Going Uphill, Fast

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Two new Eastern lifts are breaking speed records for carrying skiers uphill. Stratton's Ursa Express, the area's second six-pack, travels 4,541 feet (1,331 verts) to the top in just under four and a half minutes. Jay Peak's Green Mountain Flyer, a 7,500-foot-long quad that rises 1,800 vertical feet, reaches the mountain's northwestern tip in a quick seven minutes. Which one's faster? Both areas say their lifts can travel at 1100 feet per minute, but they don't always run them that fast. Speed records aside, skiers can expect slow lifts to disappear. "As rates increase, people want a higher level of service, so you'll see more six-packs and super-fast quads moving in," says Jay's Chris Veillon. But what really matters is going downhill. At lift speeds like this, fast movers could squeeze seven runs into an hour¿almost twice as many as was possible before¿or 75,000 vertical feet of skiing in an eight-hour day. Heli operators beware.