News Roundup: Even Ten

55 thoughts on “News Roundup: Even Ten

  1. Will October 22, 2021 / 1:40 pm

    Interesting news re Crystal.

    Instead of Kelly’s Gap Express, which I assume nobody would lap, they should just put in a low capacity fg quad from the North end of B lot up Left Angle Trees, ending at Otto Bahn Gate 7.

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    • pbropetech October 22, 2021 / 4:10 pm

      Unless they’ve changed their ideas for #13, it’s been on the plan since I worked there in the 90s as an access lift and not a round-trip machine. The idea was to get people to the bottom of 3 without needing to ride 10 and 11 (or now, the gondola). Since I’ve not skied there in ages, though, where/what is Otto Bahn? That doesn’t sound at all familiar.

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    • Randy October 22, 2021 / 6:59 pm

      Curious how one gets to the Northway Chair? There’s no trail on the map leading from Green Valley to this area. Never been to Crystal (yet) so just curious if it’s a hike to area or can easily be skied to on a secret trail.

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      • Vintage Chairlifts October 22, 2021 / 7:59 pm

        There’s a catrack that winds around behind Grubstake Point that leads to Northway. If you look closely at the top of Green Valley, you’ll notice a little arrow that says “To Snorting Elk”.

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      • curtis October 22, 2021 / 10:39 pm

        the catwalk to northway is on google earth street view if you would like to see for yourself

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    • Cascade Concrete October 24, 2021 / 12:19 pm

      I’m disappointed, Kelly’s Gap Express would ruin Right Angle, which is one of the best tree runs in the Northwest.

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      • Enumclaw kid October 24, 2021 / 3:49 pm

        I completely agree. I remember looking at Google Earth when that lift first turned up on the master plan. There is a way one could align a lift in that area that would not ruin the tree skiing.

        But on the podcast he sounded less interested in doing that lift and more interested in the new second gondola with a full 2800pp/hr capacity.

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  2. carletongebhardt October 22, 2021 / 2:32 pm

    I wonder if Shawnee will end up on the Ikon Pass like the other Boyne NE resorts?

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    • Big Mountain October 22, 2021 / 4:03 pm

      I doubt it ,that mountain is tiny and honestly a very weird purchase

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      • skitheeast October 22, 2021 / 6:14 pm

        The purchase makes no sense to me. Is Boyne really interested in cornering the market of Portland, Maine skiers? If Boyne backed a nationwide pass like Ikon or Epic, it would make sense as a feeder hill. Beyond that, it is beyond me.

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    • Machski October 22, 2021 / 6:21 pm

      Makes sense as a feeder to SR and SL and then onward to Big Sky.

      Not linked on the NEP’s this year and I would doubt it will get added to Ikon, though it very well could. Makes sense on the NEP’s.

      Have to wonder if this marks the coming end to night/twilight skiing at Sunday River. Granted it is a bit of a drive, but Shwanee actually has a Night Skiing product where SR is just a side show.

      Also interesting to note that Shawnee’s current Summit Triple is Loon’s former North Peak Triple. Now that they are co-owned, it isn’t a stretch to think the current North Peak Express, which is up for replacement in Loon’s 2030 Flightpath, could not very well find its way to Shawnee to put it into the HSQ era.

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  3. Myles Svec October 22, 2021 / 3:54 pm

    In the article about future lifts at Boyne mountain, some of the wording confuses me

    “A final-state Boyne Mountain could host at least five modern high-speed Doppelmayr D-Line lifts: two eight-packs, a six-pack, and two quads.”

    Is this just a mistake in wording, or is Doppelmayr planning to make D-Line High Speed Quads?

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    • pbropetech October 22, 2021 / 3:59 pm

      The D-line is a terminal and grip design. I doubt that they can only build 8-packs with that; it would make much more sense to be able to build 4-, 6-, or 8-passenger lifts interchangeably.

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      • Chris October 22, 2021 / 11:29 pm

        The are plenty of D-Line six-packs in operation. The last public record from Dopplymayr is that for now quads will continue as UNI-G. But if quads don’t go away I suspect they will eventually switch to a D-line design.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Morris October 25, 2021 / 5:50 pm

          I don’t think quads are going away for a long time. I would gander that the majority of high speed lifts installed in North America are quads. My guess is that eventually, the UNI-G will be phased out, just like all the other previous terminal designs. To me, this is a bit of a shame, as I quite like the look of the UNI-G. The D-Line terminal just seems a bit much to me with the giant screens. If those are removed (like on the disney skyliner terminals) they look quite nice however. I wonder if Whistler Blackcomb will go for the UNI-G or D-Line when they replace the creekside gondola and big red.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Myles Svec October 25, 2021 / 7:21 pm

          The giant screens on the D-line terminals are an extra option a resort can buy. They do not come standard on all d-lines.

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        • Chris October 26, 2021 / 11:21 am

          I can’t think of a single D-Line terminal that has the screens except for Ramcharger. In Europe detachable quads are very much on their way out. In Austria the last new ones were built in 2009! Other European countries built a few since then, but the sixpack is the new quad here. I think they are mostly a thing in North America, so the preferences there will be the deciding factor if there will be a D-Line quad or not.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Donald Reif October 26, 2021 / 5:23 pm

          The way it’s going to go is that six packs will be what you see for lifts in high-wind exposure areas as well as to upgrade older quads, and maybe areas with a lot of traffic. High speed quads will be used elsewhere. (See Vail, where the Sundown Express is going in as a high speed quad concurrent with the Game Creek Express becoming a six pack)

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      • Myles Svec October 23, 2021 / 10:27 am

        D-Line also has a new chair design.

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    • Peter Landsman October 22, 2021 / 4:06 pm

      Funny on today’s Crystal podcast Frank DeBerry also mentioned a D-Line high speed quad for Rex.

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      • pbropetech October 22, 2021 / 4:16 pm

        Why not. I’ve not skied up there in years but now there’s the gondola, so the need for capacity probably hasn’t increased. Although I’d be sad to see REX go; that was the very first detach in the state and completely changed how that side of Crystal skied. It was (hopefully still is) pretty fun to work as an operator. Plus it’s a near-twin to my old lift and part of an increasingly rare breed.

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        • Cascade Concrete October 24, 2021 / 12:22 pm

          I love REX, but it has had significant maintenance issues the last few years. Last year it seemed like it broke down at least once a weekend.

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      • Myles Svec October 22, 2021 / 4:20 pm

        I wonder if Doppelmayr is planning to replace the Uni-G with D-Line soon.

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        • pbropetech October 22, 2021 / 4:38 pm

          So far it’s an option. The Uni-G with either the A-grips or the DT, or the D-line with the new grips based off (but not the same grip as) the A-series. I don’t see the former leaving anytime soon, it’s a proven and reliable system and (as I understand it) costs less than the latter.

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  4. Will October 22, 2021 / 5:14 pm

    Also

    I’m so stoked about 49 Degrees North getting a new Doppelmayr HSQ, but I can’t understand why they haven’t released a name for it.

    Any reason why they would wait so long to reveal it, or predictions of what the name itself will be?

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  5. Anthony October 22, 2021 / 6:15 pm

    No thank you to a Northway detachable. Upgauge to a fixed quad, fine, but a detachable would just so fundamentally change the character of that area.

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    • pbropetech October 22, 2021 / 8:19 pm

      Kind of like how the current lift fundamentally changed the character of the area? When you had to either ride the shuttle from the bottom of Lower Northway, skate out on the Ho Chi Minh trail, or drop down Employee Housing to the E-lot shuttle, you really had to commit.

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    • Cascade Concrete October 25, 2021 / 10:35 pm

      The problem with Northway is that the lift line is hidden until you’re too late to go somewhere else. Last season even with Covid capacity limits, sometimes the lift line reached up all the way beyond the Northway/Otto Bahn junction.
      When it’s quicker to traverse out 13F to E lot, wait forever for the shuttle, then fight your way up the gondola or Chinook to REX than to just take the Northway lift, it becomes pretty clear they need to increase capacity back there.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. David October 22, 2021 / 6:24 pm

    A lot to unpack from the podcast, thanks for sharing.

    Outside the scope of lifts, he’s definitely got the right idea with priorities on parking, bathrooms, transportation, and even lodging. All of these can help make the experience better for all skiers.

    For the lifts, this is probably the most news out of Crystal in 5 years. Kelly’s gap seems to still be on the roadmap but not as much of a priority. Rex replacement is much needed, interesting context that a 6 pack may not fit given the top of the lift.

    What stood out to me most was talking about completely moving the gondola to campbell basin and getting a new gondola with 3x the capacity to server the existing gondola footprint. I’m interested in where the “campbell gondola” would go, basically to the left of Chinook and up by Wally’s Way? Or a stronger angle than that?

    Also Frank definitely has his eye on new terrain, discussing Bullion Basin again was very interesting. I’d also be interested to see if they ever consider more beginner/intermediate terrain below Silver Basin, they could certainly use more green/blue trails either way.

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    • Vintage Chairlifts October 22, 2021 / 8:04 pm

      Good question. REX is blocking the old Campbell Basin liftline, as its longer than Iceberg Ridge was.

      I’d assume they’d maybe have it cross over REX?

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      • Joe Blake October 23, 2021 / 12:54 pm

        DON’T SAY REX BLOCK THAT MEANS NO SNOW AAAUUGH

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      • Enumclaw kid October 24, 2021 / 4:03 pm

        I would assume they’d want a straight shot, for cost, vs an angle station, so that means either over Rex and up the old shorter C-5 lift line, more or less… or, looker’s left of the bottom of Chinook and parallel to it, more or less up the old full-length C-5 lift line.

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      • pbropetech October 28, 2021 / 12:56 pm

        Crossing over 10 would be not insurmountable, but difficult. Don’t forget the top of 11 is there too which adds more stuff in the way. I’d imagine an angle station behind the bottom of 10; I know it costs more but this ain’t the days of CMI and stingy stockholders.

        Actually, now I think of it, we’re all stuck on something resembling old 5. What if they ran the profile somewhat parallel to 4 with an angle station in or near the flats of Skid Road (or whatever it’s called now)?
        https://caltopo.com/m/D525C

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  7. Muni October 22, 2021 / 6:27 pm

    ORDA is really hyper-focused on out-of-base capacity at Whiteface … which is slightly odd given how famously narrow and funneled the upper mountain is. I’d hope this would be one day paired with terrain expansions on the upper mountain, but if memory serves there’s some sort of stipulation in the NYS constitution precluding more miles of trail. The mountain is also over-indexed on advanced runs, some of which rarely open (Hoyts High, Upper Cloudpsin, Upper Empire) … so it makes me rather concerned about skier density.

    I wonder if we’d ever see an amendment to the state constitution allowing a re-development of marble mountain … one can dream …

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    • skitheeast October 24, 2021 / 2:29 pm

      Whiteface needs new ownership, meaning it needs to be privatized. Even before any expansion, which would obviously be fantastic, the mountain desperately needs to improve its snowmaking, grooming, and snow quality/reliability. They are blessed with fantastic vert for the east coast and some nice challenging terrain. However, that is all meaningless unless the snow is good. As long as they are owned by the state, they will use their investment dollars for flashy new projects like a detachable lift with an angle station over new snowmaking lines, groomers, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

    • icefaceny October 26, 2021 / 10:38 am

      Having been to whiteface on a busy day last season, I think ORDA should be given some credit for focusing on out of base. We all are most likely very experienced skiers on this blog, and we sometimes forget that whiteface blue runs are difficult for less experienced skiers. Because it’s blues and black only from little whiteface summit, it pushes the majority of skiers onto just a couple of runs. However, their descent speed compared with mine is night and day. I arrived late morning, there was about a 45 minute wait for Face Lift, and an hour for Cloudsplitter. As the day wore on, conditions improved (really a beautiful day), but every single line at the base shrank considerably. At 3pm there was zero line for the gondola. I think ORDA sees this as a spacing issue; the mountain effectively queues guests through difficulty, so more skiers need to be on the mountain actually skiing to reduce crowding at the base. It makes sense.

      Additionally, for a mountain of considerable vertical size, the out of base options are rather restricted. You have the option of going halfway up the mountain (facelift), 2/3rds up the mountain (cloudsplitter), or right to the top of a bunch of runs I never see people on (Bear). Facelift and Bear (until recently) are in crappy spots when walking from the parking lot. Dodging skiers, walking uphill, etc. I imagine this pushes a lot of folks over to the gondola because it’s less of a hassle.

      However, I do agree that focus should be placed elsewhere. Lookout mountain is just one example. If they were to do some blasting and trail cutting (GREENS), they might actually be able to use that side of their property, provided snowmaking is also installed. Let me be clear: this is 100% a pipe dream unless WF gets bought by Boyne or some other private operator with deep pockets (very unlikely). No blasting on lookout is ever happening, considering the outcry following the original development there (something about wildlife habitats I think). Marble mountain development would really be a lifeline for a slightly stagnating resort hell bent on shelling out for new lifts that don’t really change anything.

      Liked by 1 person

      • skitheeast October 26, 2021 / 12:07 pm

        Often, the best way to clear the base area is to keep skiers on the upper half of the mountain. For example, if Whiteface built a detachable quad from the bottom of Summit/top of Face to the top of Little Whiteface, intermediate skiers would be incentivized to lap Excelsior/Northway/Victoria with this lift instead of Valley/River Run under Face Lift. Whiteface has a wider footprint at higher elevations, and these altitudes also hold snow better, so the mountain should try and move as many skiers there as possible.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Somebody October 26, 2021 / 1:07 pm

          I don’t think that HSQ is a great idea, pumping 2400 pph onto 3 or 4 trails is congestion waiting to happen. I think Little Whiteface HSQ makes more sense, since it services those trails but also some expert trails to spread out skiers. I also definitely think Freeway should be looked into, a HSQ there could replace Freeway itself as well as Mountain Run.

          I think a big part of the problem here is that there’s only really 2 out of base options. Bear->Freeway->Little Whiteface is a three fixed-grip route to get as high as either of the other base options. Nearly 10,000 feet on double chairlifts. That’s going to take 25 minutes at best. Seeing as Cloudsplitter is 8 minutes, yeah, it’s not surprising to see that people prefer that one.

          It also seems silly to me that there’s not a connector from the top of Freeway to the top of Face Lift. Bear->Freeway is only 10-15 minutes and this would make it work better as an alternative to Face Lift.

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        • Donald Reif October 26, 2021 / 3:38 pm

          Direct replacements of Freeway and Little Whiteface with high speed quads seems like the simplest solution.

          Small question: would Freeway still have a midstation? Or would it lose the midstation and Upper Parkway gets redesignated as a blue? (I’m assuming Little Whiteface would lose its midstation)

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        • Muni October 26, 2021 / 5:54 pm

          I guess a detachable Freeway/LWF combo would somewhat obviate the need for a mid-station on Little Whiteface (is Mountain Run still a freestyle competition site?).

          While I like the idea of a detachable Freeway, I definitely don’t like the idea of starting it from the base area (which was on the master plan, last I checked). Mid-mountain lifts are way better for crowd control and segmentation. And the new lower-starting Bear lift provides newly improved out of base to this exact area.

          That said, there are logical reasons why Freeway should remain fixed grip. It’s purely advanced runs from the top of mountain run, so it would be odd to upgrade Freeway to detach ahead of little whiteface or summit. Also, ice is a big concern for tall exposed mountains in the northeast, and fixed grips can get going faster after ice storms.

          Maybe they could build more intermediate terrain off of Freeway’s top terminal … land west of Cloudsplitter is part of the current intensive use area, though again I’m not sure if WF is allowed to clear more trails. That land is also southern exposure and quite rugged, so it’s hard to imagine any well-surfaced intermediate terrain coming out of that.

          ~~~

          The current master plan seems to call for a lot of intense infill lifts and capacity upgrades, along with tons of trail widening. The unique skiable experiences do not increase, just the acreage and uphill capacity. This is very unfortunate, since narrower tree islands and wider trails would start to ruin the character of the mountain, imho. It would also be a bummer to see trails like Upper Empire widened … it’s so uniquely narrow and steep. There’s a reason I’m willing to drive way farther north than, say Stratton or Mt Snow to ski at Whiteface: they haven’t ruined it with six-packs and endless trail widening/re-grading.

          I don’t have great intuition for how crowded Whiteface is on most days … though I was there on a sunny Pres Weekend with great conditions a few years ago, and it was not that crowded at all, by Southern Vermont standards. But it seems like the current development pattern is intensive capital expenditure for its own sake. If they really wanted to expand and improve the skiing experience, they would instead focus on snowmaking, on-mountain and near-mountain lodging (or a great shuttle system from Lake Placid) and new trail pods. Unfortunately, I think the state constitution, and sitting inside the Adirondack Park adjacent to a wild forest, really hems in Whiteface’s development abilities.

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        • icefaceny October 26, 2021 / 5:57 pm

          Keeping skiers mid-mountain was basically what I was getting at in far less words. The current lift setup is decent at this after initial crowds disperse from the main base area, as there will be a lot of skiers still going onto summit lift and little whiteface. The addition of a mid mountain lodge direct service from base is really good, I always wondered why facelift and summit end and start respectively where they do, it seems arbitrary. Additionally, it will clear out some cars from the ‘main mountain’ lots, and will make the whole beginner area feel less disconnected from the rest of the mountain. You can’t even see the base areas from each other.

          Freeway, mountain run, and little whiteface. Oh man. Freeway is a lift I’ve never seen a line for, although don’t take that as gospel, I’m not a local, just obsessed. I’m not sure replacing it with higher capacity is worth much, although a speed increase would definitely be nice. Mountain runs name is a contradiction considering it doesn’t run basically ever, and it’s entire line is already accessible through the mid station on little whiteface. If it wasn’t prohibitively expensive to replace the double double towers (not to mention it’s useful for racing), I’d advocate for its removal altogether. I think it would be difficult for whiteface to stick a detatch in little whiteface’s alignment considering it’s already super windy, and there isn’t a whole lot of space for a detatch terminal at the top. Difficult, not impossible. D-Line for wind? One can dream

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  8. awconrad October 23, 2021 / 10:04 am

    So when is Shawnee getting an 8 pack lift?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Myles Svec October 23, 2021 / 10:29 am

      I’m not sure if they would get an 8 pack, maybe a six pack.

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      • Billuh October 23, 2021 / 8:56 pm

        Whoosh

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    • Ryan October 24, 2021 / 7:12 pm

      An 8 pack? Start off with a high speed quad first.

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  9. awconrad October 24, 2021 / 7:30 pm

    With the Mt. Shasta news, are they planning a lift to the top of Grey Butte? That would be a huge expansion for that relatively small ski area.

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    • Peter Landsman October 24, 2021 / 7:39 pm

      I’m told the possible top terminal grading is about 200 feet below the summt of Gray Butte, which would make the lift around 4,000 feet long. This is a non-official map:

      I checked with Mt. Shasta and they politely declined to comment. There’s nothing in the Forest Service SOPA system but that’s not surprising given the lift could be routed entirely on private land.

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      • Myles Svec October 24, 2021 / 8:25 pm

        Someone named Kirk made a comment about private land that Mt Shasta owns and it fits the description of where the lift is

        “Mt Shasta Ski Park owns an other 640 acres to the northeast of the top of Coyote. The old owners looked into putting a lift up there. I have skied it. It’s south face, but is much higher than the top of Coyote. Coyote is the top of the insisting ski area.”

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      • Mike B October 25, 2021 / 11:57 am

        My guess is that if this happens, the summit terminal would be placed on the ridge to the southeast of the Gray Butte summit. This both fits the 200′ description you mentioned and has the benefit of providing access to the west side and east side of that ridge line. Go east and you’d funnel back down to the base of the new lift. Go west and you’d funnel down to the base of Coyote. If they ran the lift to the summit of Gray, it would present the likelihood of people skiing into the next drainage and getting lost. You’d still be looking at a mountain with nearly 2400′ vertical, so they’d jump into the big leagues by most standards.

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      • John October 26, 2021 / 7:38 am

        Shasta Ski Park is a low elevation hill, and this could help, other than the face being completely southern exposure.

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        • Joe Blake October 26, 2021 / 5:13 pm

          It’s already a funky joint. Adding Gray Butte, especially if you can ski the west side, would be beneficial. Shasta is so fun when it’s good.

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  10. Scot Holt October 27, 2021 / 6:35 pm

    The news about the Loon gondola’s new name got my attention. “White Mountain Express” is the ‘88 lift’s original name (it’s on the manuals) but it fell out of use years ago.

    Liked by 2 people

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