Wind: 7 mph
By Kara Herlihy
Two hundred pound water-filled barrels got the first ride up the newly refurbished, historic single chair at Mad River Glen while freezing rain and snow reminded onlookers that winter is surely on its way.
Early morning on Wednesday, November 7, the state lift inspector supervised the load test of the single chair. Approximately 80 barrels rode up the hill while Mad River staff members looked on.
The Single Chair, which has been hailed "one of world's best chairlifts" by the <MI>New York Herald Tribune<D> (1949) has undergone a 'facelift' of sorts, receiving over $1.35 million worth of restorative work, with special attention paid to preserving its historical integrity as well as its original overall appearance.
Mad River Glen reports, "The Single Chair Capital Campaign has passed the $1.35 million mark! Thanks to everyone who has helped us get to this point. The push is on to meet our $1.54 million goal."
The restoration was managed by the Single Chair Capital Campaign, which combined the forces of two nonprofit groups: the Stark Mountain Foundation and the Preservation Trust of Vermont. MRG reports that "the restored Single has the identical lift capacity (500 skiers per hour) and, to the untrained eye, looks nearly identical to the original."
The Mad River Glen website reports, "Once the load test is complete we'll be ready to crank up the 'new girl' as soon as Mother Nature allows. Our plan is to open for the 2008 season as soon as we can beginning the Thanksgiving weekend."
The first humans to ride the lift will be their ceremonial owners, who had the opportunity to purchase a chair as a part of the Capital Chair Campaign, which has raised $1.3 million towards the historic restoration project. The lift towers were also sold at the bargain basement price of $25,000. Chairs go for $5,000.
The single chair will be dedicated at the official ceremony scheduled for December 15.