News Roundup: Study

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I’m in Colorado for a few days checking out this year’s new lifts. There are six!
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Chairlift Coming to New Woodward Park City

Many people don’t realize Powdr Co., the privately-held firm behind Copper, Killington and Mt. Bachelor, still owns the Gorgoza Park tubing area along I-80 despite losing nearby Park City Mountain Resort to Vail in 2014.  With unanimous approval Tuesday by the local planning commission, Powdr plans to break ground this summer on its sixth Woodward action sports park on the tubing site and build a chairlift in Park City for the first time since 3 Kings went up seven years ago.

This land hosted as a ski resort twice in the past.  A 2,070′ Hall double stood from 1978 through the early 1980s before being removed.  An even earlier iteration on Parley’s Summit featured a T-Bar and possibly another chairlift.  Powdr acquired the property and built the current tube park in 2000.

WWPC-Overview-SketchA 400′ vertical fixed-grip quad along with a new and existing carpet lift will provide uplift for skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking.  “Woodward provides aspiring athletes a place to safely progress their skills,” said John Cumming, Founder and CEO of Powdr in a press release announcing construction. “Having a Woodward in a venue that has hosted Olympic-level action sports competition, will, I believe, help to further inspire kids and enable them to develop. Park City is our home and we are extremely proud to be in a position to bring Woodward to our community and realize our initial vision for Gorgoza Park.”  A plan before Powdr Co.’s legal spat with Vail Resorts would have placed the new Woodward in town at the base of the First Time lift.

The company’s Woodward brand also has outposts at Boreal and Copper Mountain along with non-ski ones in Southern California, Pennsylvania and Mexico.  The Park City location will be the first with a dedicated chairlift and will open by the summer of 2019.  While the manufacturer of the new quad is not yet known, Powdr has also announced a new fixed-grip lift for Killington next summer which could be lumped into a single contract.

Introducing: Alterra Mountain Company

Alterra_Logo_Primary_Black

Combine altitude and terrain and you get a portmanteau called Alterra.  Starting today, it’s the new name for the affiliate of KSL Capital Partners and Henry Crown and Company (owner of Aspen Skiing Company) that brought 12 major mountain resorts under one umbrella last year.  Based in Denver, Alterra now rivals Vail Resorts in scale but promises each of its resorts will retain an independent character.  “Alterra Mountain Company is made up of unique mountain destinations, each with a personality and spirit that has delighted visitors for generations,” said David Perry, President and COO of the company in a release.  “Our vision at Alterra Mountain Company is to protect and enhance what makes each destination special, inviting guests back to their favorite mountain, and enticing them to visit new destinations on their bucket list.”  Alterra’s dozen resorts operate a combined 196 lifts while Vail has 228 across its 13 North American resorts.

Hopefully you’ll be reading about Alterra often on this blog in the coming years as the group makes lift investments across its mountains.  They include Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado; Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in California; Stratton, Vermont; Snowshoe, West Virginia; Deer Valley, Utah and Tremblant and Blue Mountain in Canada.

News Roundup: Snapped

  • SkyTrans Manufacturing announces the passing of its founder and president, Jerry Pendleton, who began his career with O.D. Hopkins in 1960.
  • John Dalton’s tale of how two brand new lifts survived the Category 5 hurricane in St. Maarten is a must read.
  • A dangling Mammoth Mountain guest escapes a fall from a chair unharmed; lifty who caught her isn’t as lucky.
  • Snowbird’s in-house magazine demystifies how detachable lifts work with a sweet diagram from Doppelmayr and copy from a guy you might have heard of.
  • Hatcher Pass, Alaska moves toward building a SkyTrans triple chair ASAP.
  • Video of a swinging Austrian bubble chair with two skiers struggling to hang on goes viral worldwide.
  • The Hermitage Club comes within days of having its water and sewer services shut off and is still working through other payables.
  • A gondola cabin blew off an outdoor parking rail at Sunday River during last week’s storm and a slew of other lifts suffered damage but are now back in action.
  • 9-year old unharmed after falling 15 feet from a lift at Boyce Park, PA.
  • A three-station gondola is one of ten finalists for a signature attraction in Edmonton, Alberta.  You can vote for it in an online public advisory poll.
  • Fernie’s White Pass lift will be closed for awhile while new bullwheel bearings are sourced and installed.
  • Powerful storm snaps a 30 mm wire rope on Mont Blanc’s iconic panoramic cable car, which was not operating and typically only runs in the summer.
  • Granite Gorge’s sole chairlift has yet to open this season, apparently due to gearbox issues.

News Roundup: Storied

  • The Eglise expansion at the Yellowstone Club looks like something straight out of Europe!  Thanks Everett K. for the photos.
  • The Alameda County Fair will debut a Skytrac skyride next year, the fourth such lift in California.
  • Disney teases more Skyliner renderings and the first tower footings going in the ground are massive.
  • Gearbox problem turns into a rope evac at Windham Mountain.
  • Power surge blamed for a three hour evacuation at Sasquatch Mountain.
  • Belleayre’s gondola proves itself from day one in subzero temperatures.
  • If it can raise enough money, Frost Fire, North Dakota plans to build a Skytrac fixed-grip chairlift next summer to replace two broken lifts.
  • A clearance issue needs to be resolved before Bear Valley can launch the Mokelumne Express.
  • A mechanic dies while working on a carpet lift at Loveland and a GoFundMe page has been set up to support his widow and three children.
  • With a “full pipeline,” Skytrac is hiring for construction positions.
  • North Korea’s second ski resort reportedly includes lifts manufactured locally, a result of UN sanctions prohibiting the import of luxury goods.
  • Silver Mountain celebrates a storied 50 years with a look back to construction of the world’s longest gondola, uniquely funded by federal, state and local governments along with VonRoll Tramways.
  • As we enter prime time for lift construction announcements, keep track of the 2018 roster here.

News Roundup: Outage

  • Aspen Mountain 1A stakeholders narrow replacement options to a few alignments with a two-stage lift or pulse gondola still in the mix.
  • Crystal Mountain, WA retires its hand-painted trail map for a computer-rendered VistaMap.
  • Antelope Butte, Wyoming inches closer to reopening with its two existing Riblet chairlifts.
  • Local paper tells the story of how Borvig’s owner came to own Berthoud Pass.
  • Breckenridge and Vail debut new Leitner-Poma six-place lifts.
  • A power outage closes Sugarloaf on the always-busy day after Christmas.
  • Two different New Hampshire ski areas remain closed due to problems with lifts.
  • LST detachable lift number one is still undergoing testing in France with opening now planned for January.
  • Bromley’s Sun Mountain Express is back in action today following Monday’s incident.  Ironically, it’s currently on wind hold.

News Roundup: Lost

  • Tussey Mountain thinks weakened spring packs caused last weekend’s lift incident and plans to reopen Saturday.
  • As many speculated it would, Vail is taking a wait and see approach to capital improvements at Stowe.
  • A lawsuit is filed against Granby Ranch one year after a fatal lift accident there.
  • Billionaire philanthropist Barry Diller considers gifting a $30 million gondola to the people of Los Angeles, which would travel over 2.2 miles of parkland from the city’s zoo to the Hollywood sign.
  • One Hall double at the defunct Big Tupper ski area will reopen next winter, with another needing extensive work before it can spin.
  • A report suggests Sunrise Park mechanic Reggie Antonio lost his life when the lift he was working on moved while he was in a work chair but still attached to a tower.
  • Proposed urban gondolas find friends and foes in San Diego.
  • LiftDigital safety bar screens go live on five chairs at Winter Park.
  • Garaventa completes the world’s steepest funicular railway in Switzerland.
  • New owner of Mt. Whittier, NH weighs the future of a lost ski area with a 1963 Mueller gondola that still stands adjacent to a McDonald’s drive through.

News Roundup: Economies of Scale

  • Poma wins monster $47.1 million contract for five lifts from the company that operates Val d’Isère, Tignes, Meribel, La Plagne and Les Arcs in France.  Last year’s three-lift, $29.4 million contract from the same group went to Doppelmayr.
  • An Australian teenager is lucky to be alive after doing pull ups on a moving chairlift cable.
  • The inaugural gondola featuring Sigma’s Symphony 10 cabins debuts in Italy.
  • Canton, Ohio looks at gondolas, calling them “transportainment.”
  • Props to Bear Valley for frequent Moke Express updates.
  • A judge sides with Monarch in lift unloading injury lawsuit.
  • Following a workplace death and news that a major lift is out of service, confusion surrounds Sunrise Park Resort’s season, though new management and lifts could be on the way.
  • Record-shattering aerial tramway with 6,381 feet of vertical and a 10,541′ free span opens in Germany a week from today.
  • Connecticut’s Woodbury Ski Area might be gone for good.
  • George Kruger of Ski Lifts Unlimited, instrumental in rebuilding lifts at Magic Mountain and beyond, passes away.
  • Leitner-Poma is completing final assembly of a cool 25-passenger tramway at the upcoming Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.

News Roundup: Northward

  • Sun Peaks considers four possible lift projects for summer 2018, most likely being a CAD$8 million replacement of Crystal with an extended detachable.  The world’s longest fixed-grip chairlift, Burfield, could be shortened with a corresponding capacity increase or new lifts added to Orient Ridge or West Morrisey.
  • Ski Magazine updates us on Big Sky 2025 and plans for a new tram or south side lift on Lone Peak.
  • A power outage closes Lake Louise to the public on World Cup Saturday.
  • Burke Mountain says goodbye to Willoughby, a 1988 CTEC quad.
  • The Florida Department of Transportation studies possible gondola routes from Sarasota to nearby barrier islands.
  • Mad River Glen launches $6.5 million Preserve our Paradise capital campaign which includes replacing the 1966 Mueller Birdland with a newer used chairlift.
  • Upcoming Aspen Mountain master plan update likely to include new Pandora’s, Gent’s Ridge and Bell Mountain lifts.
  • Ski Apache is replacing its 1981 Riblet Chair 6 with a brand new Doppelmayr.
  • Less than two years after opening a $7.3 million chairlift, the Hermitage Club falls behind on water and sewer payments.
  • Enjoy these sneak peak photos of two new quad chairs at Giants Ridge courtesy of Benjamin B.

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News Roundup: Sadness