News Roundup: Big Picture

 

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News Roundup: Everybody’s Doing It

News Roundup: Convoy

News Roundup: Italian American

  • The Edmonton Ski Club and its Mueller T-Bar will reopen this winter following a one year hiatus.
  • The developer of Big Snow America is so confident in the American Dream project that it offered the Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall as collateral to secure a $2.8 billion construction loan.
  • Investors and Berkshire Bank battle over whose claim to the Hermitage six pack should take precedent.
  • The White River National Forest extends public commenting for the Breck Peak 7 Infill chairlift project to September 1st.
  • The Forest Service approved Aspen Mountain’s Pandora expansion awhile ago but the county still needs to approve necessary zoning.
  • SilverStar adds 24 hour security, surveillance cameras and enhanced line checks in the wake of the Sea to Sky Gondola downing.
  • TransLink’s CEO says the proposed Burnaby Mountain tricable gondola would be less susceptible to such an attack.
  • Grouse Mountain gives all Sea to Sky Gondola passholders free lift access through November 30th.
  • S2S cleanup will take awhile and trails remain closed for public safety.
  • Swiss manufacturer Bartholet shows it’s possible to build a new fixed quad in just three weeks.
  • Jaegerndorfer now exports Omega V cabins in miniature form to the United States.
  • Aspen Snowmass will add chairs to lifts at Highlands and Snowmass to address Ikon Pass crowding concerns.
  • Skytrac will manufacture towers for and install the new Leitner T-Bar at Ski Cooper.
  • This profile demonstrates why the Kaiser S2 excavator is so popular for ski lift construction.
  • MND Group, owner of LST Ropeways, says it has resolved “financial difficulties” by reorganizing its debt.
  • Doppelmayr names Jürgen Pichler its new global marketing chief.
  • It looks like Sunday River’s Locke Mountain triple will gain a tower or two thanks to the new T-Bar that crosses under it.
  • Actaris Impact Fund hosts a community meeting and announces its intention to close on the purchase of Saddleback come early November.
  • Big Sky and Loon Mountain will launch the world’s first dual frequency RFID lift access system in partnership with Axess.
  • With a new detachable quad under construction, Bogus Basin caps a five year turnaround.
  • Alpine Media display screens will go live on more chairs this winter.
  • Big Burn at Snowmass may be replaced with a bubble lift.
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News Roundup: Changing of the Guard

News Roundup: Affirmation

News Roundup: Docs

News Roundup: Companies

  • All of a sudden, the Aspen Lift One project finds itself in jeopardy.
  • The City of Branson ends its exclusive agreement with a would-be gondola developer after years of false starts.
  • Two companies bid to replace the Barrows double at Howelsen Hill in 2020 or 2021.
  • Disney Skyliner attendants will start at $12 an hour.
  • Competing resorts comment on the New Hampshire Vail acquisitions as Attitash touts major lift maintenance investments.
  • A jury decides Wachusett Mountain should pay $3.3 million to the family of a child who was injured in a 30 foot fall from the Polar Express in 2015.
  • The Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approves the California Express gondola project.
  • Utah Olympic Park breaks ground on the first phase of its major expansion with a second new lift to follow in two to five years.
  • A study concludes Teton Pass, Montana would need to attract 15,000 visitors annually to reopen as a viable resort.
  • Big changes are coming to the EB-5 visa program, which some ski areas have used to pay for big ticket improvements in the past.
  • Timberline’s owners hire an investment bank to sell the ski area.
  • Berkshire Bank and others slam the latest Hermitage restructuring plan.
  • TransLink gets serious about building a 3S in metro Vancouver.

Vail to Acquire Peak Resorts for $264 Million

Vail Resorts has agreed to purchase Peak Resorts, the publicly-traded parent company of 17 ski resorts in the northeast and midwest.  The deal will more than double the number of mountains Vail operates and expand markets such as New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. for the Epic Pass.  Mountains to be acquired include Mt. Snow in Vermont, Hunter Mountain in New York and Attitash in New Hampshire.  Combined, Peak Resorts operates 109 aerial lifts in seven states.  Vail will be up to 37 mountains in three countries with 437 lifts upon closing.

Peak itself closed on a $76 million purchase of Snow Time, Inc. less than eight months ago, yet the merger and acquisition action continues. “We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to add such a powerful network of ski areas to our Company,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts in an early morning announcement. “Peak Resorts’ ski areas in the Northeast are a perfect complement to our existing resorts and together will provide a very compelling offering to our guests in New York and Boston. With this acquisition, we are also able to make a much stronger connection to guests in critical cities in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest and build on the success we have already seen with our strategy in Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit.”  The deal must still be approved by Peak’s shareholders, which are being offered $11.00 per share.  When the deal closes, Epic Pass holders will receive unlimited, unrestricted access to all 17 resorts.

IMG_3944
The flagship Bluebird Express at Mt. Snow will now truly be a sister lift to Sunburst Six at Okemo.

Vail plans to spend approximately $15 million for one-time capital improvements over the first two years and an ongoing $10 million per year to support the Peak properties.  Vail’s EBITDA is expected to increase by $60 million annually with the new additions.  The transaction is expected to close in the fall.

News Roundup: Norway

  • Actaris Impact Fund still wants to buy Saddleback but no deal has been reached after more than a year.
  • The Banff-Norquay gondola project faces stiff headwinds from Parks Canada.
  • The latest podcast from Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz highlights how the company takes over operations at newly-acquired resorts.
  • A judge rejects the Hermitage Club’s proposed restructuring plan as members look to reopen under new management.
  • In other Hermitage news, a New Jersey bank seeks to repossess 46 snow guns.
  • Here is the complete incident narrative from the February SeaWorld gondola deropement.
  • Lift construction gets underway at Skeetawk, America’s first all-new ski area since Cherry Peak in 2015.
  • Village construction resumes at Tamarack with Wildwood Express installation to follow this fall.
  • A helicopter delivers most of the new Steamboat gondola towers.
  • Last week’s gondola incident at Vail was not a result of tampering or sabotage.
  • Medellín’s sixth urban gondola, Line P, is on track to open in December.
  • After 1,231 days as Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area, the Badger Pass name returns thanks to a $12 million settlement between the National Park Service and two competing concession companies.
  • I spoke too soon on Eaglecrest possibly building Alaska’s first gondola.  Icy Strait Point on Chichagof Island is planning a gondola project to open as soon as next summer.
  • The haul rope is spliced for a rare fixed grip chondola in Illinois.
  • Mi Teleférico in La Paz broke its own daily record again on Monday with 583,841 riders, more than average weekday ridership for Boston’s three subway lines combined.

  • Municipally-owned Great Bear resorts to private fundraising in hopes of replacing its Borvig chairlift.
  • Placer County leaders will vote Tuesday on the Squaw-Alpine gondola.
  • Simon Fraser University steps up its Burnaby Mountain gondola marketing.
  • The Los Angeles Griffith Park gondola study is underway.
  • Eagle’s Rest 2.0 nears completion at Jackson Hole.