News Roundup: Norway

  • Actaris Impact Fund still wants to buy Saddleback but no deal has been reached after more than a year.
  • The Banff-Norquay gondola project faces stiff headwinds from Parks Canada.
  • The latest podcast from Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz highlights how the company takes over operations at newly-acquired resorts.
  • A judge rejects the Hermitage Club’s proposed restructuring plan as members look to reopen under new management.
  • In other Hermitage news, a Florida bank seeks to repossess 46 snow guns.
  • Here is the complete incident narrative from the February SeaWorld gondola deropement.
  • Lift construction gets underway at Skeetawk, America’s first all-new ski area since Tamarack in 2004.
  • Speaking of Tamarack, village construction resumes with Wildwood Express installation to follow this fall.
  • A helicopter installs most of the new Steamboat gondola towers.
  • Last week’s gondola incident at Vail was not a result of tampering or sabotage.
  • Medellín’s sixth urban gondola, Line P, is on track to open in December.
  • After 1,231 days as Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area, the Badger Pass name returns thanks to a $12 million settlement between the National Park Service and two competing concession companies.
  • I spoke too soon on Eaglecrest possibly building Alaska’s first gondola.  Icy Strait Point on Chichagof Island is planning a gondola project to open as soon as next summer.
  • The haul rope is spliced for a rare fixed grip chondola in Illinois.
  • Mi Teleférico in La Paz broke its own daily record again on Monday with 583,841 riders, more than average weekday ridership for Boston’s three subway lines combined.

  • Municipally-owned Great Bear resorts to private fundraising in hopes of replacing its Borvig chairlift.
  • Placer County leaders will vote Tuesday on the Squaw-Alpine gondola.
  • Simon Fraser University steps up its Burnaby Mountain gondola marketing.
  • The Los Angeles Griffith Park gondola study is underway.
  • Eagle’s Rest 2.0 nears completion at Jackson Hole.
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Instagram Tuesday: Fjord

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

Disney Skyliner Launches September 29th

It’s official: the Disney Skyliner gondola network will open Sunday, September 29th.  Three lines will connect the Trinidad hub with terminals at Epcot, Pop Century/Art of Animation and Hollywood Studios.  The launch falls just one month after the highly anticipated grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios on August 29th.

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Recent photos show finishing touches like landscaping and painting underway in advance of the opening.

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News Roundup: High Impact

Sunlight Looks to the East

It may take a few years, but Sunlight Mountain Resort intends to add 100 acres along its eastern boundary serviced by a fourth fixed grip chairlift.  Glading work has already begun and will continue into next summer.  “This is a multi-year effort,” General Manager Tom Hays recently told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.  “We are in the very early stages of a process that includes building a capital fund, negotiating additional financing, permitting processes with the county and Forest Service, mapping, planning, and shopping for lifts.”  The project is estimated to cost $4 million and is dependent on another season or two as successful as 2018-19.

SunlightMap
Approximate alignment of the planned East Ridge chairlift, shown in orange.

New runs will be cut on private land below the Midland Traverse and will remain hike-out until the lift is installed.  The chair will load just above Four Mile Creek and unload above the Beaujolais and Rebel trails.  “We’re excited to expand skiing and riding on the already legendary East Ridge,” said Marketing and Sales Director Troy Hawks. “These new runs mean our local skiers and riders will have even more powder to explore and exploit.”  If all goes well, the new lift could spin in 2021.

Instagram Tuesday: Fabricating

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

 

 

Vail’s Eagle Bahn Gondola Reopens Following Tower Issue

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Photo credit: CBS Denver

The Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain is carrying guests again this afternoon following a nearly six day closure.  Approximately one hour before it was scheduled to open to the public last Wednesday, a monitoring system alerted Vail lift mechanics to a tower joint problem.  Seventy four employees riding the lift at the time were brought down by rope over several hours.   The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board and Vail Associates were in constant contact following the incident and throughout the repair process according to spokesman Lee Rasizer.  “Repairs have since been completed,” he said in a statement this afternoon.

“The resort worked diligently with lift specialists and experts to resolve the issue,” said Vail Resorts Communications Manager Jessie Vandenhouten in a separate release. “Vail places the highest value on the safety of its employees and guests and extends its apologies to those who were inconvenienced by this event.”

The CPTSB noted it conducted two inspections of Eagle Bahn within the last nine months – a licensing inspection on November 3rd, 2018 and an unannounced visit on February 15th of this year.  All necessary corrections were completed by the ski area stemming from those two inspections.

The gondola was built in 1996 by Garaventa CTEC utilizing 12 passenger CWA X model cabins.  Eagle Bahn operates not only for skiers and sightseers but also for Vail’s Epic Discovery summer program at Eagle’s Nest.  Gondola One in Vail Village provided mountain access together with shuttle buses during the extended Eagle Bahn closure on a busy holiday weekend.

News Roundup: Privatization

Eaglecrest Considers Building Alaska’s First Gondola

Eaglecrest is the only ski resort in Southeast Alaska, a region seeing explosive growth in summer visitation thanks to the cruise ship industry.  While some consider cruises a threat to the ski business, a recent study concluded they could actually help publicly-owned Eaglecrest become profitable.  Over just five months, 1.3 million passengers will disembark in Juneau this year, a 17 percent increase from 2018.  Many existing attractions such as the Mt. Roberts Tramway are bursting at the seams and the city sees an opportunity for its ski area to become part of the solution.

The City and Borough of Juneau owns and operates four double chairlifts which date back as far as 1975.  Eaglecrest is the only ski area in the country located on an island and, while the ocean views are amazing, low elevation sometimes limits winter operating days.  A private concessionaire operates a small scale zip tour at Eaglecrest but no lifts currently spin in the summer as the ski area ramps down to just a dozen employees.

Eaglecrest’s current lifts are shown in red with the approximate proposed gondola alignment in orange.

Alaska’s capital city is considering a cash infusion to create a year-round adventure park with skiing, mountain biking, a gondola, zip lines, mountain coaster and more.  While the initial outlay is high, projections show the current $950,000 annual subsidy provided by taxpayers could be eliminated while expanding recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.  The ski area could also be able to pay its employees more competitive wages and operate seven days a week in winter with the money gleaned from summer.

The most expensive component of the $34.9 million plan is a ten passenger base-to-summit gondola which would reach even higher than the current Black Bear and Ptarmigan chairlifts.  The gondola would become the primary summit access lift year-round, spanning almost 7,000 feet with 1,680 feet of vertical rise and 20 towers.  Capacity would start at 1,500 guests per hour with the ability to go to 2,400.  Both Leitner-Poma and Doppelmayr have provided bids in the $11.2 million range for the flagship lift with up to 59 cabins.  Power would be trenched up the mountain, allowing the gondola to be top-driven and providing grid power to the Black Bear double for the first time.

gondolaprofile
Preliminary gondola profile from Leitner-Poma of America.

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Instagram Tuesday: Breathtaking

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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Mother Nature’s showing off again.

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