If Aspen & KSL Go Lift Shopping, What Will They Buy?

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Although both KSL and Aspen have bought lots of new lifts lately, aging machines at many of their new and existing properties could be replaced over the next few years, including this 1989 Poma at Squaw Valley.

It’s been two weeks since the bombshell news that Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital Partners are joining forces to bring twelve ski resorts under a new entity rivaling Vail Resorts.  While the deals won’t close for months, the new partners already say they plan to invest heavily in the guest experience.  “We have earmarked a lot of capital for improvements to be able to continue to reinvest significantly in the communities and the mountains,” KSL CEO Eric Resnick told the Denver Post.  “What’s exciting is being able to bring new opportunities with these communities and with these mountains to those customers who are already so passionate.”  This could come in the form of new lifts ahead of the 2018-19 season and beyond.  Below is a summary of announced plans and my speculation of what might be in store for KSL and Aspen’s upcoming resorts.

  • Alpine Meadows, CA:
    • Alpine Meadows applied for and received approval to replace the Hot Wheels chairlift in a new, longer alignment back in 2012.  A mid-station offload would allow beginner and intermediate skiers to access the lower mountain while others could continue to an unload near the top of Sherwood, providing direct access to Sherwood and Lakeview.  Approval for this lift likely expired in September 2015 but there’s no reason to believe Placer County would not approve it again.

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      The top station of Hot Wheels at Alpine could one day be home to a mid-station with a new high-speed quad continuing to Sherwood Ridge, where this photo was taken from.
    • Speaking of Lakeview, it is arguably the largest remaining pod at Alpine Meadows without detachable access.  This 1984 CTEC is older than Sherwood and with approximately the same vertical rise.  A high-speed quad is likely to replace it eventually.
    • Doppelmayr and CTEC have both built lifts at Alpine Meadows while Leitner-Poma has not.  That could change with the unification of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
    • I’ve written before about the Base-to-Base Gondola which is still on the table but still requires multiple government approvals.  It would traverse the White Wolf property between Squaw and Alpine with two angle stations along the way.

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      Uncompleted lift towers on Troy Caldwell’s White Wolf property between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows could become home to a public gondola between the two mountains.

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News Roundup: Inaugural

Instagram Tuesday: Flying

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

The lift tower installation for the Grand Canyon Express is now complete!

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Instagram Tuesday: Lattice

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

Sunsets have been impressive this week to say the least. #aspenmountain (📷: @zmaraziti )

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#seilbahn #ötztaleralpen #sölden #österreich #austria

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Instagram Tuesday: Modern Lifts

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

No better way to see the sights of Aspen than the Silver Queen Gondola. #aspenmountain (📷: @zmaraziti )

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Evening views from our backyard.

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여수오면 누구나 간다는 #여수해상케이블카 ㅎㅎㅎ 좋구만~

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Instagram Tuesday: World Tour

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

Jackson Hole Sweetwater Bottom Terminal steel going in. @mfm518 @kanzlerdad @ol_kev @bassettscott #jhmr #buildmorelifts

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Instagram Tuesday: Inversion

Inversion #dentsdumidi #skilift

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Lift it up. #PureEnergy #Verbier #mountains #Switzerland #alps #snow #skiing #inlovewithswitzerland

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Instagram Tuesday: Landscapes

It's better in the mountains. #maroonbells (📷: @hbuckphoto & @vitalfilms )

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Rise above. | #WBGoBeyond #WBTurns50 #skiBC | Photo: Jason Jo – @coastmtnphotos, taken Feb 12 |

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News Roundup: Up, Up and Away

King Pine is open for the season #theloaf LiftsAreSpinning

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Photo credit: Christopher Strunk

News Roundup: Resort Happenings

  • Hidden Valley, New Jersey will reopen as the National Winter Activity Center this month with two new Partek lifts.
  • The Balsams crosses another hurdle which could mean new lifts in the New Hampshire high country as early as this summer.
  • Sunshine Village hopes to have the Goat’s Eye Express running by today.

  • Construction at Laurel Mountain is 30% complete and ahead of schedule.  The state-owned mountain will open next winter for the first time since 2005 with a brand new SkyTrac quad.
  • Magic Mountain only managed to open one lift last winter and may not spin any this season.  The Vermont area had five aerial lifts in its heyday.
  • CNL Lifestyle Properties, the real estate investment trust that was slated to wind down by Dec. 31st, only sold one of its 16 mountain resorts by that date.  Okemo, Northstar, Big Sky and a dozen others will remain for sale into 2016.
  • Aspen Skiing Company will submit the Pandora terrain expansion and chairlift to the Forest Service for review in 2016.
  • Girl uninjured after mis-loading, dangling by her helmet and falling 20 feet from a chair in Saskatchewan.
  • Thanks to some much-needed snow, Vermont now has a third six-pack with bubble chairs and heated seats.  This one’s not open to the public, unfortunately.