- Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows CEO Andy Wirth and landowner Troy Caldwell held a Base-to-Base Gondola open house and Q&A last week presenting lots of new details. The Red Dog replacement project won’t happen until the gondola alignment is finalized.
- The Balsams files site plans for construction of a gondola and more beginning as soon as this fall.
- Subaru Skyride debuts at the Indiana State Fair. Can anyone identify the manufacturer?
- Owners of Lutsen say $40 million expansion will compel more skiers to stay in the Midwest instead of trekking to Colorado.
- Still no sign of lift construction at Saddleback.
- Two people apparently were injured riding a lift at Montage Mountain last weekend.
- Following the successful launch of a Poma gondola to the Kuelap fortress, Peru’s government to study building a cable car to Machu Picchu.
- Snowbasin is adding a tower to the currently towerless Allen Peak Tram to increase clearance and reduce closures during storm cycles.
- Keystone drops Making Montezuma episode 2.
- Disney Skyliner gondola construction prep continues.
- Sunshine Village reopens its gondola tomorrow after an 11-day fire closure.
- First pictures emerge of Steamboat’s gondola rebuild. Notice downloading capacity is now only six per cabin.
- The City of Elko will take over Elko Snobowl.
- Steamboat City Council reviews vision for Howelsen Hill which includes $1.54 million for a new, realigned Barrows chairlift.
- An Eldo Express update from Eldora.
- Ditto from Stoneham.
Earlier this fall, Squaw Valley Ski Holdings submitted its formal application to the Placer County Planning Department to build the three-stage gondola connecting Squaw Valley with Alpine Meadows that was first announced last spring. Leitner-Poma will design the system on the heels of completing Squaw’s Big Blue and Siberia six-packs. LPOA has lots of experience building detachable lifts with angle stations including similar three-section gondolas at Breckenridge and Sunshine Village.
The Squaw-Alpine gondola will be around 13,000 feet long with 37 towers and two ridge-top angle stations. The unique system will have three haul ropes but only two drives located at the end stations (Breck and Sunshine’s gondolas have just one rope & drive each.) In this sense, the base-to-base gondola is really two gondolas similar to Whistler Village and Revelstoke. What’s different at Squaw is the center section will operate with the Alpine drive by sharing a common bullwheel where the sections meet. As such, the Squaw section could be run independently but the other two spans must operate together. Regardless, cabins will normally make the entire trip from Squaw to Alpine. The gondola’s hourly capacity will be 1,400 passengers per direction with 8-passenger cabins and a line speed of 1,000 fpm. Squaw also plans full-speed operations during a power outage with generators at each drive station.
The north mid-station on the Squaw side will be sited on private lands near the summit of the KT-22 detachable quad while the south mid-station will be in the Tahoe National Forest within Alpine’s existing permit boundary. Skiers will be able to access some pretty awesome terrain from both mid-stations when conditions allow. The Squaw Village terminal will sit between KT-22 and the Squaw One Express while the Alpine terminal will be between the Roundhouse Express and Hot Wheels. The gondola will actually fly over Alpine’s base lodge and under Squaw’s Funitel. One interesting point from the application is that the Alpine mid-station at just over 7,700 feet in elevation will have no permanent road access or power line to it, which is part of why the central section has no drive motor of its own. The terminal control systems, lights, etc. will run off a line generator and diesel genset.