News Roundup: Confirmed

  • $150 million Raymond James settlement includes $762,503 for Burke Mountain’s new Leitner-Poma T-Bar.
  • Power outage leads to rope evacuation of Loveland’s newest lift.
  • Steamboat gondola refurbishing begins  (I got to tour Northstar’s gondola this week which received a similar upgrade in 2015.)
  • Orlando Sentinel confirms Walt Disney World is building three Doppelmayr 10-passenger gondolas with six stations.
  • Crystal Mountain breaks away from Boyne Resorts, orders five additional gondola cabins and plans to build new Discovery and Gold Hills lifts in 2018.
  • Eldora is selling Hall and Heron chairs as six-pack construction begins.
  • Preview Oakland’s new $13 million restaurant accessible only by gondola.
  • Sunday River’s new owner commits to replacing Spruce Peak.
  • This week’s cities floating gondolas include Edmonton and Burlington, Vermont.
  • Fatzer delivers four 153-ton track ropes to Germany’s Zugspitze using two trucks linked together for the entire journey.
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News Roundup: Inaugural

News Roundup: Six-Pack

Bartholet Completes Zero Gauge Tramway in France

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Workers recently hung the two Gangloff cabins on an innovative new tramway in Brest, France. Photo credit: Ouest France

What if you could squeeze a large double-reversible tramway into the footprint of a much smaller single-haul system?  The city of Brest, France and Bartholet of Switzerland will open such a tram in October.  Because its two cabins are never on the same half of the line at the same time, the Téléphérique de Brest has only one dock at each end and cabins pass directly on top of one another near a 270-foot tall center tower. Other lifts have been built with zero-gauge sections before (notably in Caribbean rainforests) but never on this scale or for their entire length.  The new ropeway is also France’s first lift in a true urban environment.

brest-diagram

Facing a need connect two points high over The Penfeld river in this Navy port, the City of Brest selected a ropeway instead of a massive bridge or expensive tunnel.  The government held a design competition in 2014 and selected the Swiss firm Bartholet Maschinenbau Flums (BMF) together with the French construction conglomerate Bouygues.  Fellow BMF Group subsidiary Gangloff supplied two ultramodern 60-passenger cabins.  The project cost €19 million versus an estimated €30 to 60 for a new bridge.  BMF also recently built two double-reversible tramways in Mexico.

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The City of Brest will open its new tramway in October.  Photo credit: Bartholet

The system has four track ropes, two haul rope loops and four drive motors. The cabins are hung like those on a funitel and can operate in winds up to 70 miles per hour.  Each loop is driven by two 135 horsepower motors but if one fails the loops can be mechanically connected and run using the remaining three motors to ensure near 100 percent uptime.  The slope length of the tramway is a short 1,352 feet with a line speed of 7.5 m/s.  The system will transport up to 1,220 commuters per hour in each direction starting in October.  Check out videos of system testing here.

News Roundup: Co-Op

News Roundup: Skyline

  • Two men want to build an iconic gondola called Skyline along the Chicago Riverfront.
  • Sandia Peak unveils new tram cabins for its 50th anniversary.
  • Sugarloaf updates the public on its summer lift maintenance projects.
  • BMF wins contract for its first 10-passenger gondola to be built next year in Switzerland.
  • The owner of Gletscherjet 3+4 built last summer in Austria say it has already carried 3 million passengers, believed to be a record for a winter lift.  The system is an 8/10 combination lift interlining with a 10-passenger gondola.
  • Poma’s 2015 Reference Book is now online highlighting last year’s projects from around the world.
  • Are Vail Resorts and Powdr Corp. bidding on Eldora?
  • A New Zealand developer will test whether a Whistler-style bike park with its own high speed quad can stand alone without skiing.
  • Doppelmayr and its contractors take responsibility for a construction accident at one of the terminals under construction in La Paz that injured ten people on Saturday.

News Roundup: BMF Builds a Gondola

News Roundup: Ice Heist

  • Luckily Manning Park Resort was in on letting pro mountain bikers pretend to break into and operate one of their lifts.
  • When chairs can’t spin because there’s no one to staff them.
  • BMF opens its sightseeing aerial tramway in Puebla.  Its 35-passenger cabins were manufactured in Austria by Carvatech.
  • 12 year-old boy falls out of a chair at Wachusett, avoids serious injury.
  • Snowboarder accuses skier of shoving him off Aspen Highlands’ Loge Peak lift mid-ride in a story that goes viral.  Just one day later, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office thinks they’ve identified a suspect.
  • Doppelmayr is building an 8-passenger gondola this spring at the Oakland Zoo to serve a $62 million expansion called California Trail.  The lift will have 7 towers, 15 cabins and open in late 2017.  The zoo will continue to operate its Safari Sky Ride triple chair that was built by SkyTrans.
  • DCC (Doppelmayr Cable Car) wins a $24 million contract to build its 10th cable-propelled automated people mover in underground tunnels at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

News Roundup: D-Line

  • Red River Ski Area hires Doppelmayr to replace its Green lift – a 1977 Riblet double – with a new, longer quad called Emerald for 2016/17.
  • Arizona Snowbowl’s new SkyTrac quad opens Dec. 18th.
  • Sugarloaf is installing rebuilt gearboxes on two major lifts this December.
  • Louisiana called its last gondola experiment MART.  The next one could be BRAF?
  • BMF’s unique aerial tramway strung between two towers in Puebla, Mexico opens December 20th.
  • 100+ photos of Doppelmayr’s all-new detachable product, dubbed D-Line.
  • Mt. Hood Meadows’ Shooting Star Express will remain closed until Christmas after being rocked by falling trees.
  • Storms last week in the Cascades cut off all access to White Pass Ski Area with no estimated re-opening.

News Roundup: Flying Volkswagens

  • Gunther Jochl, the Austrian-born owner of Sugar Mountain, got the CEOs of both Doppelmayr and CWA to come christen his new six-pack Saturday along with the governor of North Carolina.  Apparently the lift may get gondola cabins in the future.
  • A lawsuit from a homeowner could force the closure of Pennsylvania’s second largest ski resort. Seven Springs Mountain Resort operates two six-packs and eight fixed-grip lifts on 300 acres.  Unfortunately, four of those lifts and 75 percent of the mountain’s ski runs cross a public road that the homeowner wants opened in winter.  There are plenty of other ski resorts that have major highways passing through that close seasonally, including Deer Valley, Bridger Bowl and Mt. Baker.
  • Cherry Peak, the new ski area in Utah, won’t be able to complete their Summit lift in time for this season.  When I was there a few months ago, towers were laying on the ground along the line which will either have to be set or moved elsewhere.  Two other triple chairs and a carpet are set to go.
  • Arizona Snowbowl’s first new lift in 30 years is almost finished.
  • An 8.5 mile gondola system coming to Missouri’s Las Vegas?
  • Bartholet’s aerial tramway across the city of Puebla in Mexico will be finished December 15th, about a year behind schedule.  Speaking of BMF, they have a new website.
  • The Balsams clears some more hurdles but has still yet to break ground.
  • Staying on the mega-resort topic, Hemlock Resort near Chilliwack, BC receives approval to spend $1.5 billion on 23 new lifts and 20,000 lodging beds among other improvements over the next 60 years.  Hemlock currently has a 1977-vintage Doppelmayr triple and two even older Mueller doubles.  Buried in the linked article is the fact that the ski area never opened last year due to lack of snow.

    Hemlock Master Plan rendering from Brent Harley & Associates.
    Hemlock Master Plan rendering from Brent Harley & Associates.