There might not be snow on the ground just yet, but KOTA Territory is already gearing up for winter sports.
Half-price season tickets to the Terry Peak Ski Area went on sale Monday and will continue the whole month of October. And this year, those avid skiers could be looking at a lot more runs down the mountain.
It's all thanks to a new chair lift.
"It's the third of its kind here at Terry Peak," said marketing director Linda Derosier.
That is, the third high-speed detachable quad chair lift.
Basically, that means the lift moves four people per bench up the mountain fast, but individual benches can slow down to let people on or off.
"So the kids and the beginners have a lot easier time getting on the lift and getting off, too," Derosier said.
And past being better for beginners, she said the new 55-chair lift, called the Goldcorp Express, will bring the regulars a whole new reason to tear up a side of Terry Peak that used to be limited by a slow, two-person lift.
"Because of course they like the high-speed chairs," Derosier said of the long-time skiers. "They can do a lot more skiing."
And a lot more, in this case, means a whole lot more.
"The new lift that we put in is going to have 2,200 people uphill per hour," Tom Marsing, Terry Peak's general manager, said, "compared to around 800 to 900 on the old lift."
And comparing times, skiers and snowboarders are looking at four minutes to the top, not the 15 they experienced with the old lift.
Marsing said that might not bring more skiers to terry peak, "it's just going to put people on the snow a lot faster."
Which, he admitted, might not be a draw for some.
"A lot of the older people that skied here for many, many years like to go over there and ride that lift so they could rest a little bit," he said.
"It's just going to give this side of Terry Peak a whole new dynamic," added Derosier.
The new lift might have some other unintended consequences, too.
That side of the mountain may require more maintenance if there's a big increase in runs. It may also need more snow, which they hope to start making on November 1.
Terry Peak plans to open to the public the day after Thanksgiving, weather permitting.