- Valemount Glacier Destinations says it’s in talks with both Leitner-Poma and Doppelmayr for construction of phase one lifts in 2018-19.
- SE Group to present nine alignment options for a new Lift 1A on Aspen Mountain.
- La Paz breaks ground on its 17th and 18th gondolas, set to open in 2019.
- The Saddleback sale still hasn’t closed and an update suggests a shift in focus from building new lifts to reopening with a limited number of existing ones.
- Here’s a great rundown of Sigma’s new Symphony 10 gondola cabin, which complements the Diamond series.
- In surprise announcement, Teton Pass says it won’t open this winter. This awesome but remote Montana resort has a 1973 SLI double and a number of used chairlifts in the parking lot for possible expansion.
- New Zealand’s longest chairlift will reopen December 5th, nine months after a wildfire burned chairs and ruined the haul rope.
- Forest Service releases draft draft Environmental Assessment for Alta’s Baldy tram, Flora lift and Wildcat/Sunnyside replacement projects. Final public comment is now open.
- World’s largest gold producer proposes building a ski resort with up to 18 lifts on a former mine site near Hope, BC.
- The Economist looks at why Latin American countries build so many urban gondolas.
- The Grand Canyon Escalade bill goes before the Navajo Nation Council on Tuesday and needs a two-thirds majority to pass.
- Squaw Alpine names 13,000-foot interconnect gondola California Express, plans 2019 opening.
So, this Fraser Valley project isn’t even 30 miles from Hemlock Valley. That puts at least one planned major resort (Fraser) and one mega-resort (Hemlock) within the greater Vancouver Area. That’s not counting the perennial jockeying around Garibaldi at Squamish. Whistler, meanwhile, looks like it’s shooting for 10,000+ acres. In the Interior, Revelstoke wants to expand to more than 5,000 acres, and Red Mountain is probably also approaching that number with their plan. Kicking Horse and Fernie are way behind on their master plans. Valemount is preemptively trying to one-up them all with 12,000 acres, and a ridiculous amount of room to expand. And of course, in Alberta (which may be a different market altogether), Lake Louise just submitted a big plan a year ago. The point being: Major BC resorts are already struggling to stay afloat. Unless the industry there is collectively banking on the complete collapse of the U.S. industry due to climate change, then how do they plan to fund and sustain the major resorts doubling in acreage or more?
I was dismayed by this line in the linked article: “skier visits have remained stagnant in B.C. at 6.1 million annual visitors, and between 26 and 43 per cent of ski areas last year were reporting financial losses.”
BC has ten more ski areas than Colorado but less than half the skier visits. I love skiing there but seems not enough people do to support the huge amount of infrastructure.
I think part of the problem is the lack of easy access. It’s just so easy to fly into Denver, Reno, or Salt Lake and easily be at the mountain after a short drive. Very few of the big BC resorts offer that. I absolutely loved Revie when I went last year, but the only feasible way for me to get there is the 11 hour drive from Bozeman.
To be fair, most Colorado areas are big resorts. BC has only about 10 that can be considered somewhat destination resorts and about 30 that are more local type areas. It would be interesting to see which ones are operating at a loss. That being said, interior BC is my favorite destination, and that’s due to the small crowds as much as the great snow. Most areas you can get fresh tracks all day without much effort after a storm.
Looking at it, Colorado has 10-13 destination sized resorts (Telluride, Crested Butte, Snowmass, maybe the rest of Aspen, Beaver Creek, Vail, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Keystone, Steamboat, and Winter Park), while British Columbia has 6-7 (Whistler Blackcomb, Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, Fernie, Sun Peaks, Silver Star, and then arguably Red Mountain), and wants to build 4-5 (Hemlock, Fraser, Garibaldi at Squamish, Valemount, and Red Mountain if it doesn’t count yet) new ones and expand 3-6 more (Whistler Blackcomb, Revelstoke, Sun Peaks, Silver Star, Kicking Horse, and Fernie). Arguably, half the visitors isn’t as bad as it seems, because Colorado has more big name resorts than British Colombia (Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Vail, and Snowmass to just Whistler Blackcomb. If all the resorts were to band together into a Ski Utah style marketing group, then maybe they could increase their annual visitors.
The City of Aspen released SE Group’s report today with nine alignment options for lift “1B”. Scenario 1 leaves the bottom terminal in approximately the same location as today. 2, 3 and 4 add a short funicular from street level to the new lift. Option 5 includes a curved T-Bar or Platter. My favorites are 6 and 7, which bring the big lift all the way down to the historic Lift 1 terminal (cross section below.) Scenario 8 spans the new 1B over large buildings and 9 would require an expensive angle station so those last two are removed from further consideration. Scenarios 1 and 7 are concluded to be the best. Lots of cool Leitner-Poma drawings in the study too!
I’ve heard that there are only a handful of people out there who are able to splice/tie the haul rope, is that correct?
Yah there is something like 10-12 people in North America who are certified to Splice haul ropes list seems to get shorter every year with retirements.