News Roundup: Interviews

  • The 117 year old Poconos hotel which just announced plans to build a chairlift burned down last Friday.
  • Yellowstone Club adds Silver Tip, its 18th major lift, giving YC the 13th highest lift count in the nation!
  • More awesome podcasts: Jeremy Davis of the New England Lost Ski Areas Project, Rob Katz on snowmaking across Vail Resorts, Geoff Hathaway on rebuilding Magic Mountain and the staff of Eldora on what it takes to open weeks ahead of normal.
  • Two new quads and a lift shortening are all now reflected on the Stevens Pass trail map.
  • Vandals slash upholstered seats on an Austrian gondola, cause $28,000 in damage.
  • Okemo receives a 24 month extension to its permit for building a beginner fixed grip quad at Jackson Gore.
  • Loveland gains approval to replace Lift 6 with either a fixed grip triple or detachable quad in 2021.
  • New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu tours the gorgeous new summit lodge and gondola at Bretton Woods.
  • Alterra CEO Rusty Gregory joins Bloomberg TV and Yahoo Finance to chat about opportunities he sees in the ski business.
  • The head of MND Group says financial struggles are history as the company ramps up to deliver $200 million worth of orders for lifts, Gazex and snowmaking.
  • The Forest Service plans to approve two new fixed grip quad lifts at Lee Canyon.
  • Big Sky looks for 30 more chairs for Six Shooter.
  • A Wyoming ranch with snow cat skiing considers adding lift service.
  • Chris Diamond’s new book, Ski Inc. 2020, was released last week and is a must read for those who follow North American skiing.
  • Simon Fraser University includes a 3S gondola as a core component of its new campus master plan.
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The Loading Carpet Solution

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Skiers load a CTEC triple chair using an Emmegi carpet at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, Maine.

This winter, 57 lifts in North America will feature loading conveyors, a higher number than ever before.  Since the first carpets debuted in 1995, the technology has improved as resorts seek to increase comfort and loading efficiency.  The Austrian-based market leader, Chairkit (formerly ChairkiD) has installed more than 460 carpets worldwide. Another manufacturer called Emmegi built more than a dozen in the United States before going out of business in 2010.  Italian conveyor company Compac has dabbled as have Rocky Mountain Conveyor (maker of Magic Carpet®) and Doppelmayr with its own version called LaunchPad.  As with bubble chairs, loading carpets are ubiquitous in Europe but not so much around here.

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Chairkit’s loading carpet features electronic gates with LED lighting and a deep pit with optional lifting table.

The logic behind a carpet is simple.  It helps beginner skiers who struggle to move quickly enough to the load point and reduces the relative speed between skier and chair on fixed-grip chairlifts.  The goal is fewer mis-loads/stops/slows and increased loading efficiency.  Some Chairkit carpets add a lifting table so that a lift operator can raise the entire loading platform by about four inches to safely load small children. Bridger Bowl, Crystal Mountain (WA) and The Summit at Snoqualmie opted for this feature on their respective beginner lifts.

The vast majority (84 percent) of carpets in North America are the longer type designed for fixed-grip lifts.  They stretch about 30 feet from the wait here board to well past the load point and move slightly slower than the lift’s rope speed.  Eight high speed quads and six-packs in the United States now have shorter carpets designed for detachables.  Vail Resorts operates five of these on its newest six packs at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Park City and Vail.  Boyne Resorts is another major adopter of loading carpets with seven of them across its mountains.

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