- Blue Hills reopens following inspections and a meeting of the Massachusetts Recreational Tramway Board.
- A Swiss study finds the risk of catching the coronavirus on a 12 minute gondola ride with windows open is a thousand times less than at an indoor meal with eight people.
- Saddleback teases another new lift coming next winter.
- This will be cool: a gondola which loads over water.
- Idaho’s Soldier Mountain and Pomerelle both join the Indy Pass.
- A hotel management company takes over operation of King Pine Ski Area.
- Japan’s first urban gondola opens April 22nd.
- Atlantic Canada’s only gondola remains on track to launch in July.
- Doppelmayr USA is hiring construction team members for multiple roles.
- Doppelmayr is also looking for an Electrical Panel Production and Install Technician.
- Sugarbush shows from the air how lift lines this season are shorter than they appear.
- Take a drone flight over a deserted Blue Mountain, Ontario.
- This month’s Smithsonian Magazine features the story of James Curran, the non-skier who invented the chairlift.
- With Black Line under construction and the Red Chair out of service, Magic Mountain is left without summit access for at least a few days.
- Attorneys for families of two skiers killed on Colorado lifts want the state’s Supreme Court to overturn a recent lower court ruling limiting resort liability.
- With minimal skier compaction, some French lifts are getting hit by avalanches.
Massachusetts Orders Blue Hills Ski Area Closed
Blue Hills Ski Area has been temporarily shuttered following two lift-related incidents. On Monday, a seven year old child fell out of a chair and was airlifted to a local hospital. Three days later, riders jumped from chairs during an extended breakdown of the lift. Other patrons were roped down by ski patrol and still more offloaded under the lift’s own power. The ski area said the first incident was not the result of a mechanical problem and the lift was fully operational at the time.
Ski Blue Hills Management, LLC operates the mountain through an agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation. The chairlift involved is a 1978 Hall double which has been operated by the current lessee since 2007. In a letter obtained by a local TV station, a DCR official wrote, “The Ski Area shall remain closed until such time that the Ski Blue Hills Management LLC can satisfactorily demonstrate that all issues affecting the safety and integrity of the tramway, including any necessary corrective actions, have been addressed by Ski Blue Hills Management LLC, documentation of such has been provided to the satisfaction of DCR, and DCR approves reopening the facility to the public.”
“Blue Hills Ski Area will remain closed today as we await the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to complete inspection of our double chair,” notes a statement posted on the resort’s website. “We have worked closely with the Commonwealth and provided everything they have requested. We are excited to reopen immediately upon completion of that inspection process.”
Update: A third party inspector and state inspector both completed safety inspections of the lift. The Massachusetts Recreational Tramway Board cleared Blue Hills to reopen on Sunday 1/31.
News Roundup: Reports
- Now open: Nordic Valley’s flagship six pack, dubbed the Nordic Express.
- The Yellowstone Club trail map is updated to show two new additions for a total of 23 lifts.
- Still without access to the summit, Mission Ridge provides expanded updates on the Wenatchee Express project including another video.
- Grand Targhee modifies its proposed expansion, pushing potential approval out to March 2022.
- A local newspaper obtains inspection reports from 49 Degrees North showing no red flags prior to last month’s accident.
- Doppelmayr showcases AURO, an autonomous lift which can be run by one person in a ropeway operations center.
- A storm packing 150 mph winds shutters Dodge Ridge for eight days. Eight towers de-roped on Chair 8 with 1,000 feet of comm line needing to be replaced.
- A child is seriously injured in a fall from the lone chairlift at Blue Hills, Massachusetts. The ski area said no mechanical issues caused or contributed to the unfortunate event.
- Three days later, the very same lift strands riders for hours.
- Gearing up for a busy summer, Skytrac is hiring lift construction project managers.
- ORDA will spend $2.2 million for electrical upgrades to Whiteface’s Cloudsplitter Gondola and Face Lift.
- Two more resorts are set to join the Indy Pass on February 2nd.
- Re: Indianhead, an incident report notes the chair hit a halo on tower 4, causing its clip to be ejected from the haul rope. A follow up inspection found no mechanical or structural deficiencies with the lift.
- Steamboat plans to move the bottom terminal of the new Steamboat Gondola outdoors and 300 feet east this summer to make room for the future Wild Blue Gondola.
News Roundup: Color Choices
- The Adirondack Park Agency approves construction of a new chairlift at the Lake Placid Olympic ski jumping facility.
- Ascutney seeks permission to build a 1,760′ T-Bar with 11 towers.
- As Oz Real Estate weighs investing more than $50 million, the Hermitage Club receiver reports the resort’s lifts need $86,000 in maintenance that neither the bank nor members have agreed to fund.
- Mountain Capital Partners hosts a packed public meeting regarding its Nordic Valley expansion. “I’ve never had a project not be successful and I’m not going to start with this one,” James Coleman tells the crowd.
- Days before the deadline for public comments, Sunshine Village CEO Ralph Scurfield pens an op-ed criticizing Parks Canada’s proposed site guidelines that would eliminate three future lifts from consideration.
- Leitner-Poma looks to immediately hire installation team members for the big Winter Park gondola project.
- Thanks to Rob and Max for these awesome shots of the Whistler Blackcomb megaproject.
- Some Alta land is withdrawn from a proposed land swap, maintaining the possibility of future expansion in Grizzly Gulch.
- Killington goes blue with its bubbles.
- Vail Resorts officially takes over Stevens Pass.
- Massachusetts awards the current operators of Blue Hills a new three year contract.
- Fatzer begins production of the first Compacta rope for the US lift market. At 54 mm, any guesses where it’s headed?
- The Jackson/Teton County Parks & Recreation Board unanimously says no to a Snow King Gondola alignment as the Forest Service extends public comment until September 13th.
- The Capital Gondola project moves along in Albany.
- Anyone can rent the six lifts at Pico Mountain for $6,500 on Tuesdays or Wednesdays this winter.
- The Jay Peak receiver plans to sell the resort by next summer while an offering of Burke Mountain is indefinitely on hold.
- Copper Mountain appears to abandon dark green lifts for more sophisticated copper-colored terminals.
News Roundup: Gondolas on Gondolas
- Snow King Mountain formally requests approval for a new $8 million gondola which would load along Snow King Avenue in the Town of Jackson, part of a $26 million improvement plan.
- The new Oakland Zoo gondola went down for a bit on Friday and just about every major news outlet in the Bay Area covered it.
- The SilverStar Gondola wasn’t the only new lift to open in Canada last week.
- Sadly, the gondola emoji has been the single least used on Twitter for 76 days.
- Elk Ridge, Arizona is back on the market, indicating the announced sale to Mountain Capital Partners may have fallen through.
- La Paz opens its seventh urban gondola just 366 days after groundbreaking. The Mi Teleférico system has now carried 135 million commuters since the first lines opened in 2014.
- Timberline Lodge confirms it’s eyeing a gondola or chairlift connection from Summit Ski Area, which it bought last week.
- Winter Park is getting the most money for improvements of all the Alterra mountains this year – $26.2 million. More than half of it is going to Leitner-Poma for the big Zephyr Gondola.
- James Coleman explains his ambitious dream to create another Snowbasin out of Nordic Valley.
- Episode 5 of Ski Area Management’s podcast, focusing on risk management, covers lots of lift ground: the Squaw Valley tram accident, a grip slip incident, and challenges Pats Peak faced after buying the Lake Compounce Skyride.
- One Hermitage Club lawsuit yields a $1.5 million judgement against the ski area and another one is filed.
- For the second time in recent memory, a falling cigarette is believed to have started a fire under a lift at Heavenly.
- The State of Massachusetts seeks a new operator for Blue Hills Ski Area.
- A private management company passes on operating Ski Cape Smokey, a nonprofit mountain in Nova Scotia with a broken main chairlift.
- Hunter Mountain is making quick work of the Hunter North expansion.
- Is Peak Resorts spending too much money on capital improvements such as new lifts?
“Ever since the company went public in 2014 it has taken advantage of its improved access to capital to finance large infrastructure projects that may have led to growth in visitation and revenues, but haven’t resulted in better earnings or cash flows.”