GOING UP – FACT 25 OF 50
For years GMVS has been at the forefront of providing ski racers with access to a world class training and racing venue by partnering closely with Sugarbush Resort to continually improve and enhance terrain and accessibility. At Sugarbush’s Mt. Ellen, the Inverness chair has provided top to bottom access of GMVS’s training venue, on the Inverness and Brambles trails, for years. In addition to the chairlift, a Poma lift located on the upper portion of Inverness offered quick laps on the upper section of the Inverness trail.
GMVS installed the Poma up the skiers’ right of Inverness in 1982 and set the standard for training venues throughout the United States. For several years, GMVS teachers and coaches ran the lift each day. It served the Academy well for 37 years but was showing its age and didn’t run all the way to the bottom or top. The lift has since been removed and replaced by a high-speed, top to bottom Leitner-Poma T-bar; the marquee project in a series of transformations to the Kelly Brush Race Arena.
It was in the spring of 2020 when a vision to robustly expand training options by replacing the Poma with a new T-bar was brought to life. GMVS partnered closely with Leitner Poma to deconstruct the old Poma, pour new tower foundations, and fly in new T-bar towers by helicopter. Over the following months the cable went up and the T’s went on and February 2021 marked the grand opening of the new lift.
The collaborative effort between GMVS and Sugarbush is a long-term investment in the development of GMVS athletes. Compared to the 12.5-minute chairlift ride on the long-standing Inverness lift, the new T-bar cuts uphill travel in half, moves 1,000 people per hour, and provides access to 4,000 feet of skiable terrain. Athletes now double the number of turns in the same amount of time, and with a mid-station unload, the full-length T-bar provides a variety of options for GS or slalom training on Inverness and the adjacent Brambles trails.