Breckenridge Ski Area boasts the highest chairlift in North America: the Imperial Express SuperChair. The chairlift, which rises to 12,840 feet above sea level, sweeps intermediate and advanced skiers and riders just about 100 feet from the very top of Peak 8. The chairlift, which started turning in 2005, opened up about 400 acres above treeline that previously required a hike of about 45 minutes.
The Breckenridge Ski Resort built the Imperial Express partially in response to skier and riders' growing desire to access a type of terrain considered to provide a more backcountry experience - without the dangers of uncontrolled and unmaintained mountain slopes. The chair enables strong intermediate skiers to reach groomed bowl skiing above treeline. It also makes the hike up to the steep Lake Chutes much shorter. Beyond Lake Chutes lies terrain 150 acres called Snow White, but don't let the name fool you: These runs are for very advanced skiers.
The Imperial Express is one of the shorter chairlifts at Breckenridge Ski Area, with a vertical rise of 939 feet (from 11,901 feet) and a ride time of just under 3 minutes (2.7 minutes, to be exact). It carries 600 people per hour, but if demand warrants, Breckenridge Ski Area can upgrade Imperial Express to serve 1,800 people an hour.
From the Imperial Express SuperChair, Breckenridge Ski Area's gem, guests feel like they're on top of the world, viewing the town of Breckenridge as skiers face downhill, Baldy Mountain across town, Quandary Peak on the skier's right and Lake Dillon and Keystone Resort.
The easiest way to reach Imperial Express SuperChair is to follow Frosty's Freeway on Peak 8 to Chair 6, then take Chair 6 to the high-speed Imperial Express, which accommodates four people per chair.
Breckenridge Imperial Bowl