News Roundup: Stalking Horse

Skytrac Lifts

For most of the last 25 years, there has been no major American lift manufacturer.  Sure, Leitner-Poma and Doppelmayr/Garaventa have significant manufacturing here but they are indisputably European.  Before the early 1990’s, prolific American lift builders like Riblet and Hall built more than 500 lifts each.  Then Garaventa bought CTEC in 1992.  Riblet built its last lift at Cooper Spur in Oregon in 2002 and closed the next year. The last remaining US manufacturer, Partek, sold to Doppelmayr in 2005.  Ski Area Management’s headline at the time was “Then there were two.”

2011 SkyTrac Quad at Beaver Mountain, Utah.
2011 SkyTrac Quad at Beaver Mountain, Utah.

That all changed in 2010 when a group of CTEC veterans started Skytrac in Salt Lake City.  One of them was Jan Leonard, the former president of Doppelmayr CTEC who “retired” in 2007.  Skytrac’s first major project was a replacement drive terminal for a Hall double at Monarch Mountain in Colorado.  In tribute to their first customer, Skytrac named its drive terminal models the Monarch and Monarch XL.  Skytrac’s strategy seems to be to build simple and economical lifts that appeal to smaller resorts.  All of their lifts feature the Monarch drive/tension terminal with a fixed return.  One can’t help but notice the resemblance to CTEC’s lifts.

SkyTrac Controls.  They look like a CTEC!
SkyTrac Controls. They look like a CTEC!

I couldn’t talk about Skytrac without bringing up their chairs.  For some reason they abandoned the classic bail chair for a Euro-style chair.  I think they look strange.  As someone who operates lifts, I question the practicality of bumping a chair with no bail.

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