The ceremonies were simple and short. A few good words, a couple of handshakes and the cutting of the ribbon. Then the switch was flipped and chairs started moving.

The newest edition to the latest in ski transportation was officially put in operation one week ago. Park City's new high-speed, detachable quad - "King Con" - was put on line.This is the second high-speed quad at the Park City ski area and the seventh in Utah . . . Brighton has two, Deer Valley has two and Solitude has one.

Consensus is the new high-speed chairs are changing the way skiers ski. Which means, too, that it's changing the way ski areas are introducing skiing to skiers.

The first resort to have quads in the Rocky Mountains was Sun Valley. It built three in one summer four years ago. Park City and Solitude each put in a quad the following season.

The quads have become so popular in Colorado that one resort, Vail, now has eight of them.

The main selling point of the quads are their speed and efficiency.

From the time the first chair was introduced to the world at Sun Valley nearly six decades ago, area owners have worked on the speed of the chair. Obviously, the faster the lift moves, the less time skiers spend in lift lines and the more skiing they get, and the happier they are.

To arrive at a speed for the very first lift, a chair was attached to the side of a car. The car, driven at different speeds, passed by and picked up a tester. The speed agreed upon at that time, a speed that was felt to be safe and comfortable, was very close to the speed that conventional lifts travel today.

Still, there are areas of the mountain at many resorts where skiing would be better if skiers were moved faster.

The quad, introduced in the mid-1980s, was a solution.

Besides carrying four passengers in a chair, the new quads can travel at nearly twice the speed of regular lifts. Or, a high-speed quad travels at nearly 1,000 feet per minute.

In the case of the new King Con lift, reports Robbie Beck-McHugh, vice president of marketing at Park City, it will deliver 2,800 skiers per hour to the top of the mountain . . . "The capacity of the old triple chair was only 1,800 skiers per hour. Now it's only a five-minute ride to the top, where before it was nearly 11 minutes. That area of the mountain can handle more skiers. There is so much terrain that wasn't being used to its full potential," she notes.

One thing that has stopped many areas from introducing the new quad is its price tag - around $1 million per lift.

The new quad has also changed the way many people ski. It used to be that skiing meant a full day on the slopes. Now, because the new lift reduces congestion and hauls people up the mountain faster, skiers can get in more runs in less time. This has opened up more time for other activities.

As a result, resorts are trying to offer more activities. The ice skating rink at Park City, for example, gets a lot of business during the winter.

Hot-air ballooning rides are another popular activity. When conditions allow, balloons take off from an area north of town.

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Snowmobiling is another activity that is showing up this year. There are a number of businesses in the Park City area offering guided and self-guided tours on scenic backcountry trails.

Ski shops are another beneficiary. There are more than 100 shops and boutiques that feature unique items such as Utah antiques, Indian jewelry and vintage jukeboxes and collectibles.

Restaurants are another beneficiary to the shorter ski days.

Predictions are that one day there will be quads at all resorts. That day is, of course, a ways off. Until then, skiers will enjoy the quads they have.

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