- Public comment opens for the proposed East Ridge expansion at Sunlight, which would occupy both public and private land.
- Frank DeBerry, head of Crystal Mountain, provides context on the decision to limit weekend ticket sales.
- Tourist attractions in China shut down due to coronavirus, including the iconic Ngong Ping 360 gondola.
- At Sugarbush, Inverness will run in place of the Green Mountain Express some days as a result of a lightning strike and prolonged diesel operations.
- In New Zealand, volcanic mud flow risk may require towers to be reinforced on the new Whakapapa gondola.
- The City of Oakland says an A’s stadium gondola is far from a done deal.
- Baldy Mountain Resort closes Sugarlump for days following alleged sabotage by a former employee. It reopened yesterday.
- The State of Maine approves financing for the sale of Saddleback.
- A judge okays the sale of Hermitage Club assets, including its six pack. Two more bidders emerge, including a group of former members. If Boyne wins the lift, it would be relocated to a New England mountain.
- Homewood acknowledges multiple mechanical issues will prevent operation of its longest and tallest lift for the remainder of the season.
- Ikon Pass crowding concerns make the New York Times.
- Gondola transit in Pittsburgh?
- Promoters of a Staten Island gondola seek public support.
- In Steamboat, leaders talk about challenges facing the industry.
- A skier dies after colliding with lift-related infrastructure at Snow Summit.
- Valemount Glacier Resort is still a possibility.
- Forbes profiles recent developments in fast-growing Big Sky.
- Win Smith explains why Sugarbush doesn’t need any new lifts, what Les Otten got right and more.
- Towers and terminals are rising in Puerto Vallarta, where a five station gondola will service a new theme park.
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
- Skier visits at Vail Resorts are down 7.8 percent for the season through January 5th, attributed to slow starts at Whistler Blackcomb and Stevens Pass.
- Agassiz at Arizona Snowbowl was evacuated over MLK weekend and remains down.
- Visits and revenue continue to decline at the publicly-owned mountain in Newfoundland called Marble Mountain.
- It takes a ton of work to reopen lifts, particularly detachable ones, at Mt. Snow after an ice storm.
- By building a T-Bar instead of a chairlift, Ski Cooper was able to implement a major expansion this season for around $2 million.
- Mont St. Mathieu opens another $2 million T-Bar expansion, noting a chairlift would have cost more and moved skiers less quickly.
- The Snowpark expansion at Montana Snowbowl is a hit and LaValle is back open.
- Software problems lead to the closure of the new Morning Star Express at Bogus Basin (now back open.)
- BC’s Jumbo Glacier becomes an indigenous protected area, ending plans for a new ski resort there.
- Vail Resorts will pay out $200 bonuses to employees who refer new applicants to become lift operators at 14 resorts.
- The State of Illinois shuts down a ski resort, alleging required inspections weren’t completed prior to opening. In a statement, Snowstar apologizes to season passholders and says an inspector failed to show up. At least one lift will reopen today.
- Parks Canada axes plans for a Mt. Norquay gondola.
- Josh Elliott, the teen who jumped after becoming stranded on a Sugar Mountain chairlift in 2016, tells his harrowing story on the Outside podcast.
- Mt. Jefferson, Maine won’t open this season.
- New York State plans to spend $147 million to improve its ski areas.
- Bromont ropes down more than 200 people from the Express du Village, some after being stuck four and a half hours.
- Edmonton releases the preliminary economic and technical assessment for the Prairie Sky urban gondola.
- Siemens highlights a design software partnership with Doppelmayr.
The closest ski area to Yellowstone National Park will shut down after this season. Ten years after reviving Sleeping Giant and building a new chairlift, the mountain’s nonprofit operator is throwing in the towel. “It is with tremendous sadness and sorrow that the board of directors for Yellowstone Recreations Foundation announces the suspension of winter operations beginning in 2020-2021,” reads a statement. Lifts will spin through the end of the season.
Sleeping Giant operates under a special use permit from the Shoshone National Forest. It first opened in 1937, serving the community of Cody, Wyoming and nearby towns with a 2,100 foot T-Bar. A used Heron-Poma double was added in 1993 to service more terrain. The area closed in 2004 and was revived in 2009 with the T-Bar being replaced by a Yan triple chair from Mammoth.
“The decision is agonizing but necessary,” noted YRF, citing losses of more than $200,000 each winter. Profitable summer zip line operations will continue with the Bighorn double accessing five different spans. The longer Sheepeater lift only runs in winter and will no longer be needed.
“Words cannot express our gratitude to the community,” the foundation’s statement continued. “The board of directors would like to especially thank the staff over the past 10 years who have dedicated themselves to making Sleeping Giant the finest and most friendly ski hill in the country.”
Boyne Resorts will invest millions to build its third D-Line chairlift, an eight place at Loon Mountain set to open for the 2020-21 season. The first such lift in the Eastern United States will replace the Kancamagus Express, a 1995 detachable quad servicing the lower mountain. Like Boyne’s two Doppelmayr D-Line systems at Big Sky, the Kanc will feature tinted bubbles, heated seats, locking safety bars, a loading conveyor and direct drive. “The Kancamagus 8 chairlift will be a leap into the future of skiing for our guests,” said Jay Scambio, president and general manager of Loon Mountain Resort. “We are committed to bringing the latest advancements to our guests—this lift is the next example of that, following our first-in-the-world dual-frequency RFID installation.”
Loon Mountain currently operates an all-Doppelmayr fleet of ten lifts. “We have a deep, long-standing relationship with both Loon and Boyne Resorts,” noted Mark Bee, President of Doppelmayr USA. “We are proud to be a part of a major step forward in the eastern ski scene that puts Loon on a path towards achieving its goal of having one of the most advanced lift systems in the world.” The east’s most technologically advanced lift will spin at 1,100 feet per minute, making it even faster than Ramcharger. A ride on one of 62 ultra-wide chairs will take just 4.5 minutes. Capacity out of the Governor Adams base area will increase 25 percent to 3,500 guests per hour.
No other American or Canadian ski operator has purchased eight place or D-Line lifts to date. I asked Stephen Kircher, Boyne’s chief executive, what it feels like to be the American early adopter for such technology and this was his response:
It is humbling to be able to continue our company and family’s legacy of over 70 years bringing skiers the next generation of chairlift technology. Now doing it beyond the midwest, with Doppelmayr’s new D-Line technology and doing it with the first two 8 place chairs is even more gratifying. Ironically it took the rest of North America time to adopt triple, quad and six place chairlifts after those were introduced at Boyne in the 60’s through early 90’s, it seems eerily similar for 8 place chairlifts and the new D-Line. Boyne Resorts is proud to be showcasing the future of uphill transportation in the rockies and the east. We believe this will become the new standard of quality and efficiency in the decades ahead. This is likely only the beginning of many more of these types of lifts across North America. Ultimately, enhancing the experience and attracting many more people to the mountains.”
– Stephen Kircher, CEO/President, Boyne Resorts
Kanc 8 will be the first major investment of Flight Path: 2030, a ten year infrastructure push at Loon also announced today. Future projects will seek to elevate the ski experience, grow the business responsibly in every season and connect with the local community. Lift upgrades over the next ten years may include Seven Brothers, Lincoln Express, North Peak Express and the gondola . “Loon’s 10-year plan will have a positive impact on development throughout the Lincoln and Woodstock communities—as we travel together on our path to be New England’s premier mountain destination,” said Scambio.
The Forest Service has already approved the Kanc 8 project and construction will commence in early spring.
- Neighbors aren’t happy about light and noise from Woodward Park City, though the new area was able to turn down the start alarm on the Hot Laps chairlift.
- Mt. Baldy in Thunder Bay, Ontario plans to buy a new quad chair for next season.
- The City of Durango considers whether building a new chairlift at Chapman Hill makes sense at an increasingly marginal elevation for natural snow.
- Spout Springs will remain closed this season and is still for sale.
- Mexico City begins work on Cablebús Line 2, a Leitner system with 7 stations, 308 cabins and 59 towers. (Line 1 is Doppelmayr and already under construction.)
- Seven people are injured and a gas station destroyed when a gondola haul rope being installed in Medellín, Colombia lets loose.
- Alterra closes on Sugarbush and Win Smith transitions from owner to employee.
- A French paraglider is lucky to survive being caught in a platter lift‘s haul rope.
- To address crowding concerns, Crystal Mountain eliminates walk up lift ticket sales on weekends and holidays, effective immediately. The resort will also no longer offer group discounts, gift card ticket redemptions or rental/ticket packages on weekends and holidays.
- New York State opens its newest gondola in Lake Placid, called the SkyRide.
- Geyser Holdings offers $4 million for the Hermitage Club and Boyne Resorts separately bids $3.6 million for the Barnstormer lift. An auction could be held next month.
- Skytrac’s Hilltrac people movers now feature Sigma cabins.
- Montana Snowbowl opens its Snow Park expansion for the first time.
- The owners of Perfect North Slopes plan to build at least one new top-to-bottom lift at newly-acquired Timberline, West Virginia this summer.
- The State of Maine postpones a decision on a loan guarantee related to the sale of Saddleback Mountain.
- A creditor claiming to be owed $62 million files to foreclose on Granby Ranch.
- Edmonton urban gondola backers release robust ridership projections.
- A gondola from Boise to Bogus Basin would be too long and cost too much to be practical.
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
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It's official! Tomorrow is opening day for our new Cedar Park Express chairlift! . . . “The recent snowfalls in the Sandpoint region have made it possible for skiers & riders to take in the majority of Schweitzer Mountain Resort’s front side terrain. Now, conditions are looking good to add Stella and the brand new Cedar Park Express chairlifts to the mix." . . . Read more from the press release online at schweitzer.com! @leitner_poma_of_america #newchairlift #schweitzerlife
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Hello beautiful! 😍 RED Chair is set to officially open tomorrow (Saturday, January 4th) 🤗 Our red carpet is also expected to be open on Sunday 🙌 We're stoked to be ALL THE WAY OPEN this weekend 🤙⛷ #REDresort #AllFriendsOnAPowderDay #Rossland #kootenays #explorebc #kootrocks 📸: @ryan_flett
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On Saturday the official opening ceremony of the new 10-passenger gondola lift "Col Drusciè" will take place in Cortina (IT) 🎉 Stay tuned for further pictures of this new beauty of the Dolomites 😍🙌🏻 www.leitner.com . . . . . #leitnerropeways #wemove #innovationsince1888 #leitnermoments #ropeway #cortina #cortina2021 #tofana #coldrusciè #dolomites
188 days after someone brazenly cut its haul rope in the middle of the night, the Sea to Sky Gondola will again lift sightseers above Howe Sound on Valentine’s Day. The weekend will be a celebration of hard work by many people to get the nearly six year-old gondola back in action. Fatzer and CWA fast-tracked a new rope and cabins from Switzerland while the Sea to Sky team and partners worked to remove damaged components by helicopter. The new haul rope arrived October 24th and was pulled and spliced in just a few days. By December, thirty new cabins had reached Squamish. Final certification by the BC Safety Authority is scheduled for the first week of February. In a silver lining, nine of the original undamaged cabins will be saved to bring the gondola to final capacity some time in the future.
“We are opening earlier than anticipated and the task has been huge,” said Kirby Brown, Sea to Sky Gondola General Manager. “Our industry partners were there every step of the way, from assisting in the clean-up and assessing needs to delivering major components with absolutely no notice. Our amazing team rose to the challenge and have done everything required to get us back up and running as quickly as possible,” he continued. “Our community stood by the gondola and showed us overwhelming support, confidence, and love through the last six months, and for that, we are so grateful.”
The culprit(s) have not been publicly identified or apprehended but security has been increased. “The fact that the main haul cable was completely severed was, and still is, shocking, and the investigation with the RCMP is ongoing,” said Brown. “However, we want our guests to know they can travel to the summit on the Sea to Sky Gondola with complete confidence. Our protocols would never allow the line to run if there was any damage to the cable and the security measures installed since the incident will ensure the gondola is secure and protected from any other criminal activity.”
To celebrate its reopening, the gondola will offer 50 percent off tickets all Valentine’s weekend.
- Cape Smokey in Nova Scotia plans to build a gondola beginning this spring to replace a disused quad.
- Here’s the latest from Saddleback.
- Australian bushfires destroy a ski resort which vows to rebuild.
- The Town of Jackson approves Snow King’s updated master plan, leaving just the Forest Service left to weigh in.
- Silver Mountain reopens three days after a fatal inbounds avalanche.
- More than 2,000 visitors a day are skiing and snowboarding Big Snow and Alterra is watching the experiment closely.
- An employee who lost his arm in a conveyor lift receives a $10 million settlement.
- Eleven years in, the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram gets a new haul rope.
- Sunridge completes a successful rope evacuation of the Parkview Quad on a cold night.