News Roundup: East to West

Manufacturers Introduce Innovations at Interalpin

If the last week and a half was quiet on the blog, it’s because I was skiing my way around Austria, Germany and Switzerland with a few lift factory visits along the way. The last stop on my journey was Interalpin, the world’s largest trade show for mountain technology which takes place in Innsbruck every two years. Thanks to Covid, this was the first Interalpin in four years with an estimated 35,000 people attending.


Doppelmayr made a splash the first day with the introduction of a new logo, the company’s first brand refresh in decades. For the first time Doppelmayr Group companies like CWA, Carvatech, Garaventa, Gassner and Frey all have logos matching the parent company’s identity. The new brand will be introduced to international subsidiaries over time.

Doppelmayr’s sprawling two story booth featured numerous cabins, chairs, grips and carriages from an 8 seat Carvatech gondola all the way up to a 32 passenger CWA Atria.

A 20 passenger cabin called Stella debuted for the first time. This cabin will be available for both Tri-Line 3S and 20 passenger monocable gondolas. Stella fills the gap between the ubiquitous Omega and much larger Atria model, which has only been used to two lifts to date. Future 20 passenger monocable gondolas will utilize a new D9000 carriage, which is built around two side by side D5000 grips.

Introduced last year, Tri-Line is a streamlined version of the 3S gondola with smaller stations requiring less concrete. The first Tri-Line is under development at Hoch-Ybrig, Switzerland. Both Tri-Line and 20-MGD are based off standard D-Line stations and can achieve up to 8,000 passengers per hour with Stella cabins that fit closely together and can open on two sides. On the three rope Tri-Line, Stella cabins will be capable of spanning longer distances between towers than monocable gondolas with high wind stability.

Doppelmayr also showcased a simplified surface lift product family called S-Line.

Doppelmayr had a full size mockup of an Auro autonomous gondola station which can be monitored remotely from a ropeway operations center. A chairlift version is also undergoing testing on two lifts in the region using artificial intelligence to monitor unloading. In both cases, large detachable lifts could be operated by just one person.

Also on the software front, Doppelmayr’s resort management software clair now integrates with other mountain technology providers such as Fatzer, Skidata and TechnoAlpin.

HTI Group

HTI group hosted another large booth shared between Prinoth, Leitner, Poma and DemacLenko. For the first time Bartholet was also part of the HTI area. With three different lift brands now under one umbrella, HTI showed off multiple Diamond cabins, a premium chair, Symphony gondolas and Bartholet chairs/cabins.

I got to experience both Leitner’s 2S and 3S gondolas in the surrounding mountains and was very impressed with their smooth ride and quality. The newest 2S design utilizes plastic carriage rollers and can span long distances between towers more economically than a 3S.

Bikes were a big focus with both chair and gondola loading solutions on display. The European industry has embraced vertical racks so passengers can ride on the same chairs as bikes without having to skip chairs with trays.

HTI is also getting into the software game with a resort management program called Skadii including digital logbooks to manage documentation.

Energy efficiency is a huge focus in Europe and HTI also showed off its Ecodrive program, which uses cameras to analyze lift queues and automatically adjust lift speed to save energy.


MND Ropeways had a Waterville Valley style six place chair along with a gondola cabin on display. The company continues to push the benefits of providing lifts, snowmaking, avalanche control systems and summer attractions all from one supplier.

News Roundup: Interconnect

Leitner-Poma and Skytrac to Build 130,000 Square Foot Facility in Utah

A new manufacturing and support base for HTI Group’s American lift brands is coming to Tooele, Utah. Located about 30 minutes from Salt Lake City, Tooele will become the new home for Skytrac and also serve as a satellite facility to Leitner-Poma’s headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado. “This new Utah-based facility will allow us to continue to grow our American-made capabilities while expanding our existing headcount in Utah by up to 60 percent,” said Daren Cole, President of Leitner-Poma of America. “We’re proud to produce all Skytrac parts and nearly all LPOA parts in America,” he continued. Tooele will become the largest HTI facility in the United States at 130,000 square feet and represents an investment of $27 million.

In addition to state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities, the 25 acre site will also include a 162 foot tall LEITWIND turbine capable of generating 100 percent of the plant’s electricity needs. Turbines from HTI subsidiary Leitwind utilize a DirectDrive generator similar to those used in the company’s detachable lifts.

The Tooele site is expected to increase Leitner-Poma’s Utah headcount to 120 employees. “We welcome Leitner-Poma of America’s expansion to Tooele,” said Utah Governor Spencer Cox. “Its new manufacturing facility will complement Utah’s thriving ski industry and give the company access to the diverse and talented workforce that exists in our great state.”

Skytrac’s move to a new plant comes on the heels of the company’s biggest sales year ever with 10 complete lifts in 2022. “New ropeway systems are rising at a record-setting pace worldwide,” noted Cole. “The output from this new campus, as well as our work to further onshore our supply chain, positions LPOA and Skytrac to better meet the growing demand throughout the country.”

The Tooele factory is expected to open in 2024.

News Roundup: Sold Out

Alyeska Joins the Ikon Pass

Alterra Mountain Company continues adding resorts to the Ikon Pass for next season with Alaska’s Alyeska Resort the latest to join the club. Located in Girdwood, Alyeska features four quad chairlifts and a 60 passenger aerial tram on 1,610 acres of private land. With the addition of Alyeska and Snow Valley, California for next season, Ikon can now take skiers to 56 destinations, most of which are partnered with Alterra rather than owned outright. Alyeska continues to be owned and operated by Pomeroy Lodging, a Canadian hotel operator with no other ski resorts in its portfolio.

“We are thrilled to expand into Alaska and invite the Ikon Pass community to discover Alyeska Resort,” said Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer at Alterra Mountain Company. “Alyeska Resort is truly an iconic destination with its storied terrain, stunning views, scenic tram and adventurous atmosphere.”

Full Ikon Pass holders will be able to ski 7 unrestricted days at Alyeska while Ikon Base passholders can use 5 days subject to blackout dates. The first Ikon Pass price increase for next season is coming next Friday, April 21st, about a month earlier than last year.

Three New Triple Chairs Coming to Alpental, Washington

The Summit at Snoqualmie today announced plans to build three new lifts in two years at Alpental, following other recent lift projects at Summit East and Summit Central. Year one at will see construction of a new Sessel triple this summer with a replacement Edelweiss triple and new International triple to follow in 2024. The projects are all part of the Summit 2030 plan announced by The Summit and parent company Boyne Resorts last year.

Sessel will be realigned with a 1,790 foot slope length and 590 foot vertical drop. The existing Riblet lift, built in 1967, rises about 80 feet less. The new Doppelmayr Alpenstar will feature a loading conveyor, boosting rope speed to 500 feet per minute and capacity to 1,800 skiers per hour. The lift will look very similar to the new Hidden Valley triple which Snoqualmie opened this season at Summit East.

Doppelmayr will also commence foundation work for both a replacement Edelweiss chair and brand new International triple this spring. Both these lifts will service upper mountain terrain beginning in the 2024-25 season.

Due to construction, Alpental will close earlier than normal on April 23rd. Most of the ski area is roadless, necessitating over snow access to tower and terminal locations.