News Roundup: Grab Bag

58 thoughts on “News Roundup: Grab Bag

  1. Calvin March 5, 2021 / 6:56 pm

    How can the engineering firm f*** up so bad on the new Black, and how could they and the installers get this far before realizing this massive error?

    Liked by 1 person

    • ne_skier March 5, 2021 / 7:38 pm

      No clue. Multiple derailments currently, leaving the chairs sagging 1-2 ft too low. Not sure who to blame, if anyone, but I have to imagine this could have been discovered at a better time

      Like

    • Ryan March 6, 2021 / 12:46 am

      Can’t they use other brand sheaves in this case? Put different brand sheave trains on there, like doppie/CTEC, or even Riblet? I’ve seen lifts that had different sheave assemblies on them.. Miner Denver/Poma for example on one of the resorts in Wisconsin I think?

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      • pbropetech March 8, 2021 / 8:31 am

        Not everything would be compatible with the Poma 77 grip. I’ve seen plenty of Yans with Doppelmayr or Poma sheaves, but they were so low-profile it didn’t matter. The 77s are fairly bulky and may not fit anything but a Poma assembly.

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    • Matthew Slater March 6, 2021 / 2:31 pm

      What about Kidderbrook that was apparently sold to Jay Peak and Mont Saint-Sauveur? Same age/model…wonder if Jay or Saint-Sauveur still has remaining parts.

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      • ne_skier March 7, 2021 / 12:13 pm

        Kidderbrook didn’t use spoked sheaves, I doubt it would work.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Erik March 5, 2021 / 7:19 pm

    How does a 2S work? Is one a haul rope and the other a stationary support cable (like a 3S with one less support cable)? Or are both cables moving in a continuous double loop (kinda like a funitel)? I can’t get the video to work to it’s hard to tell what’s going on there.

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    • Munier Salem March 5, 2021 / 8:51 pm

      Given those massive spans and tram-like towers, the second rope is almost certainly a high tension, stationary track rope (like a 3S or tram, but one instead of two). Two track ropes give you an exceptional amount of stability against torsional movement. With just one track rope, it seems like you’re more reliant on the haul rope to help stabilize motion.

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      • Chris March 6, 2021 / 8:41 am

        Note that trams can have different numbers of cables. The two support plus one haul rope is the classic swiss design. The old Austrian and German trams usually used a single support rope per side, and there are even some odd designs with two haul ropes and a single support rope per side.

        The design with two moving ropes, or rather usually a single one that is used twice per side, is called a funitel. There is one in Squaw valley, there used to be one at June mountain and there are quite a few in Europe. For example Hintertux in Austria has three of them.

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    • Phoenix March 5, 2021 / 9:51 pm

      The first one of those – the top rope is a track rope which the cabin rolls along, and the bottom one is the drive cable. It’s the same system as old 2S gondolas like the Banff gondola (with modern terminal equipment of course) so you can look at that for more info.

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  3. Utah Powder Skier March 5, 2021 / 8:55 pm

    I wonder if Pioneer at Winter Park could live on as a fixed grip quad somewhere else. It shouldn’t be too hard to convert, Poma hasn’t really changed their fixed grip terminal designs since the mid 80s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif March 5, 2021 / 9:50 pm

      And LPA did this with Fanny Hill, making it into Assay Hill and Meadows.

      Like

  4. Joe Blake March 5, 2021 / 9:31 pm

    Here’s hoping the hinted-at expansion at Bogus is into the Clear Creek drainage. Some longer intermediate groomers and more north-facing trees would be welcome. Nothing wrong with what’s here, but sometimes it feels small even at 2600 acres. It’s on the dreamer’s vision board upstairs in the lower lodge, anyway.

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  5. skier72 March 5, 2021 / 11:07 pm

    I’m wondering if the Riblet Zincton bought was the old Drumheller Valley one that went to Big Bam and was never installed? It would make sense, maybe.

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    • skier72 March 5, 2021 / 11:11 pm

      Drumheller Valley:

      Big Bam:

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    • Peter Landsman March 6, 2021 / 7:31 am

      Likely that’s the one. The other logical possibility would be Mt. Baker’s Chair 7 but I think was scrapped.

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      • pbropetech March 8, 2021 / 8:33 am

        I had the same thought, but I agree that it was probably scrapped. I could ask.

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  6. Ryan March 6, 2021 / 12:47 am

    I was hoping to see more at Winter Park, but glad that some of the classic fixed grips live another year.

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  7. Enumclaw kid March 6, 2021 / 9:34 am

    This Crystal Mountain Ikon thing is BS. It’s an Alterra-owned mountain now. Most if not all the other Alterra-owned mountains AFAIK are unlimited on the base pass; that’s really what divides the base from the full pass. They have a parking garage in B lot approved in the master plan. So what do they do w/r/t capacity? Raise prices. It really goes to show the lack of competition in the Seattle day skier market.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Landsman March 6, 2021 / 9:37 am

      Alterra-owned Deer Valley and Steamboat are also limited to 5 days with blackouts on the Ikon Base Pass.

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      • SCSkier March 6, 2021 / 10:04 am

        However, both Steamboat and Deer Valley have unlimited options that are just as close to those major areas. Wonder how much/if this will hurt ikon in the Seattle area when you now have the option of Steven’s Pass unlimited and a weekend trip up to Whistler also unlimited on the Epic Local.

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    • Anthony March 6, 2021 / 1:13 pm

      Crystal was planning on some major base area improvements last year before the pandemic hit, so it will be interesting to see if those plans make a return this year.

      I do think the Seattle market could easily absorb more capacity, but I also don’t think the assertion that there isn’t competition holds up. Boyne, Alterra, and Vail are all in the mix with a handful of independent options as well. A lot of Seattle-area skiers are regulars at Baker, White Pass, and Mission Ridge, and many more will just as easily make a six hour drive to Whistler, Schweitzer, Whitefish, or Bachelor and make a long weekend of it.

      Really it’s the base-area amenities at the three closest resorts that haven’t kept pace with growth, and until major improvements can be made to things like parking, base lodges, and access, I don’t see what’s wrong with (or new about) requiring day-ticket reservations (which imo will become standard practice across the industry) or limiting base-level season pass access. Crystal in particular faces very similar challenges to the Cottonwood Canyon resorts in Utah. Their season passes are *not cheap.*

      Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Landsman March 6, 2021 / 3:04 pm

        The letter I linked above specifically mentions the new lodge is going ahead this summer. A good sign for some new Alterra lifts this year, though probably not at Crystal.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Erik March 6, 2021 / 1:46 pm

      I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t mind this change. Passes in the Seattle market are under-priced; the Ikon Base is the same price as my old Crystal-only pass used to be, but also includes 5 days at Snoqualmie. It’s too good of a deal and they sold too many of them.

      Demand for skiing is increasing as the population grows, but supply hasn’t grown in years… so price increases are inevitable. I just hope it helps to reduce the number of days the lots are full by 8am.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Enumclaw kid March 6, 2021 / 3:08 pm

        “it’s the base-area amenities at the three closest resorts that haven’t kept pace with growth, and until major improvements can be made to things like parking, base lodges, and access”

        This is my point. They could make these improvements and are choosing not to. The three closest mountains to the largest Puget Sound population centers (Stevens, Summit, Crystal) are controlled by the Vail-Alterra duopoly. Alterra has approval in hand from the USFS to build parking and base facilities to their heart’s content at Crystal… but why will they when Stevens, their most direct competitor, can’t. (Summit is also on Ikon and is inferior d/t size, elevation, snow quality.) So they are applying Econ 101 and shareholder value theory to maximize their profits instead of investing to compete.

        When I was 21, I did do 3+ hour one-way drives to day ski. But peak earning age adults and families won’t. So unless you live outside the core of the Puget Sound region, far enough south (eg Olympia) that White is an option, or north enough that Baker is an option (north of Everett), or you’re going to fly or do long weekends elsewhere in the region (not feasible every weekend for most people), you’re a captive market.

        The Cascades aren’t Colorado or Tahoe, with a dozen or more options and multiple competing owners. I swear, if Vail comes out in two weeks and limits access to Stevens… I have an idea that I am not posting here.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Anthony March 6, 2021 / 5:04 pm

          My argument isn’t that improvements aren’t necessary—it’s that some form of more heavily controlled access is to be expected, at least until improvements are made. Be grateful Washington skiers don’t have to pay $1,500 for an unlimited season pass like those whose home resorts are in LCC, which has similar traffic and parking issues.

          Also, Stevens does have USFS approval for some significant parking and base area improvements.

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        • Erik March 6, 2021 / 6:41 pm

          Yeah or Jackson Hole- an unlimited pass there is $2400.

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    • Mr Incredible March 6, 2021 / 6:04 pm

      I hadn’t skied crystal in a couple years but I went up recently, midweek, and had to pay $117. I think it was closer to $60-70 before Alterra bought it. Seattle skiing is not the bargain (or the value) it used to be. I’ll be making fewer trips to Crystal (or maybe none) and more longer trips to BC (once the border opens up) or Montana.

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      • Erik March 6, 2021 / 6:36 pm

        Yeah, they want your money (in the form of a season pass) before the season even begins- it gives them a more stable revenue base regardless of what kind of snow year it is. That’s why prices for day tickets have skyrocketed while season passes have been flat or gone down. At Crystal, it used to be you had to ski 10+ days to make a season pass break even. Now it’s down to only 5 days. As a consequence there are more passholders, and dedicated skiers are skiing more days than ever. It’s really bad for attracting new people to the sport, though.

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        • Mr Incredible March 6, 2021 / 8:12 pm

          I get that and it works if you want to ski Crystal a lot. But there isn’t much else covered by Ikon within a days drive. They need a product for skiers like me that have a short attention span. I head over to the Alps every couple years and the price differential is startling. Chamonix for a day is $60

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        • Erik March 6, 2021 / 10:13 pm

          Yeah I’ve always wondered why day tickets in Europe, even at major resorts, are considerably cheaper than in the US. My guess is it’s a combination of factors… there’s a ton of competition in the Alps, higher average skier density throughout the week (resorts are busy and profitable even on weekdays, since Europeans get more vacation time than Americans), lower liability insurance costs, etc. I’ve also heard that there are government subsidies for ski areas, at least in Austria & Switzerland. I guess it helps when skiing is your national sport (kinda like how NFL stadiums are subsidized here).

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        • Chris March 7, 2021 / 12:32 am

          In Tirol only ski resorts considered to be very small (and thus catering to locals) get some state subsidies. In Lower and Upper Austria most of the large resorts are state owned, similar to some of the New York state ones. The big resorts just seem to have amazing profit margins from filling the resorts over the whole holiday season while having very efficient staffing (to a European American resorts look massively overstaffed).

          Note that the single and multi-day passes are much cheaper, but once we talk about the big multi-resort season passes the pricing levels are pretty similar to the US.

          Like

        • skitheeast March 7, 2021 / 12:55 am

          There is no single reason why skiing in Europe is generally much cheaper, but here are a few reasons:

          European ski resorts are generally not vertically integrated. Typically, each restaurant, rental store, hotel, etc. is independently owned. Vail can have a single person pay $200 for a ticket, $100 for food, and $1000 for lodging every day and receive all of the revenue, therefore not needing as many individual skiers to get the same revenue as European resorts only getting the lift ticket portion. The market for lift tickets expensive enough to match Vail’s total revenue per skier is so absurdly small that it makes more financial sense to keep ticket prices low and have a larger volume.

          There is more competition. In Austria, there are over 400 ski resorts for a population of just under 9 million. In Utah and Colorado combined, there are below 50 for a very similarly sized population. Both regions also receive plenty of out-of-state visitors. They are not perfect comparisons, but this is an extremely wide gap.

          Insurance costs and liability in the US, whether for skiing or any other industry, are much higher than in Europe. The odds of a ski resort having to pay for a lawsuit are much lower in Europe.

          At some resorts in some European countries, governments do indeed subsidize ski resorts. This can be in the form of helping to pay for lifts as public transit projects or subsidizing snowmaking costs due to their increased need due to climate change.

          There are a lot more skiers per capita in Europe than in the US. The argument of lowering prices to increase volume, and perhaps overall revenue, does not work as well when the maximum volume is relatively low.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Myles Svec March 7, 2021 / 9:52 am

        Your correct about that it was cheaper at Steamboat before Ikon pass even though it was Intrawest. A one day ticket is now close to $240! This year they also jacked up the price of ski school to $400 a day which the average person can’t afford.

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        • Utah Powder Skier March 7, 2021 / 10:02 am

          Are they trying to turn Steamboat into Deer Valley?

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        • Myles Svec March 7, 2021 / 10:18 am

          I think so. Hopefully when Steamboat has lifts replaced they are premium lifts like the premium price you pay to ski! I think they are also doing this to get more revenue and get more money for big lift projects. I suspect if Steamboat goes Doppelmayr for wild blue gondola it could be a d line one.

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        • Ryan March 7, 2021 / 3:38 pm

          Steamboat already has it’s own uniqueness and doesn’t need to be a Deer Valley. It’s already better. Yes Steamboat needs to grow and replace some of it’s infrastructure, which it is.

          Liked by 1 person

        • skitheeast March 7, 2021 / 4:43 pm

          I do not believe they are trying to make Steamboat into a Colorado Deer Valley. Rather, Steamboat has been extremely crowded as a result of the Ikon Pass. Historically, Steamboat did not receive the same number of Front Range skiers because it was much farther than the usual I-70 resorts in Vail, Breck, Keystone, Beaver Creek, Copper, and Winter Park. Now, with Ikon giving skiers Steamboat access, they are venturing further out in pursuit of something new.

          Also, Winter Park and Copper have received their fair share of Ikon crowds. Epic’s combination of Vail, Keystone, Beaver Creek, and Breck disperses skiers over more than 13000 acres. Copper and Winter Park combine to only offer 5500 acres. Hence, skiers are trying to avoid the crowds and head to Steamboat and Aspen. Aspen responded by removing itself from the Ikon Base Pass, but Steamboat is 100% Alterra and will not jump the Ikon ship. Raising day ticket prices to discourage their sale helps limit crowds.

          I will note that Eldora and A-Basin are available on Ikon as well. However, A-Basin does not attract the same wide range of skiers as other resorts, and most people prefer to venture over the continental divide in search of better snow and do not go to Eldora.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Somebody March 7, 2021 / 5:41 pm

          It seems Alterra’s plan just about everywhere is to turn their resorts into “the deer valley of “. I don’t think it’s a good idea or sustainable. We’ll see.

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        • Donald Reif March 7, 2021 / 5:45 pm

          A-Basin also has a different clientele from the rest of the Summit County ski resorts, given its larger focus on advanced terrain.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Utah Powder Skier March 7, 2021 / 5:48 pm

          There just aren’t enough people who can afford these high end resorts. We only need one Deer Valley anyway. Are they doing it to sell more Ikon passes?

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        • skitheeast March 7, 2021 / 7:26 pm

          Alterra is not trying to make every resort “The Deer Valley of…”. Their view is that each region can support one high-end resort. Tahoe has Northstar, Utah has Deer Valley, and Colorado has Beaver Creek. Vermont really does not have one, hence the focus on making Stratton the Deer Valley of Vermont. However, I have yet to hear about them doing this to any other resort in their portfolio, including Steamboat.

          Like

  8. julestheshiba March 6, 2021 / 11:14 am

    Is it just me or has this year had way more lift-related incidents than any other year, people falling off, old lifts breaking, new lifts breaking, chairs sliding and falling, and derailments. I find it odd how many new lifts have broken down this year.

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  9. Alex March 6, 2021 / 12:02 pm

    My SWAG Predictions for Alterra Summer 2021 Improvements. Interested in other people’s thoughts

    Mammoth – Broadway & Canyon Express Lifts (Both HSS)

    Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows – California Express Gondola 8 PAX

    Tremblant – Timber Express HSQ

    Winter Park – Pioneer Express HSS

    Like

    • Myles Svec March 6, 2021 / 12:49 pm

      Pioneer HSS will probably be next year and guessing timber for then too. I think that California express will be built this summer also.

      Like

    • awconrad March 6, 2021 / 5:57 pm

      When are new lifts expected to be be built at Steamboat?

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      • Myles Svec March 6, 2021 / 6:18 pm

        I’m guessing probably 2022 or 2023 but the only insider info I have is that Pioneer Express will be the last thing built on the master plan. This is probably because all the locals absolutely hate the new Pioneer expansion because it was the most popular backcountry area with at some times hundreds of people skiing it on one day I have heard.

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    • Kirk March 6, 2021 / 6:16 pm

      My sources tell me Mammoth NO, Squaw/Alpine YES. California info is all I have on Alterra.

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      • Myles Svec March 6, 2021 / 6:20 pm

        Why not Mammoth? Are the lifts already built in storage?

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        • Ryan Murphy March 6, 2021 / 6:25 pm

          Let’s wait for the announcement. I’d be surprised if it isn’t addressed, after being annoucned last year.

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        • Kirk March 6, 2021 / 6:39 pm

          NO lifts in storage, Mammoth not happening.

          As a side note many would love to see the DoppelYan lifts replaced, especially the guys that work on them. Don’t think the 12 to 13 million spent replacing chairs 1 and 16 would sell any more season passes or tickets at Mammoth.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Vintage Chairlifts March 6, 2021 / 10:19 pm

    2 of the last 4 Riblets from the 1950s are on their way out the door and a 3rd is probably a few years away from being removed.

    A bit sad, but you gotta keep up with demand and have a reliable machine.

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  11. Cascade Concretr March 7, 2021 / 8:34 pm

    Didn’t Crystal have a bubble on one of its lifts back in the day? White Pass’s new bubble is the only current bubble lift in the state, but I’m fairly certain it’s not the first one in state history.

    Like

    • Joe Blake March 7, 2021 / 8:57 pm

      Wrong on both counts. White doesn’t and Crystal never did. Mission is of whom you are thinking.

      Like

  12. vons3 March 9, 2021 / 7:26 pm

    My sources saying Dakota at Big Sky may be done for the season… and they are looking for a Heron poma BW with the right size cat reducer in it…

    Like

  13. skitheeast March 15, 2021 / 10:35 am

    Something I do not understand is why has Alterra not made regional Ikon Passes. For example, in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic: Sugarbush, Stratton, Tremblant, Blue Mountain, and Snowshoe all sell passes with access to only their mountain in some form for up to ~$550. Why not merge them all onto a single pass for the same price? I am sure they could even throw the 10 blackout dates on there if they really want and people would still love it. Honestly, they could do the same in California because of the existence of local June and Big Bear passes and add some limited Mammoth.

    This would give them the following, simplified pass lineup:
    Ikon Pass ($999) – As existing
    Ikon Base Pass ($729) – As existing
    Ikon Northeast Pass (~$549) – Sugarbush/Stratton/Tremblant/Blue Mountain/Snowshoe w/10 blackout days at all
    Ikon California Pass (~$499) – June/Big Bear w/10 blackout days + Mammoth 5 days total w/10 blackout days

    The existence of Alterra-only passes would ensure they receive all of the revenue instead of having to pay others like they do for the top two passes, and they would be encouraging skiers to visit their other Alterra-owned resorts. Plus, this would make them more competitive with Epic in terms of regional offerings and simplify their own passes.

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