- See for yourself is how Aspen parks its gondolas for the offseason.
- The supremely-talented James Niehues is painting an all-new map of Copper Mountain to debut next winter along with two new lifts.
- This month’s Poma Link spotlights good stuff from Europe…a new brand platform, details on Diamond Evo cabins and new sheave liners coming in 2019.
- The Leitner Ropeways 2017 annual report is packed full of photographs and drawings for 32 new lifts the company completed last year.
- The world’s tallest tubular lift tower goes up in La Paz at 194 feet!
- A man who said he was stuck on a Gore Mountain chairlift the night of April Fool’s Day is charged with making false statements.
- Two hackers say they were able to access the Doppelmayr Connect control system for an Austrian gondola in March, raising cyber security concerns. Doppelmayr says the issue has been fixed and no riders were ever at risk.
- The first Skyliner station is going up in Florida and it’s a monster that appears to have two separate turnarounds. A sea of lift parts is also on site at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Leitner unveils cabins clad with Swarovski crystals for the new Matterhorn 3S.
- Berkshire Bank pays propane, electric and tax bills to keep the heat on and prevent a tax sale as it asks a judge to allow a receiver to take over operations at the Hermitage Club.
- Doppelmayr names a new managing director set to take over later this year.
- LST combines wireless operator controls, 3D cameras, RFID tags and LED lighting to encourage safety bar usage and increase loading safety.
- The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management approve Sun Valley’s Cold Springs Canyon project.
- Big Sky teases an updated rendering of Ramcharger 8 and the first photo from the factory.
- I’ll end this week’s roundup with some interesting thoughts on recent ski resort sales and valuations from Mike Krongel.
Those interested in reading only about ski lifts can skip this post. For everyone else, the Disney Skyliner is poised to become among the world’s highest profile ropeways a bit over a year from now and one worth following. I plan on scrambling to Walt Disney World as soon as the three Skyliner gondolas open, but for now, we can rely on Twitter user bioreconstruct, a relentless documentarian of everything Disney.
The Skyliner will bring Epcot within just a few minutes’ reach for guests staying at four Disney World Resort hotels. At the storied park’s International Gateway, what will likely be the second busiest gondola station is in the early phases of construction near the current boat dock. This one will be mostly open air with a few unique Disney touches on an otherwise dark gray Doppelmayr terminal.
A few tower foundations are going in for the stage from Epcot to the BoardWalk Inn parking lot, where an angle station is also beginning to form. Cabins will turn sharply here but doors will stay closed in both directions.
- The latest Doppelmayr Wir highlights Yellowstone Club’s expansion and more.
- The Gondola Project updates us on the Leitner-Poma tram project at San Francisco’s Salesforce Tower transit center.
- Aspen Skiing Co. eyes opening the Pandora quad chairlift on Aspen Mountain in 2020.
- Majella Group CEO Sebastian Monsour tells the Bangor Daily News his Australian company is still working to close on the purchase of Saddleback Mountain while a former employee is suing for unpaid wages.
- A Montana community grapples with options for Teton Pass, a closed ski resort listed for $650,000 with one SLI double.
- In advance of its new gondola, Silver Star’s 1970 Mueller is listed for sale on SAM.
- CWA launches a slick new website and refreshed logo.
- Val Neigette, Quebec will close for good on April 1st and its 1990 Doppelmayr quad is on the market.
- An editorial in the Park Record floats the cool idea of a gondola from offsite parking at Kimball Junction to Park City’s Sun Peak zone with a possible mid-station at Utah Olympic Park.
- Big White’s Powder Chair will soon be available for $150,000 CAD.
- Alpine Media Technology raises $1 million to bring digital screens to more lifts including Winter Park’s new gondola.
- SkyTrans hopes to build and operate a $2 million gondola at an Illinois winery.
- A lawsuit against Sugar Mountain filed by the family of a child who jumped from a lift after closing has been settled.
- Leitner’s fifth 3S gondola will be a spectacular one with Symphony cabins and a combination gondola/railway/transit station.
- A Jacksonville, Florida developer proposes a river crossing gondola.
- What appears to be Walt Disney World’s gondola cabin maintenance facility is taking shape.
- Instagram suggests the Hermitage Club may have reached a deal to open this weekend following a state-ordered closure.
Walt Disney World is currently building America’s inaugural Doppelmayr D-Line gondola, actually three gondolas. Although Orlando is a long way from the mountains of Wyoming, the world’s most visited resort is also one of Earth’s most photographed places. So, through the magic of the internet, I am able to give a construction tour of the Disney Skyliner from afar.
Let’s start at Epcot. Foundations for this key station are taking shape but the bulk of work still lies ahead. Though they look like lift terminals, the dark green roofs are actually related to ferry boats the Skyliner will partially replace.
Next up is an angle station that Disney says will showcase the inner workings of the Skyliner as riders pass. No loading or unloading will take place here but the line will deflect around 110 degrees (double grooved bullwheel, maybe?) This one is also just beginning to be formed in what used to be a pond.
- 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.
- Move over Epic Pass, Alterra is launching the Ikon Pass.
- Granby Ranch is officially listed for sale.
- Aspen CEO Mike Kaplan says snow challenges bring out the best in people.
- Think your area is busy on a Saturday? The urban gondola network in La Paz sets a new one day record: 278,621 riders!
- New York Governor calls previously announced state fair gondola “an exciting idea” but withholds funding for now.
- More stories surface of the Hermitage Club owing people money.
- Skier records volcano erupting from a Doppelmayr detachable in Japan. One person was killed and a gondola damaged by rockfall.
- ORDA, the state owner of Belleayre, Gore Mountain and Whiteface, lost $20.8 million last year.
- Powder catches up with Alterra President and COO David Perry, who stresses the company will do things differently than Vail.
- Public comment period opens for Mt. Rose’s Atoma expansion, which would include construction of one or two new chairlifts as early as 2019.
- The draft environmental impact statement is also out for Steamboat’s expansion, to include a second gondola, Rough Rider chairlift, new Bashor lift and Pioneer Ridge pod with groundbreaking possible by May.
- Lake Louise and Nakiska are probable venues for a possible 2026 Calgary Olympics. Denver, Reno-Tahoe and Salt Lake also weigh bids.
- Just upgrading electric infrastructure for Disney’s Skyliner gondola system will cost $3.8 million, around the total price tag of a typical ski lift project!
- For the first time since I started keeping track, 2018 new lifts are pacing behind 2017.
We’re somewhere around a year-and-a-half away from the grand opening of Walt Disney World Resort’s innovative Skyliner gondola network and it’s becoming clear this will be North America’s most expensive lift project ever. Yes, much more costly than the $52 million Peak 2 Peak Gondola, way beyond the $57 million Portland Aerial Tram and many times more than the eight-figure Blackcomb Gondola, also set for construction this year.
I have never been to Florida but luckily there are die-hard Disney fans who charter helicopters on a weekly basis to photograph the goings-on at the world’s most-visited resort. This week, they are beginning to spot tower foundations for the first of five gondola segments.
Doppelmayr’s next-generation detachable lift technology appears headed for North America. Walt Disney World Resort released new details about the upcoming Disney Skyliner gondola system this morning and renderings appear to show D-Line Station-D enclosures. Each of the six gondola stations will be themed differently, reflecting unique character of the destinations they serve.
D-Line is Doppelmayr’s latest detachable product that debuted two years ago in Hochgurgl, Austria. Numerous D-Line lifts have since opened in the Alps but no American resort operator has opted to pay extra for one so far, opting instead for the proven UNI-G terminals and standard line equipment. The Walt Disney Company isn’t your standard lift customer, however. D-Line sports hundreds of innovations including rope speeds up to 7 m/s or 1,378 feet per minute and wider line gauge for wider carriers. CWA has developed D-Line-specific Omega gondola cabins with 11 percent greater seating area than non-D 10-passenger versions. At Disney World, cabins will sport custom wraps with the Disney characters guests know and love.
- 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.
- Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows CEO Andy Wirth and landowner Troy Caldwell held a Base-to-Base Gondola open house and Q&A last week presenting lots of new details. The Red Dog replacement project won’t happen until the gondola alignment is finalized.
- The Balsams files site plans for construction of a gondola and more beginning as soon as this fall.
- Subaru Skyride debuts at the Indiana State Fair. Can anyone identify the manufacturer?
- Owners of Lutsen say $40 million expansion will compel more skiers to stay in the Midwest instead of trekking to Colorado.
- Still no sign of lift construction at Saddleback.
- Two people apparently were injured riding a lift at Montage Mountain last weekend.
- Following the successful launch of a Poma gondola to the Kuelap fortress, Peru’s government to study building a cable car to Machu Picchu.
- Snowbasin is adding a tower to the currently towerless Allen Peak Tram to increase clearance and reduce closures during storm cycles.
- Keystone drops Making Montezuma episode 2.
- Disney Skyliner gondola construction prep continues.
- Sunshine Village reopens its gondola tomorrow after an 11-day fire closure.
- First pictures emerge of Steamboat’s gondola rebuild. Notice downloading capacity is now only six per cabin.
- The City of Elko will take over Elko Snobowl.
- Steamboat City Council reviews vision for Howelsen Hill which includes $1.54 million for a new, realigned Barrows chairlift.
- An Eldo Express update from Eldora.
- Ditto from Stoneham.