News Roundup: Graduation Season


21 thoughts on “News Roundup: Graduation Season

  1. Somebody May 15, 2020 / 5:40 pm

    If I was Sun Peaks I’d delay the Crystal upgrade. A 20% capacity increase for a season isn’t worth taking the chance of losing lift service for the entire pod. Seems like a bad idea unless they can get keep the old chair functional until the new one is complete.

    To be honest, that upgrade never made very much sense to me in the first place. Why not upgrade Burfield to a HSQ and move the Burfield FGQ to Crystal? And why aren’t they re-using the crystal triple? Plenty of other lifts of that age have been re-purposed to serve fun and popular pods.


  2. pbropetech May 16, 2020 / 7:40 am

    Having twins graduating this next week, I applaud Telluride and Cranmore. Everyone I know was pretty bummed that graduation wasn’t happening, so it’s very cool that those places have found a way to make it special for the kids. Life in a ski town does sometimes have perks. (Leadville has put together a modified ceremony, so we still get to watch them walk- for those who have ridden the double at Ski Cooper, you understand why that wouldn’t work for us!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alex May 16, 2020 / 12:29 pm

    I am curious what people think about the cabins in Gondolas, Funitels, Trams, etc. in the age of COVID 19. I wonder if ski area are underestimating the concern skiers will have to jam into those lift like they have in the past and if ski areas should be looking to mitigate those concerns now/this summer. If these areas continue to operate these lifts they could be required to drastically reduce the capacities (e.g. like the airlines) For example, should a place like Jackson Hole replace the cabins in the Bridger and Sweetwater with chairs for next ski season? I worry that ski areas are going to realize this risk too late in the summer and there may be a scramble for chair manufacturing. Perhaps I am overthinking this, interested in people’s thoughts.


    • Collin Parsons May 16, 2020 / 1:25 pm

      My opinion is that trams won’t operate and gondolas will be ride with your party only with nightly disinfecting of cabins.


    • skitheeast May 16, 2020 / 1:33 pm

      I think that there may be restrictions that limit the number of people or families in each cabin, but I do not see gondolas and trams going away in the long run. Airlines are only encouraged, not required, to not fill the planes to capacity and leave middle seats open. What resorts do will likely depend on the public’s comfort with the virus.

      From a COVID-19 perspective, the only time skiing when there is a very high risk of transmission is in the lodges or any other time people choose to remove or not wear goggles and face masks. This does occur frequently, but it is much easier to pressure people to wear or not remove gear than to order multi-million dollar lifts. Ischgl, the Austrian ski resort that had a major outbreak, traced the transmission to après-ski parties, not the act of being on the mountain.


    • Somebody May 16, 2020 / 2:58 pm

      If people can’t ride gondolas by November, I’d imagine most people won’t be getting on planes to fly out to JHMR. I doubt they will replace their gondolas with chairs because Teewinot will probably be enough out of base capacity. It’s also not like this would be a cheap endeavor for 1 season. Chairs are expensive, and most gondolas are built on patios above the snow.

      Now if I was Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, Blackcomb or SSV right now, I’d consider it. Their entire resorts are exclusively accessible via very long gondolas. Those are cases where I could see some quad chairs possibly thrown on.

      I could also see the possibility of completely new chairs going in at Revy/Kicking Horse, since they already both have gondola redundancy in their master plans, and it might make more sense for them to install the new lifts if they were planning on doing it eventually anyways.


      • gavin May 16, 2020 / 6:42 pm

        Both Revelstoke and Kicking Horse are pretty low density, so it really shouldn’t affect them that much. I’m not sure about Sunshine Village, but WB is going to have a real problem. With the main access being gondola out of all 3 base areas, it will be extremely slow. Perhaps Blackcomb should have kept the Wizard express as a backup instead of scrapping it.


        • John May 16, 2020 / 8:25 pm

          I wouldn’t be suprised if they replaced Fitzsimmons express and garbanzo express with a 6 pack due to social distancing reasons


        • Somebody May 16, 2020 / 8:26 pm

          If Revy, KH and Sunshine can run their gondolas at all (even at low capacity), they should be fine. If they legally can not run gondolas, they need a backup plan.

          As I said about JH, people probably won’t be getting on planes to go skiing this upcoming winter if the virus sticks around. Whistler Mountain will probably be fine capacity wise with Fitzsimmons being the only access (even if losing creekside is annoying).

          The bigger problem is Blackcomb. There is literally no way to access Blackcomb without riding a gondola. As with Revy/Kh/Sunshine, if they get legally shut out they are kinda screwed. Perhaps they will install chairs on the Blackcomb gondola (boy, that would be ironic).


        • John May 16, 2020 / 8:26 pm

          At WB


        • Somebody May 17, 2020 / 2:29 am

          I doubt that WB will replace Fitzsimmons and Garbanzo for one year of ops when that’s not even planned. I think it’d be much more economical to try to put chairs on existing gondolas (although I’m not sure how that’d work with village gondola’s buildings, and I’m not sure how they’d make them have downhill unload ramps).

          Liked by 1 person

        • John May 17, 2020 / 6:50 am

          Yeah, in Europe a bunch of chairlifts are within a building. I guess they could just fill the platform with a lot of snow, but I think the village gondola building might not be big enough even for a quad. Do they still have the wizard and solar coaster chair, is it possible to put those on the Backcomb gondola?

          Liked by 1 person

    • pbropetech May 17, 2020 / 7:00 am

      There will be no mass conversion of gondolas to chairlifts. There are factors some of you understandably aren’t aware of, plus it’s simple economics. VR, for example, has had to furlough even full-time year-round employees. That means temporarily not paying them. If they can’t even do that, there’s no money for temporary ‘fixes’ like this. Sure, chairs are much less expensive than gondola cabins but they still have a cost. Then there’s the other things that go along with modifying a lift in this fashion, such as recalibrating the drives, braking systems, tension, and possibly some tower loads (some that are close to neutral may go negative with the lighter load, some that are lightly loaded may go neutral), followed by a load test. Nothing insurmountable but time-consuming nonetheless. This would be on top of standard maintenance where places are already faced with reduced staffing, time, and budgets.
      My feeling is most gondola operators are going to run them, with restrictions- as Collin has noted, you ride with your immediate group, whom you presumably drove up or are staying with. There will be periodic, if not constant, disinfection. Areas with telemixes may simply shut down the gondola side (that’s been discussed at my place). That would be followed by more disinfection. I plan on having the cleanest hands of any mechanic on the hill, if I don’t succeed in pawning off the chore on someone else ;)

      Liked by 3 people

      • Somebody May 17, 2020 / 7:08 pm

        As I said earlier, if resorts are legally allowed to run gondolas normally (even at low capacity), they will. And the reality is that there probably will not be some restriction against gondolas specifically. Hypotheticals are still fun to think about though.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. John May 16, 2020 / 7:40 pm

    I noticed 2 things with this years doppelmayr worldbook.

    With almost all the worldbooks before they have a bunch of signatures from people at doppelmayr (like 5). This year there is only 2 signatures.

    Also, the number of D-Line installations seem to be double the year before. it seems like D-Line is really to get popular. I think this is the first year that there was more D-Lines installed than other generations (in terms of gondolas)


    • pbropetech May 17, 2020 / 7:09 am

      We’ve been noting for a while how the D-line is gaining traction. From my standpoint as a mechanic, it seems to be mainly a refinement of the existing UNI platform (but I haven’t physically been inside one yet to be sure). The A grips now have a dual-position option, which I’m unsure of whether they can operate in the UNI. Most likely. Otherwise, it may replace the UNI completely unless there’s a big cost difference.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jamie B May 18, 2020 / 12:02 pm

        They’re not A grips, they’re D grips, which are the only grips D-line uses. Uni-G terminals have not been adapted to take them. I’m sure they could theoretically be, but there’s no reason to introduce a new grip to Uni-G. If anything, they’d be more likely to adapt the D-line terminals to take the old grips, but I’ve not heard of any plans for this. I imagine the cost of the D-line is coming down as production increases, and as more budget options become available.

        I noted a few interesting things, many of which were already in the WIR (in the roundup last week), including 8-person D-line gondola lifts being built, and an unusual feature on a chairlift built in Finland. The Sjöexpressen appears to be the first D-line chairlift without spring-dampened suspension.

        I was surprised to see the Marguns–Trais Flours chairlift featuring – the yearbook doesn’t normally include modifications to old lifts. It is the only 6-person chairlift Von Roll ever built, and they have replaced the chairs. I am pleased to see this unique lift will be running for years to come.

        Liked by 1 person

        • pbropetech May 18, 2020 / 1:13 pm

          I was about to correct myself- I just learned about the D-grips. Superficially I thought they were the A-models. My mistake. I would think it wouldn’t be difficult to adapt the D-line terminals to operate with the A-grips, unless the dimensions are significantly different between the two.

          Liked by 1 person

        • John May 19, 2020 / 9:20 am

          Isn’t it just like how some UNI-Gs have DT grips while some have A series grips? Looking at the D-Line in finland, it looks like it has the A series grips. The springs look alot longer than the D line springs, it looks closer to the A series.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Jamie B May 20, 2020 / 9:02 am

          Very interesting spot, I have just spent some time comparing it to other grips, and it does appears to have more coils, like the A grip. The bit that sticks out below the coil appears the same as other D grips, although this is the part that attaches to the D-line suspension

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Meir K. May 18, 2020 / 7:13 am

    Peter, would it be possible to get a Bartholet / GMM promotional video next time? Those terminals at Leitner are… getting monotonous

    Liked by 1 person

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