News Roundup: Visit Numbers

Whitefish Orders a Sizable Six Pack

With strong visitation and record season pass sales, Whitefish Mountain Resort today announced major lift projects for each of the next two summers. The big news is a deal with Leitner-Poma for a six place lift replacing Chair 4. The 1978 Stadeli triple had a great run but boosting out-of-base capacity and relieving pressure from the Big Mountain Express became top priorities for the resort. The new flagship will lift guests from the base lodge to Inspiration Ridge along a 5,700 foot alignment. Rising 2,200 vertical feet in less than seven minutes, it will be the largest lift investment in resort history and the first Leitner-Poma installation in the state of Montana. Preliminary work will begin this summer with completion scheduled for late 2022.

This summer, Leitner-Poma subsidiary Skytrac will complete the planned move of Chair 8 to higher elevation terrain in Hellroaring Basin. This will allow the basin to open earlier in the season and create a new pod of defined runs.

Another planned project already approved by the Forest Service is a third new lift to Hellroaring Peak. The timeline for that one has not yet been determined.

“I think it is important for passholders to know that the resort continues to reinvest into its infrastructure each year providing more value to the season pass,” said Dan Graves, Chief Executive Officer for Whitefish. “These are truly exciting times at Whitefish Mountain Resort.”

News Roundup: Good Friday

Whistler Blackcomb to Shut Down Again

The largest ski resort in North America is closing for at least three weeks effective midnight tonight. The pause comes as part of a provincial effort to slow the spread of Covid-19 through new restrictions on business and travel. Gyms, indoor dining, and houses of worship are also closing by order of the BC government. Whistler Blackcomb was specifically identified to “address and prevent community spread related to non-essential travel,” according to a news release. Other British Columbia ski resorts are currently allowed to remain open.

“Covid-19 continues to create challenges for people and businesses throughout B.C., and we are grateful for the sacrifices people continue to make to keep one another safe,” said British Columbia Premier John Horgan. “We know that the idea of more restrictions is not welcome news, but we are asking people to rise to the challenge with the confidence that vaccines mean better days are ahead. We are not out of the woods yet, but the provincial health officer’s orders, combined with our vaccines, give us the tools we need to move out of this pandemic together.”

Whistler Blackcomb parent company Vail Resorts recently announced 28.4 percent decline in net income due to effects of the pandemic. Whistler Blackcomb was disproportionately impacted due to the Canadian border remaining closed. Destination visits declined to 15 percent of Whistler Blackcomb visitation this season compared to 48 percent in the same period the prior year. Skier visits across all North American Vail Resorts declined 8.2 percent for the season as of March 7th.

The Whistler Blackcomb closure order is scheduled to last through April 19th, 2021. Whistler Mountain had been scheduled to close April 18th with Blackcomb Mountain planned to remain open until May 24th.

On Monday evening Whistler Blackcomb Chief Operating Officer Geoff Buchheister issued the following statement:

“Throughout the season, Whistler Blackcomb has prioritized the health and safety of our guests and employees. Monday’s order from the Province of British Columbia to close Whistler Blackcomb came as a surprise and we respect the decision and are taking immediate steps to comply. We would like to thank all of our guests and employees for their willingness to adapt to our COVID safety protocols and will update the website with more information on the future of the 2020-21 season.”

By Tuesday, resort officials decided to close both mountains for the season and turn their attention to summer.

News Roundup: RFP

News Roundup: No Reservations

New Lift Coming to Kelly Canyon

For the first time in decades, Kelly Canyon is getting a new chairlift. The fixed grip triple chair is the first new lift announced in the state of Idaho for 2021. The lift will service new terrain above the current lift-served summit with an exact location to be announced later.

With six complete lift projects and multiple retrofits already confirmed, Salt Lake City-based Skytrac is gearing up for one of its busiest construction seasons ever.

Kelly Canyon will run a contest on social media to name the new lift.

News Roundup: More Than a Mountain

News Roundup: Grab Bag

News Roundup: Ramping Up