- Jackson Hole’s Tram Maintenance Manager explains why Big Red is closed this summer.
- Wildcat Mountain says scenic chairlift rides will resume on 7/31 following a lift upgrade project.
- A Salt Lake TV station devotes a half hour to exploring the gondola and bus options for Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- UDOT extends the public comment period for the LCC project to 70 days, ending September 3rd.
- The renaming of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is pushed back to early Fall.
- Okemo reports great progress on two new lifts.
- The Forest Service says at least two of Grand Targhee’s proposed expansion lifts will not be approved and a decision on others won’t come until late 2022.
- The new high speed quad on Peak 7 at Breckenridge will be called Freedom SuperChair.
- Four more mountains will join the Indy Pass next week.
- New Hampshire reports solid pandemic skier visits similar to pre-pandemic numbers.
- Local politicians oppose a direct route for the Burnaby Mountain Gondola.
- Pittsburgh considers an urban gondola to connect two downtown districts.
- Both Doppelmayr Canada and Leitner-Poma offer to finance the Cascade Skyline Gondola.
- Sun Peaks shutters mountain operations due to regional wildfires.
- Progress report from Leitner-Poma and Skytrac’s big project at Snow King Mountain:
- New owners launch Granby Ranch Rising, a set of capital improvement initiatives.
- Seven Springs’ new lift may be completed as soon as the end of this month.
- Mexico City will launch the Doppelmayr-built Cablebús Line 1 on Sunday, followed by the Leitner-built Line 2 on July 24th with a system total of 13 stations, 121 towers and 685 cabins.
- Mt. Hood Meadows proposes replacing the Mt. Hood Express with a Leitner-Poma six place in 2022 or 2023.
- Lookout Pass begins cutting trails on Eagle Peak with installation of Sundance’s former Ray’s quad set to commence in 2022.
- A Breckenridge developer proposes a short gondola to bring skiers from the Gold Rush parking lot to the BreckConnect Gondola.
- Sunlight tables construction of the East Ridge expansion lift, citing “soaring costs of materials such as steel due to ongoing supply chain challenges.” The mountain says “new lift installations are happening at a premium price right now,” and will prioritize more immediate needs such as upgrades to existing lifts.
- Speaking of premium lifts, more towers arrive for the Squaw-Alpine Base to Base Gondola.
Despite a 44 percent decline in earnings, Vail Resorts plans to invest in new lifts across five mountains in 2021. The seven projects at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Keystone and Okemo were initially planned for 2020 but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We remain committed to reinvesting in our resorts and creating an experience of a lifetime for our guests,” noted CEO Rob Katz. “We plan to maintain a disciplined approach to capital investments, keeping our core capital at reduced levels given the continued uncertainty due to COVID-19.” The company will announce its complete capital plan for calendar year 2021 in March.
At Beaver Creek, a new Doppelmayr detachable quad will service the high alpine McCoy Park learning zone. “This new lift accessed beginner and intermediate bowl experience is a rare opportunity to expand with highly accessible terrain in one of the most idyllic settings in Colorado and will further differentiate the high-end, family focused experience at Beaver Creek,” said the company. A second quad chair will provide egress to the top of the Strawberry Park and Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express lifts.
At Keystone, Leitner-Poma will replace the Peru Express with a six pack. The new machine will increase out-of-base capacity and improve circulation. Also in Summit County, a new detachable quad on Breckenridge’s Peak 7 will enhance uphill capacity near the Independence SuperChair. “This additional lift will further enhance the guest experience at the most visited resort in the U.S. and will significantly increase guest access and circulation for the intermediate terrain on Peaks 6 and 7,” said Vail.
Crested Butte plans to replace the two-person Peachtree chairlift with a Skytrac triple servicing beginner terrain at the base of the resort. Grading around the new lift will create a more consistent experience for beginner and ski school guests.
Ski industry fallout from the global pandemic continues. Vail Resorts today announced the deferral of lift construction projects slated for Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Okemo due to a dramatic decline in revenue, which is expected to continue into fiscal year 2021. The suite of projects was first announced last December, the same month COVID-19 first appeared in Wuhan, China. While the virus spread across Asia, lift manufacturers were gearing up to build lifts that now won’t happen this year. Beaver Creek had planned a major expansion into McCoy Park and Okemo earmarked a new bubble six pack for Jackson Gore. Both Breckenridge and Keystone planned new chairlifts to increase uphill capacity in high traffic areas.
Vail said weeks ago coronavirus will cost the company between $180 and 200 million in March and April alone. Eliminating lift construction, terrain expansions and discretionary base area improvements will save the publicly-traded company $80 to 85 million while allowing the vast majority of maintenance capital projects to proceed. “The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are unprecedented and the financial impact to our Company and the broader travel industry has been significant,” noted Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer of Vail Resorts. “We are taking proactive steps to align our capital spending and return of capital approach to ensure that we remain positioned for long-term success.” Other steps revealed today include the furlough of nearly all year-round hourly employees, suspension of the company’s shareholder dividend, salary reductions for non-hourly employees and elimination of cash compensation for the CEO and board of directors.
The decision to postpone lifts is a blow to both major lift manufacturers but particularly Leitner-Poma, which like Vail itself, is Colorado-based. The firm had been awarded contracts to build three detachable chairlifts and move another this summer. Doppelmayr USA had planned to install the two machines at Beaver Creek.
As goes Vail, often go others. While I’m hopeful some lifts (and the jobs that come with them) are safe, more deferrals are possible. Rival Alterra Mountain Company planned to add only two lifts this year, both six place chairlifts at Mammoth Mountain. The privately-held group has not announced any changes to its capital plan thus far. In tough times, every company is understandably revisiting capital budgets and commitments, however.
The sudden onset of such deep uncertainty in this critical period of the lift production cycle is unprecedented. With the elimination of Vail Resorts projects for 2020, announced US and Canada complete new lifts stand at 24, fewer than Doppelmayr built by itself last year.
- Did you catch a glimpse of gondolas flying during the Super Bowl? The lift is called the Bud Light Seltzer SkyView and is expected to be open around 50 event days per year at Hard Rock Stadium.
- The Bridger-Teton National Forest releases a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Snow King with a preferred alternative including a new gondola, backside fixed grip quad and access platter or T-Bar.
- Arctaris officially owns Saddleback and plans to order at least a detachable quad.
- With its longest chairlift out of service for weeks, Arizona Snowbowl opens its summit to hiking access.
- An Austrian newspaper interviews Anton Seeber, head of the Leitner Group, about the company’s growing presence in that country and worldwide.
- Sasquatch Mountain’s access road washes out, trapping guests at the resort for days and closing the mountain for a week.
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota budgets $1.6 million for a new chairlift at Great Bear.
- Donner Ski Ranch finds success as a family business despite being surrounded by larger resorts.
- Two more individuals bid on Hermitage Club assets with an auction now scheduled for March 20th.
- Bartholet and MND Group/LST Ropeways expand their ropeway partnership to include unified sales, service, production and products.
- The Australian resort hit hardest by this year’s wildfires won’t open next season.
- Wynn Resorts considers building a gondola from a casino in Everett, Massachusetts to a nearby transit station.
- Loon Mountain GM Jay Scambio talks extensively about Kanc 8 and Flight Path 2030.
- Keystone plans to remove Argentine as part of the Peru Express replacement project.
- New Hampshire’s largest newspaper visits Cannon Mountain and highlights the lift maintenance profession.
- A lift operator born deaf blazes trail for people with disabilities at Breckenridge.
- Struggling White Pine, Wyoming goes up for sale.
- A small Minnesota ski area closes due to chairlift problems but another local resort steps in to help.
- Three different lifts are under construction this winter in Alaska including one at the new Skeetawk ski area.
Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Okemo will all add new lifts next year in a mix of expansions and replacements. Parent company Vail Resorts made the project announcements alongside a quarterly earnings report this afternoon. “We remain committed to reinvesting in our resorts, creating an experience of a lifetime for our guests and generating strong returns for our shareholders,” said Vail Chairman and CEO Rob Katz.
At Beaver Creek, a new detachable quad will service the high alpine McCoy Park learning zone. “This new lift accessed beginner and intermediate bowl experience is a rare opportunity to expand with highly accessible terrain in one of the most idyllic settings in Colorado and will further differentiate the high-end, family focused experience at Beaver Creek,” said the company. A second quad chair will provide egress to the top of the Strawberry and Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express lifts.
At Keystone, the Peru Express will be replaced by a six pack subject to government approval. The new machine will increase out-of-base capacity and improve overall circulation. Also in Summit County, a new detachable quad on Breckenridge’s Peak 7 will enhance uphill capacity near the Independence SuperChair. “This additional lift will further enhance the guest experience at the most visited resort in the U.S. and will significantly increase guest access and circulation for the intermediate terrain on Peaks 6 and 7,” said Vail.
- Val Saint-Côme, Quebec looks to build its first six place detachable lift.
- The opening of the first lift at Skeetawk is pushed back to midwinter due to delays with SkyTrans’ other project in Illinois.
- Maine’s Eaton Mountain will not operate this season.
- Leitner and Kitzbühel partner to build Austria’s fastest monocable ropeway which will travel 7 m/s at a cost of $30 million.
- Mt. St. Louis Moonstone’s new six pack will be named Josl Huter Express in memory of the mountain’s founder.
- Aspen Highlands’ Goldenhorn surface lift is on track to be built next summer.
- Just 75 days after the Sea to Sky Gondola haul rope was severed, a new one arrives in Squamish.
- Another great podcast episode features the owners of Plattekill Mountain discussing competition from the State of New York, Vail’s purchase of a competitor and the decision not to join the Indy Pass.
- The Forest Service says yes to Breckenridge’s Peak 7 Infill high speed quad project.
- Copper’s new lift up Tucker Mountain will be named Three Bears after three members of the Cumming family who founded Powdr Co.
- Parks Canada green lights Lake Louise’s new long range plan including nine new lifts.
- The Forest Service weighs environmental concerns about Breck’s planned Peak 7 infill lift.
- Proposed federal legislation would set aside large swaths of the Wasatch for conservation and limit ski terrain expansion options.
- The fixed grip chondola in Illinois still doesn’t have an opening date but progress is ongoing.
- Revelstoke Mountain Resort previews the Stellar expansion and introduces a new trail map.
- A local TV reporter learns how to operate the Portland Aerial Tram and a Discovery Channel personality plays tram mechanic in Palm Springs.
- Wooward Park City, the all-new actions sports park with a Doppelmayr quad chair, will launch November 27th.
- Charles Hlavac purchases Teton Pass and plans to reopen as soon as possible under a new name.
- Disney bloggers discover the Disney Skyliner cabins feature automated narration. T-minus 16 days!
- Stevens Pass will sell 216 chairs from Daisy and Brooks on Thursday, September 19th with proceeds benefiting the Epic Promise Foundation.
- Eaglecrest opens a public survey to gauge interest in its gondola proposal and other projects.
- Here’s a rundown from the Saddleback community meeting.
- Mt. St. Louis Moonstone invests over CAD$6 million on a Leitner-Poma detachable six place lift to replace the Louis Express.
- A new lawsuit seeks to block approval of the Squaw-Alpine gondola project.
- The Edmonton Ski Club and its Mueller T-Bar will reopen this winter following a one year hiatus.
- The developer of Big Snow America is so confident in the American Dream project that it offered the Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall as collateral to secure a $2.8 billion construction loan.
- Investors and Berkshire Bank battle over whose claim to the Hermitage six pack should take precedent.
- The White River National Forest extends public commenting for the Breck Peak 7 Infill chairlift project to September 1st.
- The Forest Service approved Aspen Mountain’s Pandora expansion awhile ago but the county still needs to approve necessary zoning.
- SilverStar adds 24 hour security, surveillance cameras and enhanced line checks in the wake of the Sea to Sky Gondola downing.
- TransLink’s CEO says the proposed Burnaby Mountain tricable gondola would be less susceptible to such an attack.
- Grouse Mountain gives all Sea to Sky Gondola passholders free lift access through November 30th.
- S2S cleanup will take awhile and trails remain closed for public safety.
- Swiss manufacturer Bartholet shows it’s possible to build a new fixed quad in just three weeks.
- Jaegerndorfer now exports Omega V cabins in miniature form to the United States.
- Aspen Snowmass will add chairs to lifts at Highlands and Snowmass to address Ikon Pass crowding concerns.
- Skytrac will manufacture towers for and install the new Leitner T-Bar at Ski Cooper.
- This profile demonstrates why the Kaiser S2 excavator is so popular for ski lift construction.
- MND Group, owner of LST Ropeways, says it has resolved “financial difficulties” by reorganizing its debt.
- Doppelmayr names Jürgen Pichler its new global marketing chief.
- It looks like Sunday River’s Locke Mountain triple will gain a tower or two thanks to the new T-Bar that crosses under it.
- Arctaris Impact Fund hosts a community meeting and announces its intention to close on the purchase of Saddleback come early November.
- Big Sky and Loon Mountain will launch the world’s first dual frequency RFID lift access system in partnership with Axess.
- With a new detachable quad under construction, Bogus Basin caps a five year turnaround.
- Alpine Media display screens will go live on more chairs this winter.
- Big Burn at Snowmass may be replaced with a bubble lift.
- A former employee plans to reopen Crystal Mountain, BC in December with one of three lifts in operation.
- The Hermitage Club bankruptcy is now a Chapter 7 liquidation and the current receiver will be relieved of his duties.
- Grafton inches closer to opening the midwest’s only chondola.
- The Forest Service approves Mt. Bachelor’s upcoming lift project.
- The USFS also releases the Environmental Assessment for Arizona Snowbowl’s proposed Telemix, which would also include cabin parking.
- The Skyliner officially goes on Walt Disney World’s park map.
- Here’s the alignment for the proposed new lift on Breckenridge’s Peak 7.
- The number of U.S. ski resorts that operated last season jumped by four from 2017/18 to 476. New York still leads the pack with 51 areas followed by Colorado and Michigan.
- Arapahoe Basin becomes Ikon Pass destination number 40.