- Sipapu is threatened by New Mexico’s largest-ever wildfire.
- Other New Mexico ski areas postpone summer operations due to National Forest closures.
- Blue Mountain, Pennsylvania has 247 double chairs for sale.
- Ditto for Cascade Mountain, Wisconsin.
- Steamboat will auction chairs from Christie III along with retired gondola cabins next week.
- Heavenly’s rescheduled North Bowl chair sale will take place June 3-4.
- Aspen Snowmass forges the Silver Queen Gondola’s old haul rope into anniversary tokens.
- Snowbird provides a tram modernization project update.
- Park City won’t issue a building permit for Park City Mountain’s new lifts until at least June 8th, when an appeal will be heard. Vail Resorts tells me it still intends to complete the projects ahead of the 2022-23 season.
- Stowe also remains committed to replacing the Mountain triple this summer despite approval still pending.
- The Caribbean island of Dominica plans to build one of the world’s longest gondolas from a cruise port to a mountain lake.
- Tenney Mountain’s new owner plans to reopen next season.
- Beartooth Basin won’t open this year due to low snow.
- Kimberley and Leitner-Poma work to get the Northstar Express back operational 5 months after being idled by arson.
- The Sierra-at-Tahoe rebuild may include new lifts.
- New York’s Cockaigne won’t operate this summer and is listed for sale.
- Big Sky and Garaventa begin building Lone Peak Tram 2.0.
- Silver Mountain Lift Maintenance rescues a lost goat and gives him a gondola ride.
- Here come the terminals for Palisades Tahoe’s base to base gondola.
News Roundup: Graduation Season
- A member group officially owns the Hermitage Club property and will consult with leaders at Berkshire East and Catamount to get back up and running.
- Publicly-owned Gunstock Mountain Resort lost 9 percent of expected skier visits due to the pandemic but still turned a profit this season.
- Another publicly-owned ski area, Eaglecrest, has been placed near the top of the list for municipal budget cuts.
- Disney Parks Monopoly now includes the Disney Skyliner.
- CEO Rob Katz tells the Vail Resorts COVID story in a three part podcast.
- Two new gondolas at Icy Strait Point are really coming along.
- Timberline Lodge reopens for skiing and snowboarding today.
- Mt. Bachelor plans to operate starting Saturday with two lifts for season pass holders only.
- Beartooth Basin will open for skiing May 30th.
- Urban gondolas in Bolivia’s capital will only carry no more than four passengers per cabin upon reopening.
- Cranmore’s Skimobile Express will host a unique high school graduation ceremony in June, with graduates receiving their diplomas individually at the top of the lift.
- Same goes for Telluride High School and the Mountain Village Gondola.
- Work resumes on Sun Peaks’ new quad chair but the old Crystal triple will remain in place as long as possible in case stay-at-home orders return.
- At Arapahoe Basin, Molly Hogan is no more but Pallavicini will remain for a few more weeks. Chairs are being sold for $2,550 apiece.
- Doppelmayr releases its 2020 yearbook.
News Roundup: Ten
- Garaventa inks a $45 million deal for a 4x funifor, 1x aerial tramway megaproject in Switzerland.
- Beartooth Basin attempts to crowdfund this spring’s operation, including $35,000 for a required gearbox replacement on Poma 1.
- An ugly snowmobile-chairlift crash is caught on tape at Sunshine Village.
- The City of Steamboat will overhaul the Howelsen Hill Poma this summer and plans to replace Barrows around 2021.
- The Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco and associated aerial tram may reopen as early as June.
- Disney Skyliner’s nearly 300 ten passenger cabins will come in ten different colors with 22 unique character wraps.
- The Indy Pass is still adding mountains.
- With Timberline Resort’s owners unable to find an attorney, a judge postpones a state receivership hearing until May 28th.
- Leitner will show off updated six passenger chair and Diamond gondola designs at Interalpin.
- Local businesses leaders are pushing for a high capacity 3S on Burnaby Mountain.
- Steamboat plans to sell its now retired gondola cabins to other ski resorts around the world for parts.
- The so-called Balsams bill passes the New Hampshire Senate and is expected to be signed by the governor.
News Roundup: Wyoming
- The Province that owns Atlantic Canada’s largest ski resort grows tired of losing money and looks for a private operator for Marble Mountain.
- Doppelmayr will build the largest vertical six-pack in the world this year at Ischgl, Austria with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain in a single section.
- Boyne Resorts President and CEO Stephen Kircher says a recent bond sale and tax cuts should yield increased capital investment at his resorts over the next five years. Boyne doesn’t plan to buy new mountains any time soon, however.
- Fire update: Purgatory reopens summer operations, Arizona Snowbowl is still closed while Taos, Red River, Sipapu, Ski Santa Fe and Sandia Peak are under partial closures due to extreme fire danger.
- Antelope Butte, Wyoming has raised the $360,000 it needs to complete lift work and reopen next winter.
- Beartooth Basin ends its summer season early due to problems with the upper platter lift.
- Alterra CEO Rusty Gregory says of committing $555 million to mountain improvements: “We went to each resort and said, ‘Tell us, as resort operators, what will make the biggest positive impact on the guest experience.’ They had long lists.”
- Leitner is pulling ropes at 12,740′ for the highest-ever 3S gondola.
- Big Sky posts sweet photos from the Austrian factory where America’s first eight passenger chairlift and D-Line stations are being prepared for shipment. Chairs will have some unique designs on the back too.
- The Portland Aerial Tram returns to service 5:30 am Monday, three weeks early, thanks to crews slipping track ropes much faster than expected.
News Roundup: Possible
- Vail Resorts net income rises 41.5% over last year’s third quarter with Epic season pass sales up 12 percent in units and 19 percent in dollars through May 29th.
- The new Lift One will likely be put to Aspen voters in a winter 2019 special election rather than the November general election.
- The Western Idaho State Fair plans to debut a chairlift for the first time in August – apparently a used Riblet of unknown origin.
- An urban gondola proposal in Ogden, Utah is back.
- A great writeup about Heron’s early days answers why Aspen Skiing Company switched from Colorado’s homegrown lift company to Riblet.
- Now’s your chance to enter to win one of Arapahoe Basin’s retired Norway chairs.
- Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and the Sierra Club sign an agreement for the resort to abandon California Express Alternative 2 in exchange for the group withholding legal action against alternatives 3 and 4.
- The Seattle suburb of Kirkland looks to a possible aerial lift to connect its city center with an upcoming bus rapid transit station.
- Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and Whistler Blackcomb COO Pete Sonntag do a wide ranging interview with the local newspaper after a challenging year and a half.
- Tower 6 of Howelsen Hill’s chairlift is on the move for at least the third time as city leaders grapple with whether to fix it.
- Beartooth Basin, the only summer ski resort in the United States, opens for the season as everyone else closes. An experiment is also underway to run the lifts with biodiesel.
- The Olympic Regional Development Authority proposes a new chairlift for its Lake Placid ski jumping venue.
- Another Borvig surface lift bites the dust in favor of carpets.
- Berkshire Bank says the Hermitage Club no longer has the right to restructure and argues receivership should proceed. One Hermitage property is scheduled to be auctioned on June 25th.
- A decision not to create an opportunity zone in Rangeley, Maine becomes yet another reason Saddleback is going nowhere fast.
- The man accused of lying about spending a night on a Gore Mountain chairlift says he is innocent and may sue the State of New York.
Instagram Tuesday: Crafted
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
News Roundup: Shuffle
- Bridger Bowl is sending Virginia City up to Teton Pass.
- Oakland Zoo’s California Trail gondola
opened Mondaywill open soon.
- China Peak will replace Chair 2 with a Yan quad from Steamboat this summer.
- The Subway in the Sky celebrates three years.
- Alyeska is removing its oldest, longest and tallest lift with no replacement immediately planned.
- Eldora’s new six-place has a name: Eldo Express.
- Cranmore is moving the bottom terminal of the South Quad to make room for a real estate project.
- Intrawest shareholder sues to stop Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL purchase.
- Vail-Stowe deal closes.
- Vail Resorts says in its third quarter results that Epic Pass sales are up 10 percent over last year. The company typically announces new capital projects just after Epic Pass sales conclude in late November.
- The Indiana State Fair is getting a chairlift.
- Beartooth Basin’s two platters open for summer turns for the first time since 2014.
- Urban gondolas are changing the world.
- Leitner Ropeways finishes its newest urban gondola in Mexico.
Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Area Lives On Despite Setbacks
In a stunning alpine setting along the Beartooth Highway in Northwestern Wyoming sits the summit of one of America’s most unique ski destinations. “You could call it backcountry skiing with a lift,” proclaims the website for Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Area. Located at 10,900 feet between Red Lodge, Montana and the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Beartooth Basin is the only ski resort in North America that opens for summer but not winter. To give a sense of the environment we’re talking about, the parking lot sits 450 feet higher than the top of the Jackson Hole Tram, 115 miles and two national parks to the southwest. I made some turns this spring in Beartooth Basin to check out the lifts shortly after the pass reopened Memorial Day weekend.
In good times, Beartooth Basin offers 900 vertical feet of skiing on six hundred acres serviced by two platter lifts that generally spin late-May through mid-July. But everything here is subject to exception rather than rule and it hasn’t snowed enough for Beartooth Basin to open the past two years. Even in good seasons, storms close the road and ski area, subjecting it to the whims of National Park Service plowing. In 2005, the highway never even opened. Despite years with too much snow, others without enough snow and still more with landslides, the dream lives on for the love of skiing.
Pepi Gramshammer of Vail fame created Red Lodge International Race Camp with help from fellow Austrians Eric Sailer and Anderl Molterer in 1967 with the purchase of a portable Poma from Jean Pomagalski. Named for the closest town in Montana, the ski area actually lies just across the border in Wyoming. A permanent Doppelmayr platter was added in 1983 with another one following in 1984. Five Red Lodge locals purchased the mountain from the original ownership group in 2003 and renamed it Beartooth Basin.