- Just in time for summer, the Sea to Sky Gondola welcomes ten more cabins to the line, increasing capacity by 50 percent.
- The Idaho Springs, Colorado city council may vote Monday on rezoning for a proposed 17 tower, 27 cabin gondola lift.
- Hermitage Club founder Jim Barnes explains his reorganization plan but for now, a receiver remains in place.
- Snowshoe is purportedly planning to replace Powder Monkey with a fixed grip quad next summer.
- Although it doesn’t build lifts in the United States, Bartholet has built some very slick machines lately.
- The Indy Pass grows to 28 resorts.
- A rocket from Syria damages a ski lift at Israel’s Mt. Hermon, where a Leitner gondola is also currently under construction.
- Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz launches a podcast with a great first episode about the Park City acquisition.
- The City of Steamboat is still weighing options for bringing in a private operator and/or replacing Barrows at Howelsen Hill.
- California Express notches another approval but litigation could be coming.
- Vail Resorts reports a great quarter: skier visits up 14.3 percent and lift revenue up 16.4 percent with season pass sales for next year trending up 9 percent and 13 percent in units and dollars. “We are still absolutely aggressive on looking for additional resorts that we think add to our network and make the experience that we provide our guests better,” says Rob Katz on the quarterly conference call.
- Quebec tallied 4.6 million skier visits last winter, a ten year high for a province with three new chairlifts already under construction for next year.
- New Hampshire resorts logged 100,000 more skier days than 2017-18.
- Colorado is king with 13.1 million estimated skier visits, a new record.
- This was supposed to be the summer the town of Grafton, Illinois celebrated a new gondola. Instead, 2019 will be remembered for the flooding that has thrown a wrench in its construction.
- Teo II is approved but has no timeline for construction yet.
I wonder why such a large increase in New Hampshire skiers? I have skied all over New England and I can definitely say that Vermont skiing is a heck of a lot better than New Hampshire skiing. I wonder what the increase was in Vermont?
It could very well be ease of access, it is ridiculously easy for those who live in the Boston area to just go up 93 to Loon or Waterville.
Looks like VT was up 200,000 skiers, or 5%.
I wonder how seriously Vail is looking at a Jay Peak for acquisition? Having been Epic pass holder last season (and Ikon next), it seems that they need more options in the NY/NE area. Not everyone who buys an Epic (Local) is planning to travel out west. I’m a bit concerned that they only see eastern resorts as feeders and won’t seriously invest in them. They haven’t done any significant improvements at Stowe and there are at least two doubles that need replacement (Tollhouse and Lookout). They also aren’t doing anything significant at Okemo (only a lodge makeover) or Sunapee – even though Sunapee has an extra chairlift in storage at the base of the Sunbowl that was part of a plan that Triple Peaks had…..
I am also questioning if vail could possibly sell off some of their resorts
I think they are seeing smaller resorts as feeders. The Tahoe/Whistler/PCMR/Colorado is where they make the most money.
They bought Stevens Pass in my State, small Midwest resorts, and NE resorts I believe mainly as a breadth play. I’d say give it 5 years and see where they’ve taken Okemo at that point – that’s what I’m doing with Stevens.
As for Jay Peak, I’m not sure how they view it since it’s not West and not close to metro areas, my bet would be they would buy it but only for the right price.
I’m looking at it in terms of how they compare vs Ikon in New England. Epic has three resorts, and Ikon has six. And it certainly seems from the social media chatter, as well as, published articles about which pass is better – that Ikon comes out on top for New England residents.
Not sure why people think Jay Peak is so far away. It’s less than 2 hours from downtown Montreal. I would not be surprised if Vail went after it as Ikon owns the Montreal market with Tremblant.
I think it makes sense to monitor and see what they do with the Eastern resorts, but it’s still early days yet. I am comforted by the observation that if Vail is simply going to use those resorts as feeder hills and doesn’t invest in them, then they will no longer be able to serve their primary purpose of feeding guests to the bigger profit centers – Eastern skiers will look elsewhere. There are too many hills in too close of a proximity for Vail to assume that skiers will keep coming irrespective of the quality of the infrastructure.
Has anyone here skied at Snowshoe? What are your thoughts of the place?
Both the Main side and the western territory are both great (the latter needs more terrain) but silver creek needs a detachable to replace Flying eagle. This would halve the ride time and attract more skiers (A detachable is more popular than a fixed grip) Also, if they expand the western territory, more skiers will go over there, reducing crowds and reliving the front side lifts. Finally, change the western trails to single blacks. Double blacks only scare people and not everyone likes them.
This year I have been on two Bartholet detachable chairlifts for the first time.
It’s a very weird mix of being technically inferior to Doppelmayr and Leitner, while at the same time they are incredibly smooth and quiet, arguably more than newly built Leitner LPA lifts and definitely more than newly built Doppelmayr Uni-G lifts (yet to go on a D-line so cannot compare).
When I say say technically inferior, I mean pretty much everything in the station feels less refined and more clunky, including the grip. Then there’s the path the line takes, which is more old-school, closer to the ground and more towers closer together. Then there’s the chair.
Both of the lifts I went on had those Porsche designed bubble chairs. Sorry to say they weren’t very good. The backrests are okay but are nothing special – the standard Leitner high backrest is far more comfortable. The foot rests on the restraints are badly designed – they are very cramped, and I’m a slim average height guy, bad news for any big folks out there. I try to be positive but the bubbles could not close properly, squeaked constantly, and several times even flew open when the wind got inside. The restraints locked once you closed them, and were supposed to open automatically at the top (along with the bubble, which did not lock). They opened up a small fraction, immediately before the exit ramp, meaning you had to push it up while simultaneously getting off the lift.
From an operator’s point of view, the chairs are not modular like Doppelmayr and Leitner’s.
That said, the sheaves are the smoothest out there, by a long way, you can hardly hear or feel them. There is no vibration whatsoever down the entire line. The spring-dampened suspension is brilliant.
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