News Roundup: Italian American

    • The Edmonton Ski Club and its Mueller T-Bar will reopen this winter following a one year hiatus.
    • The developer of Big Snow America is so confident in the American Dream project that it offered the Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall as collateral to secure a $2.8 billion construction loan.
    • Investors and Berkshire Bank battle over whose claim to the Hermitage six pack should take precedent.
    • The White River National Forest extends public commenting for the Breck Peak 7 Infill chairlift project to September 1st.
    • The Forest Service approved Aspen Mountain’s Pandora expansion awhile ago but the county still needs to approve necessary zoning.
    • SilverStar adds 24 hour security, surveillance cameras and enhanced line checks in the wake of the Sea to Sky Gondola downing.
    • TransLink’s CEO says the proposed Burnaby Mountain tricable gondola would be less susceptible to such an attack.
    • Grouse Mountain gives all Sea to Sky Gondola passholders free lift access through November 30th.
    • S2S cleanup will take awhile and trails remain closed for public safety.
    • Swiss manufacturer Bartholet shows it’s possible to build a new fixed quad in just three weeks.
    • Jaegerndorfer now exports Omega V cabins in miniature form to the United States.
    • Aspen Snowmass will add chairs to lifts at Highlands and Snowmass to address Ikon Pass crowding concerns.
    • Skytrac will manufacture towers for and install the new Leitner T-Bar at Ski Cooper.
    • This profile demonstrates why the Kaiser S2 excavator is so popular for ski lift construction.
    • MND Group, owner of LST Ropeways, says it has resolved “financial difficulties” by reorganizing its debt.
    • Doppelmayr names Jürgen Pichler its new global marketing chief.
    • It looks like Sunday River’s Locke Mountain triple will gain a tower or two thanks to the new T-Bar that crosses under it.
    • Arctaris Impact Fund hosts a community meeting and announces its intention to close on the purchase of Saddleback come early November.
    • Big Sky and Loon Mountain will launch the world’s first dual frequency RFID lift access system in partnership with Axess.
    • With a new detachable quad under construction, Bogus Basin caps a five year turnaround.
    • Alpine Media display screens will go live on more chairs this winter.
    • Big Burn at Snowmass may be replaced with a bubble lift.


29 thoughts on “News Roundup: Italian American

  1. Ryan August 23, 2019 / 8:01 pm

    Big Burn at Snowmass has done well but she’s definitely overdue for replacement. Awesome job by Snowmass Lift Ops for keeping her running as well as they have. Though I’d think they’d want to replace Coney Glade as well, she’s a year older than Big Burn.


    • Donald Reif August 25, 2019 / 8:09 am

      One of Coney Glade’s main purposes is getting to Sam’s Knob from Alpine Springs whilst bypassing the Village. It doesn’t get as much traffic as the others.


  2. Donald Reif August 24, 2019 / 12:12 am

    “The White River National Forest extends public commenting for the Breck Peak 7 Infill chairlift project to September 1st.” That’s all of one more week.


  3. Jackson Nunnally August 24, 2019 / 12:06 pm

    how cool that Winter Park is getting the Alpine Media technology! do you think any other lifts at winter park will get the same technology in the near future?


  4. Donald Reif August 25, 2019 / 12:39 pm

    Anyone know anyone at Aspen-Snowmass who has an idea of what lifts will be getting capacity upgrades?

    On Aspen Highlands, certainly Exhibition could be boosted up to 2,400 pph, same for Loge Peak. Cloud Nine could probably get its chair count doubled.

    At Snowmass, I’d say that the lifts in need of capacity upgrades would be Elk Camp, Two Creeks, High Alpine, Sheer Bliss and Sam’s Knob.

    The big question to ask with these capacity upgrades would be with the chair designs. High Alpine can get new LPA chairs easily, and Leitner-Poma still makes Omega chairs so Sheer Bliss and Cloud Nine would be covered. But Loge Peak, Exhibition, Elk Camp, Two Creeks and Sam’s Knob all have Arceaux chairs. I have to imagine that either they’ll get custom Omega or LPA chairs, or maybe they can obtain some old Arceaux chairs to repurpose for the sake of consistency (two chair models on the same lift at one time is a thing, though, as evidenced by the Pioneer Express at Winter Park having two Competition chairs in addition to its Arceaux chairs).


    • Eric G August 26, 2019 / 9:32 am

      Exhibition and Cloud Nine will likely get a capacity boost at Highlands to 2,400 and 1,800 respectively. I don’t know if upgrading Loge Peak would be a good idea.

      I think the only lift at Snowmass to be considered will be High Alpine and likely only to 1,800. Sam’s Knob never has a line and got a capacity boost from 1,200 to 1,800 years ago. Two Creeks never has a line except for Saturday mornings when AVSC runs their kids program. Even still there is only a line of 10 minutes of less for about a 20 to 30 minute period. Sheer Bliss rarely has lines, even during busy weekends and holiday periods.

      Elk Camp was previously upgraded from 1,600 to 1,800 and probably should stay that way. The snowpack can’t handle the skier traffic with the current uphill capacity.

      Alpine Springs could use an upgrade to a six-pack with a new alignment or a second lift serving the pod.

      The current Big Burn detachable quad was a 2,800 pph model, but the replacement mentioned in the Aspen Times was reported as only 2,200 pph.


      • Donald Reif August 26, 2019 / 10:06 am

        When was Elk Camp upgraded?


        • Eric G August 27, 2019 / 4:45 pm

          That’s a good question. My guess is probably about 15 years ago. The lift opened ’95 and it wasn’t too many years after that they added chairs. There were originally 95 or 96 carriers and now there are 120 on the line. The number plaques gives it away. The Pomo logo on the original carriers is faded entirely, but on the new chairs the logo is present.


      • Mike B August 27, 2019 / 4:18 pm

        Good insight and mostly agree with your takes here. What would be the recommended alignment on any Alpine Springs replacement? I personally don’t think that a 6-pack is the answer there. The new High Alpine base terminal location helps more people lap up top w/o going to Alpine Springs. Perhaps more importantly, I think the better long-term play there is to add a new lift from near the Two Elk lodge up to the bottom of the High Alpine terrain – perhaps near where Cookies splits off from the Edge. This would allow direct access from Two Elk to High Alpine, mitigate the zoo on Adam’s Avenue, facilitate quicker movement across the upper mtn pods (from Two Elk to Big Burn), provide another meaningful option to take pressure off of Two Elk lift and allow for laps on a small portion of Hanging Valley. If they end up installing a surface lift to provide more convenient access to Long Shot, then at that point you may need to consider increasing Two Elk capacity IMO.

        As for Big Burn, perhaps they feel that with Sheer Bliss now a HSQ, they don’t need quite as much capacity on Big Burn as they used to?


        • Eric G August 27, 2019 / 5:48 pm

          My recommended alignment for a new chair would be identical to the old “Naked Lady” lift. There are significant advantages to this alignment and no disadvantages.

          This new alignment would improve safety by significantly reducing cross traffic at both the top and bottom terminals, reduce traffic in high trafficked areas by offering additional trail options, eliminate a slow, flat traverse, and restore access to previously accessible terrain that is presently seldom used since the Alpine Springs HSQ built.

          The relocated top terminal would keep traffic direction and flow for upper Alpine Springs trails consistent with traffic from High Alpine and nearly eliminate all cross traffic.

          Skiers lapping The Edge on High Alpine now intersect with skier traffic from the Alpine Springs top terminal. In fact lapping The Edge is challenging since the top terminal of Alpine Springs blocks the natural return run back to High Alpine lift, so this change would improve the experience for those wanting to ski The Edge.

          This new alignment would nearly eliminate all traffic on the slow, flat Turkey Trot traverse that is also a cross traffic hazard. The only reason to use now would be to access Turkey Trot from the High Alpine restaurant, which very few do.

          Turkey Trot would instead be accessed from the new top terminal using the old Upper Turkey Trot section that is presently seldom used.

          This new alignment would also offer the option for repeat runs on Turkey Trot, returning to Alpine Springs via Adam’s Ave, Drumstick, Bottom’s Up, Lower Slider or Funnel.

          This alignment would also spread traffic from the overcrowded Adams’ Avenue run onto other runs. Instead skiers moving from Elk Camp to Alpine Springs could access the bottom terminal from Funnel, Funnel Bypass and seldom used terrain like Bottom’s Up and No Name. In addition a relocated bottom terminal would reopen the seldom-used Lower Slider trail to the bottom.

          This change would also eliminate cross traffic issues with those traversing across the bottom of Alpine Springs from Coffee Pot to Funnel. Instead the traffic flow from coming from the lower Alpine Springs runs would run in parallel. As long as you keep your speed up traversing Alpine Springs bottom is easy, but that’s hard to do presently when you intersect with all the cross traffic to the bottom Alpine Springs lift terminal.

          The new High Alpine lift alignment allows repeat skiing of Upper Green Cabin and Cirque Dikes, but makes repeat skiing of The Edge much more difficult. It didn’t really change the number of people that use Alpine Springs when skiing High Alpine.

          There are two big problems with the lift you propose. First the top terminal would only access advanced and expert terrain. The location where Cookies splits off from The Edge is where the steepest section of the High Alpine terrain begins. This lift would offer very limited terrain to lap, none of which is highly desirable. The Edge is busy enough when groomed and HV Glades and Cookies is a delicate area for snow coverage if there is too much traffic. It would only serve primarily advanced and expert terrain and some of the least desirable of its kind.

          Elk Camp is going to need snowmaking in high traffic areas to support a lift capacity increase.

          Also what’s considered a reasonable, manageable lift line? The Elk Camp lift during most operating hours has little to no line. Typically the line peaks from 10:00 am to 11:30 am and is at its longest about 10 minutes. When there is a line the average is about 5 minutes. On a busy day there may be a line again in the afternoon, but again 5 minutes or less.


        • Donald Reif August 27, 2019 / 10:11 pm

          If Big Burn is to be upgraded, I think a high speed six pack with 3,000 pph would be most ideal.


        • Mike B August 28, 2019 / 12:54 am

          @Eric G. I appreciate the thoughtful reply. Agree with and understand most of your response. A few quick notes though. I don’t have the numbers (does anyone) but anecdotally it would seem that the ability for the new High Alpine location to divert skiers coming from The Cirque away from Alpine Springs should have an impact at the margin. It’s not just about whether people are lapping a given pod – half the lifts I take in a given day are to position me to go somewhere else.

          Also, the top terminal I suggested for my lift idea is basically where the old summit terminal for Naked Lady was, so maybe we are crossing wires on the location. I agree that it wouldn’t make sense for any lift in that area to serve advanced./expert terrain only.

          And note that I conditioned my thoughts on Elk Camp quad capacity based on what happens with Long Shot and environs – a new surface lift to facilitate quicker/easier access there could add meaningful demand to that area.

          As for the new Naked Lady concept, it definitely has a lot going for it, but I would never advocate that alignment in addition to Alpine Springs. That’s way too much for that pod in essentially the same alignment. I think the best of both worlds would be a lone HS6 on that alignment. It would convey the benefits you mention while also potentially drawing incremental traffic from the Elk Camp side due to a much more visible location – you know how tourists are generally attracted to the lifts/trails they can see.


        • Eric G August 28, 2019 / 8:15 am

          @DONALD REIF Big Burn doesn’t need a six-pack, nor 3,000 pph capacity. Lines on this lift are almost non-existent since Sheer Bliss was upgraded to HSQ and realigned so it’s basically redundant.

          @MIKE B even with the same top terminal an Elk Camp to Alpine Springs lift really doesn’t accomplish much. Another issue is the entire Elk Camp-Meadows area is do built out that I can’t think of a single logical spot where the bottom terminal could be placed.


        • Eric G August 28, 2019 / 8:40 am

          Sorry for the duplicate replies. I accidently hit the return key. I wish you could edit or delete posts.

          @MIKE B Alpine Springs pod used to be served by two lifts – 1,200pph Double and 1,800 pph Triple – so uphill capacity in the past was 600pph higher than presently. The advantage of a second lift is the redundancy it offers to an important area. The disadvantage is the increase in operating costs.

          If you were to build a second lift then I think you would reduce capacity on the existing lift to say 1,800 pph and build a HSQ with carrying capacity of 1,200 – 1,500 pph. However, my first choice would be one lift with a slight bump in uphill capacity (2,800 pph) and the different alignment. Keeping the existing lift won’t resolve all of the cross traffic issues.

          Yes, the new High Alpine lift alignment does offer Expert skiers an alternative to Alpine Springs when moving across the mountain. However, this benefits the minority, not the majority of the participants at Snowmass. I ski Snowmass 45-50 days a year and from my experience this hasn’t reduced demand on Alpine Springs lift by anything noticeable.


  5. Sting_1 August 25, 2019 / 5:59 pm

    While at Holimont, yes I know its a small hill and all but while there, they added chairs to Sunset, and they where of the same design but the safety bar/footrest was different and you could always tell when you where on one of them. They didn’t even have them at the end but near the end. Not sure the reasoning behind putting them in the line where they did but it was to up the capacity that is sorely needed but still a long line still waiting at the bottom of a very long beginner hill. Sorry I don’t have any pictures to show the difference but it’s noticeable.


  6. Carleton August 26, 2019 / 8:39 pm

    Too bad Boyne couldn’t be a bit quicker about rolling out RFID, but I’m glad their doing it at Loon here in the East at least. It’s a pain for Ikon pass users to have to go to the ticket window to get a regular lift ticket, instead of going direct to lift. I imagine the Sunday River and Sugarloaf will get the technology the following season.


    • Peter Landsman August 27, 2019 / 10:00 am

      Boyne does seem to be doing more corporate-wide initiatives these days. I noticed all the resort websites are now using the same template. Just like Vail does.


      • skitheeast August 28, 2019 / 5:56 pm

        Alterra is also slowly having all of its resorts use the same website template. The only remaining holdouts are the four California resorts and Crystal


  7. powderforever21 August 27, 2019 / 8:38 pm

    In the sixth page of the Jaegerndorfer magazine is that a model Uni G Vision Terminal?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Alex September 4, 2019 / 10:26 pm

    Further detail on exact chairs Aspen Snowmass is adding capacity to:

    “Skico is looking at adding chairs to increase the uphill capacity of the High Alpine Lift at Snowmass and Cloud 9 Lift at Aspen Highlands, according to Ertl. Each lift’s capacity would increase from 1,200 to 1,800 skiers per hour. “It’s really exciting with High Alpine. We’ve got so much terrain up there,” Ertl said. The lift provides access to the Hanging Valley Wall area, which requires a short hike”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eric G September 5, 2019 / 12:53 am

      I have mixed feelings about upgrading carrying capacity on High Alpine. Cloud 9 is a no brainer.

      I’m a little surprised that they’re not considering an increase on Exhibition, however that lift is probably only a few years away from replacement.


      • Mike B. September 5, 2019 / 11:44 am

        Agree all around, though I’d say that despite what we feel anecdotally, that’s likely a good sign that skiers are choosing to take/lap High Alpine at a greater rate than before vs. going all the way down to Alpine Springs. The lack of interest in new capacity on Exhibition is particularly confusing to me.


        • Eric G September 5, 2019 / 12:20 pm

          I don’t think you ski Snowmass. There is very little increase in those lapping High Alpine versus going to Alpine Springs. The new alignment basically serves the same runs for repeat skiing with one change…Upper Green Cabin can now be lapped.


        • Donald Reif September 5, 2019 / 9:26 pm

          The High Alpine upgrade also added a whole new trail in the form of Grinder (from the lift line cut).


        • Mike B September 6, 2019 / 2:17 pm

          I do ski Snowmass at a sufficient frequency to know how the mountain flows. But if you want to believe that the only driver of lift usage is the ability to lap said lift, you are woefully uninformed about on skier traffic patterns, particularly those at destination resorts. Moreover, you are also completely discounting the massive increase in comfort and 50% decrease in ride time offered by the quad vs. the old center pole double. That is an attraction in and of itself.

          Finally, if High Alpine isn’t drawing skiers from other lifts, why then would they need to increase capacity by 50% when the current capacity was apparently sufficient for 40 years prior?


    • Donald Reif September 5, 2019 / 8:45 am

      Those two lifts incidentally use chairs that LPA is still making, the Omega and the LPA chairs.


  9. Alex Boesenberg October 4, 2019 / 9:15 pm

    Looks like Snowmass may be considering a six pack for Big Burn

    “Snowmass proposes to replace the outdated Big Burn high-speed detachable quad chairlift with a new high-speed detachable six-person chairlift. The design capacity of the new chairlift would equal that of the existing chairlift (2,200 people per hour)”


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