News Roundup: Falling Trees

  • Doppelmayr wins the contract to build Cablebus Line 3, a six station/40 tower gondola in Mexico City with a bid $19 million under Leitner.
  • Steamboat’s new gondola won’t open until mid to late December.
  • A falling tree de-ropes the Busch Gardens Williamsburg gondola off multiple towers.
  • NSAA reports the number of US ski areas operating last season increased by 11 to 473.
  • A brand new chairlift at Ski Wentworth gets battered by wind and falling trees from Hurricane Fiona but is believed to be undamaged.
  • Lake Louise says both Upper Juniper and Sunnyside high speed quads could be constructed as early as 2023 (map here).
  • A new map shows the location of Vail’s upcoming Chair 17 in Sun Down Bowl.
  • Deer Valley’s new map shows where the new Burns Express goes.
  • Apex Mountain uses video footage and social media to identify a group who tampered with the resort’s detachable quad.
  • The Los Angeles transit authority expects to release the draft Environmental Impact Report for the Dodger Stadium gondola October 17th.

News Roundup: Gunstock & More

News Roundup: Funding Secured

Alterra Announces $344 Million Capital Plan for 2022

Alterra Mountain Company today affirmed plans to open big new lifts in 2022 and more next year as it increases investment across its 14 resorts. This year’s $344 million plan includes $93 million in increased capacity and terrain expansion, $91 million for skier services upgrades, and $16 million in guest experience technology with a focus on Palisades Tahoe, Steamboat, Crystal Mountain, Mammoth Mountain and Deer Valley.

At Palisades Tahoe, the $65 million Base-to-Base Gondola will be completed this summer after two seasons of construction. The Leitner-Poma gondola will connect the two mountains of the resort for the first time, giving skiers and riders access to a combined 6,000 acres of terrain and making Palisades the third largest resort in North America. The 16 minute gondola ride will take skiers and riders between The Village at Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Lodge, reducing road congestion in the region and making it easier to enjoy both mountains in a single day. It is the first gondola of its kind in North America, with four terminals connecting two base areas via a climb of nearly 2,000 vertical feet.

Winter 2022-23 will also see phase two of Steamboat’s Full Steam Ahead redevelopment completed with $90 million of investment to include the relocation of the lower terminal of the Christie Peak Express and the first leg of the Wild Blue Gondola, which will take guests to the new Greenhorn Ranch learning center at mid-mountain.

Wild Blue will become the longest gondola in North America and the fastest 10-person gondola in the country. With the lower leg opening in 2022-23, and the upper leg opening in 2023-24, the state-of-the-art Doppelmayr D-Line gondola will feed skiers/riders through a newly created mid-station adjacent to Bashor Bowl with the final destination of Sunshine Peak. It will feature the first Omega V cabins in the United States. At a total length of 3.16 miles, the new gondola will increase the out of base capacity from 6,000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour, getting skiers from bottom to top in 13 minutes. The recently re-graded Rough Rider/Bashor Basin area will be home to Greenhorn Ranch, an area dedicated to beginner skiers and riders. It will feature progressive terrain-based learning and a dedicated chairlift.

For winter 2023-24, 650 acres of advanced terrain will open on Pioneer Ridge, making Steamboat the second largest ski resort in Colorado. This expert, gladed terrain will be serviced by a new detachable chairlift.

At Washington’s Crystal Mountain, $100 million will be spent over the next five years. The largest investment ever made at Crystal will focus on greater access, more space and significantly enhanced skier services. Work will begin this spring with $25 million for additional parking and a new 25,000 square foot skier services facility called Mountain Commons. No lift projects were announced but Crystal Mountain President Frank DeBerry has made no secret his wish list includes a replacement for the Rainier Express, a new gondola to the summit and relocation of the current Mt. Rainier Gondola to Campbell Basin.

At Mammoth Mountain, summer 2022 will see ground and infrastructure work to facilitate the replacement of the Canyon Express at Canyon Lodge and Broadway Express at Main Lodge. Doppelmayr initially planned to build these lifts in 2020 before the Coronavirus pandemic postponed the project. The new high-speed six packs are planned to finally debut in winter 2023-24.

New for winter 2022-23 at Deer Valley, the Burns Express chairlift will debut at the Wide West learning area. This high speed chairlift will connect the Snow Park base area to Little Baldy Mountain, offering ski school access to more beginner teaching terrain and providing an additional option for skiers to navigate out of the main arrival area. The $6 million investment to improve the learning area on Wide West will also include enhancements to the existing Snowflake chairlift, installing and reconfiguring surface lifts and grading beginner terrain.

“This historic investment is clear evidence of our commitment to deliver a premier guest experience at our North American destinations and our engagement towards the long-term future of our mountains,” said Rusty Gregory, CEO of Alterra Mountain Company. “More than ever, we continue to infuse meaningful capital into projects that will transform our base areas while significantly improving our physical and digital on-mountain offerings to ensure that our guests experience the best of the mountains.”

Some previously-approved projects were absent from Alterra’s latest announcement, namely the Red Dog replacement at Palisades, Timber expansion at Tremblant and Pioneer Express upgrade at Winter Park.

News Roundup: Epic Lift Update

News Roundup: Merry Christmas

News Roundup: American Rescue Plan

News Roundup: Valleys

News Roundup: Season Pass Season

Mayflower Mountain Resort Eyes 2021 Opening

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Photo credit: Extell Development Company

Mayflower Mountain Resort, the fledgling billion dollar development near Park City, Utah, made headlines early this week on two fronts.  First, the proposed resort’s owner reached an agreement with Alterra Mountain Company for Deer Valley to continue leasing a chunk of land on Bald Mountain for 199 years.  Second, Mayflower held a media gathering, revealing grand plans for its first lifts to open in 2021.

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A 2018 Mayflower plan by SE Group identified nine possible lift alignments.

With the new lease between Deer Valley and Mayflower’s parent companies, the existing Mayflower lift and terrain will remain part of Deer Valley regardless of what happens with Mayflower Mountain Resort.

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Photo credit: Extell Development Company

Most of the 5,600 acres Extell Development of New York City has pieced together is currently undeveloped.  That could change shortly with three new hotels, 400 acres of ski runs and multiple chairlifts above the Jordanelle Reservoir.  Whether those lifts will be Deer Valley green and disallow snowboarders is an open question.  There are a lot of parallels with Moonlight Basin, Montana throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.  Initially a modest development with a couple access lifts operated under contract by Big Sky Resort, Moonlight turned into a ski resort of its own before eventually being integrated back into Big Sky’s ticket products and operations.

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Wasatch County’s parcel viewer shows existing Deer Valley ski runs in dark blue and upcoming Mayflower runs in light blue.  Deer Valley trails in neighboring Summit County are not highlighted.

Regardless of who operates the lifts, Mayflower could be big.  Current plans call for five main lifts and two surface lifts, not counting a potential connector lifts to Deer Valley.  Extell is commencing road and infrastructure work this fall with potential lift contracts a year away.  The company has roughly two years to sort out whether it wants to be independent, partner more broadly with Alterra or perhaps another ski industry player.