- The Jay Peak receiver hires an investment bank to market Vermont’s northernmost resort to potential buyers.
- Now flying at Copper Mountain: the world’s longest bubble chair. Down to five new ski lifts that have yet to open this season in the United States.
- The government shutdown coincides terribly with Hurricane Ridge’s ski season, which can’t start without funding for the National Park Service.
- Alpine Media Technology launches digital signage on lifts at Steamboat with more Alterra resorts to follow.
- Many North American resorts enjoyed a banner holiday week.
- Vail Resorts North American skier visits are up 16.9 percent through January 6th.
- Killington applies for permission to replace the North Ridge chairlift with a fixed grip quad.
- The BBC traces the global rise of urban gondolas.
- A Maine county joins the state in suing the owner of Big Squaw Mountain for failing to operate the resort, which once was the second largest in Vacationland.
- The Lift 1 Corridor Project heads to Aspen voters March 5th.
- Arizona Snowbowl closes Agassiz for a mid season gearbox replacement.
- Elk Ridge, Arizona won’t operate for the second season in a row, leaving just three ski areas in the state.
- Attitash’s Summit triple is still closed.
- So are two of Pajarito’s main lifts indefinitely.
- The 2018 Olympic Downhill venue – gondolas, high speed quads and all – may be returned to a natural state.
- Lawyers for The Hermitage Club seek more time to respond to a lawsuit filed by investors who helped purchase the Barnstormer bubble chairlift.
- Santo Domingo, the largest city in the Dominican Republic, solicits bids for its third and fourth urban gondola sections with hourly capacities of 6,000 and 4,500, respectively.
- Scott Pierpont retires as Vice President of Sales at Doppelmayr USA and is succeeded by Shawn Marquardt.
- Glenwood Caverns’ old gondola is already rising again in southern Illinois.
- Last month’s lift evacuation at Whitefish got worldwide media attention. The Flathead Beacon digs into why the mountain was so well prepared for the situation.
Vails stocks are tanking
Maybe because although season-to-date lift ticket, retail, ski school and dining revenue all increased, they lowered their full year earnings guidance.
Have you had a look at the whole Market?
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That is why you don’t invest in high risk stocks like that one.
Regarding Big Squaw Mountain- don’t they just have 1 lift? What is so big about them being a “big” destination resort?
The current ski area is a shadow of its former self. There once was a 1,700′ vertical drop serviced by a 6,000 foot Stadeli and two T-Bars.
While at one point Squaw had a double and 2 T’s, one T-Bar was replaced with the triple in 1986. They also had a hotel with an indoor pool, tennis courts, and conference rooms before that was a thing at ski areas and a 2nd base lodge up by the hotel/double.
Good memories of skiing the “other” Squaw way back in the 80’s. Classic old school New England ski area, with some pretty challenging runs (steep and narrow) up top. Hopefully someone can get that sinking ship afloat again…ditto for Saddleback, another great Maine ski area that has struggled for years (think it’s been shuttered for 3 consecutive seasons now).
As part of the sale agreement, Confalone was supposed to invest in the ski area and expand it. He never did. His other business in his “empire” was a fly-by-night seaplane airline known as Chalk’s Ocean Airways which suffered a crash where none of the 18 passengers or 2 crew survived just a year after the grip on the double at Squaw failed and injured 4.
If I recall correctly a grip failed on the double in ~2004. The ski area then closed. It reopened probably five years ago on only the lower mtn. triple, a 1986 Borvig.
Poor Summit Tripple @ Attitash. Quite the mess. Here is their latest update from the link below:
January 10, 2019 – Work Progressing
The Summit Triple continues to be a hive of activity during the past 36 hours, and so we wanted to take a moment and update you all on what we’ve been up to.
A technician from SkyTrac Lifts arrived onsite from Salt Lake City on Wednesday and immediately got to work with our crew to install several new components. These include: new mounting hardware for the new drive, a new AC to DC converter, and a new wiring interface that connects the drive into the control system of the lift (start button, stop button, etc.), and several other smaller parts.
Today and tonight are going to be all about getting the new drive ready for install. In order to do this, the team will be working late into the night tonight and starting again early tomorrow morning. This process should take 18-20 man hours if everything goes to plan. Once the drive is installed, our technicians will have to tune it to work in harmony with the lift, which should take about 2-4 hours of fine tuning.
Once these installations are all complete, we will need to start up the lift for basic testing and tuning, followed by a full load test on Friday. We will also be meeting with the NH Tramboard at 10 a.m. on Friday, so they can inspect and signoff on the work we’ve done.
All in all, this process has been going to plan so far, and we are still shooting to have this lift operational for the weekend. Please keep checking back on this blog for updates.
I hope they install a new top notch lift (either a double or a triple) to make up for what happened to the summit triple so this doesn’t happen again.
Summit is back open now with a new drive. Great work Peak Resorts and Skytrac crews.
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The North Ridge Quad at Killington is a much needed replacement of the oldest chairlift on the mountain. For about a month each season, it is the ONLY lift that one can ski off of and really needed to be something new as a breakdown would close the whole mountain. I also hope they get full diesel backup to allow the lift to continue loading in the event of a power outage. These seem to happen quite often early season. The next priorities for lift replacements are Superstar and Ramshead and I think Superstar will be done first.
Superstar has no need for more capacity and has newer poma grips and line gear from the late ’90’s. Ramshead definitely needs an upgrade for capacity’s sake but has more time left in its useful life. Maybe a 3,600 six at Ramshead is to come but powdr invested so much this year that might take awhile.
Superstar has really high hours, and still uses lots of yan technology, so parts have to be custom fabricated. The lift plays an integral part in the lift system and needs to stay reliable. Barker at sunday river, another yoma HSQ, has similar high hours and has tons of mechanical issues that close the lift for days. If/when Superstar starts having these closures, it will be pretty bad for the mountain.
Eh, I feel like the fixed-grips last forever and are pretty reliable. Lots of Fixed grips from the early 70s operate perfectly fine with less mechanical issues than modern detachables. I’d say superstar is a much more needed upgrade, because the yoma HSQs are quite the opposite of reliable.
I agree with the North Ridge replacement. It’s an aging lift which could be canabalized to keep the now back-up snowdon triple running for KMS. Are you sure North Ridge doesn’t have a diesel back-up? I’ve never taken the time to take a close look at that drive terminal, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find a auxiliary power system of some kind housed in the vault. Superstar should be a priority replacement considering that it is one of the most heavily used detachable quads in the country. Perhaps if they did that they could put Superstar’s Omega carriers onto Snowshed. Ramshead is also always a very busy lift, but I would expect it to remain in service in some way for a very long time (whether that be in its current location or in a new location, Killington-Pico Interconnect perhaps?). Also an increase in capacity on Ramshead would likely be the first step towards the Interconnect.
As for the power outages, they are likely caused due to excessive draw from K’s snowmaking system. The same thing happens at Sunday River when they are making a ton of snow. If SR is running 200+ guns at once, you probably can’t run a microwave if you live off of the Barker Mtn. Road.
That is true, but Ramshead operates in summer too which means that it has more hours. It is also in dire need of capacity if you have ever been there on a mildly busy weekend. Superstar does run into May but not all summer. If one Yan detachable goes it would be Snowshed which is the same year as Superstar and runs in summer for the bike park.
Mike Solimano said in an earlier interview that North Ridge, Superstar, and Ramshead are the next lift replacement priorities in no particular order. Obviously North Ridge will be done first.
Keep in mind that Ramshead and Snowshed started operating in the summer only a few years ago. For the longest time, the bike park was just the K1 and earlier the Peak Double. The new Snowdon Six Express has taken significant load off Ramshead.
That being said, I think Superstar will be replaced first. It is older and has much higher hours than Ramshead and is also a Yan/Poma hybrid rather than a regular 2nd generation Challenger. Ramshead is also going to be a pain to replace because it serves the bike park. They will have to close those bike trails the entire summer or figure out how to access portions of them from Snowdon while the lift is being replaced. The same is true for Snowshed although they could put a new lift on the Snowshed Double line and leave the quad in place for the summer.
Call me crazy, but I would not be the least bit surprised if Superstar or Ramshead ends up being the first bubble-8 in the east. It would only be fitting for The Beast of the East to have such a beast of a lift. I believe Killington was on Peter’s list of likely candidates to build the first 8-CLD in North America, though Big Sky ultimately won that battle.
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I have started to grow fond of the 70s vintage Heron Poma lifts..
I’ve got a ‘74 triple chair leaning against a tree in my backyard. I don’t miss working on that lift at all
Why wouldn’t they install a HSQ to replace north ridge and Canyon on the existing Canyon liftline?
I think they should install a Bubble-8 to replace Superstar and replace Ramshead with a 6/8 Chondola. Replacing Ramshead should allow them to move the existing HSQ over to replace North Ridge. They could also move Superstar’s newer Omega carriers over to Snowshed to replace the old Yan ones.
North Ridge serves one main purpose: opening early. It’s a low-intermediate pod high up on a ridge with massive snowmaking infrastructure (there are hydrants every 30 feet). To open early with your proposed Canyon-only HSQ would entail twice the vertical of snowmaking, on trails with far more limited infrastructure (about 100 foot hydrant spacing), accessed only by steep blacks.
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That makes sense, thanks.
A Ramshead chondola would make little sense as there is nothing at the top for foot passengers. One of the major advantages to the chondola is the non-skier friendliness. An eight at superstar makes little sense due to price of such a system and with the capacity needs of superstar, that would
not be worth it. Killington neds more to upgrade to detachables more than upgrading the detachable as shown with snowdon and sky installations.
Remember the state is very picky when it comes to the amount of people on the forest land. If they will install a 8 pack on superstar or a chondola on ramshead, it would have to be low capacity.
Snowdon stuck out like a sore thumb as a pod without a detachable. It was a major centrally located area with some nice intermediate terrain, but the lifts were snails. That project has been overdue for many years. The remaining lifts that aren’t detachable are mostly redundant with detachables (Bear, Snowdon Triple, Snowshed Double), or don’t serve enough terrain (Canyon, North Ridge, South Ridge, Northbrook). As far as capacity goes, Snowdon is 3000/hr and Stratton is also on public land and has 4 high speed 6 packs that can go up to 3600. Ramshead is the only pod that really needs it, but I could see overbuilding Superstar to take more people off the gondolas. Ramshead could most definitely not run a 6 second loading interval on a 6 pack. It can’t even run that interval on the quad, so going to 8 would make a lot of sense there. If it was done on Superstar, it would be more for show than anything.
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The issue with using Superstar as an alternate to the gondola is that any blue or green terrain takes a skate or hike to access.
Just an idea, but why hasn’t killington extended the skyeship gondola to killington peak?
The original Carlevaro and Savio gondola had 3 stages and went all the way to Killington Peak. The third stage was frequently subject to wind closures and Skye Peak was underutilized and Killington Peak overcrowded, so they only built it to Skye Peak. Saved a lot of money too
Superstar does not require a hike to get to any intermediate terrain and I’m sure the top will be improved when the lift is replaced. Really they just need to do a cut and fill to get the lift terminal higher up and lower the rest of the ground for a better transition into Great Eastern and Skyelark. Right now, one can take Gateway off the back to access Great Eastern which then brings you back onto the front of Skye Peak
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Superstar services a lot more terrain then Ramshead and I don’t think Ramshead needs more then 3600p/h. Upgrading Superstar into a bubble-8 will take pressure off of K-1 and there is enough terrain to need a bubble-8. For your 6 second loading concerns, thats why I think a Chondola makes sense because beginners can ride in the cabins resulting in less stops and more capacity.
There is a HSQ thats serves Bear Mountain?
Lets go through this lift by lift.
North Ridge is the oldest chairlift but is very important for early season. Replacing as planned with a fixed quad makes the most sense as it is not that long. New lift should also have better bottom queue/loading layout.
Canyon is only open a few days a week and only serves black diamond terrain, it never ever has a line, so there is no reason to change this lift at all. A lot of people wish this lift was never installed in the first place due to the cutting of the Double Dipper trail that ruined Big Dipper Glade.
Superstar is probably in the pipe line to get replaced in the near future. However there is no reason whatsoever to replace it with a bubble 8 pack. Superstar along with the Skyeship 8 gondola, Skye Peak Express Quad, and Needles Eye Express Quad all end at or near the summit of Skye Peak. Bittersweet, the main blue accessed from Skye Peak is already overcrowded and gets skied off down to ice very quickly each day. Skye Peak cannot take any more capacity, so they could go with a bubble 6 for Superstar with bigger spacing to compensate, but no way should they install a bubble 8. It is also a short lift for being a detachable, and usually the lines are not that long.
Snowshed probably stays as is until the village is developed. Once superstar is replaced, it will be parted out to help keep Snowshed, along with Summit and Golden at Pico going. Overall compared to Barker at Someday Bigger, the Killington/Pico Yan Poma refits have been very reliable. When Snowshed is eventually replaced a Bubble 6 is probably ideal.
Bear is already served by a detachable lift both Outer Limits and Devils fiddle can be accesses off of the Skye Peak Express. The Bear Mountain Quad only runs weekends these days, and is not going to be replaced anytime soon.
Skyeship will probably get new cabins like K1 in the near future.
Ramshead could add some more capacity, so a bubble six would work here really well as it is a long lift. The bottom queue/ loading area also could use a redesign when the lift gets replaced. The existing Ramshead Quad would be relocated somewhere, with the prime options being one of the existing Yan Poma refits at Pico.
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Can you someone explain why everyone is referring to Sunday River as Someday Bigger?
Its its nickname
Sunday River-Someday Bigger
Maybe its just a New England thing
To add to the nicknames:
Bretton Woods – Medicare Mtn.
Loon – Medicaid Mtn.
Killington – Billington ($$$)
Stowe – Line Land
Someday Bigger originated when they were rapidly expanding in the 80s and early 90s. The idea is that they would someday be bigger than Killington (their former owner). I think they can expand well past the Jordan Bowl, not sure if they had specific permits or if they let them lapse. There were some expansion maps floating around ages ago, haven’t seen one in a while though.
Boyne owns thousands of acres beyond jordan bowl. Plenty of room for future expansion. The mountain sits on a 10000 acre parcel and only occupies 2000 in bounds.
Thanks for the update on Grafton. It’s crazy to see something that you operated for so long in a new place. (Also one of the first on.) Meanwhile here in Glenwood all the sheave trains are off the towers and are in Grand Junction for their refurbishment. Haven’t seen how the terminals are going but I’m sure snow is slowing things down.
Bit more info on the new Revelstoke chair here.
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FYI: The new American Flyer was not exactly flying this past Saturday @ Copper. While I did not ride it, throughout the day I observed the lift not running particularly fast, at times completely shut down, running w/o passengers, and other times not filled to capacity. Still in beta testing mode, one month out, I guess? Sure looks nice, though! Thankfully enough other lifts to keep the masses moving around, even on a powder weekend day.
Jeremy- there have been drive issues that (I believe) L-P has cleared up. A load test is a one-off test of whether the drive can pull the load, and that the brakes can hold it. There are plenty of issues that really won’t show themselves until you try and run for an extended period of time, no matter who builds the lift and what sort of machine it is. As to the speed, we never ran the old one at full speed and this new beast is no different. Too many beginners for that.
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Appreciate the insider info, John. Unlike the Copper Mt. Facebook page whiners, I’m perfectly fine w/ the lift’s delayed opening. Seems like a great addition to the CM lift roster. Look forward to riding it, especially on future stormy days!
At 0:50 in the video Peter posted, a brand new Doppelmayr D Line gondola system in Vietnam is shown with two vertical bullwheels in the middle of the return terminal. At first glance, it looks like it could be a counterweight used for tensioning.
Does anybody know if that actually is a tension system that is shown, and if so why use a counterweight instead of hydraulic tensioning on this lift?
It’s a Counterweight
I’m also not sure why they would use a counterweight over hydraulic tensioning. Could it allow for more tension travel (they probably need as much as they can get on a lift like that)?