Instagram Tuesday: Seasons

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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Vail Proposes Upgrading Game Creek Lift

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The Game Creek quad is one of seven first generation Doppelmayr detachables built on Vail Mountain between 1985 and 1989.  Only three remain as Vail Resorts renews the fleet, which could continue this summer.

When Vail Resorts unveiled its $150 million 2018 spending plan¬†in December, it included seven new lifts in Australia, British Columbia, Nevada and Utah.¬† Notably, none were earmarked for Colorado, where the company operates four of the largest resorts in the state with nearly 80 lifts between them.¬† We learned on Thursday Vail Resorts’ North American skier visits were down 1.9 percent this season through April 15th but lift ticket revenue increased 3.7 percent, keeping MTN on solid financial footing.¬† Commenting on the season, CEO Rob Katz told investors,¬†“We are pleased with our results as the 2017/2018 ski season concludes, particularly considering the historically low snowfall across our western U.S. resorts for much of the ski season.¬† Our results throughout the 2017/2018 ski season highlight the stability provided by our season pass, the benefit of our geographic diversification and the success of our sophisticated, data-driven marketing efforts.”

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Now the mothership – Vail Mountain – could be getting in on the new lift action as neighbors Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Loveland and Winter Park do the same this summer.¬† A¬†Vail Resort Summer 2018 Construction¬†project page posted Thursday on the White River National Forest website notes that¬†Game Creek #7 is proposed to be upgraded.¬† While there are no supporting documents yet and the project is listed as “developing proposal,” recent history would indicate the 1985 high-speed quad will be replaced with a new detachable quad or six place chairlift.¬† Vail has already added ten new lifts in the past eleven years and three of the most recent were of the six variety from both Doppelmayr and Leitner-Poma.¬† Vail has made no formal announcement but the Forest Service expects to conduct public scoping in May followed by a decision in June.

Bromont Announces Construction of Canada’s Second Chondola

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Dignitaries celebrate the surprise announcement of a chondola and more in Bromont, Quebec April 20, 2018.¬† Photo credit: Bromont, montagne d’exp√©riences.

The Government of Quebec and Bromont, montagne d’expériences are partnering to the tune of $19.6 million, the two confirmed yesterday.  More than half that money will go to build a base-to-summit combination lift in place of a 1985 Poma detachable.  The new $10.1 million machine with six place chairs and eight passenger cabins will be the second such combo lift in Quebec and one of two built this year in North America.  Doppelmayr will install the lift and capacity will increase 20-25 percent on the front side.  Competitor Tremblant is also building a Doppelmayr detachable this year.

Bromont is less than an hour from the Vermont border and has grown to become one of Eastern Canada’s largest resorts with eight major lifts.¬† The new chondola and a new lodge make up the first phase of Project Altitude, which will see approximately $80 million invested through public-private partnerships over the next few years.

News Roundup: Timelines

  • The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation¬†secures $212,000 to study the feasibility of a gondola connection to Bayonne, New Jersey.
  • The Forest Service green lights Alta’s big plans for a new Baldy tram, Flora lift, Wildcat detachable and replacement for¬†Sunnyside.
  • The Colony’s master plan now includes¬†two new lifts¬†along Pinecone Ridge at the center of Park City Mountain.
  • Copper is selling parts from the Flyer and the Eagle detachables.¬† Must act fast!
  • Crested Butte says the three lift¬†Teo 2 expansion, if approved, would likely be built over¬†approximately five years.
  • Snow King’s gondola and terrain expansion public process moves along at a glacial pace.
  • Mountain Capital Partners, the company behind Arizona Snowbowl, Hesperus Pajarito, Purgatory and Sipapu, will operate Nordic Valley¬†and add it to the Power Pass.
  • Doppelmayr¬†breaks ground¬†for its eleventh cable-propelled automated people mover, set to open in 2021.
  • Spokane’s paper traces the history of three lifts that have graced Riverfront Park, including a¬†new gondola.
  • The Forest Service seeks feedback on Arizona Snowbowl’s chondola proposal.
  • An ice storm apparently causes a track rope to jump out of a saddle¬†at Jay Peak, closing the tram and nearby lifts indefinitely.
  • As legal wrangling continues, nothing seems out of the ordinary this week at the Hermitage Club except for notices on the clubhouse doors.

Instagram Tuesday: The End

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

Deer Valley Plans 13th High-Speed Quad to Replace Homestake

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Deer Valley’s Homestake lift is less than twenty years old and eyed for replacement with a detachable version.

When Alterra revealed its hefty roster of 2018 upgrades on a Monday in March, Deer Valley Resort was noticeably absent.  The Utah flagship has averaged nearly one new lift every year since its 1981 inception but is coming off of a five year drought since the Mountaineer Express was added.  Now, as the Vail-owned owned neighbor builds a detachable beginner lift above Canyons Village, the Park Record reports Deer Valley is finalizing plans to replace the Homestake quad with a detachable of its own this offseason.dvhomestakemap

Garaventa CTEC installed the current Homestake lift, which runs roughly parallel to the downhill section of the Silver Lake Express, in 1999.¬† It is only 1,720 feet long but serves as a key link between Bald Mountain and Bald Eagle Mountain.¬† The new machine would be the sixth shortest detachable in the U.S. and might re-use some components like towers.¬† It is almost certain to be built by Doppelmayr USA, which is based just down I-80 in Salt Lake.¬† The resort says it is still finalizing plans and lining up permits but it’s looking like there will be only a handful of fixed-grip chairlifts remaining next season at Deer Valley.¬† With this likely addition, 2018 is now pacing nearly 30 percent above last year for announced new lift construction with a very busy summer ahead across North America.

Doppelmayr Releases 2018 Worldbook

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The cover for the¬†2018 Doppelmayr annual brochure features a tram with a 10,541′ unsupported span, the longest in the world.

Each spring, the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group compiles its accomplishments from the prior year to create a brochure like no other with stellar photography and statistics called Worldwide.  The 2018 book, which went live for download yesterday, features 104 installations in 21 countries including an impressive seven aerial tramways and 33 gondolas.  Standouts among the 2017 class include:

  • The Stoosbahn in Switzerland, the steepest ever funicular ever built with round passenger pods that self-level.
  • A 120 passenger tramway¬†on the Zugspitze in Germany with the world’s tallest lattice tower and a stunning vertical ascent of 6,381 feet.
  • The comprehensive overhaul of the Jay Peak Tram with new tower saddles, carriages, controls and more.
  • Tricable gondolas in Vietnam and China, the former of which is the longest lift on the planet.
  • From CWA, the first cabin with air conditioning, a refrigerator, entertainment displays, LED lighting and USB charging.
  • The 9th and 10th gondola sections¬†in La Paz, Bolivia’s urban cable car network, Mi Telef√©rico.
  • An innovative gondola with carriers for both miners and copper ore in Turkey.
  • A dozen cutting edge D-Line installations including the first outside of Europe.
Multiple pages are devoted to the Yellowstone Club’s ambitious expansion onto Eglise Mountain.

I often focus on North American lifts but always enjoy reading what’s new and noteworthy elsewhere.¬† You can check out all 162 pages of Doppelmayr Worldwide 2018¬†here.

News Roundup: Capital

  • There will be no construction at Valemount Glacier this year after all.
  • Catamount¬†(the New York/Massachusetts one, not Colorado)¬†seeks new investors or an outright buyer.
  • Following another best ever season, Whitefish Mountain Resort eyes¬†improving lift service from the base lodge and in Hellroaring Basin, which might mean replacing lifts 4 and 8.
  • Blackcomb’s Catskinner triple will soon be available for sale.
  • Ski Areas of New York will again offer¬†a series of lift maintenance training classes across the state.
  • French regulators propose $800,000 in fines against MND Group and its CEO for allegedly misleading investors and deleting emails, which the company denies.
  • Amid the turmoil, MND subsidiary LST Ropeways inks an order to install its second detachable chairlift worth $5.4 million in Avoriaz, France.
  • As Crested Butte departs the Powder Alliance, Marmot Basin, Castle Mountain, Sugar Bowl and Loveland join up.
  • Red Mountain is searching for a used Doppelmayr T-Bar.
  • Loveland confirms Leitner-Poma will build its much anticipated first high-speed quad.
  • The Trump Administration’s¬†proposed tariffs target goods from China including “teleferics, chair lifts, ski¬†draglines; and traction mechanisms for funiculars.”¬†Outside¬†contacted¬†both Doppelmayr and Leitner-Poma for comment with interesting results.
  • More contractors and employees say the Hermitage Club didn’t fully pay them¬†and the Town of Wilmington may hold a tax sale in June.
  • A man claims he was left to spend a cold night on one of Gore Mountain’s chairlifts and wasn’t found until the next morning, April Fool’s Day.
  • A bullwheel bearing issue on Nob Hill at Sugar Bowl throws a major wrench in the end of the season.

  • Bretton Woods’ new gondola is on track to break ground in June or July, which would make 11 new gondolas for 2018 in North America – the most ever.
  • Approaching two years post-Olympics, both urban gondolas in Rio remain abandoned.
  • Bloomberg is out with a not-so-complimentary article about the Whistler Blackcomb-Vail transition.
  • Doppelmayr wins contracts to build¬†nine Beijing 2022 Olympic lifts including five gondolas and two bubble six place chairs.
  • A gondola once the symbol of an Olympics destroyed by war returns to Sarajevo thanks to Leitner Ropeways and a $3.5 million donation from an American.
  • The Oakland Athletics consider building a gondola to their new stadium.
  • Nine different mountains in Sweden will spin T-Bars for mountain bikers this summer.
  • If approved, Vail’s new Golden Peak lift will likely be a T-Bar.
  • Owl’s Head retires its Green lift and will give the chairs away to season pass buyers.
  • I started this blog three years ago this week as an off season project.¬† It now sees 215,000 page views each month from 40,000+ unique visitors.¬† Thanks to everyone who has helped to make Lift Blog a success!

Instagram Tuesday: Voids

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

Disney Skyliner Work Accelerates

Those interested in reading only about ski lifts can skip this post.¬† For everyone else, the Disney Skyliner is poised to become among the world’s highest profile ropeways a bit over a year from now and one worth following.¬† I plan on scrambling to Walt Disney World as soon as the three Skyliner gondolas open, but for now, we can rely on Twitter user bioreconstruct, a relentless documentarian of everything Disney.

The Skyliner will bring Epcot within just a few minutes’ reach for guests staying at four Disney World Resort hotels.¬† At the storied park’s International Gateway, what will likely be the second busiest gondola station is in the early phases of construction near the current boat dock.¬† This one will be mostly open air with a few unique Disney touches on an otherwise dark gray Doppelmayr terminal.

A few tower foundations are going in for the stage from Epcot to the BoardWalk Inn parking lot, where an angle station is also beginning to form.  Cabins will turn sharply here but doors will stay closed in both directions.

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