- New Zealand and Victoria, Australia resorts reopen after extended Covid closures (New South Wales remains locked down.)
- Mt. Spokane will replace the drive terminal of Chair 2 with a new one from Skytrac.
- Skytrac is completing similar mods to Tumbelina at Monarch Mountain.
- The fate of the Pandora’s expansion on Aspen Mountain will be decided October 13th.
- Sierra at Tahoe still doesn’t know the full extent of lift damage from the Caldor Fire but remains optimistic.
- Users get stuck on one of Mexico City’s new gondola lines following an earthquake.
- The Holding family agrees to sell most of Sinclair Oil Corporation’s assets, though Sun Valley and Snowbasin aren’t included.
- The Forest Service issues a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Lutsen Mountains’ proposed expansion with public comments being solicited through October 25th. A new alternative would see the addition of five new chairlifts on Moose and Eagle Mountains rather than the initially planned seven.
- The only lift in Oklahoma won’t open for the second year in a row and is in danger of removal.
- Schweitzer adds 14 chairs to Stella.
- A quick update from Snow King Mountain:
- Mexico’s Grupo Vidanta will build a second SkyDream gondola system, this time at Vidanta Riviera Maya.
- Sundance auctions chairs from the former Arrowhead triple.
- The team at Craigleith, Ontario wins the inaugural Ski Area Management/Leitner-Poma Rise Up Challenge.
- Four Japanese resorts sign on to the Indy Pass.
- Arizona Snowbowl’s new gondola has been down for two weeks and the ski area moves its entire summer operation to a different base area and the Grand Canyon Express.
- Beaver Creek’s two new quads will be named McCoy Park Express and Reunion.
- The sale price for Blue Mountain, PA is revealed as $31.9 million.
- MND reports annual results with ropeway sales up 32 percent and a firm order backlog of €91.7 million.
- A group continues to push for a West Seattle gondola as a planned rail project gets delayed.
- Squaw Alpine and Leitner-Poma make great progress on the base to base gondola, though they aren’t publicly committing to a completion timeline.
- Citing staffing and fire danger, Mt. Shasta ends its summer season early.
- After missing a year, Searchmont plans to reopen this season with two new triple chairs.
- Manitoba’s Holiday Mountain announces it won’t open in 2021-22.
- Vail Resorts unveils a succession plan with CEO Rob Katz moving to an Executive Chairperson role and Chief Marketing Officer Kirsten Lynch becoming CEO November 1.
- Icy Strait Point and Norwegian Cruise Line cut the ribbon on the Transporter gondola with another 8 passenger system set to open later this summer.
- Jay Peak’s former President and CEO will plead guilty to a single charge of providing false statements and other charges are expected to be dropped.
- Keystone posts a big update on the Peru Express replacement project.
- Aspen Snowmass introduces a new brand and logo which is already on some gondola cabins.
- Snowbasin’s Middle Bowl replacement project gets off to the races.
- Utah’s transportation department will host an open house July 13th to explain as solicit feedback on the gondola and enhanced bus alternatives for Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- Loon and Doppelmayr fly the towers for Kancamagus 8.
- A brown bear did not ride a chairlift at Vail as you may have read on Facebook.
- Welch Village’s new lift will be called the Cannon Valley Quad.
- The first test of UpBus, a passenger-carrying pod which transitions between wheel and cable propulsion, takes place at Doppelmayr headquarters.
- Mt. Southington replaces chairs and towers on the Avalanche double.
- The asking price is reduced for the defunct Plymouth Notch ski area in Vermont.
- Beaver Creek breaks ground in McCoy Park.
- Gondolas arrive at Snow King Mountain.
- Pueblo, Colorado considers building a $20 million sightseeing gondola.
- The investigation into the Mottarone disaster widens to 12 people including Leitner employees and the company itself. Leitner says in a statement that it is cooperating with investigators and that its maintenance operations were done in full compliance with the law and contractual obligations.
Despite a 44 percent decline in earnings, Vail Resorts plans to invest in new lifts across five mountains in 2021. The seven projects at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Keystone and Okemo were initially planned for 2020 but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We remain committed to reinvesting in our resorts and creating an experience of a lifetime for our guests,” noted CEO Rob Katz. “We plan to maintain a disciplined approach to capital investments, keeping our core capital at reduced levels given the continued uncertainty due to COVID-19.” The company will announce its complete capital plan for calendar year 2021 in March.
At Beaver Creek, a new Doppelmayr detachable quad will service the high alpine McCoy Park learning zone. “This new lift accessed beginner and intermediate bowl experience is a rare opportunity to expand with highly accessible terrain in one of the most idyllic settings in Colorado and will further differentiate the high-end, family focused experience at Beaver Creek,” said the company. A second quad chair will provide egress to the top of the Strawberry Park and Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express lifts.
At Keystone, Leitner-Poma will replace the Peru Express with a six pack. The new machine will increase out-of-base capacity and improve circulation. Also in Summit County, a new detachable quad on Breckenridge’s Peak 7 will enhance uphill capacity near the Independence SuperChair. “This additional lift will further enhance the guest experience at the most visited resort in the U.S. and will significantly increase guest access and circulation for the intermediate terrain on Peaks 6 and 7,” said Vail.
Crested Butte plans to replace the two-person Peachtree chairlift with a Skytrac triple servicing beginner terrain at the base of the resort. Grading around the new lift will create a more consistent experience for beginner and ski school guests.
- Beaver Creek’s website is updated to show the McCoy Park expansion coming for the 2021-22 ski season.
- Doppelmayr will build a $9.3 million temporary gondola for a horticulture show in Germany.
- A developer in St. George, Utah looks to build a lift-served bike park.
- An unnamed ski area in New York hits the market with an asking price of $1.6 million.
- The pandemic may have actually helped Timberline Mountain rebuild faster this summer.
- Searchmont, located near the Ontario-Michigan border with two new lifts under construction, remains uncertain what this winter will look like.
- Jamie Storrs, Senior Manager of Communications for Vail Resorts in the east, answers questions about reservations and more on the Out of Bounds Podcast.
- Spirit Mountain receives a $300,000 cash infusion allowing it to open this winter.
- Solitude profiles a major maintenance project on the Eagle Express.
- The Park Record checks in on Mayflower Mountain Resort construction and The Wall Street Journal reports Extell would like to partner with an established ski operator like Vail or Alterra.
- Indy Pass sales are pacing six times higher than last year!
- New Alaska ski area Skeetawk plans a December 5th grand opening.
- Poma launches a fresh new website.
- Mt. Baldy, Ontario, which initially held off on construction of a new chairlift this summer, decides to proceed with a fall installation.
- A virtual open house is now open for Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit project scoping.
Ski industry fallout from the global pandemic continues. Vail Resorts today announced the deferral of lift construction projects slated for Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Okemo due to a dramatic decline in revenue, which is expected to continue into fiscal year 2021. The suite of projects was first announced last December, the same month COVID-19 first appeared in Wuhan, China. While the virus spread across Asia, lift manufacturers were gearing up to build lifts that now won’t happen this year. Beaver Creek had planned a major expansion into McCoy Park and Okemo earmarked a new bubble six pack for Jackson Gore. Both Breckenridge and Keystone planned new chairlifts to increase uphill capacity in high traffic areas.
Vail said weeks ago coronavirus will cost the company between $180 and 200 million in March and April alone. Eliminating lift construction, terrain expansions and discretionary base area improvements will save the publicly-traded company $80 to 85 million while allowing the vast majority of maintenance capital projects to proceed. “The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are unprecedented and the financial impact to our Company and the broader travel industry has been significant,” noted Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer of Vail Resorts. “We are taking proactive steps to align our capital spending and return of capital approach to ensure that we remain positioned for long-term success.” Other steps revealed today include the furlough of nearly all year-round hourly employees, suspension of the company’s shareholder dividend, salary reductions for non-hourly employees and elimination of cash compensation for the CEO and board of directors.
The decision to postpone lifts is a blow to both major lift manufacturers but particularly Leitner-Poma, which like Vail itself, is Colorado-based. The firm had been awarded contracts to build three detachable chairlifts and move another this summer. Doppelmayr USA had planned to install the two machines at Beaver Creek.
As goes Vail, often go others. While I’m hopeful some lifts (and the jobs that come with them) are safe, more deferrals are possible. Rival Alterra Mountain Company planned to add only two lifts this year, both six place chairlifts at Mammoth Mountain. The privately-held group has not announced any changes to its capital plan thus far. In tough times, every company is understandably revisiting capital budgets and commitments, however.
The sudden onset of such deep uncertainty in this critical period of the lift production cycle is unprecedented. With the elimination of Vail Resorts projects for 2020, announced US and Canada complete new lifts stand at 24, fewer than Doppelmayr built by itself last year.
Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Okemo will all add new lifts next year in a mix of expansions and replacements. Parent company Vail Resorts made the project announcements alongside a quarterly earnings report this afternoon. “We remain committed to reinvesting in our resorts, creating an experience of a lifetime for our guests and generating strong returns for our shareholders,” said Vail Chairman and CEO Rob Katz.
At Beaver Creek, a new detachable quad will service the high alpine McCoy Park learning zone. “This new lift accessed beginner and intermediate bowl experience is a rare opportunity to expand with highly accessible terrain in one of the most idyllic settings in Colorado and will further differentiate the high-end, family focused experience at Beaver Creek,” said the company. A second quad chair will provide egress to the top of the Strawberry and Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express lifts.
At Keystone, the Peru Express will be replaced by a six pack subject to government approval. The new machine will increase out-of-base capacity and improve overall circulation. Also in Summit County, a new detachable quad on Breckenridge’s Peak 7 will enhance uphill capacity near the Independence SuperChair. “This additional lift will further enhance the guest experience at the most visited resort in the U.S. and will significantly increase guest access and circulation for the intermediate terrain on Peaks 6 and 7,” said Vail.
Beaver Creek will expand by 250 acres with a new detachable quad for the 2020-21 ski season, the resort has confirmed. The expansion will feature 17 “groomable glades” for guests seeking low angle adventure at high elevation. “McCoy Park is a separate, family-friendly zone allowing for a more relaxed experience for beginner families,” Vail Resorts notes, describing the terrain as “welcoming for beginner and intermediate skiers to connect and elevate their mountain experience.” The new runs will be accessible from the existing Larkspur, Strawberry Park and Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express lifts.
Transporting 2,400 skiers per hour, the high speed McCoy Park Express will span approximately 5,900 feet in length with a vertical rise of 840′. A manufacturer was not announced but Doppelmayr has built every new lift at Beaver Creek since 2003. The McCoy Park expansion was first proposed in late 2017 and green lighted by the Forest Service last November. A second lift for egress from McCoy Park was also approved but is not yet slated for construction.
- America’s only indoor ski lifts debut October 25th in New Jersey.
- The Forest Service and Vail Resorts react negatively to the idea of a $5.2 million chairlift from Eagle-Vail to Beaver Creek Mountain.
- A deropement turns into a 10 hour ordeal for passengers on a gondola in Pakistan.
- The City of Steamboat considers a deal with Alterra to operate Howelsen Hill.
- Snow King’s proposed expansion may get another alternative before a 2020 decision.
- Timberline, West Virginia seeks permission to sell off snowmaking equipment and the CEO is charged with a felony for allegedly providing resort employees paychecks that never cleared.
- Manning Park seeks a name for its first quad chair.
- The Salesforce gondola is carrying passengers!
- Vail ropes down 74 employees from a broken Eagle Bahn Gondola, which remains closed three days later.
- Berkshire Bank wants the Hermitage to be liquidated.
- Steamboat’s new gondola towers are multiplying.
- A Stevens Pass employee snaps some awesome shots of the resort’s ongoing lift projects.
- James Niehues is at work on an all new trail map for Wolf Creek.
- The world’s largest vertical tramway is expected to reopen in time for Christmas, just three months after one of its cabins was destroyed in an unfortunate accident.
- Peak Resorts completes its acquisition of Liberty Mountain, Roundtop and Whitetail in Pennsylvania.
- There was a bit of a setback before American Eagle’s load test on Monday but repairs are complete and the first of two new lifts at Copper opens Saturday.
- A pulse gondola could join the skyline in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.
- Investors who helped the Hermitage Club buy its bubble lift file a lawsuit seeking $9.8 million.
- Did you know the Lone Peak Tram‘s bottom terminal is slowly moving downhill thanks to a rock glacier?
- The White River National Forest grants final approval for Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park expansion and preliminary approval of Aspen Mountain’s Pandora project.
- Plans for a new Oakland Athletics ballpark include a 6,000 passenger per hour gondola across Interstate 880.
- A proposed Portland Major League Baseball stadium also has a gondola component.
- As Utah weighs growth, Alta seeks to retain some of the land it owns in Grizzly Gulch, key to any future connection between the Cottonwood Canyons.
- Heavy snow delays completion of Ascutney Mountain’s T-Bar until next spring.
- Arapahoe Basin drops the ropes on 339 new lift-served acres.