple, because they could not ride the lift all together. With a new quad, that is no longer an issue.

The new Supreme quad chairlift features a curve halfway up the ride that realigns the lift to its original path. (Photo: Jared Hargrave – UtahOutside.com)

My primary concern now with the new Supreme chair is the area around Alf’s is now much more busy. With both Supreme and Sugarloaf starting there, and skiers coming down from the top of Sunnyside, Alf’s is now “Grand Central Station” of the Albion side of the resort. On busy days, with the lift lines extending past the corrals, I foresee a lot of dodging bodies and traffic jams, especially in the narrow space between the restaurant and the two lifts.

Also, some skiers may be alarmed by the curve located about a quarter of the way up the lift. This is the location of the old bottom terminal and redirects the lift onto the previous lift alignment. I’ve never seen anything like it. Instead of a mid-station terminal that detaches and slows the lift down like found on Collins, Supreme’s curve is just a series of rollers that the chair hits full speed. It is bumpy and a bit alarming at first. But after subsequent rides I thought the curve was actually fun.

Final Word

Overall, I am fine with the new Supreme high speed quad. Despite being one of many opinionated Alta skiers, I’m now indifferent to the lift. I can see why management decided to build it, and I don’t think it ruins the experience of skiing Supreme at all.

So get up there, give Supreme a ride, and let us know what you think in the comments below.

3 comments for “Take a ride on Alta’s new Supreme high speed quad

  1. Susan Sims
    December 29, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I think the run out is too long. All day Saturday I heard others complaining about it. As to snow quality, it’s hard to say whether it’s due to the thin base, or the new lift bringing up new skiiers, but the runs off to the left were bottomed out into the rocks as of yesterday. Two rock runs were all I was willing to tolerate. I won’t go over into Catherine’s until we get a good dump. Sure it’s faster, but I miss my quiet Supreme runs of yesteryear.

  2. Brian
    December 29, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    I know this isn’t perhaps a key market, but cecret was the best for those learning to ski. My son especially loved tinkering in the trees when he was learning (thankfully we are past that stage now, but bummer for future learners). Now that’s gone. It forces all beginner skiing to Sunnyside, which is already crazy busy. Cecret was a nice break. Oh well, it’s done now…. not that I’ll miss it I guess, since I’ll still be skiing it… every…single…run…

  3. Sarah Langridge
    December 31, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    I don’t like the long run out. I’d like to see the numbers on length of time on the new lift ride compared to the old lift. I think they lost a great spot for the beginners on Cecret. I’m not a fan of the new ride. Supreme has lost something no gained. This now feels like the long run outs in Park City and Brighton.

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