News Roundup: Adventure Assurance

  • Highland readies for mountain bike season with new chairs acquired from Nashoba Valley.
  • Alterra makes modest changes to Ikon in light of recent events: delaying price increases by a month and increasing renewal discounts.  Late today, the company added Adventure Assurance, permitting purchasers to defer their 2020-21 Ikon value to a 2021-22 pass if desired.
  • The Forest Service expects to have a decision on Keystone’s Bergman Bowl expansion by December.
  • Residents in opposition to Mexico City’s Cablebús Line 1 win an injunction stopping some construction.
  • The Colorado Sun goes inside the decision to close Colorado’s ski industry five Saturdays ago.
  • Saddleback decides to decommission Sandy alongside Rangeley and Cupsuptic.  Old chairs are for sale at $2,000 apiece.
  • A class action lawsuit is filed against Vail Resorts alleging fraud, misrepresentation and false advertising for this spring’s early closures.
  • Sinclair Oil Company may be exploring a sale although the firm’s two ski resorts (Snowbasin and Sun Valley) would not be included.
  • Doppelmayr may build a unique triangle shaped gondola in Australia.

24 thoughts on “News Roundup: Adventure Assurance

  1. Meir K. April 17, 2020 / 6:08 pm

    What are Saddleback replacing Sandy with? It may not serve any terrain, but it does provide a link.

    Like

    • Peter Landsman April 17, 2020 / 6:16 pm

      Sandy and Cupsuptic will not be replaced this year. South Branch, Rangeley Express and Kennebago will be the only chairlifts for the reopening season. Those three service all of Saddleback’s terrain. Sandy/Cupsuptic were nice high wind backups but given the choice of building three fixed grips or one detachable, I’d choose the detachable any day.

      Like

      • Teddy's Lift World April 18, 2020 / 8:26 am

        IMO Sandy should be replaced with a shorter carpet since they already have a beginner chairlift with South Branch. I think the first few years will determine if a replacement for Cupsuptic is necessary. I would love to see a new Doppelmayr T-Bar, but it probably isn’t needed. From what I heard from Saddleback Sandy and Cupsuptic were unfixable after sitting for 5 years. I honestly think that they could’ve fixed Cupsuptic since there are many other Hall T-Bars that can be used for parts and are still operating perfectly, but Sandy was a Hopkins lift that probably had very few parts available, although one thing that makes me doubt that there are little parts is that there is an abundance of Hopkins skyrides with a lot of the same equipment as Sandy.

        And $2,000 per chair is ridiculous, especially when many families are struggling economically during this time.

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        • Michael April 18, 2020 / 11:52 am

          Families struggling or not, $2000 is nuts. $200 would be more like it.

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        • Utah Powder Skier April 18, 2020 / 2:33 pm

          $2000 for a double chair? The Wildcat Triple chairs at Snowbasin sold for about $100, and Thiokol chairs aren’t common either.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Ryan Gardner April 18, 2020 / 7:27 pm

          Actually I think I paid $400 or $500 for one of the old Littlecat Double Thiokol Chairs from Snowbasin. Would have gotten one of the Wildcat chairs too, but dang it I wasn’t quick enough :(

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        • Somebody April 18, 2020 / 10:36 pm

          The rarity of Hopkins chairs can not be overstated: this may be the only/last time in history to acquire one of these. The Thiokols are definitely rare, but I can think of at least 5 or 6 Thiokol triple chairs still operating off the top of my head. $2,000 might be a bit high but I at least understand their thought process.

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        • Carleton April 19, 2020 / 10:18 am

          The chairs were given to the Rangley Alpine Ski Club, and they are selling them as a fund raising means, to re-establish ski racing at Saddleback. I do agree that the price is too high, but that’s part of the reason for the high cost….

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        • Meir K. April 19, 2020 / 11:32 am

          Are there any other Hopkins lifts used for skiing anywhere?

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        • Nahms April 20, 2020 / 2:39 pm

          For reference, I paid $1,200 for a Loon Mountain CWA 4-person gondola two years ago and have a Carlevaro-Savio double chair I paid $300 for from Butternut. $2,000 is ridiculous ($800 more than a used gondola cabin!). I bet they will eventually sell these chairs in lots to vintage chairlift buyers who restore them and sell them.

          Like

  2. Donald Reif April 17, 2020 / 6:50 pm

    It’ll be interesting if Keystone decides to go with upgrading the Peru Express next year and combines it with the Bergman Bowl expansion. Combining the two projects would certainly make for a lot of hype (similar to how Canyons built the Iron Mountain expansion the same year as Orange Bubble).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kaden K April 18, 2020 / 10:12 am

    Poor Vail. They got sued for closing early. But if they would’ve stayed open, they would’ve gotten sued for not closing and helping the spread.

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  4. skier72 April 18, 2020 / 12:37 pm

    What lift at Nashoba Valley did the Leitner chairs come off?

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    • Matthew D April 20, 2020 / 7:11 pm

      Are they removing that lift? How come they got rid of the chairs?

      Like

  5. Don April 18, 2020 / 8:53 pm

    Anyone know where the other triangular gondolas mentioned by the Australian article are located?

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    • Peter Landsman April 19, 2020 / 8:13 am

      Not triangles, but they are probably referring to these similar systems:

      SkyCab – Wynn Palace, China

      Safari – Kolmården Wildlife Park, Sweden

      Leitner completed a triangle for a Spanish wildlife park in 2016:

      Like

        • Chris April 20, 2020 / 12:52 am

          FYI, there have been a fair amount fixed grip “cabriolets” or “basket lifts” in Italy (way more than detachable ones in the whole world) , and Graffer who built the one in Lisbon also built many others. But they never made a major appearance outside of Italy, and are a dying breed even there.

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        • Jamie B April 22, 2020 / 8:13 am

          Indeed Italy has many. They also have a few fixed grip lifts which operate with chairs in the winter and gondolas in the summer. As you say, sadly they are all disappearing

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  6. Phoenix April 19, 2020 / 1:27 am

    The info page on the triangle gondola says “When the cabin exits the station, it will increase its speed to 1.5 metres per second…” Wow, that’s a slow gondola.

    Like

  7. Hansell Stedman April 20, 2020 / 11:06 pm

    I’ll be completely honest – I’ve heard some reports about how much money Alterra Mtn Co. and Vail Resorts are losing/have lost, and I’m just not buying it. If any of you can shed some light on this for me I’d appreciate it.

    I’ve heard before that ski areas are generally operating at a loss anyway once mid march comes around because only passholders show up to the resorts, the operating costs are still (nearly) as high as they were in the early season but there isn’t anyone purchasing day tickets. Sure, Vail and Alterra missed out on the sales of lodging and food for the last two weeks of March and maybe one of April, but they also got a zero judgment way to get rid of all their seasonal employees and cut operations early.

    I get the feeling they are saving up the lift and capital expenditure money in the offseason to buy the bankrupt smaller resorts. Is this an overly cynical view? What am I missing here?

    Like

    • skitheeast April 21, 2020 / 1:09 am

      For northeast/midwest resorts:
      It is hard to view any single day for a ski area as a profitable one or not when snowmaking is involved. Snowmaking is expensive and all mountains have a similar formula. Snow is typically made in greatest quantities during the early season, which is typically opening day through Christmas Day. Here, ski operators sometimes lose money because they are making more snow than the current demand requires knowing that demand will spike for peak season and a deep base will be needed. Peak season starts at Christmas and ends typically around St. Patrick’s Day. This is where the majority of yearly profits are made, as snowmaking typically slows and eventually stops. End of the season skiing, which is the time the resort is open from post-peak through closing day, has zero snowmaking costs, as the snowpack peaks around March and trails typically close once they run out of snow. The good news is that most peak seasons were over by the shutdowns dates, so no lion’s share of revenue is missing. However, all the snowmaking for the rest of the season was already paid for and completed months ago, so there was some money lost in making snow that did not end up being needed. TLDR: they ended up spending a little more money than needed on snowmaking, but they still got most of their season’s revenue, so their overall shape was not too bad.

      For western resorts:
      Peak season here typically lasts through the end of the first week of April due to spring break crowds, which is also beneficial in that those guests stay for a longer duration than the typical weekend visitors of the earlier peak season. Most western resorts expected to have 15 peak season weeks and 3 of them were canceled. If we oversimplify the math and assume all peak weeks are created equal, that is 20% of peak revenue gone. Luckily, most resorts hedge their seasons with season pass sales to mitigate this impact, but there is still a large chunk of money that will be missing. TLDR: revenue was down significantly because spring break crowds bring in a lot of money.

      On the topic of early termination for seasonal workers, this is pretty straightforward. The business would be generating zero dollars in revenue for the foreseeable future, no one knows if there will be summer business or if next season will have a skier slump due to the economy, so the unfortunate reality is that early termination to preserve cash was necessary.

      Like

      • Hansell Stedman April 21, 2020 / 11:03 pm

        Thanks for your more nuanced take on this.

        Like

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