Sun Peaks Confirms Crystal Quad for 2020

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Two years after partnering to build the new Orient Quad, Sun Peaks Resort and Doppelmayr will again team up to replace the Crystal triple on the upper mountain.  The lift will be realigned, unloading at the Top of the World adjacent to the Burfield Quad.  Dating back to 1979, Crystal was the very first Doppelmayr chairlift built at what was then called Tod Mountain.  The new fixed grip quad will be Sun Peaks’ 13th Doppelmayr installation spanning five decades.  “A new Crystal Chair is very important as we look at the future of our upper mountain terrain at Sun Peaks,” said Darcy Alexander, Sun Peaks Vice President and General Manager in a press release.  “As more people continue to discover the Sun Peaks experience, we need to invest in moving additional guests around the mountain effectively and efficiently.”  Work on the $3.8 million project will begin immediately with completion in advance of the 2020-21 ski season.

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Sun Peaks Resort flanks Mt. Tod in the British Columbia interior.

Sun Peaks also announced the Burfield quad will not be shortened as envisioned in the resort’s master plan.  The 9,500-plus foot lift will continue to offer nearly 3,000 vertical feet of skiing from the Top of the World alongside Crystal.

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Capacity will increase by 20 percent over the current Crystal triple chair.

Sun Peaks is owned and operated by Nippon Cable Co., the licensee of Doppelmayr technology in Japan.  Nippon also owns several Japanese ski resorts and a 25 percent stake in Whistler Blackcomb.

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New Quad to Anchor Woodward Mountain Park at Mt. Bachelor

WWMP_MapProgression will be the name of the game next winter at a reimagined Sunrise base area on the east side of Mt. Bachelor.  Powdr Co. today revealed three new lifts, a remodeled lodge and new parking lot will make up the first Woodward Mountain Park, designed to offer a fun and intuitive learning experience.  Woodward Mountain Parks will eventually come to multiple Powdr resorts, building on the success of the company’s Woodward indoor action sports parks located throughout North America.  At Mt. Bachelor, 70 foot and 300 foot covered carpets will be joined by a 629 foot long Doppelmayr quad chair servicing five new acres below the Sunrise Lodge.

“Woodward is all about stoking passion and I’m excited for our guests to enjoy reimagined on-mountain environments that’ll be fun for every age and ability level,” said John McLeod, president and general manager of Mt. Bachelor in a statement. “The Mt. Bachelor Woodward Mountain Park will debut expanded terrain and new and inclusive experiences that our guests will love. Combined with our significant Sunrise lodge and base area upgrades, we’re transforming the Mt. Bachelor the guest experience for the future.”  Relatedly, Mt. Bachelor will debut a new trail map next winter painted by James Niehues.

Utah-based Powdr is on an epic building blitz.  The Bachelor addition will be the fourth chairlift for the firm this year on top of new lodges at Killington and Lee Canyon, a major snowmaking upgrade at Pico and the all new Woodward Park City ski area.  Last year, Powdr added six lifts at its resorts for an impressive total of ten in two years.

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News Roundup: Tallying

  • Just in time for summer, the Sea to Sky Gondola welcomes ten more cabins to the line, increasing capacity by 50 percent.
  • The Idaho Springs, Colorado city council may vote Monday on rezoning for a proposed 17 tower, 27 cabin gondola lift.
  • Hermitage Club founder Jim Barnes explains his reorganization plan but for now, a receiver remains in place.
  • Snowshoe is purportedly planning to replace Powder Monkey with a fixed grip quad next summer.
  • Although it doesn’t build lifts in the United States, Bartholet has built some very slick machines lately.
  • The Indy Pass grows to 28 resorts.
  • A rocket from Syria damages a ski lift at Israel’s Mt. Hermon, where a Leitner gondola is also currently under construction.
  • Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz launches a podcast with a great first episode about the Park City acquisition.
  • The City of Steamboat is still weighing options for bringing in a private operator and/or replacing Barrows at Howelsen Hill.
  • California Express notches another approval but litigation could be coming.
  • Vail Resorts reports a great quarter: skier visits up 14.3 percent and lift revenue up 16.4 percent with season pass sales for next year trending up 9 percent and 13 percent in units and dollars.  “We are still absolutely aggressive on looking for additional resorts that we think add to our network and make the experience that we provide our guests better,” says Rob Katz on the quarterly conference call.
  • Quebec tallied 4.6 million skier visits last winter, a ten year high for a province with three new chairlifts already under construction for next year.
  • New Hampshire resorts logged 100,000 more skier days than 2017-18.
  • Colorado is king with 13.1 million estimated skier visits, a new record.
  • This was supposed to be the summer the town of Grafton, Illinois celebrated a new gondola.  Instead, 2019 will be remembered for the flooding that has thrown a wrench in its construction.
  • Teo II is approved but has no timeline for construction yet.

Fatal Gondola Maintenance Accident in Switzerland

One worker was killed and six were injured this morning while performing maintenance work on an eight passenger gondola at the Swiss ski resort Engelberg-Titlis.  The three most seriously hurt were transported to the hospital by helicopter.  Cabins were not on the line and no guests were involved.  The lift, called Engelberg-Trübsee, was built by Garaventa in 2015 and is operated by Bergbahnen Engelberg-Trübsee-Titlis AG.

Nineteen people were working on a routine haul rope splicing project at the time of the accident.  The man who lost his life had worked for the resort firm for over 20 years.  “It’s the darkest day in our company’s history,” said Chairman of the Board Hans Wicki at a press conference.  “The deceased had many years of experience with maintenance and loved the work,” he continued.

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Doppelmayr-Garaventa annual book entry for the Engelberg-Trübsee gondola lift, left.

An investigation into the accident will be performed by the Forensic Science Institute Zurich and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research.

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