Unless I'm mistaken, this is the old Belleayre double that Belleayre ripped out three years ago. I think they were bought it and then got the money to put it up (was supposed to go in last year). Its a reasonable lift, so I don't see it being any troubles for them given that they'll run it ~3.1 days per week.
I don't forsee any impact to the trail conditions - they just don't get the skier traffic that it will matter much, and most of their skiers are the type that wouldn't have a problem with a t-bar anyway. Just will make your turns that much more enjoyable.
As to when they announce the powder daize, usually they tell you the night before. They have been known to go on a forecast and announce it the night before if it seems likely too. I vaguely recall one time when they even gave the powder day for the next two days because there wasn't much notice (but it also may have been because it snowed all day). Just keep calling (1-800-need-2-ski, great phone number).