News Roundup: Layoffs at Burke

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Arizona Snowbowl & Purgatory Announce New Lifts

Fresh on the heels of adding three lifts at his collective of Southwestern resorts last summer, James Coleman revealed today he will invest another $10 million to build new lifts and more at Arizona Snowbowl and Purgatory in 2016.

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The Leitner-Poma-built Grand Canyon Express will serve 85 percent of Arizona Snowbowl’s terrain with a 5.8 minute lift ride.  It will run approximately 5,500′ (1,530 vertical feet) in a new alignment starting near the Hart Prarie Lodge and topping out at 10,900′ in elevation near the Agassiz mid-station.  This is the second new chairlift at Arizona Snowbowl following last summer’s Humphreys Peak addition that expanded the mountain’s intermediate terrain with a SkyTrac quad.  The Sunset triple (a 1983 CTEC) will likely be removed and may be used to replace the Aspen double in the future. Arizona Snowbowl’s master plan also calls for a second detachable lift to replace the Hart Prarie double. Exciting times at a mountain whose very survival was questionable a few years ago!

In Colorado, Purgatory Resort will get a new two-way surface lift called T-3 to link the bottom terminals of backside lifts 5 and 8.  The latter is a 1980 Riblet double, the former a 2015 Leitner-Poma high speed quad. Purgatory plans to add a similar connection between lifts 3 and 5 and replace more of the resort’s aging fixed-grip chairlifts (namely #2, 4 and 5) in upcoming years.

Mr. Coleman is the Durango-based businessman who’s owned Sipapu since 2000 and took over operations at Pajarito, Purgatory and Arizona Snowbowl in 2014.  When the Durango Herald asked last year whether he was done buying ski areas, Coleman replied “no.”  That’s great news considering his willingness to invest in capital improvements to the tune of $20 million thus far.

Instagram Tuesday: Nights

Good night! See you tomorrow #doppelmayr #omega4 #ropeway #skiing #snow #dreamjob #holiday

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#nomenestomen #allgäu #badhindelang #hornbahn #seilbahn

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One Wasatch: How Four Lifts Could Link 18,000 Acres

1318848If you’ve never driven over 9,700′ Guardsman Pass in the summer, you might not realize just how close Brighton Ski Resort is to the upper reaches of Park City Mountain. In fact, from Brighton’s fire station to the top of the Jupiter lift is less than 7,000 linear feet. It’s this reality and a similar one in Alta’s Grizzly Gulch that makes Ski Utah’s One Wasatch concept tantalizingly close to becoming reality.  But the feeling that the Wasatch just isn’t that big also has environmental groups scrambling to prevent any more of these mountains from becoming ski runs.  The challenge for Save Our Canyons, the Sierra Club and others is that all the land needed to complete One Wasatch is already in the private hands of Royal Street Land Company (owner of Deer Valley,) Iron Mountain Associates (developer of The Colony) and Alta Ski Lifts Co.

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Only four new lifts, marked in orange, would be needed to connect six ski resorts in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains.

Over the Pass

I’m convinced Park City and Brighton will be connected first.  Ski Utah calls the two lifts needed for this connection Guardsman A and Guardsman B.  They would rise from a common point adjacent to Guardsman Pass Road between Brighton and Park City’s Jupiter pod on land owned by Royal Street a.k.a. Deer Valley. Operationally, it would make the most sense for CNL/Boyne to build and operate these lifts as part of Brighton.  Guardsman A, which would need approval from UDOT to cross State Route 190, would likely be a detachable quad approximately 4,065′ long with a vertical rise of 740′ ending near the top of Jupiter.  Guardsman B would rise back towards Brighton and be a detachable quad about 3,800′ long with a vertical of 1,235′.

Guardsman A+B
This view shows the two lifts needed to connect Park City Mountain to Brighton. Guardsman A is on the left and Guardsman B on the right.

Royal Street Land Company has a strong interest in completing the Guardsman connection because it now also owns Solitude.  With Guardsman in place, a Deer Valley skier at the top of Lady Morgan Express could ride 4 lifts (Pioneer and Jupiter at Park City, Guardsman B and Milly Express at Brighton) and be at Solitude in less than an hour.  The return trip would be almost as easy – Summit Express to Great Western Express to Guardsman A and Park City Mountain, which already abuts Deer Valley.  Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County would both need to approve the Guardsman lifts before construction could begin.

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CWA Delivers Monster Cabins for Ha Long Queen

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All photos credit Skyscrapercity forum user tmanhthang

We now know what the world’s largest tramway cabins look like.  One bright yellow and the other red, CWA’s largest Kronos cabins built to date will hold 230 passengers plus one operator each with six sets of doors on two levels.  They will soon be hung on the Ha Long Queen cable car, whose track cables already stretch 5,000 feet across Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay at heights up to 617 feet. The Queen will supplant the 200-passenger Vanoise Express as the world’s highest capacity aerial tram when it opens early this summer.

News Roundup: Noteworthy

Instagram Tuesday: Buried

The top of Palmer is under there. #timberlinelodge #timberlinetruth #skioregon #omht #traveloregon

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#office #liftmaintenance #solitude #startups #sunrise #wasatch #bigcottonwoodcanyon

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Take a Virtual Tour of Doppelmayr’s D-Line

Yesterday Doppelmayr released a series of videos on YouTube highlighting the specifications and features of the company’s latest evolution in detachable technology called D-Line.  While these are computer animations, there is a real-life prototype at Doppelmayr’s Wolfurt campus and the launch customer opened the first D-Line gondola last December in Hochgurgl, Austria.  The first video highlights the CWA Omega IV SI D cabin, which has a simplified hanger and larger overall dimensions.  10-passenger cabins appear to be the standard for D-Line rather than 8-passenger cabins.

You can also take a tour of the detachable grip-D with a virtual tear-down.  The grip-D can support ropes up to 64mm in diameter, carry up to 4,000 lbs and operate on 45-degree rope inclines.

Perhaps most interesting is the Station-D, which has gotten some negative reaction for its appearance.  We now learn there is a boxier version utilizing real glass that can even be customized into a video wall.

D-Line will be available in North America in 2017 alongside the current-generation UNIG terminals and Agamatic/DT grips offered by Doppelmayr.

Chair Parking Barn Burns at Alyeska

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A chair parking barn adjacent to the Glacier Bowl Express smolders following an early morning fire on March 17, 2016.  Photo credit: Alyeska Resort

Alyeska got lucky early this morning when a fire broke out at the Glacier Bowl Express chair parking facility but did not spread to the lift itself.  Girdwood Fire Department and Alyeska crews responded at 5:27 am, accessing the scene by snowcat and using the mountain’s snowmaking system to fight the fire.  “We are actively investigating the cause of the fire and will know more details later today when investigators can access the scene,” said Mountain General Manger Di Whitney in a statement. “We are grateful for the speedy response and support from Girdwood Fire Department which did a fantastic job putting out the fire.”

The Glacier Bowl Express is a 2013 Doppelmayr detachable quad built to replace another high speed quad installed in 1988.  Considering the barn is at the drive station, this fire could have been much worse.  The lift’s operator house is a separate building on the other side of the terminal.  Alyeska re-opened much of the mountain at 1pm today and says it will have the Glacier Bowl Express back in action soon.

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The parking barn that burned was originally built for the Spirit of Alyeska lift which had bubble chairs for most of its life.

Update 3/25/16: GBX is still down.  Alyeska’s snow reports notes, “we have initiated a plan to resume operations of Glacier Bowl Express this season. The fire investigation and preliminary mechanical inspections have been completed, and equipment and tools to make the repairs have arrived. Experts are on site today to assist with repairs, and inspectors will be in place to confirm successful repairs and oversee the return to safe operations.”  From the below post on Instagram, it looks like the fire damaged the haul rope, requiring repair.

Getting to the core of the matter. #splicer #liftmaintenance #skiing #ak #alyeska #alaska #spiked

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News Roundup: Eurotrip