- Father accuses Ragged Mountain of operating a lift unmanned after his son falls 20-30 feet. Another child falls 40 feet at Squaw Valley.
- Pretty neat article about Aspen’s old Riblets finding new homes as far afield as Montana, Alaska and Pakistan.
- Aspen Skiing Company’s first rope evac in decades was a learning experience.
- Adding a new Doppelmayr terminal to a 25-year old Borvig at Sugarloaf didn’t go exactly as planned but all’s well that ends well.
A transformer failed yesterday afternoon at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, knocking two lifts out of service. Crews restarted the Catamount quad on auxiliary but the Golden Eagle Express Gondola sustained damage to its safety systems such that it could not operate. With nightfall approaching, some of the gondola’s 75 passengers were plucked out of cabins by helicopter at sunset, making for some pretty spectacular GoPro footage. The rest were roped down by ground teams over about five hours. The 8-passenger, 11,188′ Golden Eagle Express was built by Poma in 2000 and rises more than 3,500 vertical feet. The gondola remained closed today but the mountain hopes to have it back in business tomorrow.
Kicking Horse posted the following statement on Facebook this morning:
“Further to an electrical issue, the Golden Eagle Express Gondola was manually evacuated yesterday evening. With everyone safe, warm and fed, we apologize to each of you involved for the inconvenience. We are thankful that everyone is safe and credit to the talented team of professionals; Kicking Horse Mountain Resort teams, Golden and District Search and Rescue & Canadian Ski Patrol. We are hopeful that the Gondola will be spinning later today, though currently is still on standby. We are offering skiing and snowboarding via the Catamount Chair & Pioneer Chair. Stay tuned for further updates.”
According to published reports, an unoccupied chair fell from the light side of Heavenly’s North Bowl triple just before 11:00 am today. As a result, approximately 65 people were evacuated from the lift in about two hours. The incident is under investigation. North Bowl is a 1984 Riblet triple with insert clips. The video below shows a skier being lowered by rope and North Bowl will remain closed until further notice.
- Hidden Valley, New Jersey will reopen as the National Winter Activity Center this month with two new Partek lifts.
- The Balsams crosses another hurdle which could mean new lifts in the New Hampshire high country as early as this summer.
- Sunshine Village hopes to have the Goat’s Eye Express running by today.
- Construction at Laurel Mountain is 30% complete and ahead of schedule. The state-owned mountain will open next winter for the first time since 2005 with a brand new SkyTrac quad.
- Magic Mountain only managed to open one lift last winter and may not spin any this season. The Vermont area had five aerial lifts in its heyday.
- CNL Lifestyle Properties, the real estate investment trust that was slated to wind down by Dec. 31st, only sold one of its 16 mountain resorts by that date. Okemo, Northstar, Big Sky and a dozen others will remain for sale into 2016.
- Aspen Skiing Company will submit the Pandora terrain expansion and chairlift to the Forest Service for review in 2016.
- Girl uninjured after mis-loading, dangling by her helmet and falling 20 feet from a chair in Saskatchewan.
- Thanks to some much-needed snow, Vermont now has a third six-pack with bubble chairs and heated seats. This one’s not open to the public, unfortunately.
This winter, 57 lifts in North America will feature loading conveyors, a higher number than ever before. Since the first carpets debuted in 1995, the technology has improved as resorts seek to increase comfort and loading efficiency. The Austrian-based market leader, Chairkit (formerly ChairkiD) has installed more than 460 carpets worldwide. Another manufacturer called Emmegi built more than a dozen in the United States before going out of business in 2010. Italian conveyor company Compac has dabbled as have Rocky Mountain Conveyor (maker of Magic Carpet®) and Doppelmayr with its own version called LaunchPad. As with bubble chairs, loading carpets are ubiquitous in Europe but not so much around here.
The logic behind a carpet is simple. It helps beginner skiers who struggle to move quickly enough to the load point and reduces the relative speed between skier and chair on fixed-grip chairlifts. The goal is fewer mis-loads/stops/slows and increased loading efficiency. Some Chairkit carpets add a lifting table so that a lift operator can raise the entire loading platform by about four inches to safely load small children. Bridger Bowl, Crystal Mountain (WA) and The Summit at Snoqualmie opted for this feature on their respective beginner lifts.
The vast majority (84 percent) of carpets in North America are the longer type designed for fixed-grip lifts. They stretch about 30 feet from the wait here board to well past the load point and move slightly slower than the lift’s rope speed. Eight high speed quads and six-packs in the United States now have shorter carpets designed for detachables. Vail Resorts operates five of these on its newest six packs at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Park City and Vail. Boyne Resorts is another major adopter of loading carpets with seven of them across its mountains.