News Roundup: Opponents

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Sun Valley Plans Cold Springs Canyon Expansion & High-Speed Quad

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Sun Valley Resort plans to replace its oldest chairlift with a new, longer high-speed quad and open 380 acres of Cold Springs Canyon to skiing in 2018.  A future plans webpage launched today details the planned expansion within Bald Mountain’s existing permit area on Bureau of Land Management and National Forest lands.  North-facing terrain in Turkey Bowl and Cold Springs Canyon would be gladed with an extended Lower Broadway run leading to the bottom of a new detachable quad chairlift.  South-facing terrain underneath the lift would also be opened when conditions permit.

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Along its 5,500 foot length, the new Cold Springs detachable quad would traverse some crazy side-hill and actually go downhill for a stretch.

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The proposed extended alignment of the new detachable Cold Springs chairlift.
The new high speed quad is slated to replace the Cold Springs double, a Yan/Riblet hybrid that dates back to 1970.  The new chairlift would be nearly twice as long and rise 1,550 vertical feet, up from the current 1,069′.  Ride time would still decrease from 6.7 minutes to 6 minutes with a top terminal moved closer to the Roundhouse Gondola.  After the upgrade, Bald Mountain would have only two fixed-grip chairlifts remaining – Mayday and Lookout – with two more left on Dollar Mountain.

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Instagram Tuesday: Spring

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

4,100 metres high! #mountains #cablecar #travel #backpacking #backpacker #beautiful #quito #flowers #nature

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#work#winter#office#mountains#doppelmayr#kasprowywierch#tatry

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Copper Mountain Adding Kokomo Express

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Copper Mountain’s Kokomo triple is a 1981 Poma that will be replaced with a new, longer high speed quad this summer.

Powdr Co. has reached a deal with Doppelmayr to build a new Kokomo high speed quad at Copper Mountain, following a recently announced Eldora six-pack for 2017-18.  The new lift will extend downhill of the current triple chair, built in 1981 at Copper Mountain’s West Village.  Kokomo Express will serve 362 vertical feet of dedicated beginner terrain with a four minute ride time, “setting the bar for an exceptional beginner ski and ride experience,” Copper said in a press release today.  The new Kokomo follows on the heels of the Union Creek Express, built in 2011, and two new surface lifts in 2013, all installed by Doppelmayr USA.

Copper also announced implementation of RFID lift access technology at key lifts and a mountain coaster for next season.  “The future is extremely bright for Copper,” said Gary Rodgers, President and General Manager of Copper Mountain. “These strategic capital improvements will enhance our product offerings and truly elevate the year-round guest experience at Copper.”  The Kokomo Express is the seventh lift to be announced at Colorado resorts for this summer.  New lifts will also debut at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Eldora, Keystone, Vail and Wolf Creek next winter.  The addition of Kokomo means Doppelmayr will build at least 14 North American lifts in 2017; last year the company built 18 in the United States and Canada.

News Roundup: $4.6 Billion

Instagram Tuesday: Stars

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

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Taos to Build New Beginner Lift, Pulse Gondola & First Detachable

Birds-eye view! Amazing shot by @shotsfromabove #skitaos #wheretherockiesbegin #birdseyeview

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In 2008, a 53-year old Taos Ski Valley welcomed snowboarders for the first time in a move that once seemed unthinkable.  Then a game-changing new lift up 12,481’ Kachina Peak debuted in 2015, serving terrain accessible only by hiking for six prior decades.  This season, the renaissance continued with the opening of the slopeside Blake Hotel and announcement that Taos would be the first ski resort in the world to become a B Corporation, joining the likes of Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s.  Now we learn Taos will launch a re-imagined beginner facility with two new lifts next season and will finally join 167 of its North American counterparts with the opening of its first detachable quad in 2018.  Talk about a transformation.

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Three new lifts will rise out of the resort center over the next two years, benefiting every Taos guest.

This off-season will see complete renewal of the beginner complex with the removal of two lifts and the addition of two new ones.  Stadeli doubles Rueggli (1991, the old lift 2) and Strawberry Hill (1970) will be retired and the area around them re-contoured.  A new Skytrac fixed-grip triple will better serve beginners and a six-passenger pulse gondola will link a remodeled children’s ski school to the Resort Center.  “This gondola is going to be a huge improvement, connecting our newly designed Children’s Center with our new hotel and plaza base area,” Director of Operations John Kelly told me.  “The terrain associated with these new lifts will be getting a full redesign and regrade to widen and enhance our beginner terrain.”  The new lifts are in addition to the Pioneer lift, a triple chair that arrived from Deer Valley in 2012.

Rising to mid-mountain, a Leitner-Poma high-speed quad will replace lifts 1 and 5 in 2018.  The 2010 Taos Master Plan envisioned a 7000′ detachable rising all the way to the summit and replacing Lift 6 as well, but that plan appears to have been modified.  The long-awaited foray into detachable lifts follows construction of five new Poma and Skytrac fixed-grips at Taos since 1989.  What may be called Al’s Express will most likely reach the summit of the existing lift 5, a 1973 Stadeli double chair that only operates on peak mornings.  The new lift will also replace Lift 1, a 1989 Poma Alpha quad that ends 400 feet lower than 5 and serves as today’s primary out-of-base lift. After 2018, the remaining largest ski resorts in North America without a detachable lift will be Red Mountain, 49 Degrees North, Loveland and Bridger Bowl.

It's snowing!! Get up here and make some turns! #skitaos #snowing #freshies #purenm #nmtrue

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This will be the first joint project since Skytrac joined the Leitner-Poma Group last spring and plays to both companies’ strengths.  Skytrac will supply the fixed-grip chair while Leitner-Poma will bring its expertise to build the gondola and detachable.

Even after these changes, Taos will retain three classic Stadeli lifts on the upper mountain.  Lift 6 dates back to 1976 and 7A was installed in 1990 with used parts from 1 and 2.  Maxi’s (lift 7) is a 1984 Stadeli triple.  Both lifts 4 and 7 are identified for eventual replacement in the 2010 Taos Master Plan along with a second lift to the ridge.  I think Taos skiers (and snowboarders) will find the new lifts a welcome change with friendlier beginner options and a 4.5 minute ride to the heart of the mountain. Welcome to the 21st century, Taos!

Snowbasin Announces Wildcat Six-Pack

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The Wildcat triple at Snowbasin will be retired this spring and replaced with the resort’s fifth detachable.
New lift week continues!  Snowbasin’s oldest lift, Wildcat, will be replaced with a Doppelmayr six-place chairlift for next season.  The resort’s first six-pack will rise 1,290 feet in just five minutes in place of the 1973 Thiokol and its ten minute ride.  The new lift will have 17 towers and a capacity of 2,400 passengers per hour.  9-second chair spacing will make the lift more beginner-friendly than a high-speed quad.

“Snowbasin Resort is very excited to announce several improvements to the Wildcat area of the mountain that should greatly enhance the guest’s experience,” said John Loomis, General Manager at Snowbasin. “With the addition of a new Doppelmayr 6 passenger high speed chair lift, we will be able to better utilize this area of the Resort that was the original heart of the ski area. The new lift will service beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain and include new snowmaking on Wildcat Bowl, Blue Grouse, Herberts, Eas-A-Long, Wildcat Traverse and Stein’s. These improvements will improve access to this wonderful terrain with earlier access and better conditions when Mother Nature is not as cooperative as we would like.”

Snowbasin, owned by Sinclair Oil Corporation along with Sun Valley, will have just three fixed-grip chairlifts remaining next season.  The Forest Service also recently approved a high-speed-quad for Strawberry Bowl that will be able to run in higher winds than the Strawberry Express Gondola.  Snowbasin will hold a Wildcat last chair party and final ride at 4:00pm April 15th.

News Roundup: Colorado

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Likely new lifts for 2017 are pacing 39 percent ahead of last year, when 28 new lifts had been announced on this date.  I’ve identified 39 lift projects for 2017 and if last year’s pattern holds, lift manufacturers will build approximately 57 new ropeways in N. America in 2017, the most since 2004.  We’ll know by about July 1.

Instagram Tuesday: Sea of Dreams

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

Walking on a dream 👌 @resortalyeska

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