News Roundup: Across Canada

Sleeping Giant to End Skiing Operations

SGSA Map 2018

The closest ski area to Yellowstone National Park will shut down after this season.  Ten years after reviving Sleeping Giant and building a new chairlift, the mountain’s nonprofit operator is throwing in the towel.  “It is with tremendous sadness and sorrow that the board of directors for Yellowstone Recreations Foundation announces the suspension of winter operations beginning in 2020-2021,” reads a statement.  Lifts will spin through the end of the season.

IMG_4442

Sleeping Giant operates under a special use permit from the Shoshone National Forest.  It first opened in 1937, serving the community of Cody, Wyoming and nearby towns with a 2,100 foot T-Bar.  A used Heron-Poma double was added in 1993 to service more terrain.  The area closed in 2004 and was revived in 2009 with the T-Bar being replaced by a Yan triple chair from Mammoth.

“The decision is agonizing but necessary,” noted YRF, citing losses of more than $200,000 each winter.  Profitable summer zip line operations will continue with the Bighorn double accessing five different spans.  The longer Sheepeater lift only runs in winter and will no longer be needed.

“Words cannot express our gratitude to the community,” the foundation’s statement continued.  “The board of directors would like to especially thank the staff over the past 10 years who have dedicated themselves to making Sleeping Giant the finest and most friendly ski hill in the country.”

News Roundup: Alterra

  • Neighbors aren’t happy about light and noise from Woodward Park City, though the new area was able to turn down the start alarm on the Hot Laps chairlift.
  • Mt. Baldy in Thunder Bay, Ontario plans to buy a new quad chair for next season.
  • The City of Durango considers whether building a new chairlift at Chapman Hill makes sense at an increasingly marginal elevation for natural snow.
  • Spout Springs will remain closed this season and is still for sale.
  • Mexico City begins work on Cablebús Line 2, a Leitner system with 7 stations, 308 cabins and 59 towers.  (Line 1 is Doppelmayr and already under construction.)
  • Seven people are injured and a gas station destroyed when a gondola haul rope being installed in Medellín, Colombia lets loose.
  • Alterra closes on Sugarbush and Win Smith transitions from owner to employee.
  • A French paraglider is lucky to survive being caught in a platter lift‘s haul rope.
  • To address crowding concerns, Crystal Mountain eliminates walk up lift ticket sales on weekends and holidays, effective immediately.  The resort will also no longer offer group discounts, gift card ticket redemptions or rental/ticket packages on weekends and holidays.
  • New York State opens its newest gondola in Lake Placid, called the SkyRide.
  • Geyser Holdings offers $4 million for the Hermitage Club and Boyne Resorts separately bids $3.6 million for the Barnstormer lift.  An auction could be held next month.
  • Skytrac’s Hilltrac people movers now feature Sigma cabins.
  • Montana Snowbowl opens its Snow Park expansion for the first time.
  • The owners of Perfect North Slopes plan to build at least one new top-to-bottom lift at newly-acquired Timberline, West Virginia this summer.
  • The State of Maine postpones a decision on a loan guarantee related to the sale of Saddleback Mountain.
  • A creditor claiming to be owed $62 million files to foreclose on Granby Ranch.
  • Edmonton urban gondola backers release robust ridership projections.
  • A gondola from Boise to Bogus Basin would be too long and cost too much to be practical.

 

Sea to Sky Gondola Reopening February 14th

IMG_6718

188 days after someone brazenly cut its haul rope in the middle of the night, the Sea to Sky Gondola will again lift sightseers above Howe Sound on Valentine’s Day.  The weekend will be a celebration of hard work by many people to get the nearly six year-old gondola back in action.  Fatzer and CWA fast-tracked a new rope and cabins from Switzerland while the Sea to Sky team and partners worked to remove damaged components by helicopter.  The new haul rope arrived October 24th and was pulled and spliced in just a few days.  By December, thirty new cabins had reached Squamish.  Final certification by the BC Safety Authority is scheduled for the first week of February.  In a silver lining, nine of the original undamaged cabins will be saved to bring the gondola to final capacity some time in the future.

“We are opening earlier than anticipated and the task has been huge,” said Kirby Brown, Sea to Sky Gondola General Manager.  “Our industry partners were there every step of the way, from assisting in the clean-up and assessing needs to delivering major components with absolutely no notice.  Our amazing team rose to the challenge and have done everything required to get us back up and running as quickly as possible,” he continued.  “Our community stood by the gondola and showed us overwhelming support, confidence, and love through the last six months, and for that, we are so grateful.”

The culprit(s) have not been publicly identified or apprehended but security has been increased.  “The fact that the main haul cable was completely severed was, and still is, shocking, and the investigation with the RCMP is ongoing,” said Brown.  “However, we want our guests to know they can travel to the summit on the Sea to Sky Gondola with complete confidence.  Our protocols would never allow the line to run if there was any damage to the cable and the security measures installed since the incident will ensure the gondola is secure and protected from any other criminal activity.”

To celebrate its reopening, the gondola will offer 50 percent off tickets all Valentine’s weekend.

News Roundup: Experimental

News Roundup: Stalking Horse

Revelstoke Owner Set to Buy Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain

winter_view1_2017

Grouse Mountain Resort will once again be Canadian owned by the end of the month.  Shanghai-based China Minsheng Investment Group has agreed to sell the resort to Northland Properties, a conglomerate which owns Revelstoke Mountain Resort along with numerous hotels and an NHL franchise.  “With our strong family and company roots in Vancouver BC, we are excited with the opportunity to make this acquisition,” said Tom Gaglardi, President and CEO of Northland Properties Corporation. “We look forward to working closely with the existing team and leadership group, as well the community to ensure we maintain and evolve the iconic Grouse Mountain experience for all of our visitors.”

IMG_0162

Grouse Mountain operates four Leitner-Poma quad lifts and is accessed exclusively by aerial tramways as there are no public roads to the area.  The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports replacing the Blue Skyride is a top priority for the new owner.  The aerial tramway was built in 1965 and carries only 44 passengers per car when open.  Even with the 1976 Red Skyride next door, the tramways often prove inadequate for moving large numbers of people, especially during stormy weather.

“We welcome the opportunity to join Canada’s fastest growing hospitality group,” said Michael Cameron, President of Grouse Mountain Resort.  “As a leader in the hotel and restaurant industry, Northland Properties has shown tremendous growth and innovation across their diversified group of companies.  We look forward to working together, recognizing the accomplishments that the Grouse Mountain Resort and its team have achieved over the years and continuing to build on that success.”

News Roundup: Unboxing

  • Lizards prevent construction of an announced chairlift project in New Zealand.
  • Berkshire East and Catamount owner Jon Schaefer finds success staying away from detachable lifts and acquiring used lifts from across the country.
  • Ikon Pass sales rose 60 percent over last year.
  • Cockaigne, NY will reopen in January after many seasons closed.
  • Frost Fire, ND reopens after a missed season.
  • A 3S gondola to Snowbird and Alta would cost more than $300 million to build and $12 million a year to operate.
  • Vail Resorts looks to build it first D-Line chairlift, not in Colorado or California but at Perisher.
  • The Forest Service green lights construction of a new Big Burn lift at Snowmass.
  • A new version of Eagle’s Rest comes Jackson Hole.
  • A downed tree causes extended stops at Silver Mountain.
  • The one year old Blackcomb Gondola went down Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.
  • Disney Skyliner guests can now call a dedicated phone line for information when gondolas stop for longer than usual.
  • Lift service returns to Tamarack’s Wildwood zone tomorrow.
  • Copper’s Tucker Mountain becomes lift served for the first time today.
  • Regardless of whether Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows build an interconnect gondola, a private ski area may open nearby.

News Roundup: Switching Sides

  • Gould Academy sells the naming rights to its T-Bar at Sunday River to Alera Group, an employee benefits firm.
  • Ski Bluewood’s former platter lift can be yours for $19,000.
  • To celebrate new carpool and transit initiatives, Crystal Mountain debuts a green gondola cabin.
  • Does the public have the right to know what individual ski resorts pay the federal government for use of public lands?  Vail Resorts and the National Ski Areas Association argue no.
  • The New York Times visits Woodward Park City in its first week of operation.
  • Sun Valley and Snowbasin prepare for their first peak period after switching from Mountain Collective to Epic.
  • The Saddleback deal won’t close on Monday as scheduled but hopefully sometime in January.
  • A religious group wants to relaunch the long-abandoned Moab Scenic Tram.
  • The Meier family assumes full ownership of Greek Peak and Toggenburg Mountain in New York.
  • Colorado Ski Country USA launches a chairlift safety video series.
  • The latest Wir Magazine highlights Bromont’s big combination lift, the history of Doppelmayr in Canada and new scale models from Jägerndorfer.

News Roundup: Bailout

  • The Forest Service approves issuance of a special use permit for Mountain Capital Partners to operate Elk Ridge.
  • Another new ski resort opens in North Korea with more lifts that look like knockoffs of a certain European manufacturer.
  • Arctaris plans to close on Saddleback December 23rd, but a last minute call for donations raises some questions.  A detachable quad is no longer planned but rather fixed grip lift replacements.
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort, the only hotel with its own dedicated Disney Skyliner station, opens Monday.
  • Facing repeated annual losses and falling skier visits, Spirit Mountain gets a bailout from the City of Duluth.
  • Sasquatch Mountain names its new Leitner-Poma quad Yeti Cruiser.
  • The nonprofit which operates Sky Tavern receives a new lease despite objections from nearby Mt. Rose.
  • New Sea to Sky Gondola cabins arrive in Squamish.
  • The Forest Service begins review of Lutsen Mountains’ possible expansion onto public land.
  • Crystal Mountain, BC may not reopen this season as hoped.
  • Utah’s 15th ski area launches tomorrow.