Park City to Replace Red Pine Gondola Cabins

Despite the recent postponement of two major lift projects, Vail Resorts will press ahead with another major upgrade at Park City next summer. Leitner-Poma of America has been contracted to supply all-new cabins for the Red Pine Gondola, the out-of-base workhorse in Canyons Village. The eight passenger lift dates back to 1997 and currently features 58 CWA Omega cabins with two spares. All 60 cars will be swapped for 55 Sigma Diamond C8S155 cabins manufactured in France. The project is similar to the 2018 upgrade of Killington’s K-1 Gondola, a sister ship to Red Pine built by Poma the same year for American Skiing Company.

“Some incremental re-engineering of towers and terminal rails will be completed to support the change,” said a Park City representative by email. The mountain’s other major lift project, replacement of Silverlode and Eagle, remains in legal limbo and will proceed if and when it gains approval. In the meantime, Vail Resorts and Doppelmayr are working to install equipment originally ordered for Park City at Whistler Blackcomb. In addition to the Whistler and Red Pine projects, Vail Resorts also plans to install new lifts at Attitash, Breckenridge, Keystone and Stevens Pass next year.

17 thoughts on “Park City to Replace Red Pine Gondola Cabins

  1. Ash Conrad December 3, 2022 / 2:33 pm

    Vail Resorts and Rob Katz have always been self dealing carpet baggers with no interest in ANYONE other than himself. Single handedly he continues to ruin the holdings that are his charge. Stripped every possible family wage position to the last penny across around 3 dozen resorts, to consolidate operations to the confines of a single, eighth floor of a 10 story office park building in a second rate suburb of Denver, called Broomfield. They are lined from wall to wall with bean counters, filling the endless greedy pockets of the executive filth and shareholders to the detriment of 100% of all others. FK Rob Katz.

    Like

    • Ty December 3, 2022 / 5:49 pm

      Well I found the liftblog equivalent of Kanye

      Liked by 2 people

    • Michael December 4, 2022 / 8:18 am

      I live in Broomfield and I object to you evaluation, Ye.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anthony December 3, 2022 / 2:37 pm

    May be some more news coming this week with their earnings call on the 8th.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Philip Keeve December 3, 2022 / 5:45 pm

    About time! At least the NINBYs can’t stop this one. Will the replacement cabins also be 8-passenger or 10-passenger, since the number of cabins is being slightly reduced? Will they be level walk-in too or step-ups?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Philip Keeve December 4, 2022 / 1:32 pm

      I meant NIMBYs.

      Like

      • Bob December 5, 2022 / 7:34 am

        My guess is 8 passenger, as that’s what the current lift is designed for. Bigger cabins would mean bigger sheaves, bigger haul rope, and maybe a bigger motor. At that point you might as well just replace the whole lift.

        Like

  4. Zev Rosenfield December 7, 2022 / 8:38 am

    I’m still dumbfounded as to why they wouldn’t replace this lift. It’s already relatively old and has a considerable amount of operational minutes due to its late-night operation when Talisker ran the resort. My understanding is that the cabins although the largest are not the only maintenance issue. Also, being the only LPA lift at Park City must complicate things for the maintenance department. Not to mention how frequently this lift is closed for wind making it impossible for beginners to ingress/egress from this half of the mountain. We desperately need a lift that can operate in much more extreme weather situations. Additionally, this lift arguably needs more capacity. It almost seems as though vail has decided to ignore the canyons village side of the operation despite its rapid base area lodging growth. In my mind, the only way this half-attempt makes sense is if we are also getting the long-awaited sunrise lift next summer.

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    • skitheeast December 7, 2022 / 10:37 am

      Replacing this lift would be expensive due to it being a gondola and having an angle station. Replacing the cabins and completing an upgrade similar to what Killington did should give the lift another ~25 years of reliable service.

      Lift replacements and installations can be complicated at Park City due to land ownership. Sunrise was scheduled to be upgraded in 2022 alongside the opening of the new Pendry at the base, which the resort advertised while selling units in their development. However, I think the lift will instead be upgraded during phases 2 and 3 of the overall project Sunrise-area project, which will see the Upper Village lot redeveloped and High Mountain Road extended across Retreat (which will be rerouted over a skier bridge) to new buildings.

      Like

      • Ben December 7, 2022 / 11:42 am

        What is the proposed alignment of the Sunrise replacement? My ideas:

        1. It looks like if moved uphill slightly you could run a straight-line to Red Pine Lodge.
        2. Another option would be similar alignment as the current chair with an angle station (possible unload) above Over and Out. Could Over and Out be reconfigured for loading on that side as well? Could be a good option to get to other parts of the resort and bypass Chicane.

        Like

        • skitheeast December 7, 2022 / 3:24 pm

          If the easements, property lines, and elevations are sound, I like your Red Pine idea, although that would probably work best as a gondola. There were 3 alternatives I saw a couple years back (all six-packs):

          1) The same alignment with downloading in case of low snow. This was the preferred alternative for the developers due to it being the cheapest, but any skier or resort operator could see why this idea is problematic as it forces all skiers to go to Orange Bubble/Red Pine.

          2) The same alignment but extended up to approximately Lookout Cabin. There was some concern about additional cost with engineering to cross Red Pine Gondola ( I do not know if they proposed crossing above or below).

          3) The same alignment to the about current top, with an angle station then taking it to Tombstone. This was prior to Over and Out being announced and seems to have been Vail’s favorite given they went ahead and built Over and Out on their own a year or two later in practically the same second stage alignment.

          A lot can change in a couple of years, so I do not know what the current plan is.

          Like

      • Bob December 8, 2022 / 9:57 am

        Further, a full gondola replacement would require the green light from the planning commission, who would probably say no. A cabin replacement might not need the planning commission’s permission.

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        • zev rosenfield January 26, 2023 / 6:46 pm

          It would be the summit county planning commission(Eagle/Silverlaoaad were blocked by Park City). Summit county usually has significantly less red tape to cut through and has made it clear they will support new lift projects.

          Like

  5. Calvin December 8, 2022 / 4:10 pm

    20% cabins off line due to problems with door locks.

    That sounds scary AF.

    They’ve owned Canyons for NINE years. Yet under their watch the gondola got to such a state.

    I think this is more proof of how horrible of an operator Vail is. They make sexy lift installs and the media and Wall Street and Joe Q Public eat it up … but they simply refuse to maintain anything.

    Look over to Wildcat where after 3 years of ownership they blew up the fairly new pipe on Lynx and blamed it on the prior ownership who had replaced that pipe! Look over to Attitash where they couldn’t be bothered to maintain 3 lifts after they bought the place. They ended up mothballing 2 (Double-Doubles) a year early to replace them and Kachina was allegedly finally fixed to operate weekends only (despite impossible to exit Bear Peak as a beginner without it).

    Like

    • pbropetech December 9, 2022 / 12:35 pm

      I doubt seriously that they ‘simply refuse to maintain anything’. If there’s an issue with doors locking (to use your example) my counterparts are undoubtedly having a hard time getting parts to fix them. The fact that they’re currently off-line is a good thing; if they had left them on that would be more of a cause for concern. And as others have noted, other ski areas with this model are also having problems. I would hazard a strong guess that the locking mechanisms are simply wearing out due to age.

      As for the pipe at Wildcat, if the previous owners installed it and the welder they hired did a poor job, then yes, it actually *is* their fault. Even if you pressure-test all lines and don’t find anything, pipes can still burst mid-season. We’ve had that happen here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Philip Keeve December 23, 2022 / 5:46 pm

        And in fairness, when Vail took over Park City part of their initial investment was simply to catch up on deferred maintenance that the previous owners had neglected to do.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Butterside December 8, 2022 / 5:12 pm

    I’m no Vail fan, but I think the replacement of Red Pine’s cabins speaks more to how these types of cabins age rather than Vail’s maintenance. Killington replaced K1’s cabins 4 years ago. That lift was built the same year, so Red Pine’s cabins lasted 4 years longer. Skyeship, which has the same generation cabins, is also starting to have some door issues. These lifts were built in the 90s. I don’t know what the useful life of these cabins is, but they’re not going to last forever. 25 years seems like they served their purpose well.

    Liked by 1 person

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