News Roundup: Skier Days

  • After missing last season, Mt. Timothy gears up to reopen under new ownership.
  • Tariffs on imported Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum are history as of last weekend.
  • The “Balsams Bill” becomes law in New Hampshire.
  • Creditors seek an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy of the Hermitage Club.
  • Jackson Hole wants to increase clearance under the aerial tramway for big snow years.
  • The first indoor chairlift in America should finally open this fall in New Jersey.
  • Utah crushes its previous skier visit record, hosting more than five million skiers for the first time in history.
  • Jay Peak and Burke Mountain’s former owner and ex-CEO are indicted by a federal grand jury on 14 counts.
  • As of April 30th, 26 potential Jay Peak buyers had signed non-disclosure agreements.  The resort says revenue was up 4 percent this season, skier visits increased 3.5 percent and room nights shot up 11 percent.
  • Burke Mountain is still losing money but revenue increased by 26 percent this season, skier visits were up 20 percent and room nights 47 percent.
  • With the Forest Service’s blessing, Ski Cooper embarks on adding 71 acres and a Leitner-Poma T-Bar for next season.
  • The Poma-built urban cable car in the Dominican Republic capital transported over four million passengers in its first year.
  • Mexico City’s transportation authority rejects all three Cablebus bids from Leitner, Bartholet and Doppelmayr.
  • A Loveland, Colorado developer still wants to build a gondola as part of an amusement complex.
  • The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority selects Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build a new people mover over Doppelmayr.
  • Still no opening date for the Disney Skyliner but gondola merchandise has arrived.
  • In a few years, you may be able to ride twin tramways between Russia and China with immigration and customs facilities at each end.
Advertisements

News Roundup: Dedication

News Roundup: Color Choices

  • Some Alta land is withdrawn from a proposed land swap, maintaining the possibility of future expansion in Grizzly Gulch.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?

News Roundup: On the Block

  • Alterra’s David Perry says significant capital is likely be spent at Steamboat in 2018 and 2019 with phase two of the gondola rebuild and other big projects on the table.
  • A Denver TV reporter heads to Texas for a two-part interview with the husband of Kelly Huber, the woman killed during a lift malfunction last year at Granby Ranch.
  • Two loaded chairs collide at Owl’s Head, Quebec after the Green Chair was pressed into rare operation amid downtime on a neighboring high-speed quad.  The 1972 Heron-Poma is the former Big Hitch lift from Stagecoach, Colorado.
  • China Peak’s owner wishes he still had the $900,000 he spent to build a new lift last summer that can’t open with no snow.
  • The new Peak triple was rope evac’d at Pats Peak last Monday, apparently due to a gearbox issue.
  • Poma dedicates its newest factory in France.
  • Disney Skyliner’s first tower is up and it’s tapered in the cool Wolfurt style.
  • Ian Cumming, founder of Powdr and majority owner of Snowbird, dies at age 77.
  • Granite Gorge’s chairlift opens for the season after a gearbox issue and other problems.
  • Ariel Quiros officially settles with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $82 million, paving the way for the sale of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain.
  • The world’s longest lift is open!
  • Killington formally applies to replace the South Ridge triple with a quad chair, manufacturer unknown. The sample profile confusingly shows a Poma Alpha drive and Doppelmayr Eclipse return terminal.
  • Teton Pass, Montana won’t reopen under current ownership and is up for sale.
  • Skier visits have declined 30 percent in South Korea over the last five years and there are several lost ski resorts in the Olympic region.
  • The Sawtooth National Forest tentatively approves Sun Valley’s project to replace the Cold Springs lift with a longer high-speed quad as soon as this summer.
  • A chairlift will be studied studied for one of Alabama’s most popular state parks.
  • Alterra names Mammoth veteran Rusty Gregory as the company’s first CEO.

News Roundup: Northward

  • Sun Peaks considers four possible lift projects for summer 2018, most likely being a CAD$8 million replacement of Crystal with an extended detachable.  The world’s longest fixed-grip chairlift, Burfield, could be shortened with a corresponding capacity increase or new lifts added to Orient Ridge or West Morrisey.
  • Ski Magazine updates us on Big Sky 2025 and plans for a new tram or south side lift on Lone Peak.
  • A power outage closes Lake Louise to the public on World Cup Saturday.
  • Burke Mountain says goodbye to Willoughby, a 1988 CTEC quad.
  • The Florida Department of Transportation studies possible gondola routes from Sarasota to nearby barrier islands.
  • Mad River Glen launches $6.5 million Preserve our Paradise capital campaign which includes replacing the 1966 Mueller Birdland with a newer used chairlift.
  • Upcoming Aspen Mountain master plan update likely to include new Pandora’s, Gent’s Ridge and Bell Mountain lifts.
  • Ski Apache is replacing its 1981 Riblet Chair 6 with a brand new Doppelmayr.
  • Less than two years after opening a $7.3 million chairlift, the Hermitage Club falls behind on water and sewer payments.
  • Enjoy these sneak peak photos of two new quad chairs at Giants Ridge courtesy of Benjamin B.

Note: You may be experiencing video advertisements that auto-play and are automatically scrolled to on this site.  My hosting company, WordPress.com, has assured me the ads are not supposed to function this way and they are working on a fix.  I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Why T-Bars are Trending Again

IMG_5439
The Valar T-Bar opened at Cannon Mountain last year to service an expansive race venue, demonstrating one of reasons resorts are building new T-Bars these days.
Seventy percent of the 1,277 T-Bars, J-Bars and platter (sometimes called Poma) lifts built in North America to date are no longer in service.  That would suggest the traditional surface lift is a dying breed in the age of beginner-friendly carpets, which go in by the dozen every year of late.  But over the last two seasons, a bit of a renaissance has emerged, with more mountain resorts adding brand new T-Bars and platters.  Four T-Bars being completed right now represent the highest number in North America since 1987.  Even more resorts are considering building these classic surface lifts, although the reasons why have little to do with learning to ski.

Peak T-Bar construction occurred in 1964 (not shown) but the platter remained popular as a beginner lift into the 1990s when the carpet came along.  Peak J-Bar was back in 1967 and those are probably gone for good.

Race Training

Yesterday I visited both Burke Mountain, Vermont and Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire, where local ski clubs recently partnered to build dedicated surface lifts on terrain used for racing.  In some cases, these types of lifts are open to the public but other times not.  New T-Bars are relatively cheap with costs typically covered by donors and/or program fees.  Another reason for this application is speed; every T-Bar built since 2011 can move at least 550 feet per minute, significantly faster than most fixed-grip chairlifts.  The Franconia Notch Ski Club’s new T was built by LST Ropeways and goes up to 690 fpm; Burke Mountain Academy’s nearly-finished one is a Leitner, shown below.

Continue reading

News Roundup: Progress

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: Multiplying

News Roundup: Vermont

  • In the wake of fraud allegations and a federal takeover, Q Burke Mountain Resort will lose the Q and likely be sold within a year.
  • At Jay Peak, Doppelmayr says the 52-year old aerial tramway needs $4.15 million in repairs.  In a press conference, the Florida lawyer put in charge of both properties said “we’re not even sure we have to fix the tram.  The company that tells us we have to fix it is also the one that will get the contract.”  At least he’s stopped calling it a gondola.
  • A new lease for Ascutney Mountain will allow a nonprofit group to build up to three lifts at the ski area, which closed in 2008.  Skytrac removed Ascutney’s four CTECs from 2012-2014 and sold them to Crotched Mountain, Pats Peak and Liberty Mountain.  A 1970 Hall double remains standing on the property.
  • Washington, DC taps the same company that conducted the feasibility study for the Portland Aerial Tram to study the proposed Georgetown Gondola.
  • A D-Line gondola is coming to Innsbruck.
  • The Mi Teleferico “My Cable Car” network in La Paz carried 43 million passengers in its first 22 months with 99.3% reliability.