Eaglecrest Details Gondola Proposal

Alaska’s Eaglecrest Ski Area would bring a first-of-its-kind gondola to North America under a plan spearheaded by General Manager Dave Scanlan. The pulse gondola, currently in service in Austria, features a dozen 15 passenger cabins built by Austrian manufacturer SSG in 1990. At Eaglecrest, the gondola would span approximately 6,600 feet with a 1,700 foot vertical rise. An intermediate station would allow for loading and unloading as pulses of cabins slow down for stations. When not in stations, gondolas would accelerate to a brisk 7 meters per second. “Pulse gondolas are mechanically simple, durable, and easier to maintain than traditional detachable gondolas,” Eaglecrest notes. The main downside of pulse lifts is their relatively low capacity.

The idea is not only year round ridge access for locals but also an attraction appealing to the million-plus cruise passengers who visit Southeast Alaska each summer. The Goldbelt Tramway in nearby Juneau pioneered ropeway sightseeing in the region and two new Doppelmayr gondolas are set to debut on Chichagof Island this summer. Both existing attractions are owned and operated by Alaska Native tribes, the latter one in partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line.

Eaglecrest operates as a non-tribal local government facility with a lean budget. Longtime blog readers may recall the ski area proposed building a Doppelmayr or Leitner-Poma gondola in 2019. A lot has changed since then and Scanlan says the new gondola would now cost $22 million, taking upwards of five years to complete. The used gondola would cost taxpayers around $7.5 million and could generate revenue needed to replace Eaglecrest’s main chairlift in five to eight years.

Eaglecrest Ski Area is working with SE Group on the gondola project and plans to host a public information session this Wednesday night at 6:00 pm Alaska time.

13 thoughts on “Eaglecrest Details Gondola Proposal

  1. skier72 February 22, 2022 / 9:49 am

    More photos of this lift (sorry if some of the images are oversized):




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  2. wolf February 22, 2022 / 2:29 pm

    This would be amazing. I wonder if they would have to build new stations around it, or more towers.

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  3. skitheeast February 22, 2022 / 5:37 pm

    The wait time for a new gondola is five years? We desperately need a third major player in the lift market. I also wonder what else is lined up through 2026 that is not yet known (California Express, Wild Blue, Creekside 2.0, Grouse Skyride, and Sterling Vineyards is all that is known for now).

    It is crazy how demand and inflation have resulted in the price tag going from $11.2 million in 2019 to $22 million 3 years later.

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    • Myles Svec February 22, 2022 / 8:35 pm

      What about the Village gondola at big sky and the gondola serving the One and Only at big sky? That is also known.

      I’m guessing a replacement for the Village gondola at Telluride could be in there, a detach replacement for the Wild Horse gondola at Steamboat, an extension of the gondola at Winter park, a replacement for the gondola at Loon, a gondola going from Bald mountain to dollar mountain at sun valley with multiple stations, and the rumored gondola connecting Steamboat to town center. I’m not sure if those are all projects before 2025, I don’t think the Loon gondola one is.

      Link to sun valley gondola

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      • skitheeast February 23, 2022 / 1:59 pm

        Good point about the two Big Sky projects, I forgot those.

        Telluride’s existing gondola agreement expires in 2027, so that is probably the target replacement there. The two potential Steamboat projects are probably TBD based on the reaction to Wild Blue and all of the other projects lined up through 2023. Loon’s gondola is not supposed to be touched until 2026-2030, and Sun Valley has had the access gondola listed as a potential project for years without any concrete movement forward.

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        • Myles Svec February 23, 2022 / 4:28 pm

          Don’t forget the Timberline gondola too, that’s a project before 2025.

          More gondola possibilities could be the Taos base to base gondola, the Silver lake gondola, the park city town gondola, burnaby 3S, Edmonton city gondola, and LCC 3s (not sure if that is still on).

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        • Wiggles February 23, 2022 / 11:58 pm

          From the storming skiing podcast with Timberline president/operator Jeff Kohnstamm the Gondola was a little further out than 2025… He said they would like to propose it to the forest service in the next 2 and hopefully get it built in the next 5-10years but that might be optimistic. Definitely not by built by 2025.

          Source:
          https://www.stormskiing.com/p/podcast-70-timberline-lodge-oregon?utm_source=url

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        • HoodRacer February 24, 2022 / 12:00 pm

          Yes, word on the street locally is the Timberline Gondola is at least 10 years away. The replacement of Stadium at Meadows took 3 years or so for the forest service to approve and the environmental disturbance was much more minor.

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    • Wiggles February 23, 2022 / 10:29 am

      Kunczynski now is your time for redemption!

      In all seriousness hopefully MND gains some traction. A 3rd player would be great.

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      • pbropetech March 2, 2022 / 9:21 pm

        Yes it would. I don’t know much about MND/Bartholet (the Swiss company MND partners with for the North American market) but it would be nice to have more options. From a purchasing perspective it was nice when one had the options of Leitner, Poma, Doppelmayr, and Garaventa (GaraventaCTEC, in North America), in addition to the homegrown fixed-grip companies such as Riblet and Partek. While I have no problem with the two remaining players as a mechanic, more options are always better when you have a need to upgrade. This is one of the reasons we had to shelve L-lift; the only major players were booked solid in their manufacturing schedules.

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    • Owen Mitchem February 23, 2022 / 2:21 pm

      Don’t forget the Timberline gondola.

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      • HoodRacer February 24, 2022 / 12:01 pm

        See my comment above on that one:

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  4. skitheeast March 2, 2022 / 1:32 pm

    The city approved the gondola purchase. I believe the ETA at Eaglecrest is this summer.

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