News Roundup: October Turns

  • Skiing is open this weekend in Alberta, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey Ontario and Wisconsin!
  • Garibaldi at Squamish releases new renderings of what could be a $3.5 billion project.
  • Searchmont holds off on making snow, offering lodging or selling passes and will only install one of the two Skytrac lifts it ordered due to Coronavirus.
  • In a rare interview, John Cumming tells the story of Powdr.
  • Big Snow and American Dream post promising attendance numbers after reopening.
  • The latest capacity management video from SAM and Snow Operating focuses on lift capacity math in the Covid era.
  • With two operating and five more under construction, Mexico’s capital region considers building even more urban gondolas.
  • The gondola network in Puerto Vallarta appears complete but surrounding theme parks and hotels have a long way to go.
  • Skeetawk has a trail map and will open for the very first time December 5th.
  • Only one of Shanty Creek Resorts’ two Michigan ski areas will open this winter.
  • Following the death of its owner, Granite Gorge does not plan to operate this year.
  • Frustrated at lack of investment, local business owners look into buying Mont-Sainte-Anne from Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.
  • A three gondola system connecting various points in Park City would cost an estimated $64 million to build with $3.5 million in annual operating costs.
  • The Freedom Pass comes back but with fewer participating resorts than in years past.
  • With revenue down eight figures, the Palm Springs Tramway takes out a $15 million loan.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron orders the country’s ski resorts closed until at least December 1st due to rising coronavirus cases.
  • Of 6,521 comments the Utah Department of Transportation received on Little Cottonwood Canyon options, 78 percent were pro-gondola.
  • Granby Ranch will reopen under new management December 11th with more than $1 million invested in lift maintenance and snowmaking.
  • Soldier Mountain gives another fire recovery update.
  • Technical Safety BC releases an incident report and technical analysis from the latest Sea to Sky Gondola incident (both are heavily redacted so as not to impede the ongoing criminal investigation.)
  • Camelback’s new Sunbowl Quad nears completion.

News Roundup: Endless Winter

News Roundup: Transitions

News Roundup: Sunshine

  • The Summit at Snoqualmie shuts Hidden Valley for the season due to an “unusual mechanical problem.”
  • Sugarloaf closes King Pine due to a sheave assembly issue.
  • Dave Brownlie, former head of Whistler Blackcomb and current Revelstoke President, weighs in on the state of the British Columbia ski industry and his company’s plans for Grouse Mountain.
  • The Colorado Sun interviews three Colorado resort pioneers about industry trends and challenges.
  • As the gondola at Mont-Sainte-Anne reopens, the resort says an external power issue caused last month’s sudden stop.  A lawsuit has been filed and the power company denies responsibility.
  • Just the Leitner portion of Mexico City’s new urban gondola network will feature seven stations and 300 cabins.
  • Experienced resort executives Andy and Jace Wirth may take over operations at Granby Ranch.
  • Limited Ikon/Mountain Collective visits to Arapahoe Basin are 69 percent lower than unlimited Epic visits last year and the “experience is way up,” says Al Henceroth.
  • Another informative podcast from Stuart Winchester features an executive from Mountain Creek and Big Snow talking about the next new lift and a possible Big Snow Miami.
  • Smugglers’ Notch has no intentions of losing its independence or ditching its fleet of fixed grip double chairs.
  • Whitefish will begin work in Hellroaring Basin this summer and move the current Hellroaring triple to a new alignment in 2021.

News Roundup: Experimental

Indoor Skiing Comes to America with Big Snow

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Olympians catch the first chair at Big Snow American Dream in New Jersey.

This was the first and hopefully last opening day ever for Big Snow American Dream, the only year-round, real snow ski area in the Americas.  New Jersey is now one of the most accessible places to learn ski and snowboard, with two thirds of guests expected to be beginners.  About a dozen similar snow parks operate in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

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The mountain made of steel is one of what will be hundreds of tenants at American Dream, a $5 billion shopping and entertainment destination just five miles from midtown Manhattan.  With Big Snow plus a Nickelodeon Universe theme park, Legoland Discovery Center and DreamWorks waterpark, American Dream hopes to buck the trend of malls in decline by focusing outside of retail.

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The BIG Express Quad, built in 2008, opened to the public today for the first time.

Canadian developer Triple Five Group managed to finish a job which first broke ground in 2004.  What was then known as Meadowlands Xanadu had its lifts installed in 2008, only to see zero snow and not a skier for 11 years.  I’m told the big lift had only about 50 hours on it until a few weeks ago.  After taking over the troubled project, Triple Five principal Don Ghermezian partnered with Snow Operating to bring the ski experience to life.  Snow is the ski industry disruptor behind Mountain Creek Resort and the Terrain Based Learning program in use across the country.  Before today’s first chair, Snow Operating President and CEO Joe Hession presented the Ghermezian family an Austrian bell like those seen at many Doppelmayr lift openings.

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