Doppelmayr Acquires Cabin Manufacturer Carvatech

Austrian ropeway cabin producer Carvatech has joined the Doppelmayr Group effective today. Carvatech, which manufactures gondola, aerial tramway, funicular and automated people mover carriers, will remain an independent brand under the Doppelmayr umbrella. Carvatech’s 50 employees will continue to be based in Oberweis, where the company has operated since 1956.

Doppelmayr also owns Swiss cabin manufacturer CWA Constructions, which it acquired in 2002. While the majority of Doppelmayr and Garaventa ropeways built today feature CWA cabins, Carvatech and Doppelmayr routinely partner on projects. The largest example in the USA is the Oakland Airport Connector, a Doppelmayr Cable Liner automated people mover in California.

“With Carvatech and CWA under one umbrella, we will strengthen our utmost expertise in carrier engineering and vehicle bodymaking on the world market within our Group,” noted Thomas Pichler, Executive Director of Doppelmayr Holding SE. “Carvatech is a profitable company that is optimally positioned in the market,” he continued. “We are convinced that the integration will create new impetus and valuable synergies for our business.”

From left: Robert Vockenhuber (Managing Partner Carvatech), Michael Köb (Head of Finance and Law Doppelmayr Seilbahnen GmbH), Reinhard Aschauer (Managing Partner Carvatech) and Thomas Pichler (Executive Director Doppelmayr Holding SE).

The deal came together over the last few months as Carvatech owners Robert Vockenhuber and Reinhard Aschauer approached Doppelmayr. “When looking to secure ownership succession following our retirement, the top priority was to place our company in good hands,” said Aschauer and Vockenhuber. “We are firmly convinced that we have achieved that goal.”

News Roundup: Dueling Passes

Mountain Capital Partners to Operate Willamette Pass

Durango, Colorado-based Mountain Capital Partners today announced Willamette Pass, Oregon will join its collective of Western ski resorts through a joint venture with current owner Tim Wiper. Willamette Pass becomes the eighth ski resort to join MCP and its first in the Northwest. The company currently operates resorts in four Southwestern states as as well as a lift-served bike park in Texas. “For more than two decades, MCP has strengthened its position in the Southwest, acquiring, building, developing and successfully growing nine resorts in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Texas,” said MCP managing partner James Coleman. “While Willamette Pass Resort’s location introduces a new geographical region to the company, the skiing is fantastic and the opportunity to carry on the tradition of Willamette Pass made the decision an obvious one,” he continued. Willamette Pass will join the Power Pass family of season pass products and current resort leadership is expected to remain in place.

Willamette Pass features a fleet of four Riblet and CTEC chairlifts including Oregon’s first six pack. The mountain also has significant expansion potential in the fast-growing Pacific Northwest ski market. Mountain Capital Partners specializes in building and improving resorts through targeted capital improvements including new lifts and snowmaking. “MCP expects to bring meaningful upgrades to resort operations starting this winter,” said the company’s press release.

Founded in 1941, Willamette Pass offers guests access to 29 trails across 555 skiable acres. “Since this resort’s founding, this has been a family business and, together with our incredible staff, we’ve put in this work for one reason: our love for skiing,” said Tim Wiper, who has owned the resort with his family since 1982. “Mountain Capital Partners clearly shares our undeniable passion for this sport, and they are the right partner to not only lead Willamette Pass Resort into the future but also work together with us to carry on our remarkable legacy.”

News Roundup: Falling Trees

  • Doppelmayr wins the contract to build Cablebus Line 3, a six station/40 tower gondola in Mexico City with a bid $19 million under Leitner.
  • Steamboat’s new gondola won’t open until mid to late December.
  • A falling tree de-ropes the Busch Gardens Williamsburg gondola off multiple towers.
  • NSAA reports the number of US ski areas operating last season increased by 11 to 473.
  • A brand new chairlift at Ski Wentworth gets battered by wind and falling trees from Hurricane Fiona but is believed to be undamaged.
  • Lake Louise says both Upper Juniper and Sunnyside high speed quads could be constructed as early as 2023 (map here).
  • A new map shows the location of Vail’s upcoming Chair 17 in Sun Down Bowl.
  • Deer Valley’s new map shows where the new Burns Express goes.
  • Apex Mountain uses video footage and social media to identify a group who tampered with the resort’s detachable quad.
  • The Los Angeles transit authority expects to release the draft Environmental Impact Report for the Dodger Stadium gondola October 17th.

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Pacific Group Resorts Wins Jay Peak Auction

Park City based Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. placed the highest bid – $76 million – at an auction yesterday for Jay Peak Resort. Subject to court approval, Jay will join PGRI’s group of five ski resorts located across the United States and Canada. “With the success of this auction, we are one step closer to concluding the receivership of Jay Peak Resort,” said Jay Peak receiver Michael Goldberg. “It has been six long years during which the resort has made tremendous progress under the leadership of general manager Steve Wright and his team and the guidance of Leisure Hotels. The time had come to put the resort back into private hands, and our investment bank, Houlihan Lokey, ran a strong sale process for us culminating in a very competitive auction. We are pleased an experienced operating company like Pacific Group Resorts ended up with this great asset.” The sale price of $76 million is $18 million over the auction’s opening bid. The identities of other bidder(s) were not disclosed.

“We began pursuing this acquisition over three years ago and couldn’t be more pleased with the auction’s outcome which paves the way to add Jay Peak to our growing family of resorts,” said Pacific Group Resorts President and CEO Vern Greco. “Jay has a high quality team of dedicated employees who have weathered the uncertainty of the receivership for a long time. We look forward to bringing renewed stability to the property and its staff, we’re enthusiastic about the prospects for the resort, and we are delighted to be in Vermont which is an important market for any mountain resort operator.”

A court hearing to approve the sale is scheduled for next Friday and the transaction is expected to close prior to the start of the 2022-23 ski season. There will be no changes to season passes or Indy Pass participation for this season. Burke Mountain, which is also under receivership, will be marketed separately at a later date.

Doppelmayr Introduces TRI-Line Three Cable System

A Swiss ski resort will become the launch customer for a new hybrid ropeway design by Doppelmayr. TRI-Line (pronouned “treeline”) will combine the benefits of a tri-cable 3S ropeway with Doppelmayr’s D-Line detachable generation. The new system offers throughput of up to 8,000 passengers per hour with a smaller footprint and lower cost than a 3S. “The TRI-Line is a detachable continuous-movement system and a compact further development based on two proven ropeway systems,” explains Peter Luger, head of TRI-Line development in Wolfurt. “It combines the benefits of the D-Line with those of the high-capacity 3S system.” The concept is similar to Leitner’s new 2S system but utilizes two track ropes rather than one. Doppelmayr notes two track ropes provide a stable running surface and the highest wind stability. Multiple ropes allow for very long spans between towers, a hallmark of 3S systems.

TRI-Line cabins will combine elements of CWA’s newest Omega V gondolas with those of Atria 3S cabins. The new cabins will accommodate up to 20 passengers in a 12 seated, 8 standing configuration. The carriage will utilize two D-Line detachable grips and eight running wheels. Cabins can be ordered with electronic sliding doors on two sides for high capacity and urban applications.

TRI-Line will utilize D-Line stations modified to accommodate track ropes and larger carriages. The new system will feature tubular towers rather than lattice towers. In addition to reducing tower footprints, this brings advantages in the construction phase such as the suitability of the components for air transport. Direct Drive gearless technology, Doppelmayr Connect controls and AURO autonomous operation are all compatible with TRI-Line.

The first TRI-Line installation is already underway at Hoch-Ybrig, Switzerland replacing a 55 year old reversible tramway. “With the TRI-Line, we’ve found a ropeway system that meets all our requirements – and does so for a reasonable price,” said Urs Keller, CEO of Hoch-Ybrig. “While a monocable gondola would have been an option from a technical point of view, it would have entailed various challenges with our particular terrain and therefore been difficult to build. The 3S lift, as an alternative, was beyond our budget. The TRI-Line is compact and can cope with our wind conditions thanks to the 3S benefits, which is a decisive criterion for our important feeder lift. Thanks to the new cabins with their comfortable seats and the generously proportioned glazing, we can now offer our guests a far higher level of comfort.”

News Roundup: Preferred Alternative