News Roundup: Under the Radar

  • Chinese investment firm acquires a majority stake in Swiss ropeway manufacturer BMF, which also owns Gangloff.
  • Wolf Creek will build a third high-speed quad called Meadow in 2018.
  • Aspen Skiing Company settles with a woman who sued after falling in the loading area of the Village Express.
  • Private operator of Val Bialas Ski Center in New York resigns, citing continued financial losses.  The publicly-owned mountain has a 1973 Borvig.
  • Check out these architectural drawings of Disney World’s Skyliner gondola network.
  • No real news but this recent drone video shows the current state of lifts and why Saddleback is worth saving.
  • The Skytracs in St. Maarten open this week and are expected to draw some 135,000 cruise passengers a year.
  • Here’s a Mt. Spokane expansion construction update.
  • Adanac Ski Hill in Ontario replaced its 1950s Poma double with an Alpen Star quad this summer, bringing Doppelmayr to 15 new lifts for 2017 in North America.
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News Roundup: Playing Field

  • 14-cabin 3S proposed to cross Lake Zurich in Switzerland.
  • The second tallest building west of the Mississippi will include an aerial tram-like system built by Leitner-Poma.
  • BMF will build its first gondola in France and seventh gondola overall this summer near Alp d’Huez.
  • Mi Teleférico breaks ground today for its 13th and 14th gondolas. The four station, 159 cabin Sky Blue line will join the Red, Yellow, Green and Blue lines already operating and the Orange, White and Purple lines under construction.
  • North Korea is building a second ski resort.
  • Liberty Mountain delays J-Bar replacement project, saying in a statement, “We had hoped to put the triple chair in this summer but unfortunately it will not be happening…We are still planning on making this change in the future.” Liberty acquired one of Ascutney’s CTEC triples in 2013.
  • Aspen Mountain turns back toward a longer and lower 1A detachable.
  • As state-owned Belleayre becomes the smallest North American ski resort ever to build a gondola, New York Ski Blog calls for low-interest infrastructure financing for 45 privately-owned mountains in the Empire State.
  • The Jay Peak Tram is back with many upgraded components after a spring full of hard work.  Interestingly, new controls are from Doppelmayr rather than Frey.
  • Black Hawk flies old Montezuma towers off Dercum Mountain at Keystone.
  • Marshall Mountain, MT can be yours for $2.95 million, including a 1972 Thiokol triple and an uninstalled 1969 Hall double from Grand Targhee.
  • Snow King gondola plan advances.
  • No visible work at Saddleback yet.
  • Nonprofit contracts SE Group to study the feasibility of reopening an alpine ski area on the site of the former Colby College ski area in Maine.  Here’s how it looked in 2012:

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News Roundup: Removed

  • Reopening of Steamboat’s refurbished gondola has been delayed one more week to July 21st.
  • Pats Peak starts work on the new Peak chair, a CTEC from Ascutney, VT with Skytrac upgrades and a loading carpet.
  • Alta updates skiers on the new Supreme.
  • The Snowdon triple at Killington is getting new SkyTrans crossarms this summer.
  • Didn’t make it to Interalpin?  You can see the Leitner-Poma Group’s booth through an interactive panorama.
  • This week’s Disney gondola update comes from EPCOT.
  • Waterville Valley proposes replacing unreliable High Country double with a T-Bar.
  • More details surface in fatal Gulmarg Gondola tree incident.
  • Six Flags sky ride reopens with new between-leg restraints following rider fall.
  • The Community Ski Areas at Risk Symposium, sponsored by Skytrac, is a worthy watch.
  • I stopped by Hogadon this weekend and confirmed the Red chair has been removed.  Pictures of all 33 of Wyoming’s lifts are now in the database and Montana will be completed next.
  • An Eldo Express update.
  • Doppelmayr opens an impressive over-water gondola in South Korea’s second largest city.
  • Medellín’s four gondola lines will be joined by a fifth.
  • The Lake Compounce Skyride, a 1997 CTEC Sprint with 14 towers closes for good.
  • Leitner’s new urban gondola in Berlin sees a million riders in its first three months.
  • Insolvent Ski Blandford may be sold to Ski Butternut.

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.

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.

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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