- US skier visits jump 6.6% to an all time record of 64.7 million with accompanying record capital investment.
- Copper Mountain says it’s in negotiations with both major lift manufacturers for new Timberline and/or Lumberjack lifts.
- Ditto for Sugarbush with Heaven’s Gate and North Ridge.
- In Germany, a paraglider flies into moving aerial tram, necessitating his rescue plus an overnight evacuation of 60 passengers and restaurant patrons.
- A proposed new ski area in Valdez, Alaska gains preliminary approval.
- Vail Resorts trucks its first eight pack from Utah to British Columbia for installation.
- A bill in the Florida legislature targets Walt Disney World’s monorail and gondola systems with new inspection requirements in possible retaliation for the company’s political statements.
- Doppelmayr chairs from retired Challenger will be used to replace Yan teardrop chairs on at Sun Valley’s Christmas and Frenchman’s lifts.
- The contractor removing the Tulsa Skyride backs out half way through the project.
- Belleayre to sell chairs from outgoing Lift 7.
News Roundup: Mixed Bag
- The Forest Service sends a notice of noncompliance to Montana Snowbowl over the Snow Park lift incident and response.
- Crystal Mountain’s President departs and Alterra reevaluates the announced Reimagine Crystal plan.
- Lutsen Mountains to retire the 10th Mountain triple.
- Hoodoo reports a Riblet clip ejection of a misloaded chair on the Hodag quad with no injuries to the rider(s).
- Mad River Glen’s Sunnyside double may get a mid-station.
- Le Massif completes a four hour rope evacuation of the Massif Express gondola, now closed for the season due to a gearbox issue.
- Mont-Sainte-Anne’s gondola will reopen tomorrow, four months after a cabin fell off.
- Board members resign from the Antelope Butte board of directors citing lift safety concerns.
- The Balsams says now is not the time to go to market.
- Woods Valley eyes installation of two used CTEC quads over the next few years.
- Big Sky shares photos of new tram cabins being fabricated in Switzerland.
- Two studies see the ropeway market growing around 10 percent annually over the next decade with the North American share growing to near 20 percent of the global total.
- Belleayre announces replacement of Lift 7 with a Doppelmayr quad.
News Roundup: Contract Awards
- Indy Pass adds Meadowlark, Wyoming and Black Mountain of Maine, teases a big West Coast addition coming next week.
- The Boston Globe visits Gunstock, finds employees refusing to work without managers, a locksmith changing locks and politicians advocating for the resort to be leased to a private operator.
- New England Ski Journal gets former Gunstock GM Tom Day’s side of the story.
- A local architecture firm wins the contract to design and engineer the Eaglecrest Gondola relocation.
- The Maine Land Use Planning Commission wants more information before voting on the Moosehead Lake ski area rebuild.
- Dozens of ski areas reach out to help Plattekill Mountain following last week’s fire with Snowbasin offering a used drive system.
- One lift becomes fully operational at long-closed Cuchara.
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay delays reopening its VonRoll gondola, citing the scope of work and delays in supplies.
- ORDA seeks public comment on a proposed Lift 7 replacement and gondola maintenance facility at Belleayre.
- ORDA also awards an $11.2 million contract to Doppelmayr for the Bear Den detachable quad at Whiteface.
- Pennsylvania’s first D-Line goes above ground at Camelback. Thanks to Ben Ta for the photos.
ORDA to Spend $38 Million on Lifts in ’23
Citing a tight supply chain and manufacturer consolidation, the staff of New York’s Olympic Regional Development Authority today requested board approval for seven major lift projects to be completed in 2023. Three state-run ski areas – Belleayre, Gore Mountain and Whiteface – each would receive new and upgraded lifts under the ambitious plan.
At Gore Mountain, bids are already in for replacing the Hudson triple with an extended detachable quad. The lowest bid came in at $8,761,520, though ORDA has not yet released the name of the winning manufacturer. This lift would operate year round and be accompanied by a new lodge. ORDA now also wants to replace Gore’s Bear Cub Poma in 2023. A replacement fixed grip chairlift would cost an estimated $3.5 million.
Four lift capital projects are proposed for Belleayre, the largest of which is a full replacement of Lift 7. A $6.5 million detachable quad would follow a modified alignment beginning near the top of the Lightning Quad. The Belleayre Express, a 16 year old detachable quad, would receive new operator houses and electrical systems at a cost of $1.7 million. Lift 8 is in line for a $400,000 upgrade and a new conveyor would round out $9+ million worth of lift projects at Belleayre.
The largest single project is at Whiteface, the largest vertical ski resort in the east. ORDA plans to build a two stage detachable quad from the Bear Den base area to mid mountain with an angle station along the way. This lift would cost a whopping $16.5 million due to the complex nature of the alignment.
The ORDA Board nearly unanimously approved resolutions for all projects to proceed as quickly as possible.
News Roundup: Flying High
- Sun Valley and Snowbasin ditch the Epic Pass, will be Ikon Pass and Mountain Collective partners beginning next season.
- Also for next season, Alterra pulls Mammoth, Palisades Tahoe and Sugarbush from the Mountain Collective Pass.
- Cascade Mountain lists the Mogul Monster triple for sale.
- New York State ski areas report a 26 percent increase in revenue so far this season.
- Newly nonprofit Skiland Alaska looks to raise $100,000 for upgrades to its chairlift.
- Jay Peak says it has two viable suitors currently.
- A great podcast features Andy Shepard of Saddleback taking listeners through the mountain’s closure, sale and reopening.
- The team behind Edmonton’s Prairie Sky Gondola says it’s working on another gondola in a different Canadian city.
- Fast Company features a story on gondolas as urban transportation gap fillers.
- Alterra CEO Rusty Gregory is quoted saying this season has gone “shockingly well” despite “pinch points.”
- Leaders in Alaska’s capital city vote to spend $2 million on a used pulse gondola for Eaglecrest Ski Area.
- Big Squaw owner James Confalone is ordered to pay $4.5 million in penalties for timber violations and failure to maintain the ski area.
- Alpine-X proposes a second indoor ski area in Dallas.
- Officials pause pursuit of a Gunstock expansion.
- Flying Yankee at Attitash will be down for the foreseeable future due to an issue with the tension system.
- The Colorado Sun catches up with me to talk about visiting every US ski area.
- A Panorama guest is helicoptered to a hospital after falling off the Mile 1 quad.
- Crystal Mountain confirms a $100 million capital plan will include new lift(s) and expanded terrain in 2023-24.
- The proposed Okanagan Gondola is already moving forward.
- Belleayre and Doppelmayr organize a major gearbox repair operation on the Belleayre Express.
- Skiers criticize staffing and operations at Hunter Mountain.
News Roundup: Black Friday Edition
- It’s official: Sun Peaks retires the West Bowl T-Bar with planning underway for future lift access.
- A chondola is proposed to replace Dreamcatcher at Grand Targhee Resort.
- Mount Snow’s 2022 detachables will cost a combined $11.8 million and be constructed by Doppelmayr.
- Walt Disney World reveals it studied nine different layouts with up to four different lines before it built the Disney Skyliner.
- Bousquet debuts an all-new trail map. Nordic Valley too.
- Doppelmayr faces supply chain delays at Sundance; another resort will loan used chairs for the Outlaw Express until new ones arrive in January.
- Catamount also cites supply chain delays and expects to open its two used chairlifts around Christmas and Martin Luther King weekends, respectively.
- Crotched Mountain renames Park lift to Rover.
- Belleayre changes Tomahawk to Lift 8.
- Utah’s Eagle Point eyes building a 5,500 foot connector lift.
- Sunrise Park will reopen its summit lodge this season and plans to reactivate the Cyclone triple next winter.
- Whistler Blackcomb’s replacement of the Creekside Gondola is now a 10 place rather than the originally announced eight.
News Roundup: Name Game
- Ski areas across New Mexico are ordered to close for the rest of the month.
- Saddleback GM Andy Shepard joins the Storm Skiing Podcast to discuss reopening, possible 2021 lift additions and more.
- Mission Ridge aims to open Washington’s first bubble chair by the Christmas holiday.
- Big Tupper is likely to be foreclosed on this spring and a group wants the town to buy it.
- Snow Ridge, NY and Antelope Butte, WY join the Indy Pass, bring it to 59 mountains.
- The proposed community ski hill in Valemount, BC looks to buy a T-Bar.
- Could the pandemic finally bring order to chaotic lift mazes in the Swiss Alps?
- The Hermitage Club relaunches as a member-owned ski area.
- Sun Peaks’ new map shows the route of the new Crystal chair.
- Take a video visit to one of America’s largest lost ski areas.
- The City of Burbank opposes a gondola in Griffith Park near Los Angeles.
- Vail Resorts will report earnings on December 10th, traditionally when the company announces capital improvements for the following year.
- Belleayre renames the Superchief lift Belleayre Express and Whiteface christens its new lift Falcon.
- New Bousquet owners intend to upgrade or replace the Blue chair in the coming years.
- The State of Utah officially adds the La Caille gondola base option to the Little Cottonwood transportation study.
News Roundup: SkyDream
- Backpacker previews Copper’s long-awaited Tucker Mountain lift.
- Vail’s updated trail map shows where the new Golden Peak T-Bar #16 goes.
- Belleayre’s new beginner quad will be named Lightning.
- A guest took a now viral video of Snowdon Six bubble chairs dancing at Killington Saturday. The lift was closed to the public at the time and reopened later that day.
- The new Steamboat Gondola became one of the fastest 8 passenger gondolas in North America Saturday. Sunday evening, a drive line problem was discovered and the lift will remain closed until it’s fixed. Daily updates are being posted on Steamboat.com
- Frost Fire names its new Skytrac quad Lyle’s Lift.
- The new boss at Whistler Blackcomb says the Blackcomb Gondola should be more reliable now after a tough first season.
- Big Snow American Dream names its lifts The BIG Express Quad and Poma (both lifts were built by Doppelmayr.)
- Steamboat town officials earmark some money for the replacement of Barrows at Howelsen Hill.
- Another spectacular 3S gondola joins the global ranks tomorrow.
- The Forest Service approves Whitefish Mountain Resort’s two lift Hellroaring Basin Improvements Project, subject to an objection period.
- After a decade without lift service, Wildwood is officially back on the Tamarack trail map.
- Canadian police continue to investigate the Sea to Sky Gondola downing.
- The new Skyway gondola is the cornerstone of an elevated ski experience at Bretton Woods.
- Lookout Pass names its new quad Peak One to differentiate it from the upcoming Eagle Peak expansion.
- The new Ski Santa Fe trail map artwork is released.
- Doppelmayr books a massive order for a five station, four mile D-Line gondola system at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta in Mexico.
News Roundup: A Long Time Coming
- Above: groomers and mechanics deploy a new strategy to keep the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram flying above this winter’s huge snowpack.
- Despite planning to open this winter for the first time in three years, Spout Springs now says it won’t happen.
- A Boston private equity firm is reportedly interested in spending $25-30 million to reopen Maine’s third largest resort.
- We’ll have to wait awhile longer to ski year round in New Jersey
- Killington confirms North Ridge Quad is a go for this summer.
- This morning at 9:00 Pacific is a rare chance to score a classic Murray-Latta double chair.
- Mt. Mancelona in Michigan revives the world’s second oldest T-Bar but earns a cease and desist order from the state amid a host of financial problems.
- A revived Fortress Mountain would mimic Red Mountain and Whitewater but with a fleet of brand new lifts.
- Reader Christoph thinks he’s solved the mystery of where Mission Ridge’s new bubble lift is from: Brixen, Austria.
- County approval paves the way for Eldora to build the Jolly Jug expansion lift next year.
- Aspen Highlands’ Golden Horn platter is now a 2020 project.
- Mt. Hood Meadows says it’s announcing the most significant improvement of this century later today.
- There’s another new British Columbia resort idea floating around: Zincton Mountain Village.
- Shuttered two chair area Deer Mountain hits the market.
- On the other side of South Dakota, flooding damages the lone lift and ends the season at Great Bear.
- The Sea to Sky Gondola gets negative press for telling unprepared hikers to walk down from the summit after closing time.
- An ad in the New York State Contract Reporter suggests a new chairlift is coming to Belleayre this summer, though the resort tells me no decision has been made yet.
- We now know why Sun Valley pushed back the Cold Springs project to 2020: the alignment has changed for the high speed quad.
- Bretton Woods says its new gondola will open later this year. Reader Donovan Seabury sent me these pictures of its progress.
News Roundup: Not Cheap
- Above: lots more Ramcharger 8 parts arrive in Big Sky.
- Schweitzer weighs alignment options and manufacturers for two new backside lifts scheduled for construction in 2019.
- The only aerial tramway in Texas closes after nearly six decades. “Replacement of the Wyler Aerial Tramway is estimated to cost millions of dollars. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department does not have the financial resources to execute a capital construction project of this size at this time.”
- Disney gives an Orlando TV station a rare official peak into Skyliner construction.
- Following last week’s mishap, the operator of the Zugspitze Cable Car orders a new 120 passenger cabin, hanger and carriage.
- Beaver Creek’s big McCoy Park expansion should be official in November and is planned to open in late 2020.
- The Lewis & Clark bubble high-speed quad at Big Sky will finally see some action in 2021 when a $400 million Montage hotel opens at its base.
- Ascutney Outdoors is on track to install a T-Bar this fall, anchoring a scaled down version of what was once a five chairlift area.
- LST builds a T-Bar atop a waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen for residents to ski on year round.
- Vail looks to Asia for growth.
- Michael Doppelmayr is profiled for his 60th birthday. Some interesting facts: his company’s gross margin was 12.1 percent last year and his father Artur vehemently opposed Doppelmayr’s merger with Garaventa.
- New York’s high court clears the way for Belleayre to expand into the former Highmount Ski Center.
- Bretton Woods and Doppelmayr make great progress on New Hampshire’s first 8 passenger gondola.
- The leaders of North and South Korea ride a pulse gondola during their three day summit.
- The State of New Hampshire will hold a public meeting about transferring the Mt. Sunapee lease to Vail Resorts on September 26th.
- As it tries to secure a $30 million loan to open this winter, the Hermitage Club lawsuits keep coming.
- Two major lifts are getting closer to reality at Copper Mountain.