Ea­gle chair­lift has landed a multi-mil­lion dol­lar up­grade

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Regional News -

FALLS Creek’s 2018 ski sea­son is off to a sparkling start with ap­proval for a $9 mil­lion up­grade to the re­sort’s pop­u­lar Ea­gle chair­lift.

Falls Creek Ski Lifts, owned by global at­trac­tion op­er­a­tor Mer­lin En­ter­tain­ments Group, an­nounced this week that the planned chair­lift re­de­vel­op­ment re­ceived per­mit ap­proval from the Vic­to­rian Govern­ment and was on track to be op­er­a­tional next win­ter.

A new Leit­ner-Poma-de­signed chair­lift will re­place the orig­i­nal Ea­gle Chair in the Vil­lage Bowl precinct at Falls Creek.

The up­grade will fea­ture a high-speed, de­tach­able quad (fourper­son) model that in­cludes au­to­matic, self-lock­ing safety bars for en­hanced se­cu­rity.

The new and im­proved chair­lift will trans­port more skiers – 2400 per hour – and pro­vide ef­fi­cient and safer travel to the top of the alpine re­sort.

“As Vic­to­ria’s largest alpine re­sort, Falls Creek is de­lighted to demon­strate our com­mit­ment to the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the wider Vic­to­rian ski industry by de­liv­er­ing this sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment,” said Falls Creek Ski Lifts’ gen­eral man­ager Sharon Ra­guse.

The ex­ist­ing chair­lift seats will be ‘re-homed’ – a se­lec­tion will be avail­able for pur­chase by Falls Creek guests and lodge own­ers at a pub­lic auction dur­ing the fi­nal week of the 2017 sea­son.

Auction pro­ceeds will ben­e­fit the Falls Creek Mu­seum.

The rest will be con­verted to bench seat­ing and pub­lic art in the re­sort.

The orig­i­nal Ea­gle Chair was in­stalled in 1979 and is one of Falls Creek’s most pop­u­lar, pro­vid­ing a spec­tac­u­lar scenic view on the way to the moun­tain top.

Con­struc­tion work for the up­grade is ex­pected to start in Novem­ber and fin­ish in May.

The up­grade is the sec­ond mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar ski in­vest­ment made in two years by Mer­lin En­ter­tain­ments Group, which also op­er­ates Mount Hotham.

Ear­lier this year, a $4.4m ex­pan­sion of Hotham’s snow­mak­ing in­fra­struc­ture was com­pleted.

Mer­lin En­ter­tain­ments’ Aus­tralia and New Zealand di­vi­sional di­rec­tor Rob Smith said the news of a sig­nif­i­cant up­grade at Falls Creek in 2018, fol­low­ing last year’s ex­pan­sion at Hotham, sig­nalled the com­pany’s con­tin­ued sup­port and pas­sion for en­hanc­ing ski­ing.

PHOTO: Chris Hock­ing

POW­DER PER­FEC­TION: Falls Creek is set to build on a won­der­ful win­ter with a ma­jor up­grade of Ea­gle chair­lift.

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