Alterra Announces $344 Million Capital Plan for 2022

Alterra Mountain Company today affirmed plans to open big new lifts in 2022 and more next year as it increases investment across its 14 resorts. This year’s $344 million plan includes $93 million in increased capacity and terrain expansion, $91 million for skier services upgrades, and $16 million in guest experience technology with a focus on Palisades Tahoe, Steamboat, Crystal Mountain, Mammoth Mountain and Deer Valley.

At Palisades Tahoe, the $65 million Base-to-Base Gondola will be completed this summer after two seasons of construction. The Leitner-Poma gondola will connect the two mountains of the resort for the first time, giving skiers and riders access to a combined 6,000 acres of terrain and making Palisades the third largest resort in North America. The 16 minute gondola ride will take skiers and riders between The Village at Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Lodge, reducing road congestion in the region and making it easier to enjoy both mountains in a single day. It is the first gondola of its kind in North America, with four terminals connecting two base areas via a climb of nearly 2,000 vertical feet.

Winter 2022-23 will also see phase two of Steamboat’s Full Steam Ahead redevelopment completed with $90 million of investment to include the relocation of the lower terminal of the Christie Peak Express and the first leg of the Wild Blue Gondola, which will take guests to the new Greenhorn Ranch learning center at mid-mountain.

Wild Blue will become the longest gondola in North America and the fastest 10-person gondola in the country. With the lower leg opening in 2022-23, and the upper leg opening in 2023-24, the state-of-the-art Doppelmayr D-Line gondola will feed skiers/riders through a newly created mid-station adjacent to Bashor Bowl with the final destination of Sunshine Peak. It will feature the first Omega V cabins in the United States. At a total length of 3.16 miles, the new gondola will increase the out of base capacity from 6,000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour, getting skiers from bottom to top in 13 minutes. The recently re-graded Rough Rider/Bashor Basin area will be home to Greenhorn Ranch, an area dedicated to beginner skiers and riders. It will feature progressive terrain-based learning and a dedicated chairlift.

For winter 2023-24, 650 acres of advanced terrain will open on Pioneer Ridge, making Steamboat the second largest ski resort in Colorado. This expert, gladed terrain will be serviced by a new detachable chairlift.

At Washington’s Crystal Mountain, $100 million will be spent over the next five years. The largest investment ever made at Crystal will focus on greater access, more space and significantly enhanced skier services. Work will begin this spring with $25 million for additional parking and a new 25,000 square foot skier services facility called Mountain Commons. No lift projects were announced but Crystal Mountain President Frank DeBerry has made no secret his wish list includes a replacement for the Rainier Express, a new gondola to the summit and relocation of the current Mt. Rainier Gondola to Campbell Basin.

At Mammoth Mountain, summer 2022 will see ground and infrastructure work to facilitate the replacement of the Canyon Express at Canyon Lodge and Broadway Express at Main Lodge. Doppelmayr initially planned to build these lifts in 2020 before the Coronavirus pandemic postponed the project. The new high-speed six packs are planned to finally debut in winter 2023-24.

New for winter 2022-23 at Deer Valley, the Burns Express chairlift will debut at the Wide West learning area. This high speed chairlift will connect the Snow Park base area to Little Baldy Mountain, offering ski school access to more beginner teaching terrain and providing an additional option for skiers to navigate out of the main arrival area. The $6 million investment to improve the learning area on Wide West will also include enhancements to the existing Snowflake chairlift, installing and reconfiguring surface lifts and grading beginner terrain.

“This historic investment is clear evidence of our commitment to deliver a premier guest experience at our North American destinations and our engagement towards the long-term future of our mountains,” said Rusty Gregory, CEO of Alterra Mountain Company. “More than ever, we continue to infuse meaningful capital into projects that will transform our base areas while significantly improving our physical and digital on-mountain offerings to ensure that our guests experience the best of the mountains.”

Some previously-approved projects were absent from Alterra’s latest announcement, namely the Red Dog replacement at Palisades, Timber expansion at Tremblant and Pioneer Express upgrade at Winter Park.

44 thoughts on “Alterra Announces $344 Million Capital Plan for 2022

  1. Shane February 28, 2022 / 1:18 pm

    What a joke of an announcement. Alterra announced a new high speed quad for Tremblant’s Versant Soleil (Timber) back in March 2020 to be installed 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 ( I can’t remember exactly ). Fast forward two years and it is like it will never happen. Never mentioned again. Unbelievable.

    Like

    • shaneseguin February 28, 2022 / 1:18 pm

      Nice news for those mountains getting improvements :)

      Like

  2. Michael February 28, 2022 / 1:18 pm

    Does this confirm that Red Dog is NOT being replaced this summer?

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    • John February 28, 2022 / 1:36 pm

      Yep. Instead you’re getting a gondola to nowhere that won’t do anything for the traffic on the road, but will further break down the culture of AM.

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    • Peter Landsman March 1, 2022 / 6:04 am

      Alterra forgot to mention Red Dog in the press release but it is still happening. Leitner-Poma six place.

      Like

  3. John February 28, 2022 / 1:38 pm

    It would be great if they took at least one of the 2 HSQ’s that are being removed from the frontside of Mammoth, and placed at least one on the backside.

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    • Myles Svec February 28, 2022 / 1:45 pm

      I would think the maintenance on the current HSQs is too costly since they are Yan conversions so they will probably scrap them.

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      • John February 28, 2022 / 2:13 pm

        Good point. I forget that old equipment is old equipment.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thomas Jett February 28, 2022 / 6:37 pm

          The Yappelmayrs will probably be cannibalized for parts for J6 and J7 at June.

          Liked by 1 person

    • DAShark February 28, 2022 / 3:06 pm

      Replace chair 8 first. Biggest bottleneck on the mtn.

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  4. Anthony February 28, 2022 / 1:43 pm

    Geez. What a nothing-burger.

    Not super surprised, but I think we can expect more of this moving forward from Alterra. Rusty is historically an extremely conservative investor.

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    • Larry March 1, 2022 / 8:24 am

      2 transformational gondolas (7 total stations) = 8-10 detachable quads. 64 mm rope…just name a few.
      Plenty of beef on that burger

      Liked by 2 people

      • Anthony March 1, 2022 / 11:46 pm

        Sure, but nothing new in this announcement that we didn’t already know.

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        • Peter Landsman March 2, 2022 / 5:37 am

          The Deer Valley project is new. Not previously announced.

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        • Larry March 7, 2022 / 1:19 pm

          Sure, perhaps known, just not an extremely conservative investment.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Alex February 28, 2022 / 2:40 pm

    Not trying to defend Alterra, but I am wondering if Vail Resorts may have locked them out from many lift upgrades due to the early announcement of the Epic Lift Upgrade. Almost like a first mover advantage. Curious what people think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anthony February 28, 2022 / 2:43 pm

      I’m sure that’s a big piece of it. Still, the industry talks. It’s not like Vail or Alterra are super-secretive companies.

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  6. vons3 February 28, 2022 / 3:07 pm

    Just a heads up to ski resorts kicking tires, if the current order trend continues you will need to order your new lifts by November at the latest as the production schedule is already filling up for 2023.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. DaShark February 28, 2022 / 3:09 pm

    Nothing set aside for employee housing? Very short sighted not investing in the employees.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Kevin February 28, 2022 / 3:36 pm

    I agree with Shane in regards to Tremblant As the former Mt Manager at tremblant i am still in contact with the ops crew Tremblant has some of the oldest lift’s out there
    On top of that Altera has sold off at least $25 million of real estate in the last year This is all land that our tax dollars payed for All the infrastructure is already in place including underground electric cables and expanded water treatment facilities

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  9. Peter Landsman February 28, 2022 / 3:42 pm

    I checked with Deer Valley and the Burns Express will replace the current Burns lift in a new alignment. Snowflake will be realigned and extended. I asked for a map but they don’t have anything to release at this time.

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  10. Donald Reif February 28, 2022 / 4:01 pm

    The Burns Express will certainly make it easier to get from Snow Park over to Little Baldy Peak, as currently, you have to go up Carpenter then come down Little Stick to Deer Hollow.

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  11. Myles Svec February 28, 2022 / 4:12 pm

    Would the Burns Express be the shortest quad in the USA as it is only 922 feet long or are they extending it?

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    • Alex February 28, 2022 / 4:49 pm

      Total SWAG, but from the description I assume they are replacing the current lift line and then adding a hard left turn mid-unload to continue up Little Baldy peak to terminate adjacent to Mountaineer and the Jordanelle Gondola.

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      • Tim F. February 28, 2022 / 5:25 pm

        I picture it going straight up to the top of Little Baldy without a mid station. Snowflake would be returned to its original length and be the only lift unloading at the top of Wide West.

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      • Donald Reif February 28, 2022 / 8:25 pm

        That was my thought, seeing as the Black DIamond Lodge would be in the way of a direct routing.

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        • Howard Huntziker February 28, 2022 / 8:57 pm

          How would a midstation with that hard of a turn work?

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        • Donald Reif February 28, 2022 / 10:24 pm

          See the Disney Skyliner for an example of what it would look like.

          Just imagine this but with the lower-profile “tunnel style” of Quicksilver’s turn station:

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      • Aiden P March 16, 2022 / 9:02 am

        I work at DV in Lift Ops. The new quad will travel from the top of current burns lift, to the fork of Little Stick and Deer Hollow. The main purpose is to get beginners out of the base area, but without putting the pressure on Carpenter which then sends most over to Quincy on Flagstaff. The entire Deer Hollow / Little Stick fork and Little Stick run will be modified to help traffic, and accommodate the new lift terminal.

        As for the removal of the Burns Double, all three of the Sunkid Conveyors will be moved across the run to where current Burns exists, and Snowflake CTEC Double will be extended down to the very bottom of Wide West. This will make Snowflake and the Sunkid Conveyors the only source of the wide west, and the direct access to the detachable at the top of Wide West. It makes sense when you think about it, trying to move more beginner traffic off of Carpenter, off of Flagstaff, and utilize Little Baldy.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Ryan King February 28, 2022 / 5:29 pm

    As a Deer Valley skier I am quite confused at their announcement for the new Burns lift. They say it will have access to Little Baldy, but not sure how that will be achieved if all it is doing is replacing the current Burns lift. Maybe they move snowflake up higher and cut a new run over to Deer Hollow or something. Patiently waiting for a map so I know what’s going on.

    Also, will be interesting to see how a lift replacement affects their summer concerts and events. They are a pretty big deal.

    Like

  13. pbropetech February 28, 2022 / 6:22 pm

    Interesting that Frank wants to move MRG to Campell (I’m guessing roughly the old chair 5 line). If it were me I’d go all new on Campbell and explore upgrades on MRG in its current alignment. It would be far more cost-effective from a maintenance standpoint, plus less outlay with engineering at the outset. $0.02 from a former Crystal staffer and long-time lift maintenance tech.

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    • Joe Blake March 1, 2022 / 12:58 pm

      I think they need a whole re-engineering for MRG. They built it up fairly high above Iceberg Gulch which leaves it pretty exposed to easterly upsloping. It goes down for wind quicker than Rex does. It’s almost like JK cheaped out. Kinda like when he tried to by hiring Sam to cut the line before realising he needed Pa to do it.

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  14. skitheeast February 28, 2022 / 7:52 pm

    Things are left out of this announcement, it is just unclear how large or small of projects they are. In past years, each of Alterra’s resorts released their own mini-press release detailing the specific improvements to each resort beyond the company-wide one. I know this is happening again, as Deer Valley did one and it includes things such as a mountain biking expansion and other smaller items. It is unlikely any of them have lifts, although perhaps Palisades Tahoe’s includes Red Dog as it could be overshadowed by the gondola in the main announcement.

    With that being said, this announcement is pretty disappointing. Vail’s Epic Lift Upgrade includes 19 lifts for $320 million. Alterra is spending $344 million for 4 this offseason, 1 of which is half done from last year. Yes, there were a limited number of lift slots open by the time Alterra finalized their plans, but they could have then added more projects for Summer 2023. It is also incredibly apparent where Alterra’s priorities are. The five east coast mountains (Canada and WV included) make up a third of the portfolio and have received next to nothing beyond two high-speed quads four years ago (both of which had been in the works for years under Intrawest). Solitude and Big Bear/Snow Summit have yet to get much either. Adding June to that list (which I do not expect to get anything given that it barely stays open), it looks as though Alterra is investing the vast majority of its capital into less than half of its resorts.

    I know from people within the company that the idea is to create a unique, grand plan for each resort, which has been the case with their proposed plans at Mammoth/Deer Valley/etc., but that has yet to come to fruition to most of their portfolio, and that is incredibly frustrating given that all of the mountains they own are of respectable sizes and not small hill operations like Vail’s midwest operation.

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    • Peter Landsman February 28, 2022 / 7:59 pm

      Vail is up to 21 with the two lifts they added at Jack Frost. Vail also owns almost three times as many mountains, many of which have much older lift fleets than Alterra’s mountains. Also the 9 figure totals at both companies include lots of other capital expenditures besides lifts.

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      • skitheeast February 28, 2022 / 9:48 pm

        I agree that Vail should be making larger investments, including in lifts, than Alterra given their respective portfolios. I am also aware that not all of their respective capex is going towards lifts. However, given that the two companies are spending very similar amounts overall, it is shocking to me how large of a difference there is in lift investments. It shows me that Vail is much more focused on lifts while Alterra is more focused elsewhere (real estate stands out in particular).

        Like

  15. askifan March 1, 2022 / 7:24 am

    Given the maintenance problem WP had with Pioneer, and how much more utilized that terrain would be with their new lift, I’m shocked that didn’t make the cut.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pbropetech March 1, 2022 / 7:53 am

      That was a one-off. I never heard if they put a brand-new driveline in or had the old one repaired, but either way that sort of problem is highly unlikely to happen again in the lift’s remaining lifetime.

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    • Munier Salem March 1, 2022 / 8:43 am

      Bummer about Winter Park. Pioneer is definitely getting up there in years.

      Like

    • Sam March 1, 2022 / 1:34 pm

      they really could use an upgrade at pioneer or olympia. Really the only two spots that have had consistently unbearable lines a lot of weekend days this year. looking glass being down the last two weekends hasnt helped either.

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      • ShangRei Garrett March 1, 2022 / 4:08 pm

        With the issues they’re having with Looking Glass, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it get replaced soon

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        • pbropetech March 1, 2022 / 7:40 pm

          Out of curiosity, what issues is Looking Glass having?

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        • ShangRei Garrett March 2, 2022 / 7:51 am

          I heard rumours that they were having issues with the brakes, but tbh I’m not sure

          Liked by 1 person

        • Axewolfe17 March 3, 2022 / 8:28 pm

          They were having problems with the service brake and the amount of Force it was using to stop the lift. WPLM fixed it and load tested it the other day so it should be open in the next couple days.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. Anthony March 2, 2022 / 1:50 pm

    Sounds like Crystal is making more details available tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

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