- It’s not looking good for Mt. Timothy, BC.
- Two Aspen developers amend their plans to accommodate the new Lift 1 alignment.
- Horseshoe Resort commits to replacing Chair 6 with a quad in 2019.
- The Hermitage Club is still trying to ink a reopening deal with members and Oz Real Estate.
- Powdr breaks ground on Woodward Park City, set to debut with a fixed-grip quad in November 2019. No word yet on the manufacturer.
- The Forest Service green lights Aspen Highlands’ Goldenhorn platter project.
- Peak Resorts posts quarterly results: an $11.8 million net loss on $7 million in revenue as the company worked to build Hunter North and the Carinthia Lodge at Mt. Snow. SKIS had $10.1 million in cash on hand as of July 31st with $180.6 million in debt. CEO Tim Boyd says he’s still open to acquiring more mountains.
- Disney will build and maintain a boat and dock specifically for Skyliner gondola evacuation purposes.
- Hall double area Navarino Hills, Wisconsin closes for good.
- With rumors swirling about its future, Black Mountain, NH clarifies it will open this winter.
- Snow King’s gondola/expansion scoping is extended for the third time to October 4th.
- A cabin is spotted in one of the Disney World gondola stations.
- $51 million in new lifts are on track to spin for American Thanksgiving at Whistler Blackcomb. Thanks Jordan N. for these photos.
Month: September 2018
Revelstoke Announces Third Chairlift for 2019
With a new President appointed, new RFID ticketing, new snow cats and new terrain this season, Revelstoke Mountain Resort is upping its game. Canada’s newest mountain playground today revealed even more improvements coming for 2019-20, including new beginner chair and surface lift. The high elevation beginner zone will sit between The Ripper and Revelation Gondola, its quad chair called Cupcake. “This lift will provide an ideal training ground for beginner skiers and riders, and also provides direct access to the Ripper, alleviating some of the pressure on the Stoke Chair,” noted Vice President of Operations Peter Nielsen. The lift will take just over three minutes to ride and move 1,800 skiers per hour. Leitner-Poma Canada constructed all four of Revelstoke’s current lifts, though no manufacturer was specified for the new one. The resort has also placed a third order for 22 gondola cabins, bringing the second stage of Revelation to its design capacity of 2,800 guests each hour in 2019.
Located on the Trans-Canada “Powder” Highway between Kicking Horse and Sun Peaks, Revelstoke is one of three Ikon Pass destinations in British Columbia. The new lift will be the first built since Revelstoke ran out of cash in late 2008, less than a year after opening. By the time Leitner-Poma finished the company’s second batch of lifts, the global financial crisis doomed the Denver-based developer of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, which sold it to Northland Properties. It took a decade, but many of BC’s interior resorts are back in the green and adding lifts again. “We are well poised for a second lift and future on-mountain infrastructure development,” says Revelstoke.
The Gondola Era Arrives at Winter Park
When holiday crowds catch a Cabriolet to The Village at Winter Park Resort this year, the second lift they’ll see is the resort’s first true gondola. Capable of hauling 3,600 skiers per hour out of the base area, the new Zephyr lift replaces a 1990 high-speed quad that could do only 2,600 in a perfect hour. Announced in March, the Leitner-Poma system will be similar to Vail’s Gondola One but with something totally new to the North American market: DirectDrive.
Sigma is fabricating 79 ten passenger Diamond cabins with the fresh Winter Park logo unveiled on Monday. The $16 million gondola and new brand are just part of a $28.2 million capital drive this year in cooperation with Winter Park’s operator, Alterra Mountain Company. Amazingly for a resort of WP’s size, this is the first new lift in ten years. Snowmaking is also seeing mega upgrades and a new heated village plaza will lead seamlessly to the bottom gondola terminal. The old Zephyr had 20 four passenger cabins used for restaurant access at night but the new version will be fully ADA accessible and operate day and night.
Runaway Equipment Damages the Zugspitze Cable Car
This is not a good week for tramways in Europe. An incident last night on the highest mountain in Germany severely damaged one of two Eibsee Cable Car cabins during a practice exercise. Apparently a rescue carrier broke loose due to a broken chain hoist and crashed into the 120 passenger tramway cabin below at high speed. Like with the fire at a French tram on Tuesday, the lift was free of passengers and luckily no one was injured. A Zugspitze spokesperson says the Garaventa-built tram will be out of service until further notice.
The lift became the pinnacle of ropeway technology when it opened last December, breaking world records for the tallest lattice tower (416 feet), longest ropeway span (10,541 feet) and highest vertical rise (6,381 feet), making this a truly stunning setback. When a cabin on the Alyeska, Alaska tram hit a tower in 2013, technicians were able to replace it with a counterweight in just a few weeks until a new cabin could be manufactured. We’ll have to wait and see whether CWA can repair the Zugspitze cabin or must fabricate a whole new one.
Twin VonRoll Tramways Burn in France
A rough summer turned even worse today for Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, the firm that operates lifts in the Chamonix Valley. The middle station of the two section Grands Montets tramway caught fire, severing five cables and sending two of the four 60 passenger cabins to the ground. VonRoll built both systems in 1962-63 and the first section was renovated in 1974, followed by the second in 1989. The upper stage got new cabins in 2009 and the lower two were replaced in 2014. The lifts are a combined 15,700 feet long with a massive 6,700 feet of vertical.
The fire began around 1:50 pm in the roof of the intermediate station building, as captured on a nearby webcam. Although the system operates in both winter and summer, apparently no trips were in progress at the time as the building was being renovated.
Helicopters fought the fire all afternoon and it is now extinguished. The public is being warned to stay clear of the area as three ropes are still hanging on but could give way. There are no reports of injuries, thankfully.
Instagram Tuesday: Pouring
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
News Roundup: Not Cool
- Beaver Creek relocates an entire Birds of Prey Express tower, foundation and all, eight inches due to ground movement.
- Someone made off with a chair from Aspen’s Bell Mountain lift. After a public plea from SkiCo, it returns within hours.
- Franklin County, Maine wants an electric utility to contribute $100,000 to support Saddleback redevelopment as part of a mitigation package for a $950 million power line project.
- Cockaigne, NY will open this winter for the first time in seven following an investment of $6.2 million, demonstrating it takes a boatload of cash to reopen a lapsed ski resort.
- The always awesome French lift website Remontées Mécaniques reports on two remarkable new lifts in Asia: the Fansipan Legend 3S and Wynn Palace Skycab.
- Two late additions to the 2018 new lift roster: Boreal, California and Vallée du Parc, Quebec, which are both adding Doppelmayr fixed quads this fall.
- La Paz subway in the sky gondolas number 15 and 16 open September 26th.
- An intriguing podcast claims more Disney Skyliner lines are envisioned to Disney Springs, Blizzard Beach, Animal Kingdom Lodge, All Star Resort and Coronado Springs.
- Anyone recognize this skyride at the New Mexico State Fair? It had to come from somewhere.
- Pre-Vail Whistler Blackcomb COO and father of Peak 2 Peak Dave Brownlie is tapped to lead the next chapter at Revelstoke.
Alterra to Acquire Crystal Mountain
Washington State’s largest ski resort will soon join the Alterra Mountain Company family of resorts. The big news comes just a year and a half after John Kircher bought out the mountain from his family’s company, Boyne Resorts, which has owned Crystal since 1997. The resort operates one of the most modern lift fleets in the country in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, less than two hours from Seattle. Upon closing, Crystal Mountain Resort will join the Ikon Pass, giving Evergreen State passholders access to the two largest ski resorts in the region. Boyne’s Summit at Snoqualmie signed on just last week offering 5-7 days and access at Crystal will be unlimited with no blackout dates on both the full Ikon and Ikon Base passes. Alterra’s passes now include 39 mountains with a combined 468 lifts across the US and Canada plus partner resorts in Australia and Japan. The third major player in the Washington Cascades, Stevens Pass, sold to Vail Resorts for $67 million earlier this year and joined the competing Epic Pass, which also includes nearby Whistler Blackcomb.
“With the addition of Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington, we are able to expand our reach into the Pacific Northwest and offer our guests incredible experiences in the Cascade Mountains, while also giving Crystal Mountain Resort skiers and riders the opportunity to explore all the other premier destinations on the Ikon Pass,” said Rusty Gregory, Chief Executive Officer at Alterra. “Crystal Mountain is Washington’s premier resort and has been a favorite year-round destination for those in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area for years, and we are excited to include it in the Alterra Mountain Company family.” Crystal’s sale price was not disclosed and the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Like others before him, Mr. Kircher was probably made an offer he couldn’t refuse. “It has always been my goal to ensure Crystal Mountain Resort be taken the farthest in the shortest amount of time in order to keep Crystal at the top of Northwest skiing,” he said in a statement. “Alterra Mountain Company is able to offer a depth of experience and resources, as well as inclusion on the Ikon Pass with its outstanding destinations throughout the world. The mountain sports business has changed more in the last year than I have seen it change in my entire 40-year career, and I am excited to see what lays ahead.”
Despite seven out of ten lifts being added or replaced in the last twenty years, Crystal’s master plan envisions more. The proposed Kelly’s Gap Express would give direct access to the upper mountain from the lower parking lots and open up new runs below Green Valley. A second new lift on the other side of the access road would open up terrain in Bullion Basin. A second gondola could also link the base plaza with Campbell Basin. Crystal’s three oldest lifts – Discovery, Gold Hills and Rainier Express (Washington’s first detachable chairlift) – could also be replaced by Alterra, which has committed to spending more than $550 million at its resorts over the next five years.
Instagram Tuesday: Both Sides
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.