This New Year’s Day, I thought I’d review Lift Blog’s second year and make a few predictions for 2017. In 2016, North American lift construction reached a post-recession high, with large new lifts debuting at Arizona Snowbowl, Big Sky and Jackson Hole. In April, we learned Leitner-Poma acquired Skytrac, changing the manufacturer landscape in North America again. LST built its first detachable lift in France (although it’s not quite finished yet) bringing another player to the global market. 2016 also saw number of lifts catch fire and others fall apart. Here’s a rundown of our most-clicked-on posts of 2016:
10. Yan High Speed Quad Retrofits 20 Years Later
9. In His Own Words: Carl Skylling of Skytrac on the Leitner-Poma Acquisition
8. New Owner Plans to Reopen Stagecoach, Colorado in 2017
7. First Look at Big Sky’s Powder Seeker Six and Challenger 2.0
6. Big Sky 2025: A $150 Million Vision for the Next Decade on Lone Peak
5. Sweetwater Gondola September Update from Jackson Hole
4. Construction Underway on New Lifts at Big Sky
3. Ober Gatlinburg Survives Fire, Sky Lift Fate Unknown
2. Sunday River Lift Severely Damaged as Terminal Falls
1. Big Sky Flies Towers for America’s Most High-Tech Chairlift
Blog wise, readership increased five-fold with more than 700 reader comments in 2016. Lift Blog now has 750 Instagram followers and almost 500 likes on Facebook. I even started Tweeting. Now a few predictions for 2017…
- North America will build more than fifty lifts for the first time since 2007. I’ve already identified 28 likely to be built this construction season with the announcement window really just beginning. American consumer confidence is at its highest level since 2001 and the snow is deep in every major ski region of North America.
- An American or Canadian city will commit to building a purpose-built gondola for public transportation. New York City, Washington, Albany and Vancouver are likely candidates but there are dozens more possibilities.
- Vail Resorts will go East. Since October 2010, Vail has acquired a new ski resort every nine months on average. That puts the next purchase approximately May 2017. A major New England or Mid-Atlantic mountain going Epic seems only a matter of time. Wherever it goes, Vail Resorts will invest heavily in new lifts.
Tune in over the next year to see how I do.