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Classic Brighton ski lift chairs go up for auction to benefit Utah family

Posted at 12:20 PM, Jul 14, 2023

BRIGHTON, Utah — If you've been to Brighton Resort, you've likely been on the Crest ski lift and as the lift is getting a much-needed replacement, the chairs could be the next conversation piece in your home.

The popular lift has been around since 1991 and operates day and night in the busy season and through the summer.

Jared Winkler, Director of Marketing at Brighton Resort, said the lift has given a great run, but it's time for an upgrade.

"It worked great for us, but, you know, at the same time that was an old lift that took a lot of maintenance and a lot of tender loving care to keep it going," he explained. "The need for capacity caused us to push forward and upgrade."

Before the new lift gets installed, the old lift has to be taken out and due to its age, the unit can't be sold or reused elsewhere.

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A big part of the lift is the chairs that millions of people have ridden on over the last three decades. For those who want to capture their memories in a permanent way, 60 of the iconic chairs are up for auction.

"The chairs are sought after and it's kind of the one piece of memorabilia that people are always after," Winkler remarked. "Like, how cool is it to have [one in] your ski lodge or your ski-themed home or whatever it be."

You may wonder what to do with a chair that weighs upwards of 200 pounds. Winkler said he's seen them turned into swings, porch seating areas and even a photo spot.

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Bidding opened on July 11 and closes on July 25. Winkler explained there have been almost 200 bids placed on the chairs so far and although bidding started at $500, amounts have quickly increased.

"Anything under $1,000 will probably not get a chair because already, our lowest qualifying bid is at like $999," Winkler explained. "So if somebody's looking to win a chair, they probably need to bid over $1,000...they're very sought after. Much more than we thought."

People hoping to score a chair aren't able to see the other bids, but winners will be notified after the auction is over to come pick up their prize.

All of the money raised from the auction will go directly to the family of Kyle Mortensen, who died in Brighton's backcountry in March 2023 after falling into a tree well.

Man who died in backcountry snowboard accident was father of 3, author

"We all just felt like you know, that's a family...something that is unfortunate and a family we want to support," Winkler added. "Why not made a nice donation to them and they can do whatever they wish with it."

Winkler said he understands ski resorts get coined as "money grabbers," but he thinks this gesture shows they want to be part of the community.

"For us, we could take that money...and buy a bunch of snowmobiles that we could use up here or pay some labor or whatever," he said. "But we're going to take everything we get and we're going to donate it instead of being that greedy corporate ski resort that everybody likes to say resorts are."

Looking ahead to the next season, Winkler said they are getting excited for the Crest 6, which will be Utah's first D-line six-person lift.

The Crest 6 has a five-minute ride time instead of eight and will overall be much more efficient for Brighton, allowing more people to have fun in the snow.

It also comes with all the bells and whistles that weren't around in the late 90s.

"The new lift will have a conveyor belt that will help people get on the lift," Winkler explained. "So when they ski up, they actually get onto a conveyor belt and it starts rolling and then the chair will show up behind you and pick you up and with that conveyor belt for like kids."

With the Crest 6, Brighton will be able do more business in the summer, with Winkler adding it'll help them create year-round jobs for employees and year-round recreation for guests.

"The old lift was unable to do mountain bikes, so that'll be all new for us next year," Winkler said. "So it's really exciting."

But as a bittersweet page is turned for Brighton with brighter days ahead, 60 lucky people will always have a reminder of epic winters on the original Crest Lift.

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