- Mexico City and Leitner inaugurate a new urban gondola line with 283 cabins and 7 stations.
- Leitner-Poma looks to hire a Sales Manager specifically for urban ropeways in North America.
- Leitner, Poma and Bartholet parent company HTI reports a record €1.3 billion in revenue for fiscal 2022.
- A skier dies after falling through a gondola cabin window in France.
- With its gondola back in operation, Mont-Sainte-Anne eyes a $100 million renewal with bids already received for two lift replacement projects.
- Doppelmayr revitalizes a 110 year old cable car over Niagara Falls.
- The Indy Pass suspends sales due to capacity limitations at partner resorts.
- Eagle Point teases multiple lift upgrades including a new connector chair.
- Powdr sells Lee Canyon to Mountain Capital Partners.
- Taos confirms Leitner-Poma will build new chairlifts on both sides the mountain this summer.
My take on Powdr’s sale of Lee Canyon is that they needed to do it to generate funds for capex at other resorts. They have a lot of older or overtaxed HSQs that will need replacement in the next few years—two or three each at Mt. Bachelor and Killington, for example. Plus others like Mineral Basin that just need to be upgauged.
And that’s to say nothing of grander plans like Mary Ellen Gulch, expansion at Eldora, or anything at Copper. I can’t see the big expansions happening anytime soon with so many replacements due.
I think MCP is also very bullish on skiing in the southwest, whereas Powdr may not be. It may be a money issue, but I really doubt it is, as the Cumming family has deep pockets and Lee Canyon’s price tag is really just a drop in the bucket for them.
I believe MCP should spend the money on their areas that need upgrades then buy more resorts. Nordic Valley needs the out of base lift replacement. Purgatory has 2 approved lift pods they could open, Parajito needs snowmaking upgrades to get them open before (this year) January. Hesperus could use an actual lodge, parking lot, maybe build a snowmaking pond and add snowmaking. Sure their chair could be replaced. And get Elk Ridge back up and running. Just a few ideas I can think of off the top of my head.
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As someone who lives in the middle of MCP’s breadth, I completely agree with all of these points. With the amount of snow AZ received I really think Elk Ridge would have been profitable this season, had they refurbished and installed the old Agassiz triple that’s been sitting around somewhere since it got removed from Snowbowl.
Anthony- what’s happening at Copper (that isn’t a replacement, that is?)
Oh, I don’t know specifically, I just know they have both expansions areas and lift replacements on their master plan that presumably Powdr will have to pay for…at the same time all of these old HSQs come due.
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Well, we replaced the two oldest ones already. I-lift is approaching 30 but is still in great shape, so it’s got a few years yet. E-lift is even younger (although it spins way more than I). We already have approval to replace I, for what it’s worth, and any expansion is at least a decade out as far as I’ve heard. The reason I asked is because I only ever hear about lift-related things; resort scuttlebutt rarely reaches the lift maintenance shop for some reason. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard of something going on here that I’ve gotten from an outside source :)
Are those 2 lifts at Eagle Point really in need of an upgrade? I don’t believe the place gets all that busy.
It does not get too busy, but traffic volumes are definitely up as Californians continue to move to Las Vegas and bring their passion for skiing. Brian Head has done well with this, and their recently announced expansion shows their projected demand, but the market can handle a second resort.
The connector chair is long overdue, but I am cautious about anything beyond that given just how many lifts they will then be responsible for operating and maintaining. Six lifts may not sound like a lot, but that is the same number as Brighton, and yearly costs can really add up and burden an operator on a limited budget. Perhaps the connector lift can be an extended Skyline, with a mid-station for loading where the existing bottom terminal is. Alternatively, the expansion lift could simply be a realigned Monarch that ends higher up the mountain. Regardless, it would help to examine a place like Grand Targhee that was in a similar position a couple decades ago while plotting a path forward.
From what it sounds like when they say they’re not loading all chairs, it’s probably motor/drive upgrades and not a replacement.
Indy pass (and all the passes) need to do a midweek non holiday product at an attractive rate. A percentage of leisure travelers, myself included, will shape their visits based on overall cost and avoid the crowds we often hear complaints about. I cant think of any independent resorts getting any complaints on midweek business volume being too high.
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Some Indy resorts get so few midweek visitors that they are closed, and there is a minimum viable yield needed if open.
The name of the game is getting people to buy a pass. $279 is already rock bottom, so I do not think a lower price point would do anything but cannibalize existing sales.
That’s sad to see that someone died on a gondola. Hope this doesn’t happen again and that this event highlights we all still need to act appropriately.
Strange old #4 at Toas isn’t being used for Pioneer replacement, was it sold to somewhere else?
Wendover Productions just made a great video about how corporate consolidation is killing ski towns. I highly recommend you watch it if you can as it provides a great summary of why everything is so expensive and everything like that.
It is overall a good video, but it does miss a few big points. For example, real estate prices are compared pre- and post-pandemic without mentioning how much the rise in housing costs can be traced back to the emergence of remote work, the sheer number of early retirees, and interest rates next to nothing. It also neglects to mention how insurance costs, new chairlift costs, and other operational costs have outpaced inflation, forcing many smaller owners to sell or shut down. Lastly, it fails to adequately mention the role ski towns themselves have played in this. Aspen is probably the most openly hostile to those of a lower economic standing, but practically every ski town works to block or limit housing construction in some regard. Just look at how Colorado is exempting ski towns from being included in its proposed statewide zoning reform bill to gain support from Eagle, Summit, and Pitkin county politicians.
Vail, Alterra, Powdr, Boyne, etc. are not blameless, but it is always easiest to point outwards and blame a big, bad boogeyman rather than look inward and realize it takes two to tango.
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A key point that is always missed here as well is that over the last 50 years, we have made these large ski corporations inevitable. If you assume climate change will occur on any scale, then this was INEVITABLE. The smaller resorts cannot withstand varying winters. As it is, Tahoe resorts this year have still been struggling from too much snow!
Another problem is the continuing population growth of areas around these ski areas (SLC, Bay Area, Front Range) without an increase in the size or amount of ski areas in those areas has led to the crowding we have today.