“BigRock is an economic engine for the area. This is all going to make the ski area sustainable for the long term.”– Aaron Damon, assistant general manager of BigRock Mountain.
The Bangor Daily News reports that BigRock is nearing its $5.4 million capital campaign goal to add a new quad chairlift and drastically improve its snowmaking capacity. Originally priced at $3 million, inflation and other factors brought the chairlift price up to $4.15 million. The rest of the money will go to snowmaking and other infrastructure upgrades.
The new Doppelamyr Alpenstar fixed-grip quad chairlift will be 3,495 feet long. The new chairlift will move at 450 feet/min, which will lead to an eight-minute journey to the top. It will be a significant capacity upgrade for the ski area, with an uphill carrying capacity of 1800 people per hour.
Back in April, they signed a contract with Doppelmayr that sets the purchase price of the chairlift. They are aiming to start construction on the new lift next April and aim to open it during the 2024-25 season.
In terms of snowmaking improvements, BigRock has begun work on a new pump house. This pump house will receive water from the adjacent Rocky Brook. This move will quadruple its snowmaking capacity, leading to a longer season.
In terms of why they’re doing this, BigRock views these moves as the next step to grow its visitation. With BigRock currently averaging around 21,000 visitors, they project a 30% increase to 27,000 guests per year. This new chairlift will also give them the ability to add scenic fall chairlift rides, so all the leaf peepers can say “ooh, ahh” every time they see a red or yellow leaf (disclaimer: I, unfortunately, think that I’m a part of this fanbase). These moves will also allow BigRock to add eleven new employees.
Last August, they got a $2.5 million Economic Development Administration tourism grant, which will help with the new lift, snowmaking upgrades, and infrastructure improvements. In addition, they got $150,000 in American Rescue Plan funds and a $380,000 forgivable loan. As a 501c(3) nonprofit, they’ve raised more than $250,000 from businesses and private donations.
Donations for these projects are still ongoing. You can learn more about the projects and donate to BigRock here.
Image Credits: BigRock Mountain