News Roundup: Preferred Alternatives


22 thoughts on “News Roundup: Preferred Alternatives

  1. carletongebhardt June 25, 2021 / 2:43 pm

    Under previous ownership, Wildcat used to put gondola cabins on for summer sightseeing. This year Vail was just going run it as a chair in the summer. I wonder if the cabins are gone for good? And of course for Attitash, everyone is waiting for them to replace that Summit chair, and the comments to their social media announcement about the servicing were asking that question….


  2. Calvin June 25, 2021 / 3:05 pm

    You should fix your typo. It should read “Vail indefinitely postpones summer ops at Attitash and Wildcat for cost cutting reasons”

    There is no maintenance issues other than their lack thereof. Vail cam in and slashed salaries so people quit.


  3. skitheeast June 26, 2021 / 2:41 pm

    The odds of all three lifts simultaneously having indefinite maintenance issues is low. Finding employees is extremely difficult across the US right now, and it would not surprise me at all if that were the real reason behind Vail’s delay in NH. The problem is that Vail has so far demonstrated a real lack of understanding the uniqueness of each of their newly acquired resorts as they strive to homogenize the Epic experience across the country, and it is fair to attribute the closures to this until proven otherwise.


  4. Thomas Jett June 26, 2021 / 4:39 pm

    That’s at least three new lifts planned at Mammoth that we didn’t know of previously about: the two unnumbered pulse gondolas, and chair 34. The 2028 completion target gives me hope for a lot of investment over the next decade.

    Also of not is that it looks like the chair 1 replacement has some sort of chair storage at its base, so maybe we’ll be seeing bubbles on it?


    • pbropetech June 26, 2021 / 6:18 pm

      Maybe, maybe not. From the maintenance side it’s nice to have storage regardless.


    • Mike B June 28, 2021 / 12:28 pm

      It also put a configuration on the future Ch. 36 for the first time I’ve seen – D4C. Also looks like, similar to Steamboat, Panorama gondola base will get move uphill a bit with a location pretty much centered on the current ticket window at Main. Finally, good to see Ch 2 listed as D6C here. I think that was planned but good to see them maintaining it in the plan as likely a fast follow after they upgrade 1 and 16 in the same way.


      • Mike B June 28, 2021 / 12:35 pm

        Furthermore, I think that Ch 36 addition will be sneaky useful. Gives people a way to get from Mill to Main w/o having to endure the crowds and winds above treeline on Ch 2. Now if they only would make Ch 21 a more attractive option, you’d essentially be able to lap each pod and traverse to the next adjacent one while remaining below treeline. I’m legit surprised this isn’t a key initiative for them.


        • Thomas Jett June 28, 2021 / 7:48 pm

          I’d prefer to see Chair 10 upgraded to a D6C and the old lift reused as a replacement for 12, 14, or 25.


        • Mike B June 29, 2021 / 9:14 am

          Ch 10 to a D6C is a good idea regardless, IMO, if only for better wind resistance. It’s arguably the most critical link in the entire lift system. That said, for a lift THAT important, you’re still dumping skiers of all abilities out onto Quicksilver or, even worse, Solitude. Investing in Ch 21 to turn it into a below treeline alternative that allows beginners/low intermediates to traverse across the entire mountain seems like a no regrets move to me. Heck – just move Ch 25 over here once it’s replaced b/c this line doesn’t need to be a detatch.

          And 100% agree on re-using Ch 10 for one of those upgrades you mentioned. Maybe could use Ch 2 for that purpose as well, or do you think it’s got too much mileage on it? Suspect 1 and 1 are destined only for the bone yard.


        • Thomas Jett June 29, 2021 / 2:49 pm

          The problem with 21 is that its current alignment is basically useless for moving people from Main to Canyon. In order to make it usable, you’d need to realign it to run from The Mill to the old 10 summit. As is, 10 isn’t a very popular lift for lapping, and is mostly used for returning to Canyon. Upgrading 10 to a D6C and improving flow on the traverse from Solitude to Roller Coaster is the best option, IMO.

          Overall, my understanding is that currently, Canyon serves as staging for 50% of skiers, Main for 30%, and Eagle for 20%. I think that the lack of investment in lifts moving towards Canyon is an attempt to shift more skiers to Main when the new village opens. They’re increasing the capacity for transfers from The Mill to Main from the 2800 pp/h 2 can do to the 5400-6000 pp/h we’ll get when 2 is replaced and 36 installed. (It should be noted that 10 is really only busy at lunch time and the end of the day, when people are headed to Canyon, while 2 is the busiest lift on the mountain). Furthermore, they’re adding staging capacity at Main with 34, and increasing traffic to the backside by upgrading 12 and 14, which are best accessed from Main.


        • Mike B June 29, 2021 / 7:18 pm

          Agree entirely that Ch 21 has limited utility in the current alignment. At a minimum, eliminating the 200 yard skate from Mill to the load area would seem a wise idea. From there you could get back to Canyon via Little Bird or just take a quick lap on Roller Coaster if you miss it. Of course that would require cutting off the top half of the park there, so that’s probably a non-starter. Regardless, I’m not sure how you improve flow on that trip from 10 to Roller Coaster for lower level skiers. You can’t get around the pitch and crowds on Solitude no matter what you do. Maybe they will so some regrading/re-routing on the piece that cuts over to Roller Coaster in conjunction with the slightly extended 16, but no matter what you’re asking a lot of someone who isn’t an intermediate.

          Ultimately, I think we agree that they aren’t trying to put more people at Canyon Lodge, though I would argue that the latest MDP implicitly aims for a greater share out of Eagle in addition to Main. We’ll see how much of it gets built, but the new day lodge, new gondola stages, Ch 25 replacement and especially the new beginner center at the top of 15 are clearly meant to draw people to the Eagle portal. But that was all before the Alterra deal, so who knows what the current priority is. My guess is that if the opportunity is there at Main, they’ll do that first.


      • Thomas Jett June 28, 2021 / 7:45 pm

        It seems like they took the 2007 plan and added Chair 34 and the pulse gondolas to the list. You can still see the Chair 12 upgrade in one of the maps.


    • Joe July 8, 2021 / 4:14 pm

      Ugh, I weep for Mammoth riders. Such a great mountain but it’s clear what it really needs is about 7000 more acres of terrain to spread out crowds. I know that is now largely impossible, but it’s hard not to think what could have been if the June link or Sherwin Bowl had made it to reality.


      • Somebody July 8, 2021 / 5:51 pm

        June is like 10 miles away, a link was never realistic. The problem with mammoth is similar to that of Big Sky; they’re both at capacity and are not really near any other mountains to expand onto. Any major expansion at Mammoth (outside of the south facing backside) would be a long gondola ride away at best.


        • Mike B July 8, 2021 / 6:40 pm

          Not sure I’d characterize Big Sky as having limited terrain expansion options. For starters, they’ve got another 1,000+ acres already in their existing expansion plans between the westward expansion on the old Moonlight side and then further expansion around/near Dakota chair. Also, Big Sky generates less than half the skier visits than Mammoth despite boasting 60% more terrain, so I think they’ll be fine.

          Mammoth is hemmed in as you mentioned, but there is a lot of opportunity in simply dispersing the existing traffic away from the core bounded by a polygon from the base of Ch 16 to the top of Ch 5 to the top of Panorama gondola down to Main. That’s about half the terrain at Mammoth and I’d guess it accounts for 80% of the traffic on the hill at any given time. If you’re angry about liftlines/crowds at Mammoth, you’re doing it wrong.


        • skitheeast July 10, 2021 / 4:12 pm

          Mammoth is busy, but I would not say the resort is at capacity. Most skiers are concentrated in the same few areas. This does cause long lines in some places, but it allows knowledgeable skiers to avoid crowds altogether.

          You think Big Sky is anywhere near capacity? Big Sky is famous for its non-existent lift lines and untouched runs. The resort has ~1/3 of the skier visits of Vail on more acres. Plus, there are plans to expand near Moonlight. This past year, there were occasional small (5 minutes) lines at some choke points because they were limiting capacity on each chair due to social distancing, and everyone lost their minds. Perhaps these cries mislead you into believing the resort is anywhere close to its capacity.


  5. Ian June 28, 2021 / 9:56 am

    I love the idea of a gondola for little CC but honestly the bus with additional lane widening is probably the most logical answer. Also so nice to have that lane dedicated to cycling in the summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • David June 30, 2021 / 4:06 pm

      IMO they should do both. Neither is a silver bullet for capacity and traffic problems.


    • Myles Svec June 28, 2021 / 11:32 am

      Can’t wait for the base area to be much more open with the move of the gondola terminal.


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