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.
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
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.
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.
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.