Instagram Tuesday: Shasta

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

News Roundup: Alterra, Boyne, Powdr and Vail

News Roundup: Early August

Sun Valley Plans New Warm Springs Lifts

The Sun Valley Company and US Forest Service are soliciting public comments on an ambitious plan to redesign lift service on the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain. First, a new Challenger six place chairlift is proposed to replace the aging Challenger and Greyhawk detachable quads. Challenger is no ordinary chairlift – it services more vertical than any other chair in North America – 3,142 vertical feet in nine minutes. Greyhawk runs parallel to Challenger for its first 1,488 feet of vertical. Both Lift Engineering-turned-Doppelmayr detachables date back to 1988. The wider gauge Challenger would feature a mid-unloading station at the top of the Upper Greyhawk and move 2,400 skiers per hour.

The project also includes a new Flying Squirrel/Lift A detachable quad. The original Flying Squirrel opened in 1972 and operated until February 1st, 2014, when it was destroyed by a drive terminal fire. The lift was removed the following offseason but never replaced. The A quad would follow a modified alignment, loading at the base of Warm Springs and terminating near the top of Picabo’s Street and Flying Squirrel. It would move up to 1,800 skiers per hour and provide key redundancy out of the base area. The Flying Squirrel run would be extended downhill to the bottom of Warm Springs and the new lift’s load point. New snowmaking would also be included.

If approved, both new lifts would be constructed in 2023 and open for the 2023-24 ski season. A manufacturer has not been announced. Sun Valley currently operates an all Doppelmayr fleet but the resort’s parent company recently partnered with Leitner-Poma for a new six passenger lift at Snowbasin.

Update: Both lifts will be built by Doppelmayr.

Pacific Group Resorts Bids $58 Million for Jay Peak

The Jay Peak Receiver today filed a motion to enter a sale agreement with Pacific Group Resorts, Inc., a Park City-based operator of five North American ski areas. Importantly, the proposed sale process allows for bids from other companies in excess of PGRI’s $58 million offer. “The time has come for the Receiver to sell the Jay Peak Resort,” wrote Akerman LLP, the law firm appointed to oversee Jay Peak and related assets after the Securities and Exchange Commission uncovered widespread fraud. “When the Receiver took over the Jay Peak Resort in April 2016, it was on the verge of collapse having little money and making very little profit,” receiver Michael Goldberg wrote. “Now, after more than six years, the Jay Peak Resort is significantly more profitable and hundreds of jobs have been saved. The Receiver attributes this success to his top notch management team and the dedicated employees who work tirelessly to make Jay Peak one of the greatest ski resorts in the country,” The Asset Purchase Agreement does not include Burke Mountain assets, which are currently part of the same receivership.

It’s not clear how long the sale process will take but under the agreement potential bidders would have 30 days from the time the District Court approves bid procedures to submit offers. If qualified bidder(s) beyond Pacific Group emerge, a private auction would take place shortly after the bid deadline. Should another buyer prevail, Pacific Group would be paid a breakup fee of $1.25 million plus expenses from the sale proceeds. “Other parties have expressed interest in purchasing the Jay Peak Resort over the past few years, however, only Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. has been willing to submit a binding bid,” notes the motion. “The Receiver is hopeful that perhaps another bidder will surface at the auction.”

No matter who ends up with Jay Peak, the sale will certainly have season pass implications. Pacific Group Resorts currently operates Mt. Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island, Powderhorn Resort in Colorado, Wisp Resort in Maryland, Wintergreen Resort in Virginia and Ragged Mountain Resort in New Hampshire. None of those mountains currently participate in the Epic, Ikon or Indy multi-mountain passes. Jay Peak on the other hand is the single largest Indy Pass resort by redemptions.

After news of the potential deal surfaced, Pacific Group Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Christian Knapp tweeted “The possibility of Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. purchasing Jay Peak Resort is extremely exciting and would be an incredible fit for our company, but by no means is it a done deal. Filing the APA is one more step in an extraordinarily long process that started more than 3 years ago.”