News Roundup: Skier Days

  • After missing last season, Mt. Timothy gears up to reopen under new ownership.
  • Tariffs on imported Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum are history as of last weekend.
  • The “Balsams Bill” becomes law in New Hampshire.
  • Creditors seek an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy of the Hermitage Club.
  • Jackson Hole wants to increase clearance under the aerial tramway for big snow years.
  • The first indoor chairlift in America should finally open this fall in New Jersey.
  • Utah crushes its previous skier visit record, hosting more than five million skiers for the first time in history.
  • Jay Peak and Burke Mountain’s former owner and ex-CEO are indicted by a federal grand jury on 14 counts.
  • As of April 30th, 26 potential Jay Peak buyers had signed non-disclosure agreements.  The resort says revenue was up 4 percent this season, skier visits increased 3.5 percent and room nights shot up 11 percent.
  • Burke Mountain is still losing money but revenue increased by 26 percent this season, skier visits were up 20 percent and room nights 47 percent.
  • With the Forest Service’s blessing, Ski Cooper embarks on adding 71 acres and a Leitner-Poma T-Bar for next season.
  • The Poma-built urban cable car in the Dominican Republic capital transported over four million passengers in its first year.
  • Mexico City’s transportation authority rejects all three Cablebus bids from Leitner, Bartholet and Doppelmayr.
  • A Loveland, Colorado developer still wants to build a gondola as part of an amusement complex.
  • The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority selects Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build a new people mover over Doppelmayr.
  • Still no opening date for the Disney Skyliner but gondola merchandise has arrived.
  • In a few years, you may be able to ride twin tramways between Russia and China with immigration and customs facilities at each end.
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Daren Cole Takes the Helm at Leitner-Poma of America

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After more than 40 years at Leitner-Poma of America, Rick Spear is stepping away from his role as president.  Daren Cole, a 25 year ski industry veteran, will lead the company’s next phase of growth.  Over his decades with the company, Spear was integral in transferring ownership and moving the North American headquarters from Vermont to Grand Junction, Colorado.  “It is time to move over and let younger minds and bodies take over,” said Spear.  “In total agreement with ownership I am scaling back and will be actively involved in strategic aspects of the company as a member of the board of directors with a focus on urban ropeway opportunities.  I know that I am leaving LPOA in good hands. Daren has shown a level of dedication and leadership to the company that will successfully transition into the future.”

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Cole joined Leitner-Poma in 2014 in business development and quickly added strategic planning to his roster.  He has been responsible for sales strategy and process that has led to an increase in sales.  Daren started his career at Purgatory as national sales manager and then was promoted to director of sales.  He spent more than a decade with Vail Resorts in several sales and marketing positions.  As vice president of sales and marketing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Cole increased skier visits by 10 percent, and both resort revenue and net promoter scores had double-digit increases.  He then went on to lead Powderhorn Mountain Resort as general manager in charge of all resort operations.  While running Powderhorn, he championed several key initiatives to impact the resort’s bottom line including a new point of sale system, a guest service training program as well as a new website and focus on social media.

“I am honored to take the helm and serve our customers and our employees at Leitner-Poma,” said Cole.  “The right equipment for the right job is the exact solution we provide.  Our experienced and knowledgeable staff is unrivaled in the industry and I look forward to working with them to continue to move our company forward.”

Leitner-Poma of America is the North American subsidiary of Poma S.A. of Voreppe, France and a sister company of Leitner AG with headquarters in Sterzing, Italy.  Last year was one of the firm’s strongest ever in North America and included the debut of three groundbreaking DirectDrive lifts at Copper Mountain and Winter Park Resort.  Leitner-Poma is already off to another packed summer building new lifts across the United States and Canada.

On a personal note, Daren was an early and ardent supporter of mine as I grew this website and I am grateful for his help.  I wish Daren and the entire LPOA team success as they enter this new chapter.

News Roundup: Master Plans

News Roundup: New Gondolas

Lift Makers Show Off New Products at Interalpin

The biennial Interalpin conference kicked off today in Innsbruck, Austria with alpine technology brands showcasing their latest and greatest to customers.  I am just following from afar but this year’s show is already proving to be monumental with major new products and initiatives being unveiled.

Leitner launched a redefined 2S gondola which is being positioned as an economical middle ground between a monocable lift and a 3S.  The reimagined bicable gondola utilizes standard monocable drive components, tensioning systems and cabins but with a single track rope added.  This allows lifts to traverse much longer spans with more cabins than a standard gondola system.

The terminals are of modular design with the exterior designed by Pininfarina.  A new carriage utilizes synthetic rollers and takes cues from the popular LPA grip.  On the lattice-style towers, sheaves are isolated for vibration dampening and track ropes rest on synthetic profiles.  Leitner has also developed a new system for track rope slipping which it calls “simple, safe and time saving.”  I find this product exciting as 3S gondolas are simply too expensive for many operators, as evidenced by their complete lack of adoption in the United States.

Leitner also showed off its next generation premium chair called Evo.  It comes with three bubble color options, three bar styles and two different kinds of upholstered seats.

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News Roundup: More Towers

  • MND Group subsidiary LST will build its third US ropeway this summer, a T-Bar replacing this Hall one in McCall, Idaho.
  • Copper confirms the new American Flyer will get more towers to “support and optimize” the lift.
  • This incredible timelapse of the longest lift in the world gets a lot of attention on Reddit.
  • US skiers and snowboarders came out 59.1 million times this season, a nearly 11 percent increase over 2017-18 and the fourth best participation ever.
  • The National Ski Areas Association launches a charitable foundation to grant money to resort employees to attend conferences such as LMS and RMLA.
  • West Virginia’s closed Timberline Four Seasons Resort files for bankruptcy.
  • A Vermont sheriff can no longer find Hermitage Club founder Jim Barnes to serve him with legal papers related to the ski resort’s closure.
  • In Serbia, Poma will realize the longest gondola in the world at 5.6 miles in two sections.
  • The year round, high speed quad-served bike park experiment in New Zealand gets a $3.3 million government bailout to keep operating.
  • If you want a retired Steamboat Gondola cabin, Sunshine Polishing is acquiring 105 of them.
  • Bogus Basin’s old Riblet chairs are selling for an average price of $1,775 apiece.

News Roundup: 3S

News Roundup: Ten

  • Garaventa inks a $45 million deal for a 4x funifor, 1x aerial tramway megaproject in Switzerland.
  • Beartooth Basin attempts to crowdfund this spring’s operation, including $35,000 for a required gearbox replacement on Poma 1.
  • An ugly snowmobile-chairlift crash is caught on tape at Sunshine Village.
  • The City of Steamboat will overhaul the Howelsen Hill Poma this summer and plans to replace Barrows around 2021.
  • The Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco and associated aerial tram may reopen as early as June.
  • Disney Skyliner’s nearly 300 ten passenger cabins will come in ten different colors with 22 unique character wraps.
  • The Indy Pass is still adding mountains.
  • With Timberline Resort’s owners unable to find an attorney, a judge postpones a state receivership hearing until May 28th.
  • Leitner will show off updated six passenger chair and Diamond gondola designs at Interalpin.
  • Local businesses leaders are pushing for a high capacity 3S on Burnaby Mountain.
  • Steamboat plans to sell its now retired gondola cabins to other ski resorts around the world for parts.
  • The so-called Balsams bill passes the New Hampshire Senate and is expected to be signed by the governor.

News Roundup: Atria

News Roundup: Lots of Euros