Alpine Meadows' New Chairlift: Treeline Cirque

Category: Operations Blog

If you haven't already heard the good news, Alpine Meadows is getting a brand new high-speed detachable quad chairlift for the 2019/20 season!

Treeline Cirque replaces Hot Wheels with extended access to Alpine's back side

Treeline Cirque will replace and expand upon the existing Hot Wheels triple chairlift. It will have an unload-only mid-station where the current top terminal of Hot Wheels is and a 1,300 foot extension up to the top of Sherwood Cliffs, with its top terminal landing between Art's Knob and the top terminal of Sherwood Express.

Alpine Meadows New Treeline Cirque Chairlift Top Terminal Map
The orange star indicates the approximate location of the new top terminal for Treeline Cirque, which is scheduled to open during the 2019/20 winter season.
Faster ride with more direct access

With a total ride time of approximately five minutes, Treeline Cirque will give skiers and riders quick and direct access from the base area to both the front and back sides of the Alpine Meadows slopes. Treeline Cirque will be a four-minute ride from the base area to the mid-station, where guests can unload to access intermediate terrain. Another one-minute from the mid-station to the top terminal, skiers will have immediate access to the Sherwood Cliffs, Art’s Knob and all of the terrain served by Sherwood Express (without having to traverse along Ray's Rut or hike High Traverse). The new high-speed lift ride will cut in half the lift ride of the somewhat ironically named Hot Wheels, while taking riders further up the ridge.

The location of Treeline Cirque is also favorable in high winds & inclement weather, which means the chair could operate on storm days when winds are howling at the top of Summit.

Alpine Meadows View from New Treeline Cirque Top Terminal
View from the new top terminal of Treeline Cirque. Photo: Ben Arnst 

"Treeline Cirque" Name

The chairlift name comes from “Treeline Cirque” terrain just adjacent to the top terminal to the looker’s right of Art’s Knob. A “cirque” is a deep steep-walled basin on a mountain usually forming the blunt end of a valley. While the cirque is not listed on the guest trail map, it is on the Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol map that has been in use for decades.

Alpine Meadows Hot Wheels Top Terminal
Current top terminal of Hot Wheels Chairlift. This terminal will be replaced with an unload-only mid-station terminal for Treeline Cirque that will provide access to an array of intermediate terrain. Photo: Ben Arnst
Summer construction is underway!

Although the season's huge snowfall has caused delays in the project, construction is now underway on the new lift. Both Alpine Meadows employees and contracted crews have been working steadily on clearing the area, tree removal and the first steps of constructing the new chairlift and foundation. 

Worker Smiling at the Construction of Alpine Meadows' Treeline Cirque Chairlift
Thumbs up to progress at the base! Photo: Ben Arnst from June 11, 2019

The Hot Wheels base terminal has been removed, and construction is underway of the new base terminal of Treeline Cirque.

Alpine Meadows Treeline Cirque Base Terminal Build
Photo: Ben Arnst from June 18, 2019

Alpine Meadows Treeline Cirque Base Terminal Concrete Pour
Placing concrete at the Treeline Cirque base terminal. Photo: Ben Arnst from June 18, 2019

Stay tuned for more updates on the lift's progress throughout the summer. We can't wait for the inaugural winter of Treeline Cirque!