Goodbye Quad Lift “Center 4” & Hello To A New Gondola

April, 27th 2024

At the Final Day’s Event of Ace Quad Lift #2 Center 4 after the lottery event

Japan’s oldest quadlift – the Ace Quad Lift #2 Center 4 – ended its 38-year operational history on 31 March and will be replaced by a new gondola for the 2024-25 Winter Season. Many fans came to Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu to say goodbye during the final week’s events for the Center 4. Among the festivities were fireworks, live music, taiko drums, a lottery and also an auction of the old chairlifts.

Goodbye Center 4

Ace Quad Lift #2 Center 4 in 1985

The Center 4 began operation in 1985 and carried more than 25 million people throughout its history. The seats have no hood attached making it reliable even on days with quite strong wind, despite being an old lift. 

The quad lift passes above the Super Course, an ungroomed course with powder. Fans recall enjoying watching skiers and snowboarders carve the course from above and sometimes cheering from their seats.

Auction For Chairs

Due to many inquiries received about the chairlift after its operation, Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu held a donation auction from 15 -30 March for 33 of the Center 4’s chairs. All were sold out, and the most popular chair – marked with the number “1” – sold for 150,000JPY (about US$1000). 

The buyers were a mix of business owners and individual customers, who largely said they planned to place the chairlifts in their stores or yards. The money raised through this auction was donated to Protect Our Winters Japan.

Final Week Of Operation

Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu hosted special events from the 25th to the 31st to commemorate the Center 4’s final week of operation. Free drinks were served in front of Ace Hill, special stickers were given to those who rode on the Center 4 lift, and a DJ booth was set up to energise the crowd!

Tokyu staff passing out stickers to the passengers of Center 4

On the final day of its operation, Tokyu held a lottery alongside the Center 4, which about 500 people joined. One of the featured prizes was a Grand Hirafu – Hanazono season pass for the following year.

A traditional Japanese drum performance and a fireworks display took place at night. Fans who joined the celebrations said, “We will miss Center 4, but we are also looking forward to the new gondola”.

Hello To The New Gondola

For the 2024-25 Winter Season, the Center 4 will be replaced by a new latest model 10-person gondola, a huge upgrade from the 4-person chairlift. Its running speed is 6m per second which is 1.5 times faster than Center 4. The new gondola can carry 2800 people per hour, a significant increase from 1800 people per hour, and is anticipated to alleviate congestion in the ski resort.

With these impressive updates, the gondola promises to revolutionise the Niseko experience in all seasons. We are excited to see you here!




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