Telluride Ski & Golf owners Chuck and Chad Horning hosted a community meeting tonight, outlining a nine figure capital plan for the next five to ten years. While no lift contracts have been signed, Telski officials revealed they are close to a deal with Doppelmayr for a new detachable quad and are working on three additional projects to be built in seasons to come. Telluride also outlined new employee housing and hotel initiatives which are key to supporting future growth.
The first new chairlift in 14 years will likely be a detachable quad replacing Plunge, Lift 9. The triple chair’s ride time exceeds 13 minutes and the $8 million quad would carry 1,800 skiers per hour, up from 1,200. The Hornings said they would like to ink a deal with Doppelmayr in the next few weeks but that plan may depend on community support for tourism in two November 2nd ballot questions regarding short term rentals.
The second project Telski officials discussed was an up-gauge of the Village Express to a six place. This out-of-base workhorse would likely feature wider chair spacing than the current detachable quad, allowing for fewer stops and more efficient loading. Also on the roadmap for replacement is Sunshine Express, once the longest high speed quad in the world. A modernized chairlift would run $9 or 10 million but the resort is considering building an even more costly multi-stage gondola. Like many of its competitors, Telluride wants to shift ski school operations to the upper mountain, which would require a beginner-friendly gondola. If built as a gondola, Lift 10 would likely include an intermediate station at The Market and Mountain Village parking garage. The lower section of the gondola could run independently in the summer to complement the existing three section gondola operated by the town of Mountain Village. Discussions are ongoing about that project and the future of the aging Telluride-Mountain Village gondola system in general. Finally, Lift 7 is on the radar to be replaced with a higher capacity fixed grip lift at a cost of around $3 million.
All told, the Hornings are looking at spending $35 million on lifts. Ownership said Telluride will remain a Doppelmayr mountain with fixed grip, UNI-G and D-Line options all under consideration. They noted global steel and copper demands are impacting lift prices but both parties are eager to make a deal.