News Roundup: Down But Not Out

  • The last North American ski area still operating, Lookout Pass, closes for the season.
  • Leitner-Poma is hiring installers for projects at Arapahoe Basin, Arizona Snowbowl, Aspen Snowmass, Breckenridge, Keystone and Okemo.
  • A group of 150 former members buys the Hermitage Club and its five chairlifts for the bargain price of $8.06 million.
  • Arapahoe Basin lays off 430 seasonal employees and cuts the hours of year round staff.
  • Children of the man who died on a Vail chairlift earlier this season retain a Denver law firm for possible litigation.
  • In addition to virtually all ski resorts worldwide, coronavirus shuts down urban gondolas including La Paz’s Mi Teleférico, Medellín’s Metrocable, Santo Domingo’s Teleférico and London’s Emirates Air Line.
  • New owners take over Great Divide and will reevaluate proposed lift additions through a master planning process.
  • The newest gondola operation in Australia becomes insolvent and enters administration, partly a result of COVID-19.
  • SAM gathers leaders from Alterra, Boyne, Vail and more to talk about the crisis.  A common theme: capital budgets being reexamined.
  • A Vancouver developer thinks about a gondola as part of a hillside housing development near Cypress Mountain.
  • Lift construction grinds to a halt in New Zealand but carries on in Alaska.
  • Ski Inc. and Ski Inc. 2020 author Chris Diamond shares an optimistic view of the crisis under the assumption it won’t last into next winter.

16 thoughts on “News Roundup: Down But Not Out

  1. milanyvr March 27, 2020 / 12:36 pm

    That gondola would be interesting at cypress mountain. Im guessing it wouldn’t go up to the actual resort, since its under a BC Park, unlike grouse.


  2. sullivanq March 27, 2020 / 1:13 pm

    I wonder what type of ski area Haystack wll reopen as. The private club model obviously did not work, so maybe they will make it public or semi-public.


    • Randy March 28, 2020 / 11:13 am

      “In his opinion, club members are needed to make the mountain successful. He said it’s unlikely Haystack could be run effectively as a public mountain.”


    • bobby smith March 29, 2020 / 10:39 am

      There is a deed restriction on the Haystack property put on my ASC when ASC dumped Haystack. It cannot be a public ski area ever again unless Vail signs off on removing the deed restriction


  3. Donald Reif March 27, 2020 / 1:45 pm

    Sounds like Breck and Keystone will go through with their new lifts, as will Okemo.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Meir K. March 28, 2020 / 5:07 pm

    Note that it’s also unlikely that Haystack could be run effectively as a private mountain.


  5. Somebody March 29, 2020 / 3:04 pm

    Haystack’s only asset is proximity to New York City. The mountain itself is small and not that steep. If they tried competing against Mount Snow and Stratton as a public mountain, they’d get destroyed like what happened to Magic in the 90s. Their only chance is to either stay private (and we’ve seen how well that works) or connect with Mount Snow. The least expensive setup I could think of is shown below. Blue shows the trails you’d ski to get to mount snow, purple shows the trails you’d ski to get to haystack.

    They could both be fixed grip lifts in theory (replace north face lifts with one chair and move them to here?)

    Lift A would start near the top of hayfever and would run up ~900 vertical feet over a 3,300′ length.

    Lift B would start below sunbrook and would run ~950 vertical over a 3,300′ length.

    Vail doesn’t have a huge economic incentive to connect them, which is why I assumed they’d both be fixed grips.

    Liked by 1 person

    • reaperskier March 29, 2020 / 3:43 pm

      Would sunbrook also be replaced in the process with a high speed quad?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Somebody March 29, 2020 / 5:53 pm

        Ideally yes, so you’d be able to quickly access the entirety of Mount Snow coming from Haystack.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tijsen March 30, 2020 / 9:02 pm

      One of the reasons why Mt snow dumped haystack is because operating costs to run and maintain it were too high and didn’t get them many new skiers. In addition the terrain at haystack is almost identical to Mt Snow’s. It would be cool though if they could pull it off

      Liked by 1 person

  6. sullivanq March 29, 2020 / 9:04 pm

    This is cool, but I fear that it might be conservation land or part of some national forest. They’d be blocked just like Wachussett was with the original Vickery bowl plans because of “old growth forest” which was also complete bs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • skitheeast March 30, 2020 / 11:20 am

      Permits had been approved for a Mount Snow/Haystack connection in the 90s, so although they may be expired, it shows that it is possible. Additionally, if the two options are connect or shut down, Wilmington and Dover will lobby in favor of a connection, which will make the process easier.

      I am sure Vail would welcome a connection and recognizes it can probably be achieved primarily on someone else’s dime, so they are letting it play out without intervention.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sullivanq March 30, 2020 / 8:45 pm

        Yeah, and for the treehuggers, a ski area connector has a lot less impact than a lot of condos or a logging camp!

        Liked by 1 person

      • jaytrem March 31, 2020 / 6:26 am

        That’s not true at all, they never even applied for petmits. Maybe you’re thinking of Killington/Pico. I do remember them asking people to send a letter to the state opposing a status change of Cold Brook. Didn’t work, Cold Brook above a certain elevation ended up being more protected.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Noah March 31, 2020 / 12:03 pm

        According to NESH it appears to have just been theorized

        @SULLIVANQ I would appreciate it if you would keep politics out of the discussion. Skiing simply cannot exist with the balance of conservation and development, and you clearly are not knowledgeable of the delicate and now rare ecosystems that are far more valuable left untouched than developed.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jaytrem March 31, 2020 / 1:12 pm

          Pretty sure the map on that page was originally scanned by me ages ago. I put it on Snowjournal at the time. I still have the original. Man was I excited when I first saw that! Must be 30 years ago at this point.

          Liked by 2 people

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