- Skier visits at Vail Resorts are down 7.8 percent for the season through January 5th, attributed to slow starts at Whistler Blackcomb and Stevens Pass.
- Agassiz at Arizona Snowbowl was evacuated over MLK weekend and remains down.
- Visits and revenue continue to decline at the publicly-owned mountain in Newfoundland called Marble Mountain.
- It takes a ton of work to reopen lifts, particularly detachable ones, at Mt. Snow after an ice storm.
- By building a T-Bar instead of a chairlift, Ski Cooper was able to implement a major expansion this season for around $2 million.
- Mont St. Mathieu opens another $2 million T-Bar expansion, noting a chairlift would have cost more and moved skiers less quickly.
- The Snowpark expansion at Montana Snowbowl is a hit and LaValle is back open.
- Software problems lead to the closure of the new Morning Star Express at Bogus Basin (now back open.)
- BC’s Jumbo Glacier becomes an indigenous protected area, ending plans for a new ski resort there.
- Vail Resorts will pay out $200 bonuses to employees who refer new applicants to become lift operators at 14 resorts.
- The State of Illinois shuts down a ski resort, alleging required inspections weren’t completed prior to opening. In a statement, Snowstar apologizes to season passholders and says an inspector failed to show up. At least one lift will reopen today.
- Parks Canada axes plans for a Mt. Norquay gondola.
- Josh Elliott, the teen who jumped after becoming stranded on a Sugar Mountain chairlift in 2016, tells his harrowing story on the Outside podcast.
- Mt. Jefferson, Maine won’t open this season.
- New York State plans to spend $147 million to improve its ski areas.
- Bromont ropes down more than 200 people from the Express du Village, some after being stuck four and a half hours.
- Edmonton releases the preliminary economic and technical assessment for the Prairie Sky urban gondola.
- Siemens highlights a design software partnership with Doppelmayr.
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.
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.”
- 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.
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.
- Cape Smokey in Nova Scotia plans to build a gondola beginning this spring to replace a disused quad.
- Here’s the latest from Saddleback.
- Australian bushfires destroy a ski resort which vows to rebuild.
- The Town of Jackson approves Snow King’s updated master plan, leaving just the Forest Service left to weigh in.
- Silver Mountain reopens three days after a fatal inbounds avalanche.
- More than 2,000 visitors a day are skiing and snowboarding Big Snow and Alterra is watching the experiment closely.
- An employee who lost his arm in a conveyor lift receives a $10 million settlement.
- Eleven years in, the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram gets a new haul rope.
- Sunridge completes a successful rope evacuation of the Parkview Quad on a cold night.
- A power outage leaves guests stuck on the Skyeship Gondola at Killington for more than an hour.
- A broken bolt leads to a similar situation at Mt. St. Louis Moonstone.
- Teton Pass, Montana reopens after a few years shuttered.
- A second American Dream location with an indoor ski slope may break ground in 2021 near Miami.
- Travis Seeholzer, owner of Beaver Mountain, talks about running one of Utah’s oldest resorts.
- Former members look to save Hermitage Club assets from a stalking horse reportedly prepared to bid $3.6 million for the Barnstormer six pack.
- Vail’s new lift opens but not to the public. It will be available to all on select Tuesdays at noon.
- Marquette Mountain evacuates a lift during the busy holiday week.
- A man falls from Steamboat’s Sunshine Express due to a medical issue.
- Windham’s former Wonderama triple turns up in the Ski Butternut parking lot.
- Staff from the downed Sea to Sky Gondola will present what they learned about crisis management on January 30th.
- Juneau weighs partnering with the cruise industry to fund a proposed adventure park and gondola at Eaglecrest.
- The new Steamboat Gondola delivers fast ride times and short lift lines during its first Christmas break.
- The Forest Service expects to weigh in on the Sunlight East Ridge project in May.
- Mt. Abram becomes Indy Pass resort number 47.
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.”
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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.