- The Utah Department of Transportation selects a 3S gondola as the preferred alternative in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- The Salt Lake Tribune looks at who’s funding the pro- and anti-gondola camps.
- More Epic chair sales are coming at Jack Frost and Big Boulder.
- Sierra at Tahoe nears completion of West Bowl fire recovery work with more than five million board-feet of timber removed.
- The Edmonton Ski Club receives $800,000 in public funds to stay afloat.
- Midwest Family Ski Resorts completes its acquisition of Big Snow, Michigan, will re-brand as Snowriver Mountain Resort and retire the Blackjack/Indianhead names.
- The Tulsa gondola showdown continues.
- A dedicated lift-served bike park may still be coming to the Colorado foothills.
- The Idaho Springs gondola project wins an $8.7 million lawsuit judgment, vows to move forward despite years of setbacks.
- Sandia Peak again won’t offer skiing in 2022-23.
- Ikon Pass adds Panorama, BC and another Japanese resort.
- British Columbia approves construction of a new T-Bar at Troll.
- Mt. Holly, Michigan announces a new detachable quad for 2023.
- Doppelmayr pieces back together the lift which was swallowed by a sinkhole last year in Northern Quebec.
- Kirkwood’s old beginner double goes up for sale.
- Cranmore announces an over $1 million overhaul of the Skimobile Express to take place next summer.
- Granite Gorge’s owner says he’s unlikely to reopen skiing.
- Catamount and Berkshire East owner Jon Schaefer explains his strategy of relentless capital improvements.
- Park City Canyons Village skiers get stuck for a few hours when the Red Pine Gondola goes on wind hold.
- In Japan, a gondola lift doubles as a device to cure salmon.
- Carrabassett Valley Academy seeks to raise $1.6 million to build a T-Bar at Sugarloaf next summer.
- In other Sugarloaf news, pieces of Big Sky’s former Swift Current reportedly begin arriving.
- Telluride confirms it has ordered a Doppelmayr detachable quad to replace Plunge/Lift 9 in 2022. The existing triple will be sold to another resort.
- Chairs for Welch Village’s new Cannon Valley Quad arrive after a delayed journey from Asia through Canada.
- Alyeska’s tram will remain closed through December due to ongoing maintenance.
- Doppelmayr says its global market share stands at 55 percent.
- The gondola at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will reopen in Summer 2022 after a more than two year Covid closure.
- An interesting tidbit from the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board: a suspected bullet damaged the haul rope of Game Creek Express at Vail, requiring a repair.
- Vail Resorts sells more than 2.1 million season pass products, 700,000 more than last year.
- The 2022 Epic Lift Upgrade expands from 19 to 21 projects with additional lifts announced for Jack Frost and Big Boulder.
- Indy Pass will add yet another Western resort next week.
- Former Palisades Tahoe President Andy Wirth signs on to advise Alpine-X.
- Sundance says the Outlaw Express opening is delayed until December 22nd due to weather and construction timing.
- Doppelmayr flies towers in December for Juniper at Lake Louise, set to open in January.
- Steamboat considers a fourth gondola connecting the base area to town, Greenhorn Ranch will include a chairlift and eight passenger chairs are in play for future lift replacements.
- Maine’s Bigrock Mountain fundraises to purchase a Doppelmayr quad.
- Les Otten partners with Provident Resources Group to revive the Balsams redevelopment (same firm involved in reopening Big Squaw, Maine.)
- Boyne Highlands becomes The Highlands at Harbor Springs with lift improvements planned, starting with the southern end of the mountain.
Vail Resorts today announced it will pump $320 million into its mountains coming out of the pandemic, building a whopping 19 new lifts next year. The company’s largest-ever annual investment will include a new gondola at Whistler Blackcomb, the firm’s first North American eight person chairlift at Park City and expansion into Bergman Bowl at Keystone. Vail properties across the Northeast and Midwest will also see new lifts. “Our mission at Vail Resorts is to provide an Experience of a Lifetime to anyone who visits our resorts – and delivering on that mission requires constant re-imagination and investment into the guest experience,” said Rob Katz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Vail Resorts. “Our teams have been hard at work identifying significant opportunities to improve the guest experience and have produced an initial list of exciting lift upgrades, a restaurant expansion and projects that expand access to incredible terrain for next season, with more to be announced.”
Subject to government approvals, lift projects planned ahead of the 2022-23 season include:
British Columbia, Canada
- Whistler Blackcomb, Creekside Gondola: A new 8-person gondola, replacing the existing 6-person gondola, will significantly improve wait times and increase out-of-base uphill capacity by 35% in the Creekside area, especially on high-volume days.
- Whistler Blackcomb, Big Red Express: The replacement of the existing high-speed 4-person lift with a high-speed 6-person chair will increase uphill capacity by nearly 30% and enhance and modernize the guest experience mid-mountain out of the Creekside area.
- Keystone Resort, Bergman Bowl: Enhancements to Bergman Bowl will include a new high-speed 6-person chairlift, increasing lift-served terrain by 555 acres. Additional enhancements include 16 new trails, a ski patrol facility and snowmaking infrastructure. This project unlocks access for novice and intermediate guests and provides expanded entry to expert terrain in Independence and Erickson Bowls.
- Vail Mountain, Sun Down Lift: The installation of a new high-speed 4-person chair in the Sun Down Bowl from the base of Chair 5 (High Noon Express) to the Wildwood restaurant will materially reduce wait times on peak days at Chair 5 and create the opportunity for skiers and riders to much more conveniently access the trails in Sun Down Bowl.
- Vail Mountain, Game Creek Bowl: Skiers and riders will see improved reliability and capacity in this popular bowl with the replacement of the current 4-person chair with a new high-speed 6-person lift, increasing capacity by nearly 50%.
- Breckenridge Ski Resort, Rip’s Ride Lift: The beginner/ski and ride school experience will be enhanced at the highly utilized Peak 8 base area by replacing the current fixed-grip double with a high-speed 4-person chair, increasing uphill capacity by nearly 70% and improving out-of-base circulation.
- Park City Mountain, Eagle Lift: A high-speed 6-person chair with a new mid-station will replace the existing Eagle lift, significantly reducing crowding and wait times, and improving the guest experience, especially for beginner skiers and ski and ride school guests.
- Park City Mountain, Silverlode 8-Person Lift: Vail Resorts’ first-ever high-speed 8-person chair, replacing an existing 6-person chair, will increase uphill capacity by 20% and reduce wait times at a critical spot to circulate guests on mountain.
Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada
- Northstar California, Comstock Lift: A new high-speed 6-person chair will replace the existing mid-mountain 4-person chair and is designed to reduce wait times at one of the mountain’s most popular lifts and increase uphill capacity by nearly 50%.
- Heavenly Ski Resort, North Bowl Lift: The replacement of an existing fixed-grip triple with a high-speed 4-person chair will increase uphill capacity by more than 40% and reduce the combined ride time of the Boulder and North Bowl lifts, which is expected to reduce wait times at the Stagecoach and Olympic lifts.
Vermont & New Hampshire
- Stowe Mountain Resort, Mountain Lift: The replacement and extension of the existing fixed-grip triple to a high-speed 6-person lift will increase uphill capacity by 100%, eliminate the steep hike to the base of the lift, improve reliability on windy days and offer beginner and intermediate guests with better access to lower-level terrain choices.
- Mount Snow, Sundance/Tumbleweed Lift: The replacement of the Sundance and Tumbleweed triples with one high-speed 6-person lift will improve access to underutilized terrain and alleviate pressure on other lifts in the main base area, increasing uphill capacity by nearly 70%.
- Mount Snow, Sunbrook Lift: A new high-speed 4-person chair to replace the existing fixed-grip quad will significantly decrease the current 14-minute ride time by approximately 30% and result in better utilization of the Sunbrook terrain.
- Attitash Mountain Resort: The replacement of the East and West Double-Double chairs with one fixed-grip 4-person chair will improve reliability and enhance the overall guest experience.
Pennsylvania & Ohio
- Jack Frost/Big Boulder: The replacement and consolidation of multiple lifts at both resorts will improve reliability and enhance the overall guest experience. Jack Frost will receive two new fixed-grip 4-person chairs (one to replace the B & C lifts and the other to replace the E & F lifts) and Big Boulder will receive a new fixed-grip 4-person chair to replace the Edelweiss Triple.
- Boston Mills/Brandywine: At Boston Mills, the resort will get a new fixed-grip 4-person chair replacing the Lift 5 double. At Brandywine, a new fixed-grip 4-person chair will replace the Lift 3 triple.
Including this latest capital plan dubbed the Epic Lift Upgrade, Vail Resorts’ total investment is expected to reach approximately $2.2 billion over 15 years. The move comes as Vail enjoys brisk season pass sales. Epic Pass adoption through September 17, 2021 for the upcoming 2021/2022 North American winter season increased approximately 42 percent in units and approximately 17 percent in sales dollars as compared to the same period in the prior year. Compared with pre-pandemic 2019, Epic Pass sales increased an incredible 67 percent in units and 45 percent in sales dollars.
Although no manufacturers were identified for the 19 new lifts, an initiative of this size is likely to include multiple suppliers.