Alterra Capital Plan Includes New Lifts and Expansions for 2020-21

North America’s second largest resort operator today announced the purchase of two lifts for Mammoth Mountain, new terrain at Steamboat Resort and a two year project to build new trails and lifts at Tremblant.  Alterra Mountain Company will complete $223 million worth of capital improvements in total for next season, up from $181 million in 2019-20 and $130 million the year before.  Rival Vail Resorts announced back in December spending of $210 to $215 million across 37 mountain resorts, including construction of six new lifts in 2020.

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Mammoth’s Broadway Express #1 and Canyon Express #16, both built by Yan and upgraded by Doppelmayr, will be replaced this summer.

At Mammoth, one of the most utilized lifts in the Alterra system, Broadway Express, will be replaced with a high-speed six place detachable, increasing uphill capacity by 42 percent to 3,200 skiers per hour.  Sister lift Canyon Express will be replaced with a 3,000 people per hour six pack, increasing uphill capacity out of Canyon Lodge by 66 percent.  Both of these lifts are likely to be supplied by Doppelmayr.

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This will be the last season for the Canyon Express, a workhorse lift above the Village at Mammoth.

In Colorado, Steamboat Resort will expand onto 355 acres of Pioneer Ridge, providing skiers and riders with more terrain to explore.  Pioneer Ridge will feature 1,800 vertical feet of advanced and expert gladed terrain accessible via the Pony Express lift.  Twenty five new chairs will be added to the Garaventa CTEC high speed quad, increasing capacity from 1,200 people per hour to 1,800.  The Steamboat master plan calls for Pioneer Ridge to eventually feature its own detachable chairlift.

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Steamboat will open up hundreds of acres of new terrain beyond Pony Express and become Colorado’s third largest ski area.

This summer, Tremblant will begin a two-year expansion project called Timber.  Quebec’s most popular mountain will open a new beginner zone with a magic carpet on Versant Soleil for 2020-21 to enhance the learning experience for new skiers and riders.  In late 2021, the Timber summit will open with a new high speed quad and eight trails leading to Versant Soleil and the North side.  “This project, which aims at diversifying the ski area, is part of the continued development of Versant Soleil and reaffirms Tremblant’s leader position as the #1 ski resort in Eastern North America,” said the resort.

“Three years ago, when we formed Alterra Mountain Company, an initial priority was to commit to investing a half a billion dollars by 2023 across our family of North American destinations,” said Rusty Gregory, CEO of Alterra Mountain Company.  “To date, we have invested more than $350 million and are committed to exceeding our original plan, spending $575 million by 2020 on lifts and gondolas, snowmaking, summer activities, real estate development, hospitality and technology, all in the name of creating memories for our guests through an elevated mountain experience.”  Privately-held Alterra owns 14 resorts, having recently completed its acquisition of Sugarbush.

48 thoughts on “Alterra Capital Plan Includes New Lifts and Expansions for 2020-21

  1. Teddy's Lift World March 10, 2020 / 9:42 am

    Does this mean that Sugarbush isn’t getting anything or have they just not finalized their improvements yet?

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    • Peter Landsman March 10, 2020 / 9:55 am

      Green Mountain Valley School is adding a Leitner-Poma T-Bar at Sugarbush. Otherwise Win has said new lifts are not the top priority near term.

      Like

      • Teddy's Lift World March 10, 2020 / 10:00 am

        I know that about lifts. Just wondering about investments in terms of snowmaking, lodges, etc. Any idea where I can find out Alterra’s investments that are not related to lifts?

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        • sullivanq March 10, 2020 / 10:11 am

          according to newenglandskihistory.com, they are planning to replace the Glen Ellen lodge.

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        • Carleton March 10, 2020 / 10:20 am

          They are adding to the Mount Ellen Lodge for the VT Adaptive program, but not replacing it.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Snow Boys March 11, 2020 / 8:50 pm

          It says on the capital improvements the mill at mammoth will be expanded by 600 sq ft. Does anyone think this will be enough to relieve the pressure in the mill around lunch time?

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  2. julestheshiba March 10, 2020 / 9:52 am

    Does this also mean Squaw Valley isn’t getting anything either? I thought if they weren’t doing California express they at least would be replacing red dog?

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  3. julestheshiba March 10, 2020 / 9:53 am

    Also do you think broadway and canyon will be reused or sold, I mean their tech is mostly modern dopp tech and they are only from the 90s

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    • julestheshiba March 10, 2020 / 10:01 am

      Actually shouldn’t they move one of these to replace lift one at June? I mean it is the only lift to access the mountain and these seem like perfectly fine lifts

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      • Mammothskier March 11, 2020 / 1:47 pm

        All 4 of these (1, 16, J6, J7) lifts have had significant maintenance problems in recent years. Chair 1 was rope evacuated last weekend because of problems with auxiliary power following a power outage. This was the same chair that had an engine failure prior to opening one morning last June. In 2013, chair 16 had a similar motor failure during operating hours in the days prior to Christmas. Alterra wants these chairs to be retired.

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  4. East Coast Kid March 10, 2020 / 9:53 am

    I think Alterra just completely forgot to write anything about Stratton or Sugarbush in the press release

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    • Tijsen March 10, 2020 / 11:16 am

      They only included major major upgrades. Stratton’s supposed to get more mtb trails and a larger mid min lodge this summer

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      • East Coast Kid March 10, 2020 / 4:28 pm

        From the season pass meeting at Stratton it seemed like mid mountain was 21/22, Tamarack lift was 21/22 or 22/23 depending on when the hotel is completed and then the submit lodge would follow

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  5. Matt March 10, 2020 / 11:05 am

    Having to rope evac Chair 1 over the weekend during a power outage because the auxiliary wasn’t working must have been a real bloody nose for Mammoth. It’s frankly about time that they get rid of those lifts. While there is a lot of Doppelmayr equipment, inside the terminals is still predominantly Yan, and especially on Chair 1 it’s really starting to show its age.

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  6. Butterside March 10, 2020 / 12:05 pm

    Will Steamboat be able to source additional Garaventa CTEC chairs for Pony Express, or will they need to replace all the chairs on the lift with a model in production?

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    • jcpierce05 March 10, 2020 / 12:53 pm

      I bet they could source chairs from another Alterra Mountain. If not, I bet Doppelmayr or Skytrac could fabricate some more as I bet they still have the designs. Another possibility is that the new chairs are the modern Doppelmayr design and they just have a mix of chair designs on the lift.

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      • Snow Boys March 11, 2020 / 4:58 pm

        In the steamboat pilot article about the expansion that recently came out it said they would add 25 more Garaventa CTEC chairs to up the capacity from 1,200 to 1,800. The disappointing part about the expansion is it would affect the backcountry areas locals call outer outlaw and golf course fields and another problem I can see with this is more beginner skiers could accidentally go into fish creek canyon which is a very steep back country area. But an upside is that for backcountry skiers is that accessibility will be slightly easier for fish creek. I wonder still how this would affect the trail map and crowds on pony express.

        Here is the steamboat pilot article I talked about beforehand
        https://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/new-terrain-planned-for-steamboat-resort-1st-expansion-in-more-than-20-years/

        Like

  7. zjroeber March 10, 2020 / 1:11 pm

    Interestingly, Broadway Express at Mammoth is almost identical to J1 at June in terms of length and vertical rise. Seems like the current machine in Mammoth could serve as a suitable replacement at June.

    Like

    • Thomas Jett March 10, 2020 / 2:09 pm

      1 would be an awful lift to use to replace J1, as the Yoppelmayrs are old, unreliable, and short on parts. I remember speaking with Greg Dallas (COO at the time) in 2013, and he told me that 16 and 1 were the top priorities for replacement.

      Like

  8. Alex March 10, 2020 / 1:44 pm

    Is it just me or is anyone surprised at the % increases in capacity for the Mammoth lifts? Seems like the math is off to me. Anyone have any context there?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thomas Jett March 10, 2020 / 2:05 pm

      I’m also confused, as a 66% capacity increase to 3,000pp/h implies a starting capacity of 1,800pp/h which is much lower than 16’s actual capacity. Maybe they’re using percentages for actual capacity instead of theoretical capacity, with the idea that D6Cs are more efficient at loading than D4Cs.
      Either way, I’m disappointed that 16 won’t run at the full 3,600pp/h, as that’s the main workhorse out of Canyon, which serves 50% of all skiers at peak times.

      Like

      • Tom March 10, 2020 / 3:11 pm

        The limit to load a 6-CLD efficient is anyway about 3200 pph, everything above is theoretical only.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. atc1701 March 10, 2020 / 3:32 pm

    L’Algonquin is a fairly lengthy and flat trail, so it seems like the runout from the new trail pod at Tremblant won’t be too enjoyable.

    Like

    • Meir K. March 10, 2020 / 5:23 pm

      They should either make the lift start higher up, or have a steeper trail turn off the L’Algonquin. I’m surprised they are not replacing Soleil…

      Like

  10. Andrew March 10, 2020 / 3:40 pm

    Pretty disappointed that there is nothing for Crystal aside from a new lodge and 300 parking spots. After the spike in people coming up to Cystal, I am flabbergasted that they are not planning to replace REX, or better yet, begin expanding as stated in their master plan. Crystal has super limited intermediate terrain, and with many skiers seeking that terrain, I am surprised they are not investing more in the PNW region. It really is the flagship ski area up here aside from Whistler, and I think they are slightly taking that for granted.

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    • Frank March 10, 2020 / 3:58 pm

      Agree Andrew. Industry generally ignores the PNW population.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_statistical_area
      Seattle Tacoma – 4,853,364
      Denver-Aurora – 3,572,798
      Portland-Vancouver-Salem – 3,239,335
      Salt Lake City-Provo_Orem – 2,606,548
      Compare the lift capacity to the populations. We hear the horror stories of i-70 traffic, but not much about the under-served skiers of the PNW. Weekend lines are unbearable, and road capacity and parking are inadequate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rolf Wheeler March 11, 2020 / 9:01 am

        If 410 is backing up to Enumclaw–40 miles downstream–it isn’t infrastructure. It’s just too many people, and the White can’t handle any more. The DoT have their hands full as it is with slides and floods; expansion or better capacity at the hill won’t change that. Spreading skier visits around the region is the only option, but there are no new places available. Most skiable acreage is locked up against development in Wilderness and National Park as it should be, or unfortunately becoming unreliable due to low elevation like Pilchuck. If it’s too crowded as is one can get ambitious and tour out in the Tatoosh, the Olympics, north of 542, or further. Better yet, I heard North Carolina’s nice this time of year.

        Like

  11. skitheeast March 10, 2020 / 5:39 pm

    I am pleasantly surprised with both 1 and 16 being replaced at Mammoth, as I thought they would only replace one or the other during this offseason. The Timber expansion at Tremblant is nice, although it is interesting that they are spreading it out over two years when it seems small enough to be done in one. I also like their Pioneer Ridge approach at Steamboat, with most of the trails seen on the master plan being accessible from Pony Express, and they do not know if the area will demand an additional lift. From reading the press release, they also seemed to really focus on food/lodges, with big projects at Winter Park, Deer Valley, Mammoth, Squaw Alpine, Crystal, and Big Bear.

    Nothing California Gondola/Red Dog-related at Squaw is surprising given the long construction season ahead, but it is not completely unexpected after only receiving final approvals relatively recently. The additional parking will definitely help at Crystal, but I do not think it is enough and they really needed to show more investment after this year’s disaster and decision to keep it unlimited on the Ikon Base with no blackout days. Two noticable lift replacements missing are Sunrise at Solitude and Powder Monkey at Snowshoe, and those two mountains are not even mentioned as receiving noteworthy projects in the press release. I am not surprised Sugarbush was excluded, but am surprised Stratton was given it will be completing phases two and three of its mountain bike park and has three big projects on the horizon (expanded mid-mountain lodge, Tamarack detachable with a new hotel, and a new summit lodge).

    TL;DR: I like a lot of the investment decisions, especially the non-lift investments, but think they should have probably have gone for an additional couple of lifts.

    Like

    • Donald Reif March 10, 2020 / 7:34 pm

      I’m guessing Mammoth might be getting a pretty good discount replacing both lifts at once.

      Like

  12. Somebody March 11, 2020 / 12:32 am

    In my opinion Stratton needs more terrain, or they need to do a better job of opening what they have. They are experiencing extreme growth under Alterra and the ikon pass, and the current lift and trail system can not handle it when the sun bowl is closed. Skiing at Stratton on a Saturday during the early season is terrifying. The 150 people per minute who get off at the top get funneled into 3-5 trails and it is a complete circus.

    Even during the late season, a new isolated pod would go a long way into improving the experience. My idea is two High speed quads both originating from the bottom of the old kidderbrook lift. Lift A would run to the current ski area summit, and Lift B would run to the fire tower.

    Lift A would run exactly where the old kidderbrook did and would provide better access to the existing terrain over there, while also allowing for laps off the backside of the current boundary. It would also provide a quick way back to the main mountain for skiers lapping lift B.

    Lift B would service new intermediate and expert terrain completely isolated from the rest of the mountain. Much of it would be north facing, which would be solid for early and late season. It would also extend stratton’s vertical drop by ~80 feet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • skitheeast March 11, 2020 / 1:04 am

      I agree that Stratton needs more terrain and your proposed plan would solve this. The one thing I would possibly change is making lift A a detachable six-pack and removing Shooting Star just to avoid crowding at the summit (plus lift A would make Shooting Star redundant). Shooting Star is young enough to be moved either somewhere else on the mountain or to another Alterra mountain.

      Like

      • Tijsen March 11, 2020 / 3:00 pm

        Shooting Star would be great for a South American replacement and they take chairs away to make it 2400pph

        Like

        • skitheeast March 11, 2020 / 5:52 pm

          I do not think South American needs a replacement, especially a detachable one. Perhaps it could be used for the Tamarack detachable that is coming online in a couple of years.

          Like

        • Tijsen March 12, 2020 / 11:00 am

          They want an angle station for tamarack so they need a new lift

          Like

    • jaytrem March 11, 2020 / 4:21 am

      That would be cool, but no way B would be allowed anywhere near the Appalachian Trail.

      Like

      • Peter Landsman March 11, 2020 / 5:54 am

        When the White Pass Paradise Basin expansion finally got approved, one of the stipulations was rerouting the Pacific Crest Trail around the new lifts and runs.

        Like

        • jaytrem March 12, 2020 / 5:49 am

          No way they would ever move the trail away from the peak. It has historical significance since that’s where the idea for the Long Trail (which led to the AT) was conceived. Oddly enough the original trail didn’t go up to Stratton, it was only about 30 years ago that the rerouted it. Who knows, maybe they could get a lift up to the ridge more to the left in the pic. Probably a pipe dream though.

          Like

    • Tom White March 11, 2020 / 6:20 am

      Before moving to Maine four years ago, I had a season pass to Stratton. It was mid-week, so I rarely experienced crowds. I rode the Kidderbrook chair. Putting a new detachable in, is a simple step toward spreading crowds and making better use of current terrain. In the early 80’s they had a future trail about where Test Pilot is, only starting much higher. Before seeking Forest Service approval for Lift B, a trail beyond Test Pilot could be sought. This could be serviced by a new Kidderbrook chair.

      Like

    • Tijsen March 12, 2020 / 2:28 pm

      They could also expand west of the Meadows making a western facing pod. Most of the terrain there is same gradient as blues or greens which would do a good job spreading the average skiers around and also since it faces west it receives the same or less sun compared to the north facing side, which could make it more ideal for snowmaking and late season skiing.

      Like

  13. skitheeast March 11, 2020 / 2:35 pm

    Alterra could really use the addition of a couple northeast mountains to compete with Vail’s new offerings. Bretton Woods and/or Waterville Valley in NH, Windham in NY, Mohawk Mountain in CT, Camelback and/or Blue Mountain in PA are some good options.

    Like

    • Tijsen March 11, 2020 / 3:02 pm

      Windham would be great, because a lot of NYC-NJ people go there frequently and if they get it on the ikon pass it will encourage more of them to take trips further away to VT or out west

      Like

    • Mike B March 12, 2020 / 1:27 pm

      That’s my understanding of the plan. Will go to the op boundary, but not quite to the SUP boundary which extends into Fish Creek Canyon a bit.

      Like

  14. Kenneth Wiseman March 12, 2020 / 12:20 am

    And Winter Park remains with old shitty quads that are at the end of their useful life as the stock holders receive record breaking dividends. There is a reason why Austria is better, in so many ways.

    Like

    • Thomas Jett March 12, 2020 / 3:10 am

      Dude, WP has gotten two new LPAs in the past two years. Why don’t you wait your turn like us Mammoth people had to do? We haven’t gotten a new lift in nine years.

      Like

    • Che Guevara March 12, 2020 / 1:14 pm

      Austria has awesome unbelievable lift infrastructure but there might be government subsidies involved Seeing as tourism is the major economic driver in Austria. In the South Tyrol region of Italy, ski lifts are considered public transportation and therefore get all kinds of bennies. I’ll bet leitner, which is a major employer in the South Tyrol, had something to do with that.

      Like

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