- Boyne Resorts acquires its tenth ski area: Shawnee Peak, Maine.
- A new trail map shows Loon Mountain’s gondola is now called the White Mountain Express.
- A Bloomberg profile notes visitation has grown 46 percent in five years at Big Sky with major development to continue.
- Snow Partners becomes the new corporate umbrella for Mountain Creek, Big Snow American Dream, Snow Operating and more.
- A new model of the Sigma Diamond EVO cabin will debut first at Austria’s Kaunertaler Gletscher.
- Whiteface proposes a high speed quad with angle station from Bear Den to the new Legacy Lodge and may replace Little Whiteface and Mountain Run with a quad in 2022.
- Boyne Mountain General Manager Ed Grice takes a deep dive on six future lift projects.
- The new Cape Smokey gondola is carrying thousands of riders on peak fall days.
- A conveyor project is delayed a year due to components being stuck on a ship near the Port of Houston.
- Welch Village also says it’s waiting for parts of its new chairlift.
- Le Massif adds a Doppelmayr platter to service the new Club Med Québec-Charlevoix.
- Crystal Mountain President Frank DeBerry says replacing Rainier Express is a top priority. Alterra also wants to swap the Mt. Rainier Gondola for a higher capacity machine and turn the existing gondola into a base area-Campbell Basin link. Bullion Basin Express, an East Peak lift, Kelly’s Gap Express and Northway detachable all remain under consideration.
- Reader Austin S. sent in the below photos from Mt. Shasta, purported to be clearing for a new lift on Gray Butte.
- Wolf Creek opens tomorrow, Arapahoe Basin Sunday.
- Carrabassett Valley Academy looks to build a T-Bar at Sugarloaf next summer for race training.
- Powdr plans to operate Fast Tracks express lanes at 31 Copper Mountain, Killington, Mt. Bachelor and Snowbird lifts.
- Bogus Basin eyes an expansion to meet rising demand.
- A map shows Sunday River’s Merrill Hill may eventually include a second lift.
- Lots of new trail maps are out: Big White, Crested Butte, Devil’s Head, Keystone, Snow King front and back.
- Under construction Wasatch Peaks Ranch faces a legal challenge.
- The latest Mayflower schedule has the first lift in 2023 with more to follow in ’24.
- Bromley spends over a million dollars upgrading the Sun Mountain Express.
- After four months of work, the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram is back in action.
- Whitefish Mountain Resort previews next summer’s big six pack project.
- A sobering fire update from Sierra at Tahoe acknowledges big challenges and uncertainty surrounding this season.
- Massanutten will build its first detachable quad in 2023, replacing Lift 6.
- The Chamonix Grand Montets cable car, destroyed by fire in 2018, will be replaced with a €110 million 3S gondola featuring stations designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
- MMG Equity Partners takes full ownership of Tamarack Resort, buying out two other shareholders.
- Incoming Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch says lift capacity and speed are key to managing crowding.
Utah’s Office of Economic Opportunity will support Leitner-Poma of America as it establishes a new base in the Beehive State. Leitner-Poma plans to bring up to 118 jobs over the next 10 years in manufacturing, service, parts, sales and administration with an estimated $30 million capital investment. “Utah has a fantastic pro-business environment and the ropeway market in Utah is growing exponentially,” said Daren Cole, president of Leitner-Poma of America in a press release. “We’re excited to expand our operations to have a more permanent home in the state.”
Since 2016, LPOA has owned fixed-grip specialist Skytrac, operating out of a former Komatsu dealership in Salt Lake City. The balance of Leitner-Poma’s US manufacturing currently takes place in Grand Junction, Colorado, where the French company Poma established an outpost in 1981. Today, LPOA and Skytrac plus groomer manufacturer Prinoth and snowmaking supplier DemacLenko all operate under the High Technology Industries (HTI) umbrella. The new facility will house several HTI brands, providing customers with a wide range of services. The State of Utah will refund a portion of Leitner-Poma’s state taxes for the next decade if certain economic targets are met.
“We’re excited that a global company like Leitner-Poma is bringing the manufacturing and distribution of chairlifts and other transportation systems to the home of The Greatest Snow on Earth,” said Theresa Foxley, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. “Like other companies in our Outdoor Products industry, they will find our state to have committed and talented workers.”
Current LPOA projects in the Utah market include a set of bubble chairs for Wasatch Peaks Ranch and a six place lift at Snowbasin Resort.
- Sierra at Tahoe reports more fire damage than initially thought with a large amount of vegetation burned, six lifts damaged and a vehicle maintenance shop lost.
- A GoFundMe has been established to support Sierra at Tahoe employees who lost personal property in the Caldor Fire.
- Jay Peak is “actively engaged” with multiple potential buyers and reports improving finances, though both Jay and Burke Mountain both still operate in the red.
- Sunday River will spin the new Merrill Hill triple select days this season with a full opening pushed to winter 2022-23.
- With a new lift on the way, Kelly Canyon begins disassembling the Stony Mountain double.
- A vaccine requirement for indoor entertainment venues in British Columbia won’t apply to gondolas.
- Also in BC, the Zincton formal proposal is out and includes five chairlifts plus a gondola.
- The New York Times does a feature story on green urban transportation including gondolas.
- James Niehues announces his retirement from trail maps though he will continue painting.
- Catamount continues construction on two new quad chairs, one of which will start out as a triple.
- Skytrac flies towers at Howelsen Hill.
- Snow King Mountain enters the home stretch on a $20 million summer and looks for public help to name new lifts.
- Speaking of Snow King, towers went up last weekend for both lifts.
- Indy Pass signs on Manning Park, British Columbia; The Rock, Wisconsin; and Seven Oaks, Iowa.
- Big Snow American Dream will remain closed several more weeks following last week’s fire.
- Leitner-Poma to build the previously announced Lakeview Express at Mt. Rose next year.
- The gondola to the gondola at Breckenridge nears approval.
- Rad Smith completes his largest illustration yet – a new map for Big White in the style of James Niehues.
- Another protest takes place against a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- Nitehawk continues fundraising for a new chairlift as it nears a second season without one.
- Lookout Pass works to convert Timber Wolf from a double into a triple.
- Alpine-X seeks to raise up to $5 million through crowdfunding.
- An Iowa county agrees to purchase Sleepy Hollow, a chairlift-served tubing park.
- Palisades Tahoe renames two of its chairlifts Resort Chair and Wa She Shu.
- Doppelmayr arrives on site to assess and make recommendations regarding the storm-damaged chairlift in Gallix, Quebec.
- Amsterdam could see a river crossing 3S gondola.
- Sundance will host a party on October 10th to celebrate the final rides on Ray’s Lift before removal.
- Another gondola concept emerges in Los Angeles.
- Lake Louise’s new high speed quad will be called Juniper Express.
- Camelback says it has completed an extensive inspection and certification process for its lifts and implemented additional safety protocols in the wake of last season’s chair fall.
- Stuart Winchester gets the latest from Aspen Snowmass CEO Mike Kaplan on 1A, Pandora’s, Coney Glade, Burnt Mountain, Goldenhorn and other lift projects.
- The Superior National Forest will host a virtual open house Tuesday regarding the Lutsen Mountains expansion.
- West Mountain unveils plans for its first detachable lift, including an intermediate station.
- Fairfax County will host an open house tomorrow regarding the proposed Alpine-X indoor mountain resort.
- Attitash fully removes what remained of the Top Notch double
- The Icy Strait Point Mountain Top gondola is now scheduled to debut in May 2022.
- I’m thrilled to report the quad chairlift in Wears Valley, Tennessee is open for business, nine years after construction!
- Summit Ski Area officially merges into Timberline Lodge, which becomes the largest vertical ski area in America at 4,540 feet.
- The former Colby College ski area in Maine fundraises to resume downhill operations for the first time since the ’70s with a T-Bar planned for a future phase.
- Also in Maine, Sunday River and Doppelmayr near completion of the Merrill Hill project as survey markers appear under the Jordan Bowl Express.
- In Australia, Thredbo closes a week early due to lack of guests.
- The Forest Service signs off on Copper’s Lumberjack Express project, though the resort does not yet have a timeline for construction yet.
- In a lawsuit, Alterra says it’s owed more than $200 million for lost business during the pandemic which should have been covered by insurance.
- Vail Resorts plans to load lifts to full capacity this winter at all 34 of its North American resorts. No passholder reservations required, employees must be vaccinated by November 15th and guests must show proof of vaccination to dine at indoor cafeterias.
- Vail also reports strong full year financial results with lift revenue up 17.9 percent from a year ago and operating expenses down 5.4 percent.
- Sierra at Tahoe says both Nob Hill and Short Stuff were damaged by the Caldor Fire.
- Great Bear will unveil the naming rights partner for its new chairlift on October 16th.
- Searchmont gets a new trail map showing two new lifts. Also its Blue Mountain triple chair will be inoperable until early February.
- Purgatory says its six pack will be closed at least two more weeks, gives summer season passholders next summer for free due to continued lift problems.
- Bartholet announces a major five section gondola contract with Switzerland’s LAAX. The Ropetaxi system will feature cabins which move autonomously in stations and can be directed to a specific destination by passengers.
Despite an 18 month pandemic, supply chain challenges and continued uncertainty, a handful of US and Canadian ski resorts are putting finishing touches on expansion projects set to debut this winter. Two of these were delayed in 2020 and resumed construction this year while others were actually accelerated during Covid. Many of this year’s projects focus on learning terrain enhancements following the pandemic winter when new and lapsed skiers gravitated toward the mountains.
McCoy Park – Beaver Creek Mountain, Colorado
The lone expansion this year featuring two new chairlifts is Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park, encompassing 250 acres of new high alpine terrain. This beginner zone follows in the footsteps of Haymeadow Park and Red Buffalo Park, which both offer dedicated terrain for new skiers and snowboarders with detachable lifts. The new McCoy Park Express will service 17 trails and the Reunion Quad will provide easy exit from McCoy Park to the Upper Beaver Creek Mountain and Strawberry Park Express lifts.
Lower Juniper – Lake Louise, Alberta
Another beginner-focused expansion featuring a detachable quad is underway at Lake Louise. The new Lower Juniper Express is the second new chairlift here in two years. It will access four new low intermediate trails and provide an alternate out-of-base option to access the upper mountain.
Sunny Side – Snow King Mountain, Wyoming
Shadowed somewhat by construction of a new 8 passenger gondola on the front side of the mountain, Sunny Side at Snow King Mountain will also open this winter. This new backside bowl features extensive snowmaking and a Skytrac fixed grip quad.
Buzzsaw – Searchmont, Ontario
Searchmont hasn’t hosted a single day of skiing since March 2020, which makes its terrain expansion even more remarkable. New owner Wisconsin Resorts took delivery of two Skytrac triples last year, one of which replaced an existing Borvig double. The second lift sat in storage last winter and is now being installed to service two brand new beginner trails.
Merrill Hill – Sunday River, Maine
2021’s only New England expansion is a ninth peak at Sunday River. Merrill Hill features four ski trails and 23 new home sites near the South Ridge base area. This low angle zone will be serviced by a new Doppelmayr fixed grip triple, the mountain’s 15th chairlift.
- Mission Ridge sues Chelan County over the permitting process for a proposed three lift expansion.
- The Forest Service approves Winter Park’s Pioneer Express replacement project.
- It will take awhile for the Utah Department of Transportation to wade through 13,000 Little Cottonwood public comments, the most the agency has ever received for a project.
- The town of Tupper Lake, New York considers leasing Big Tupper for human powered recreation.
- Indy Pass founder Doug Fish expects to quadruple redemptions from 96,000 last winter to 400,000 this season.
- New trail maps start to appear showing new lifts: Snowbasin and Welch Village this week.
- The first towers go vertical for the Olympic Valley-Alpine Meadows Gondola at Palisades Tahoe.
- Sierra at Tahoe provides a fire recovery update.
- The rest of Australia’s resorts are cleared to reopen, though some have already called it a season.
- The towns of Telluride and Mountain Village are evaluating three options for the aging gondola: gradual incremental upgrades, a major overhaul or total replacement with a decision targeted for next fall.
- Some Banff leaders still support a gondola to Mt. Norquay despite Parks Canada opposition.
- A far left group targets Poma in France. Unhappy about the company supplying a ropeway to a nuclear waste storage project, the group claims it removed bolts from Poma lifts in the Alps.
- Trollhaugen says supply chain delays are impacting installation of a new Partek chairlift, though it still should be completed for this season.
- London’s Emirates Air Line gondola will be renamed in 2022 as Transport for London seeks a new naming rights partner.
- On the always great Storm Skiing Podcast, Taos CEO David Norden talks timing and lift types for the many upgrades in the resort’s new master plan.
- The Purgatory Express is closed due to technical problems yet again.
- Whiteface details summer updates to Cloudsplitter, Face Lift and Freeway in addition to the new Bear quad.
This is the last time you will see Lake Tahoe’s largest ski resort referred to as Squaw Valley on the blog. Today Alterra Mountain Company announced Palisades Tahoe will replace the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows brand. After extensive research into the etymology and history of the term squaw, the company determined last year it was widely considered a racist and sexist slur that needed to be retired. Palisades references craggy terrain located near the top of the Siberia Express and Tahoe needs no explanation.
“It is inspiring that after seven decades in operation, a company as storied and established as this resort can still reflect and adjust when it is the necessary and right thing to do,” said Palisades President and COO Dee Byrne. “This name change reflects who we are as a ski resort and community—we have a reputation for being progressive and boundary-breaking when it comes to feats of skiing and snowboarding. We have proven that those values go beyond the snow for us. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be part of Palisades Tahoe and after more than 10 years at the resort, I’m honored to be leading our team into this new era.”
Two chairlifts are in the process of being renamed and elements across the resort will feature a new orange and dark blue color scheme. Nearly 5,000 locations where the existing logo and/or name appear will be swapped out by signage teams and more than 32,000 uniform pieces will be replaced. Finalists for the renamed Squaw Creek triple are Eagle Eye, Highline, Resort, Snow King, Storm Rider and Valley View while Squaw One Express‘s updated name is still pending.
The two historically separate sections of Palisades will be referred to as Alpine Meadows and Olympic Valley going forward. A high speed, three stage gondola is under construction to connect the two sides, though the exact completion timeline remains unannounced. You can bet the new gondola will sport the Palisades brand when it opens.
- New Zealand and Victoria, Australia resorts reopen after extended Covid closures (New South Wales remains locked down.)
- Mt. Spokane will replace the drive terminal of Chair 2 with a new one from Skytrac.
- Skytrac is completing similar mods to Tumbelina at Monarch Mountain.
- The fate of the Pandora’s expansion on Aspen Mountain will be decided October 13th.
- Sierra at Tahoe still doesn’t know the full extent of lift damage from the Caldor Fire but remains optimistic.
- Users get stuck on one of Mexico City’s new gondola lines following an earthquake.
- The Holding family agrees to sell most of Sinclair Oil Corporation’s assets, though Sun Valley and Snowbasin aren’t included.
- The Forest Service issues a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Lutsen Mountains’ proposed expansion with public comments being solicited through October 25th. A new alternative would see the addition of five new chairlifts on Moose and Eagle Mountains rather than the initially planned seven.
- The only lift in Oklahoma won’t open for the second year in a row and is in danger of removal.
- Schweitzer adds 14 chairs to Stella.
- A quick update from Snow King Mountain: