I always find this time of year exciting as ski resorts announce new lifts projects, many of which catch me by surprise. This week we learned Le Relais Ski Centre, located just outside Quebec City, will replace three lifts with a Doppelmayr six-pack capable of moving a huge 3,600 skiers an hour. Two T-bars (a 1960s Mueller and 1987 Doppelmayr) as well as a fixed-grip quad (1987 Doppelmayr) will be removed.
A project like this would normally re-use existing towers tubes, but Le Relais has some crazy offset towers that support both their quad chair and 1987 T-Bar. Thus the six-pack will get brand new towers in addition to 60 six-passenger chairs. Slope length will be just under 3,000 feet with a vertical rise of 676′. The ride will take just three minutes at 5.1 m/s. A Chairkit loading carpet is included in the $5+ million lift, which will be built at Doppelmayr’s plant just down the road in St. Jerome. Congratulations to Le Relais Ski Centre and the Beaulieu family on what’s sure to be a huge hit with guests.
The $200 million Timber Creek real estate development at Okemo is moving forward with their first lift which will be an Alpha quad. Also at Okemo the Jackson Gore Express is getting bubble chairs to match the Sunburst Six that went in last summer.
For the first time since 1966, Snowmass will be Riblet-less. Aspen Skiing Company moved the High Alpine replacement up by a year to this summer. It will be an LPA detachable quad in a new alignment.
London Ski Club at Boler Mountain in Ontario is replacing their main lift, Columbia, with an Alpha fixed quad.
New Mexico’s James Coleman bought four ski resorts last winter and now he’s gone lift shopping. Sipapu in New Mexico will get a new L-P beginner lift and Purgatory (No longer Durango Mountain Resort) announced the replacement of the Legends triple with an L-P detachable quad.
Squaw Valley is replacing the Siberia Express with an L-P six-pack.
Loveland announced a major lift realignment. Chair 2 (Yan triple) will lose its upper half and be shortened to its mid-station. The parallel 1970 detachable Poma lift will also be removed and Leitner-Poma will build a new “Ptarmigan” lift from the base of the Poma to the old summit of Chair 2. I am not sure yet if this will be a triple or a quad.
Resorts are starting to close and construction season is upon us. Many new lift projects have already been announced. You can see the full list here. After last year’s “win” by Leitner-Poma, Doppelmayr will return to dominate with at least 14 projects. Remarkably almost all of them will be detachables – more on that later. So far the only other confirmed projects are a Leitner-Poma detachable at Powderhorn, CO and 2 Leitner urban gondolas in Mexico City. (Apparently these are being built by Leitner in Italy, not by Leitner-Poma in Grand Junction.)
2015 also will be the first year since 2011 that more detachable lifts are built than fixed-grip lifts. So far only 3 fixed grips have been announced.