Bogus Basin to Add Fourth High Speed Quad

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Opened in 1965 and converted to a triple in 1999, the Morning Star lift acts as a major out-of-base people mover at Bogus Basin and will be replaced this summer.

Make it an even six new lifts slated for construction across the great state of Idaho this year.  Bogus Basin announced today it will replace the Morning Star triple with a 3,100 foot detachable quad chair from Doppelmayr USA in time for next winter.  Capacity will increase and ride time will quicken dramatically to just over three minutes.  The Morning Star Express will rise approximately 625 vertical feet and service a variety of tails from beginner to expert.

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Nearly all of Bogus Basin’s terrain will be serviced by high speed lifts beginning next winter.

“We are really excited about an improvement that will have a tremendous impact on the flow of guests throughout the area in winter and summer,” said Kevin Settles, Bogus Basin board chairman in a press release. “The community has been incredibly supportive of the changes that have happened at Bogus Basin over the past three years, all of which are part of a comprehensive master plan.”  Bogus is the largest 501(c)3 nonprofit ski area in the country and operates a fleet of seven chairlifts on 2,600 acres.  Expect the $5 million lift to open some time in December.

 

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Washington’s First Bubble Chair Coming to Mission Ridge

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Washington’s second longest chairlift is slated to be replaced with a newer version this fall.

The fifth US state to feature a bubble lift will be a place close to my heart – Washington.  Although both Alterra and Vail Resorts now operate mountains in the Evergreen State, it’s independent gem Mission Ridge that will debut a bubble lift next season.  Subject to Forest Service and state approvals, the used detachable quad will replace the Poma-built Liberator Express, which launched in 2005.  The existing lift came used from Winter Park and is now 34 years old.

Liberator stretches more than 6,500 feet and rises 1,600′ vertical but has not been very reliable in its life up north.  “The costs and limitations associated with maintaining the Liberator required us to take a new approach, so we began a search and found an ideal replacement,” said General Manager Josh Jorgensen in a statement.  “If approved, this investment will offer consistency of operations and a much more comfortable ride up the mountain,” he added.  “The new lift will come with all new electronic systems and controls which will serve Mission well for many years into the future.”

“We feel fortunate to have this opportunity,” noted Larry Scrivanich, the Seattle entrepreneur who purchased Mission Ridge from Harbor Properties 16 years ago.  At the time, Harbor also owned and had invested in new lifts at two other mountains while mostly neglecting its Wenatchee property.  Under Mr. Scrivanich’s leadership, Mission not only added the Liberator Express, but also Washington’s most comprehensive snowmaking system.  The resort recently launched an expansion plan, seeking to add three more lifts and a ski-in, ski-out village northeast of the current base area.  Some noted at the time of the announcement that the Liberator lift should be addressed first.  Now it will be, though with another used lift.  If all goes according to planned, Mission Ridge guests can be the only ones in the world to ride a classic Riblet double chair to a bubble detachable next winter.

Correction: This story originally stated that the lift would be new from Doppelmayr.  It has been updated to reflect that the lift, while Doppelmayr, is coming used from Europe.

Windham Is Shuffling A Lift to Replace C Lift

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Major lift moves will continue in the Catskill Mountains of New York this summer as Windham Mountain Resort moves its original detachable quad to replace a CTEC triple chair nearby.  “As one successful winter season full of upgrades begins to wind down, plans for the next are already in the works,” said the resort in a media release.  Last December, the larger Westside Six chairlift rendered the quad redundant and it hasn’t opened since.  The move will mean two different high speed lifts will serve as out-of-base workhorses in addition to Windham’s third detachable on East Peak.

C Lift, also known as Wonderama, started out on East Peak in 1987 and moved to its current location in 2006 to replace a Carlevaro-Savio triple.  The latest lift in this alignment will be the fourth new detachable built between neighbors Hunter, Windham and Belleayre in just the last three years.

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This 1993 Garaventa CTEC Stealth will move very close to home over the summer.

Windham also announced new grooming, trail widening and automated snowmaking investments today.

Owl’s Head to Replace Lake Lift

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The world’s first high speed quad is finally headed for retirement after 38 winter seasons in two countries.  Owl’s Head in Quebec will dismantle the Lake quad this spring, a machine which originally entered service at Breckenridge as Quicksilver in 1981.  The Doppelmayr detachable moved to Quebec in 1999 but has been out of service of late due to mechanical problems.

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The soon-to-be-gone Lake lift utilizes chain conveyors and a remote tension bullwheel unlike modern detachable lifts.  Photo credit: rodo_af, remontees-mecaniques.net.

The replacement will be a $2.6 million Doppelmayr Alpen-Star fixed-grip quad with loading carpet that will open in time for next season.  The new lift will move up to 2,200 skiers per hour.  This is the first major investment by a new ownership group at an area with seriously aging infrastructure.  “We were more than due to upgrade this lift,” said Destination Owl’s Head CEO Pierre Bourdages.  “The loading carpet will be a huge improvement, especially for young and new skiers.”

Copper Confirms Tucker Lift is a Go

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Tucker Mountain, home for years to Copper’s weekend cat ski operation, will go seven days a week along with a new chairlift next winter.

Just months after launching two of the largest lifts in the country by vertical transport feet per hour, Copper Mountain today announced its seventh new lift in nine years will bring chairlift service to Tucker Mountain in time for the 2019-20 ski season.  The Leitner-Poma triple will load at the bottom of Blackjack and terminate at over 12,200 feet atop The Taco.  Copper Mountain skiers and snowboarders will gain quick repeat access to 273 acres of expert chutes and faces.  Capacity of the bottom drive, bottom tension lift will be 1,200 per hour.

The move, approved by the White River National Forest last April, is part of a $100 million push by Powdr Co. to transform the Copper experience.  “I’m thrilled to announce Copper’s newest Tucker Mountain chairlift allowing more skiers and riders to access Copper’s unique high alpine terrain.,” said Dustin Lyman, president and general manager of Copper Mountain Resort in a news release.  “With all of the exciting development at Copper, now, more than ever, is a great time for the next generation of skiers, snowboarders and families to call Copper Mountain Colorado their home mountain,” he continued.

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Copper’s parent company is also adding a quad chairlift at its upcoming Woodward Park City action park in Utah this summer.  Killington may also see a new North Ridge Quad in time for next season.

Alterra to Build New High Speed Lifts at Alpine Meadows & Winter Park

Alterra Mountain Company will spend $181 million on capital improvements at its network of resorts this offseason, $32.3 million of which will go towards new lifts.  The announcement comes on the heels of competitor Vail Resorts’ proclamation that it will devote $139 to 143 million to capital projects in 2019, including new lifts for Crested Butte and Stevens Pass.

At Colorado’s Winter Park Resort, a new Leitner-Poma six-pack will replace the Sunnyside triple, increasing uphill capacity by 800 people per hour and reducing ride time from eight minutes to 3.8.  Sunnyside is a 1989 CTEC that provides egress from Parsenn Bowl and often experiences significant wait times.

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The Sunnyside triple is being retired but will likely find a new home due to its age.

In California, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will debut the first Leitner-Poma of America LPA detachable to feature an intermediate station.  The approximately 5,000 foot quad lift will follow the current Hot Wheels alignment with an offloading opportunity at the current top terminal site.  Chairs will continue one minute further to Sherwood Ridge for direct access to the backside of Alpine.  The first Leitner-Poma lift at Alpine Meadows will move a total of 2,400 skiers per hour between the three stations and cost approximately $10 million.  “The new lift will benefit the Alpine Meadows experience on many levels,” said Ron Cohen, president and chief operating officer at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “Terrain currently served by Hot Wheels is frequently used by learners and ski and ride school as the next progression after the beginner terrain in the base area. A detachable lift will make loading and unloading much easier for these groups, and the ride time will be more than cut in half. Alpine Meadows is a fantastic place to learn how to ski, and I am proud that we are continuing to foster that quality.”  Squaw is also adding new rope tow and carpet lifts in the High Camp area to further improve beginner options and skier circulation.

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This photo, taken from near the new Hot Wheels top terminal location, shows what will become the first stage of a two stage high speed quad.

As announced at the beginning of the winter, Doppelmayr will complete the Steamboat gondola rebuild this summer, adding new towers, all new cabins and more.  With a speed increase, this key out-of-base lift will feature an increased capacity of 3,600 skiers per hour.

Another significant lift-related investment is RFID access gates and ticketing infrastructure at Deer Valley Resort.  Other Alterra properties are getting snow cats, expanded snowmaking capabilities, restaurant remodels and new bike trails.  “Alterra Mountain Company’s unique year-round mountain destinations offer skiers, riders and summer visitors of all ages from all over the world special, memorable experiences, and each aspect of our business plays a part in bringing the guest back year after year and inspiring a lifelong love of the mountains,” said Rusty Gregory, Chief Executive Officer of Alterra in a company-wide press release.  “We are committed to investing in everything from lifts to snowmaking to creative dining experiences, and technology that weaves it all together for a seamless visit.”  The privately-held firm has budgeted more than half a billion dollars for capital improvements through the 2022/2023 ski season.  All 13 Alterra destinations participate in the Ikon Pass, which starts at $649 and goes on sale tomorrow morning.

Miami Dolphins to Build Gondola at Hard Rock Stadium

When Super Bowl LIV kicks off in Miami a year from now, a Doppelmayr gondola could offer fans a bird’s eye view just outside the stadium.  VenuesNow reports Miami Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel has been working on the idea for a sky ride over the past year and the team is now ready to spend $3 million on the gondola.  The 1,800 foot lift will travel near the courts used for the Miami Open tennis tournament.  “It’s less of a transportation thing and more of a novelty to be up above the tennis and the crowd. We’ll have it in place for Super Bowl next year,” he says.  The big game is set for February 2, 2020.

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A sample photo of a CWA Omega safari style cabin provided by the Miami Dolphins.

A ride on the new gondola will take approximately ten minutes, though the operating schedule and pricing have not yet been determined.  Doppelmayr USA is also poised to build a new gondola this year at the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, New York and another at Steamboat, Colorado.  Also in Florida, the company is nearly finished constructing three innovative gondolas at Walt Disney World, which will go into operation sometime this fall.

Oakland Athletics Unveil 3S Gondola Concept

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One of the Bay Area’s two Major League Baseball teams is looking at building the first 3S gondola in the United States.  The $123 million system would transport up to 6,000 passengers per hour and direction between downtown Oakland and a new waterfront ballpark, becoming one of the highest capacity lift systems in the world in 2023.  Thirteen or so 35 passenger cabins would depart approximately every 21 seconds at full speed, yielding a three minute trip from the BART regional train network to the stadium near Jack London Square.  The gondola would be feature just one tower between stations thanks to tricable technology, which can traverse large spans while achieving high throughput.

A’s President Dave Kaval noted at a Saturday press conference, “I think anyone’s who’s sat in traffic in the Bay Area, which is everybody, realizes there’s a need for new, innovative transportation options.”  He continued, “In terms of transportation systems, we feel [a gondola] is a great investment and a great way to open up this part of the city and remove that original barrier of the 880 that cut off the waterfront from downtown Oakland.”  Over the first ten years of operation, the gondola could generate $685 million in economic benefits through construction work, new jobs, increased taxable sales and time savings for commuters according to a study completed by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.  The lift would service an estimated on million riders a year with an operating cost of $4.6 million.

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Oakland is already home to two cable-driven transportation systems, both built by Doppelmayr.  A monocable detachable gondola links new and old sections of the Oakland Zoo and a $484 million ropeway people mover links the Oakland Airport to a nearby BART station.  The Athletics’ 3S would be the first installation of its kind in America, unless the Los Angeles Dodgers beat them to the punch.  “We are in discussion with a few companies and plan to select our partner soon,” says Kaval.

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Crested Butte to Replace Teocalli Lift

Just weeks after declaring the Teocalli lift wouldn’t spin this season due to needed maintenance, Crested Butte Mountain Resort today announced the Riblet double will be replaced with a new fixed-grip quad next summer.  Teocalli opened in 1979 and was the last operating Riblet lift at the resort.  Pending Forest Service approval, the larger lift will increase capacity by more than 50 percent.  The lower terminal will remain in its current location while the top station will shift closer to the Red Lady Express summit.

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“The realignment and improved capacity of the lift will provide an elevated on-mountain experience via quick terrain access, improved egress to the resort base area and access to Uley’s Cabin – one of CBMR’s premier on mountain restaurants,” said Tim Baker, general manager of the resort in a blog post.  “We believe this investment can provide a significant benefit to a variety of guests in the near future, and we’ll continue to listen to feedback and evaluate other potential investments that will have a similar impact for a spectrum of guests moving forward.”  Ten of Crested Butte’s eleven lifts are of Leitner-Poma lineage but no manufacturer was specified.  The new lift is the third to be announced by Vail Resorts for 2019, following the company’s commitment to replace two chairlifts at Stevens Pass next summer.  Both Crested Butte and Stevens were acquired by Vail last summer.

Silverton Considers Growing Kendall Mountain

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Silverton, Colorado – population 650 – is home to two ski areas with a grand total of two double chairlifts.  The smaller of the two at just 16 acres, owned and operated by the town, is Kendall Mountain.  Silverton recently commissioned SE Group to study possibilities for additional ski terrain and year round recreation.  The viability assessment, released last month, is very intriguing.

Kendall Mountain Recreation Area’s current lift, installed in 2006, is a 1972 Poma double with a 1990 return terminal.  The lift has a design capacity of 800 people per hour (pph), but currently operates at 760 pph.  It rises only 263 vertical feet on a mountain that stretches some 3,500 feet above the top terminal.  The setup reminds me of Whitetooth before Kicking Horse or Powder Springs pre-Revelstoke Mountain Resort.  Both were modest community ski areas at the bases of large mountains transformed into destinations by private developers.  Silverton isn’t currently considering anything on the scale of the new British Columbia resorts but the project could eventually yield Colorado’s third largest vertical drop in a place known for epic snowfall.

As part of its public outreach, the town held multiple community meetings to gain feedback over the past year.  Top priorities residents came up with at a first brainstorming session were expanded lifts and terrain.  SE Group identified excellent ski terrain on the central part of the mountain with a large quantity of terrain suitable for ability levels from novice up to advanced.  Importantly, the mountain’s high elevation would provide desirable snow conditions without the need for snowmaking.

SE Group also notes there is potential for Silverton to rise in popularity as a ski destination, benefiting both Silverton Mountain and Kendall Mountain as well as nearby Purgatory Resort.  The study concludes that “expanded skiing infrastructure on Kendall Mountain would benefit the existing Silverton Mountain Ski Area by providing a complimentary experience that would draw additional visitors to the area during the winter season.”  Silverton currently offers guided lift and helicopter skiing for experts only.

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