New York State Goes Lift Shopping

This triple chair at Gore Mountain is one of three chairlifts scheduled for replacement at state-run New York ski resorts in 2019.

Only a handful of ski mountains in the United States are government owned and operated.  The largest public ski outfit by far is New York’s Olympic Regional Development Authority, which runs Belleayre, Gore Mountain, Whiteface and the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex at Lake Placid.  All but one of these properties are likely to see new lifts in 2019.  Because the mountains are funded in part by taxpayers, potential lift projects are subject to competitive procurement.  Over the last month, the Authority has opened requests for proposals for a new high speed quad at Gore Mountain, a quad chair at Whiteface and a surprise gondola at the ski jump.

Lift 12 at Gore Mountain is to be replaced and extended in a new alignment as shown on the area’s management plan.

Back on September 17th, ORDA opened bidding for a chairlift replacement project at Gore Mountain.  “Gore Mountain Ski Resort will be replacing their existing triple chair lift with a high speed detachable quad chair lift,” notes the New York State Contract Reporter.  “This would be a turnkey project where the winning bidder would provide all materials, labor and equipment to build and install the lift.”  This is almost certainly the approved upgrade of Hudson, a 2010 Partek build.  Bids were due last Tuesday and the term is 12 months.  Leitner-Poma of America built the last three detachable lifts at Gore, so I’d argue it is their contract to lose.

Next up is an RFP for a new Bear Den quad at Whiteface, the largest ski mountain in the east by vertical.  The current Riblet triple in the Bear Den base area will become one of many late model Riblet lifts to be replaced recently.  I assume this one will be fixed grip but the contract reporter website does not specify.  Bids are due on Monday, November 26th.  Doppelmayr would seem to have the edge at Whiteface, having built the mountain’s three newest lifts.

The last Riblet at Whiteface will probably be retired next spring.

Here’s where it gets more interesting.  The state also began soliciting bids last week for a new gondola at the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex.  Empire State government has a penchant for gondolas, having built them at Gore Mountain and Whiteface in 1999 and Belleayre in 2017.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed erecting a $15 million gondola at the State Fair in 2017, a plan which was eventually cancelled due to intense public criticism.  The state also owns the Roosevelt Island Tram, built and operated by Leitner-Poma.

Insert gondola here.

The ski jump gondola will be short.  The existing chairlift at the 1980 Olympic venue is quite popular despite rising only 217 feet.  “The Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, New York is planning on installing a Gondola at their facility,” is all the New York State Contract Reporter notes.  A pulse gondola might make sense as opposed to a detachable but, then again, money doesn’t seem to be much of an issue for New York State.

12 thoughts on “New York State Goes Lift Shopping

  1. Ryan October 23, 2018 / 12:30 am

    Good article, Peter. Regarding Gore- I am assuming Hudson is getting enough traffic and is long enough to warrant an upgrade to a HSQ? Otherwise it would seem a waste of tax payer dollars right there.. The current tripple, could in part be used to upgrade High Peaks or Sunway, depending on length?


    • Peter Landsman October 23, 2018 / 6:35 am

      Hudson is 3,600 feet long. The high speed quad will be around 4,000′. This will be a nice upgrade of an eight year old lift but probably not one which would be undertaken at a privately financed resort. Of the lift projects in the Gore master plan, I’m surprised this one is happening first. Other projects are a Ski Bowl-base area connector lift, High Peaks replacement and extension, Bear Cub replacement and Sunway replacement. Those last three are much older than Hudson.


      • Ryan October 24, 2018 / 12:38 am

        Yeah and those are some Von Roll lifts. Not very many of those around in the states.


        • Peter Landsman October 25, 2018 / 7:12 pm

          Actually the Gore lifts slated for replacement were built by Partek, Poma and Riblet. The VonRolls are at Whiteface.


  2. Collin Parsons October 23, 2018 / 5:46 am

    The current triple gets very little traffic and only runs about 20 days a year. The reason it is scheduled to be replaced is because of the new trails to be constructed on looker’s right. To access these from the current lift would require a long flat traverse which Gore already has too many of. There is supposed to be a real estate development along the runout fron the new trails back to the lift. This would be on lands owned by the Town of Johnsburg. I also expect to see more frequent snowmaking on the Ski Bowl trails with the major snowmaking upgrades that took place at Gore this past summer, so the lift should be running more days.

    The current triple will most certainly be retained for future use. The length/vertical matches up well with the High Peaks extended alignment. It could even be reinstalled in 2019. The project would need to be bid separately or be done in-house as it does not appear in the current bid.


  3. Matt G. October 23, 2018 / 9:02 am

    Great article Peter. Would love to see you do a full article on Partek. I particularly like the look of their design, and I know that have a turbulent and interesting history, but know very little.


  4. reaperskier October 23, 2018 / 9:12 am

    I’m guessing that the proposed gondola at the ski jump is for wheelchair accessibility.


    • G-munny February 8, 2019 / 1:22 pm

      Additionally, I know ORDA is trying to ramp up wedding revenue at the new jump complex lodge.


  5. Jonathan October 23, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    Do you think the Hudson Lift will be relocated to another mountain, or be scrapped?


    • Collin Parsons October 23, 2018 / 9:31 pm

      It’s only 8 years old although it was built with some used parts so of course it will be either sold or retained for future use. They could use it to replace High Peaks. Every Riblet lift in ORDA is getting replaced sooner or later and those will most likely all go to scrap.


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