Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
We’ve heard little about the two lift projects surrounding Lone Peak this summer, even though they will bring North America’s largest contiguous ski complex to a record 43 lifts before counting carpets. As I covered before, the biggest development is at the Yellowstone Club, where a new Doppelmayr gondola, high-speed quad and triple chair will create one of the largest beginner skiing facilities in America, though few will be lucky enough to learn to ski there.
Over at Big Sky Resort, anyone with a ticket to the Biggest Skiing in America will be able to ride the new Stagecoach double chair this winter. Stagecoach extends the long tradition of so-called lodging access lifts here, begun with Pony Express in 1995 and followed by White Otter, Cascade, arguably all five of the Spanish Peaks lifts, and most recently Little Thunder. Amazingly, almost half of the 43 lifts on Lone Peak and the surrounding mountains exist to create ski-in, ski-out real estate. At Big Sky Resort, most of these machines are seconds from other Boyne mountains and they have their own color on the trail map: purple.
In the five years prior to the real estate bubble bursting nationwide in 2008, a crazy 18 lifts were built in Big Sky at four separate ski operations. One of those, Moonlight Basin, opened in December 2003 as Lone Peak’s second public ski resort. The development’s first two lifts had simply connected to neighboring Big Sky Resort in 1994 and 1995. Between 2003 and 2006, founder Lee Poole and his partners went it alone, adding four more lifts including Montana’s first six-pack. Three of these were among the last CTECs off the line following the Doppelmayr merger.
- Belleayre’s new gondola may not have much vertical but will be more than 6,700 feet long.
- New photo tours of the upcoming Orange and White lines in La Paz show how gondolas can be adapted to the urban landscape with innovative station designs.
- Urban gondolas were profiled prominently in Sunday’s New York Times.
- Skytrac will finish the Stagecoach lift at Big Sky this fall, a project which Moonlight Basin began in 2008. In addition, Challenger and the Tram are getting new haul ropes and Powder Seeker a chair storage facility. Thanks William Bryan for the photos.
- At Spanish Peaks, the Flatiron lift will be next to go in.
- BMF drops one of the Brest Cable Car’s cabins from a crane while performing annual maintenance. One-cabin operation will continue while Gangloff builds a new one over the next six to nine months.
- Taos releases renderings of its re-imagined learning center featuring new Leitner-Poma and Skytrac lifts.
- Thank you Michael Weise for these sweet photos of Eldora’s six-pack progress:
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
- Jay Peak and Garaventa begin major tram overhaul.
- More positive press for Powder Seeker at Big Sky.
- There’s a new gondola idea for Mt. Benson in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, BC.
- Sky Lift update points to late-April reopening.
- Austin Wire won’t move forward.
- Stratton might replace the Snow Bowl quad.
- Critics file complaint against Belleayre expansion and gondola.
- Ski Blandford faces worsening financial situation with three aging Hall doubles.
- Squirrel kills power to three lifts at Eaglecrest.
- Unofficial Networks profiles outrageous gondolas.
- British Columbia approves Valemount Glacier with opening targeted for Christmas 2018.
- Town of Breckenridge study concludes gondola could cost $800-1000 an hour to operate with stations costing $2 million to build.
- Cabin to tour Staten Island in hopes of drumming up support for gondola.
- Bridger Bowl celebrates the end of an era with a center pole chair photo contest.
- Mt. Spokane expansion and new chairlift approved yet again.
- LST Ropeways’ first detachable opens in La Plagne.
- Fourteen years since construction started, Magic Mountain may finally finish Green lift.
- Global ropeway market will grow to $4.6 billion by 2024, research firm says.
- Doppelmayr’s latest Wir Magazine features Big Sky, D-Line and the new Doppelmayr Connect control system.
- New Northwoods at Vail won’t have a loading carpet.
- Snowbasin traces Wilcat history from single to six-pack.
- Village removal is already underway at Sugarbush.
- Three years after commissioning, Rampart at Snoqualmie finally gets electric power.
- Hunter Mountain’s F Lift (1984 Poma) is apparently down for the season.
- FIS says Aspen likely won’t get another World Cup race until Lift 1A is replaced.
- Submit your name for Eldora’s new six-pack to email@example.com by April 9th.
- Big Sky experiments with season passes that exclude select lifts with prices ranging from $149 to $6,000.
- Austrian company Salzmann Formblechtechnik produces enclosures for up to five Doppelmayr Uni-G stations every week.
- Gatlinburg Sky Lift steel is up and boy is it orange.
- Utah Valley University students float gondola link over I-15 to the Orem FrontRunner station.
- Workers dig and dig some more to keep the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram above record snowpack.
- Forest Service sends a letter of noncompliance to Ski Apache resulting in the closure of a lift.
- Beloved lift maintenance team lead Mark McFadden dies in workplace incident at Kicking Horse. A Gofundme page has been setup to support his family.
- I talk six-packs with the Vail Daily.
- Heavenly’s Comet Express remains closed following a Jan. 1st rope evacuation, apparently due to a gearbox issue. This is one of the reasons Vail Resorts is replacing its fleet of 1980s-vintage detachable quads.
- Doppelmayr and the United Nations are hosting a week-long urban mobility ropeway class in April.
- The New York Times tells the tale of Big Sky Resort.
- Ski patroller severely injured in fall from chair at Terry Peak.
- Gondola proposed to serve airport in Vietnam’s congested largest city.
- BC Parks considers a gondola to Mt. Seymour to alleviate parking and traffic problems.
- Ski Area Management‘s lift construction survey dropped this week. Highlights from its outlook for 2017:
- “We’re off to a strong year for ’17, there are lots of people asking about lifts…It’s very positive compared to the previous two years.” – Jon Mauch, Senior Sales Manager at Leitner-Poma
- “There’s a lot of enthusiasm about what could happen under a Trump administration. People expect deregulation and a more business-friendly climate.” – Mark Bee, President at Doppelmayr USA
- “We’re seeing lots of requests quotes, lots of major modifications and retrofits…It’s all being driven by the age of the existing lift infrastructure.” – Carl Skylling, General Manager at Skytrac
- I’ve already identified 29 new lifts likely to be built in 2017, pacing well above the last few years for mid-January.
- Slovakian manufacturer Tatralift debuts its third detachable lift using a Wopfner grip. That makes seven companies capable of building a detachable lift globally – Bartholet, BMHRI (China), Doppelmayr/Garaventa (Austria), Leitner–Poma (Italy), LST (France), STM (Turkey) and Tatralift (Slovakia.)
Every Tuesday, we feature our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
Lone Peak is a happening place this November as crews from Doppelmayr USA and Big Sky Resort work to finish not one, but two of America’s largest new lifts this year. I’ve been following these projects since April, when the aging Lone Peak triple and Challenger double chairlifts were torn down to make way for new versions that will greet lucky guests when the snow flies. Mike Unruh, Director of Mountain Operations at Big Sky, kindly gave me a sneak peak of the shiny new lifts today.
A six-pack dubbed Powder Seeker is the new the crown jewel of Big Sky’s 26-lift fleet, with blue bubbles, heated seats and headrests. Servicing the above treeline terrain in the Bowl, Powder Seeker is just over 2,600′ long with 14 towers and an 823′ vertical rise. With a 6.1 meter line gauge and 45 mm haul rope, it should be able to spin through all but the harshest Montana winds. In addition to a chair parking rail that will eventually be enclosed, the Uni-G-M stations feature tire banks that can raise hydraulically to park chairs. Thirty-one carriers will go on the line initially; Big Sky also bought two spares and can add more as as needed.
The lower station features Chairkit gates, 90-degree loading, an AC prime mover, Doppelmayr-Lohmann gearbox and two Cummins diesel backups. The seat heating system can be seen in the pictures above with yellow charging rails and black contacts attached to the DT grips. Another cool feature is a headset in the motor room connected to the lift’s phone system so that mechanics will be able to hear communications, like a helicopter pilot can.
Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.