Instagram Tuesday: Heli Days

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.


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Heli operations hoppin' this week, getting the towers in for the new Montezuma Lift! Who got to see the action?

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Instagram Tuesday: Projects

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

Red Buffalo Express taking shape. #beavercreek

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Instagram Tuesday: Vail Land

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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Will Vail Resorts Build Big in 2018?

Winter Dual Mountain Bluebird DavidMcColm
With the additions of Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe, Vail Resorts’ reach is larger than ever. ¬†The company typically announces new lifts projects in a single press release each December. ¬†Photo credit: Whistler Blackcomb/Vail Resorts.

If you follow the ski industry, mark your calendar for four months from now, the week of December 4th. ¬†Very early one morning that week, the largest mountain resort operator in the world will release its fiscal 2018 first quarter results and, more importantly to this audience, outline capital expenditures for 2018. ¬†Last year, this is the moment Vail Resorts committed to building three six-packs as part of $103 million in capital spending for 2017 (the company later added a fourth detachable to this year’s class, the Red Buffalo Express at Beaver Creek.) ¬†In December 2015, MTN announced a high-speed quad for Vail Mountain and in 2014, $50 million in improvements including three new lifts at Park City plus another six-pack at Vail. ¬†So, what might be on the likely $120+ million agenda for 2018?

Vail Mountain

  1. Game Creek Express #7 six-pack.  The current 1985 version of Game Creek is the oldest operating lift on Vail Mountain and one of three remaining CLD-260 style Doppelmayr detachables there.  It is likely to be replaced with a six-pack, increasing capacity by at least 25 percent in popular Game Creek Bowl.  Of the recent six-pack upgrades at Vail, two were built by Doppelmayr (Avanti #2 and Mountaintop #4) and one by Leitner-Poma (Northwoods #11.)vail 4-1-07 184
  2. Orient Express #21 six-pack. ¬†Three years newer than Game Creek but still with DS grips, Orient Express serves some of the most popular terrain in Vail’s famous Back Bowls below the equally popular Two Elk Lodge. ¬†A six-pack upgrade would be the first such lift in the Back Bowls or Blue Sky Basin.
  3. Wildwood Express #3 six-pack.  A 1995 CTEC, Wildwood is not as old as other detachables recently replaced at Vail, but it serves a high-traffic pod between Mid-Vail and its namesake Wildwood.  Parts from this lift could be used as spares for Riva Bahn/Pride Express and Cinch, Bachelor, Grouse Mountain and Strawberry Park high-speed quads at Beaver Creek.
  4. Born Free Express #8 replacement. ¬†Born Free is the 1988 sister ship to Orient and runs parallel to the Eagle Bahn Gondola, built 1996. ¬†Vail could opt to address both lifts in the coming years with a gondola like Keystone’s or replace only Born Free with a new high-speed quad or six-pack.
  5. Golden Peak Race lift.  In April, Vail submitted a master plan amendment to add a third lift on Golden Peak above the Riva Bahn mid-station.  This short fixed-grip chairlift or surface lift would primarily serve an extended race course.vailgoldenpeakexpansion

Beaver Creek

  1. Arrow Bahn Express replacement. ¬†Beaver Creek doesn’t see nearly the traffic that Vail does and has seen ten new lifts since 2000. ¬†However, Arrow Bahn Express is by far the oldest lift at Beaver Creek, built in 1988 to serve a separate Arrowhead ski area. ¬†A CLD-260 like Game Creek, Orient and Born Free but with lower hours for its age, Arrow Bahn might make it a bit longer.img_4153

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News Roundup: Recycling

  • The Wallowa Lake Tramway makes the New York Times¬†Daily 360 Postcard.
  • Doppelmayr‚Äôs new headquarters¬†building is super cool.
  • You can follow along as Garaventa enters the home stretch building the record-breaking Eibsee Cable Car 2.0 in Germany.
  • There’s also a construction blog for Leitner’s 3S project in Zermatt.
  • Steamboat finally opened its gondola Monday, lamenting “we made a mistake by trying to set an opening date” and thanking guests for weeks of patience.
  • Sunshine Village¬†reopened¬†the same day following fire scare.
  • Bidding opens for construction of a four-stage, 10-passenger urban gondola in Santiago, Chile – a contract estimated to be worth $78 million. ¬†When complete, Latin America will sport urban gondolas in Mexico City, Mexico (Leitner); Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Poma); Medell√≠n, Colombia (Poma); Caracas, Venezuela (Doppelmayr); Lima, Peru (Poma); Quito, Ecuador (Poma); La Paz, Bolivia (Doppelmayr); Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Doppelmayr and Poma) and Santiago, Chile (TBD.)¬†Impressive.
  • The Roosevelt Island Tramway is going to one-car service for an extended¬†platform replacement project.
  • This week’s Disney Skyliner construction update¬†comes from the Kingdom Insider.
  • Beaver Creek recycles Drink of Water, reuses from Montezuma.
  • The Leitner-Poma Group’s striking new Symphony 10 gondola cabin has been spotted¬†in the wild. ¬†More photos are¬†here (sign up required.)
  • A-Basin posts¬†cool photos from a bullwheel bearing replacement project.
  • Troy Caldwell still wants to build a¬†private ski area between Squaw and Alpine but as of this spring, he has a long way to go.

News Roundup: Replacements

  • Suit filed against Ski Liberty by family of boy who dangled from a chair for seven minutes after mis-loading.
  • Mi Telef√©rico’s four gondola lines transported 194,971 passengers last Wednesday, an impressive single day record.
  • Squaw|Alpine now wants an extension¬†of permit for replacing Hot Wheels.
  • Doppelmayr remembers¬†past CEO Artur Doppelmayr, who died May 12th.
  • Apparently the Utah Olympic Park is adding two new chairlifts this summer, although I am still trying¬†to confirm.
  • Steamboat’s gondola rebuild is taking longer than expected and reopening has been pushed back two weeks to July 15th.
  • Vail Resorts will re-use chairs and towers from Keystone’s Montezuma Express in building the new Red Buffalo Express at Beaver Creek.
  • Saddleback Mountain Foundation needs $11.2 million to purchase Maine’s third largest ski area, including $3.2 million to replace the Rangeley lift with a fixed-grip quad. ¬†So far, the group has only raised a fraction of that amount.
  • Sunday River’s new Spruce Peak triple will be a Doppelmayr Tristar, Boyne Resorts’ fourth.
  • Schweitzer works toward $6-8 million Snow Ghost replacement.
  • ‚ÄúIt is not rocket science about lift geometry,‚ÄĚ Aspen Council member¬†says in frustration¬†re: Lift 1A. ‚ÄúThere is enough expertise in this community to know where a lift goes.‚ÄĚ
  • Mont Ripley offers $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of arsonist(s) who¬†damaged lift.
  • Longtime Whistler Blackcomb COO and Peak 2 Peak visionary Dave Brownlie¬†is leaving to pursue new opportunities just seven months into Vail ownership.

Instagram Tuesday: Sun

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

No caption needed. P: @jresnick215 #beavercreek

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Beaver Creek Announces Red Buffalo Express to Replace Drink of Water

Adding to the big December announcement of new six-packs at Vail, Breckenridge and Keystone, Vail Resorts today revealed another high-speed lift will replace¬†Drink of Water¬†at Beaver Creek. ¬† The new 4,300′ high-speed quad will reduce the ride time from 8.6 to 4.3 minutes and nearly double capacity. ¬†‚ÄúUpgrading this essential beginner lift will provide high-speed lift access to the amazing beginner and intermediate terrain at the top of Beaver Creek, increasing capacity and making for a seamless lift experience for our guests on the hill,‚ÄĚ said Beth Howard, chief operating officer. ‚ÄúWe expect this improvement to take significant volume off Cinch Express, Beaver Creek‚Äôs second most-popular lift, and it really is an improvement befitting of Beaver Creek‚Äôs luxury, family experience, as it enhances a key beginner and family area of our mountain.‚ÄĚ ¬† The Drink of Water double is the last remaining lift at Beaver Creek from the resort’s inaugural season in 1980.

Drink of Water will be retired in April. Next season, Beaver Creek will only have two fixed-grip lifts remaining – Highlands and Elkhorn.

The Red Buffalo Express will almost certainly be built by Doppelmayr USA, as Beaver Creek operates an all Doppelmayr/CTEC fleet of 16 lifts. ¬†The four new detachable lifts in Colorado are part of Vail Resorts’ $100 million¬†capital plan this year and we learned this week the six-packs at Vail, Breck and Keystone will be installed by¬†Leitner-Poma. ¬† ¬†Eldora, Wolf Creek and Aspen are also likely to build new lifts for 2017-2018.


Instagram Tuesday: Builders

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

#jasna #jasnanizketatry #chopok #new #ropeway #doppelmayr #winter #nizketatry

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The Ten Shortest Detachable Lifts in North America

I”ve written a few times about the longest lifts of different types but what about the shortest? The considerable expense of a detachable lift is usually justified for long profiles where speed makes sense. ¬†The average detachable lift in this part of the world is over 5,200 feet long while the average fixed grip lift is under¬†2,800 feet. ¬†However,¬†the slow loading speed of a high-speed lift also make sense for beginners and foot passengers regardless of the length of the line. ¬†Hence there are plenty of very short detachable lifts that cost millions and take less than two minutes to ride. ¬†Below¬†are the ten shortest ones in the US and Canada.

Beaver Creek's Buckaroo Gondola is among the shortest detachable lifts but makes for a perfect beginner lift.
Beaver Creek’s Buckaroo Gondola is among the shortest detachable lifts but makes for a perfect beginner lift.
  1. Cabriolet – Mont Tremblant, QC –¬†1994 Doppelmayr detachable 6-passenger cabriolet

Slope length: 1,100 feet, ride time 1.4 minutes.

  1. Easy Rider Express ‚Äď Sierra-at-Tahoe, CA –¬†1996 Doppelmayr detachable quad

Slope length: 1,165 feet, ride time 1.3 minutes

  1. Chair 3 ‚Äď Horseshoe Resort, ON –¬†1989 Doppelmayr detachable quad

Slope length: 1,400 feet, ride time 1.6 minutes

  1. Super Glide ‚Äď Alpine Valley Resort, WI –¬†2011 Leitner-Poma detachable quad

Slope length: 1,421 feet, ride time 1.4 minutes

  1. Valley Flyer ‚Äď Alpine Valley Resort, WI –¬†1999 Poma detachable quad

Slope length: 1,426 feet, ride time 1.6 minutes

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