- Jackson Hole takes initial steps toward adding Rock Springs and Green River canyons to its permit area, eyes new Sublette and Lower Sublette lifts.
- A California winery’s new D-Line gondola marches toward opening.
- Keystone confirms Bergman Bowl construction is a go to resume this summer and Rad Smith will paint an all-new Keystone trail map.
- Schweitzer’s upcoming detachable quad will be called Creekside Express.
- Utah Olympic Park christens its new high speed quad called Game Changer.
- Mission Ridge loses a lawsuit seeking $6 million from the county it operates in over an expansion dispute.
- MND wins a $106 million contract to supply equipment for a new ski resort in Uzbekistan including an 80 passenger aerial tramway, 10 passenger gondola, two chairlifts, six conveyor lifts, a mountain coaster, zip lines and avalanche safety systems.
- Attitash will auction chairs from the outgoing Summit Triple. Snowriver too.
- Software provider Entabeni Systems acquires Indy Pass, will cap sales next year and issue direct-to-lift cards.
- Mountain Division President James O’Donnell and Whistler Blackcomb COO Geoff Buchheister both leave Vail Resorts effective today. Buchheister is named CEO of Aspen and Bill Rock will become the new Mountain Division President at Vail.
- Crabbe Mountain explains recent lift down time.
- Paradise at Powder Mountain closes indefinitely due to a maintenance issue.
News Roundup: North Dakota
- Both Doppelmayr and Leitner-Poma submit preliminary proposals to connect concourses at Denver International Airport by gondola or cable-propelled train.
- Attitash rope evacuates the brand new Progression quad.
- Thrill Hills, North Dakota opens for skiing for the first time in 10 years.
- Forest Service documents show a slightly modified alignment for Breckenridge’s 5-Chair replacement.
- Property acquisition begins for the proposed Cascade Skyline Gondola.
- A county government purchase of Cannonsburg, Michigan goes on hold for now.
- North Dakota’s Bottineau Winter Park will replace its Hall T-Bar with a Doppelmayr one this summer.
- Nearing a month since a gondola incident, Mont-Sainte-Anne remains closed indefinitely.
- Bartholet will build the first major urban gondola in India with five stations and 150 cabins.
- The Durango Herald profiles Wolf Creek’s fierce independence and expansion despite not participating in any multi-mountain passes.
- Chairs go on Red Dog at Palisades Tahoe in advance of a planned mid-January opening.
News Roundup: Last of the Year
- A storm blows terminal panels off the new Tecumseh Express at Waterville Valley.
- Ditto for the T-Bar at Smuggs.
- A landslide takes out a lift tower in France.
- A de-roped moving gondola and power lines do not mix well in Bulgaria.
- Two major lifts to go down at Whitefish, one gets rope evacuated over multiple hours.
- An upgrade project run long is what prevented Thunderwolf from opening early season at Big Sky (now finished.)
- Holiday Mountain, Manitoba reopens after years closed.
- Vail christens the Game Creek Express; Sun Down Express remains under construction and Leitner-Poma apologizes.
- The Palisades Base to Base Gondola spins as one continuous lift for the first time.
- Attitash will reveal the name of next year’s new lift on New Year’s Eve.
- Maine approves expansion at Sugarloaf.
News Roundup: California Republic
- The owners of Mountain High and Dodge Ridge purchase China Peak.
- Vail Resorts reports 2.3 million pass products sold, though full Epic and Epic Local sales are down 12 percent.
- From the classifieds: a Poma gondola for sale in Australia and a Poma six pack for sale in Ontario.
- Kelly Canyon renames all its chairlifts.
- An updated trail map shows where Bittersweet’s new chairlifts run.
- Mt. La Crosse changes hands.
- Carriers are on both Big Red and Creekside at Whistler Blackcomb.
- A Park City reporter discovers more than 20 percent of the Red Pine Gondola‘s cabins are out of service.
- Attitash asks for votes on four name options for next year’s high speed quad.
- Storms slow progress on Red Dog at Palisades Tahoe and Far East Express can’t open until the new lift is complete.
- KT-22 is currently operating as a triple chair.
- European multi-resort operator Compagnie des Alpes signs a four year lift deal with Poma worth €200 million at list prices.
- MND’s first chairlift in the USA goes live tomorrow morning.
- The nonprofit which runs Big Squaw signs a new five year contract.
- Deer Valley will host open houses this week regarding future plans.
- Thanks to Dave Amirault for these progress photos of Burns Express at Deer Valley.
News Roundup: Long-Awaited
- Monarch Mountain purchases the nearby Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway.
- Sundance’s new quad is named Wildwood.
- Vancouver drops out of bidding for the 2030 Winter Olympics, increasing the likelihood the games will be held in Utah.
- Construction begins on the world’s longest gondola in the Caribbean.
- The Vail Daily reports on environmental deficiencies with Beaver Creek’s 2021 McCoy Park lift and terrain expansion.
- Alterra-owned Blue Mountain renames the Century Express to Valley Express with new controls, new tower heads/sheaves, new carriers, a new rope and several tower height adjustments.
- Vail continues its charity chair sale extravaganza with more from Jack Frost and Big Boulder.
- The Summit at Snoqualmie sells chairs from Hidden Valley.
- Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. closes on its acquisition of Jay Peak.
- Waterville Valley’s MND bubble lift will be called Tecumseh Express.
- The Forest Service approves Attitash’s Summit triple replacement project.
- Parts from Sunday River’s former Jordan Express are spotted at Boyne sister resort Pleasant Mountain.
- Doppelmayr reports a 16 percent increase in revenue with a particular surge in investment in North America.
- Purgatory sues the Forest Service over water rights for snowmaking.
- Cypress Mountain sues the Province of British Columbia over paid parking.
- Supply chain issues will delay the opening of Alta’s Sunnyside six pack.
Vail Resorts to Install Deferred Park City Lifts at Whistler Blackcomb
In its earnings report today, Vail Resorts announced new six and eight passenger lifts will be built at Whistler Blackcomb in 2023, replacing the aging Jersey Cream and Fitzsimmons high speed quads. The project will utilize Doppelmayr equipment originally purchased for Park City Mountain but not installed due to a successful permit appeal by four local residents. On Blackcomb Mountain, Jersey Cream will become a six passenger detachable and on Whistler Mountain, Vail Resorts’ first eight place D-Line will replace the Fitzsimmons Express. Jersey Cream services the heart of Blackcomb’s mid mountain and Fitzsimmons provides out-of-base capacity to Whistler Mountain along with servicing the world’s largest bike park. Jersey Cream capacity will increase 29 percent and Fitzsimmons capacity will jump 73 percent. Fitz will also become the first eight place and first D-Line in Canada.
The two lifts were originally slated to become Eagle and Silverlode, respectively, at Park City. Vail said it remains “committed to resolving our permit” for the new Park City lifts in the future. “When that happens, we plan to purchase the lifts and equipment needed,” the company said. Vail Resorts appealed the permit revocation in July but no resolution has been reached. Due to continued uncertainty, lift equipment was placed in storage in Utah over the summer and will be re-engineered and modified for Whistler Blackcomb. An intermediate unloading station built for Eagle likely won’t be utilized in Whistler. Despite the Park City situation, 18 other lifts that are part of the 2022 Epic Lift Upgrade are proceeding on schedule, including two at Whistler Blackcomb.
“We are excited to continue investing in the guest experience here at Whistler Blackcomb, and the opportunity to upgrade the Fitzsimmons Express and Jersey Cream chairlifts reinforces our commitment to excellence, especially as a world-class destination resort,” said Geoff Buchheister, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Whistler Blackcomb. “Following approvals and installation, these upgrades will reduce lift line wait times and create easier access and flow for all who visit our beautiful mountains,” he continued.
The Whistler Blackcomb projects bring Vail Resorts to at least six new lifts for 2023, including three previously announced investments and the delayed Keystone Bergman Bowl expansion. In July, Vail unveiled plans to replace Summit at Attitash, 5-Chair at Breckenridge and Kehr’s Chair at Stevens Pass for 2023. The Attitash and Breckenridge projects will be detachable quads while Stevens Pass will see a fixed grip quad. Manufacturer(s) for those lifts have not been announced. At Keystone, Bergman Bowl will feature a six passenger Leitner-Poma detachable.
Vail also reported season pass sales increased approximately 6 percent in units and 7 percent in sales dollars through September 24th as compared to a year ago. However, full Epic and Epic Local unlimited season pass sales declined roughly 10 percent. The company’s total 2023 capital plan is expected to total $191 million to $196 million, significantly less than this year’s $323 to $333 million. Those numbers reflect approximately $10 million in capital deferred from 2022 to 2023 as a result of the Park City and Keystone lift delays.
In addition to the six 2023 lift projects, Vail also plans to debut new technology allowing guests to use phones as lift passes via Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity next season.
Vail Resorts to Build New Lifts at Attitash, Breckenridge & Stevens Pass in 2023
Vail Resorts today released quarterly financial results and previewed three signature lift installations for 2023 construction season. The newly-announced projects will follow the record 21 new lifts currently under construction as part of the 2022 Epic Lift Upgrade.
Season pass sales are trending up for the 2022-23 season, increasing approximately 9 percent in units and 11 percent in sales dollars from the year prior as of May 31st. This past season, approximately 72 percent of all Vail Resorts 2021/2022 North American skier visitation was on a pass product. The company noted visitation on weekday and non-holiday periods increased approximately 8 percent last season while visitation on weekend and holiday periods decreased 3 percent, excluding Peak Resorts visitation in both periods. “We believe this trend is driven by the growth in pass sales as pass holders tend to spread their visitation more across the season, and, with the increase in flexible and remote work, we expect this trend to continue,” the company said. Vail is continuing to build new lifts across its portfolio in an effort to increase capacity and improve the ski experience.
Attitash skiers will be thrilled to learn the Summit triple is slated for replacement in 2023. A detachable quad will increase uphill capacity and reduce ride time on the longest lift at the resort. Attitash is also getting a fixed grip quad this summer to replace the mountain’s Borvig double doubles. When both projects are complete, five of Attitash’s seven chairlifts will be quads.
At Breckenridge, 5-Chair will be replaced by a detachable quad in 2023. Redevelopment of the Peak 8 base area will include new teaching terrain and a transport carpet to make the beginner experience more accessible. The new 5-Chair combined with a new Rip’s Ride being constructed this summer will mean all five lifts at the Peak 8 base will be detachable.
Finally at Stevens Pass, a fixed grip quad will replace Kehr’s chair, a Riblet dating back to 1964. This is the third new chairlift for Vail Resorts at Stevens and will improve out-of-base capacity.
Vail is investing approximately $320 million across its resorts this season for improvements. “Vail Resorts will have invested over $2 billion in capital since launching the Epic Pass, increasing capacity, improving the guest experience and creating an integrated resort network,” the company noted. Additional calendar year 2023 investments and upgrades will be announced in the coming quarters.
News Roundup: Reopening Day
- Here’s the latest on construction of the first MND/Bartholet detachable in the USA.
- A wide-ranging interview with the Director of MND Ropeways reveals the strength of the North American market, the war in Ukraine’s affect on European steel prices and the latest on the MND/Bartholet partnership. If the alliance winds down post-2023, MND would build detachable lifts in house.
- Despite efforts to save it, the Tulsa State Fair announces removal of its VonRoll skyride, citing maintenance and safety concerns.
- The Austrian gondola known as “Old Lady” will be shipped to Alaska at the end of June for installation at Eaglecrest.
- Loveland offers season passholders a chance to own retired Lift 6 chairs.
- Jared Smith will be the next CEO of Alterra Mountain Company as Rusty Gregory steps away from day-to-day management duties.
- Vail Resorts posts Epic Lift Upgrade updates from Attitash, Boston Mills and Mount Snow.
- Stowe’s Epic Lift Upgrade project is finally approved and construction is underway.
- A legal battle continues over whether Christchurch Adventure Park was negligent spreading a wildfire by running a chairlift with plastic seats during a 2017 blaze.
- A Swiss ski resort plans to build one of the world’s steepest tramways with a maximum inclination of 159.4%.
- 49 Degrees North says so long to Bonanza.
- Schweitzer plans to build at least one new lift from its master plan in 2023.
- A report finds corrosion, wear and inadequately monitored twisting led to the failure of a socket on an Italian tram last year and 14 deaths.
- Israel’s supreme court green lights construction of an urban gondola in Jerusalem.
- A 2030 Vancouver Olympics may see Whistler and Sun Peaks as venues.
- The Forest Service needs more time before deciding on Lutsen Mountains’ proposed expansion.
- Fire reaches within a half mile of Sipapu but officials express confidence that containment will hold.
- Mt. Rose’s Lakeview triple heads to Dodge Ridge.
- Maine’s Hermon Mountain hits the market.
- Cockaigne will open next year despite being for sale.
- An Alberta T-Bar will be used to transport alpine coaster vehicles and riders.
- Lenawee Express is the name for A Basin’s first six pack.
- Happy re-opening day to Big Snow American Dream!
News Roundup: All Over
- The Disney Skyliner suffers a minor breakdown.
- Construction resumes on the first MND/Bartholet detachable in the Americas.
- Two are dead following a collision and multi-day helicopter evacuation of a sightseeing gondola in India.
- Park City needs more time to present its upcoming lift projects at a public hearing.
- Issues with multiple lifts spell the end of Marble Mountain’s season.
- I recently joined the Powder Hounds Ski Trivia Podcast to talk lifts.
- Sunlight purchases Arapahoe Basin’s Lenawee Mountain triple to replace Segundo; Primo will be next.
- The name for Grand Targhee’s new lift on Peaked Mountain will be Colter.
- Paris selects a cabin design for its upcoming urban gondola system.
- Juneau moves ahead with purchasing a used Austrian gondola.
- A construction update on SkyLand Ranch, Tennessee, which will include a SkyTrans combination lift.
- Vail Resorts bags summer operations at Attitash to focus on lift maintenance and construction.
- Sugarloaf details plans for two new lifts over the next two summers.
- Leitner-Poma of America launches a new website.
- Big Sky profiles the maintenance manager of one of America’s largest lift fleets.
- Sunshine Village posts fun facts about its chairlift system.
- Former Jay Peak head Bill Stenger is sentenced to 18 months in prison for the fraud scheme involving the mountain and a biomedical research facility.
- A publicly-funded study says a gondola would be the best option for sightseeing above Butte, Montana.
- Cuchara looks to reopen one chairlift this summer.
- A tram or gondola is considered for Half Moon Bay, California.
- One of the Roosevelt Island Tramway‘s stations will receive a $7 million renovation.
News Roundup: Mystery Solved
- Snow Flyer is the name for Bittersweet’s upcoming high speed quad.
- The Steamboat Gondola suffers an extended breakdown with hundreds aboard.
- Steamboat outlines the push to remove, relocate and build multiple lifts this summer.
- Sasquatch Mountain Resort moves ahead with mega expansion plans.
- Doppelmayr is hiring construction employees across the United States including in Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Washington.
- Snowbird officially retires its original tram cabins.
- The Utah Department of Transportation needs more time to decide between a gondola and enhanced bus service for Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- Attitash will auction 145 chairs from the East-West Double Double for charity.
- A gondola from the Montage to Andesite and more lifts at Moonlight are among the possibilities for future lifts at Big Sky.
- Seattle’s regional transit authority calls a West Seattle gondola “not feasible.”
- Gallix, Quebec and Doppelmayr begin rebuilding the quad lift damaged by a flood last year.
- Doppelmayr and the Government of Brazil inaugurate the first air conditioned gondola in the Americas.
- A new study pegs the economic impact of Sierra-at-Tahoe’s missed season at $43.5 million. The resort missed out on $24 million in revenue and will spend nearly $17 million rebuilding.
- Alta will spin Albion for one final send off on Tuesday.