News Roundup: Sigma

Manufacturers Introduce Innovations at Interalpin

If the last week and a half was quiet on the blog, it’s because I was skiing my way around Austria, Germany and Switzerland with a few lift factory visits along the way. The last stop on my journey was Interalpin, the world’s largest trade show for mountain technology which takes place in Innsbruck every two years. Thanks to Covid, this was the first Interalpin in four years with an estimated 35,000 people attending.


Doppelmayr made a splash the first day with the introduction of a new logo, the company’s first brand refresh in decades. For the first time Doppelmayr Group companies like CWA, Carvatech, Garaventa, Gassner and Frey all have logos matching the parent company’s identity. The new brand will be introduced to international subsidiaries over time.

Doppelmayr’s sprawling two story booth featured numerous cabins, chairs, grips and carriages from an 8 seat Carvatech gondola all the way up to a 32 passenger CWA Atria.

A 20 passenger cabin called Stella debuted for the first time. This cabin will be available for both Tri-Line 3S and 20 passenger monocable gondolas. Stella fills the gap between the ubiquitous Omega and much larger Atria model, which has only been used to two lifts to date. Future 20 passenger monocable gondolas will utilize a new D9000 carriage, which is built around two side by side D5000 grips.

Introduced last year, Tri-Line is a streamlined version of the 3S gondola with smaller stations requiring less concrete. The first Tri-Line is under development at Hoch-Ybrig, Switzerland. Both Tri-Line and 20-MGD are based off standard D-Line stations and can achieve up to 8,000 passengers per hour with Stella cabins that fit closely together and can open on two sides. On the three rope Tri-Line, Stella cabins will be capable of spanning longer distances between towers than monocable gondolas with high wind stability.

Doppelmayr also showcased a simplified surface lift product family called S-Line.

Doppelmayr had a full size mockup of an Auro autonomous gondola station which can be monitored remotely from a ropeway operations center. A chairlift version is also undergoing testing on two lifts in the region using artificial intelligence to monitor unloading. In both cases, large detachable lifts could be operated by just one person.

Also on the software front, Doppelmayr’s resort management software clair now integrates with other mountain technology providers such as Fatzer, Skidata and TechnoAlpin.

HTI Group

HTI group hosted another large booth shared between Prinoth, Leitner, Poma and DemacLenko. For the first time Bartholet was also part of the HTI area. With three different lift brands now under one umbrella, HTI showed off multiple Diamond cabins, a premium chair, Symphony gondolas and Bartholet chairs/cabins.

I got to experience both Leitner’s 2S and 3S gondolas in the surrounding mountains and was very impressed with their smooth ride and quality. The newest 2S design utilizes plastic carriage rollers and can span long distances between towers more economically than a 3S.

Bikes were a big focus with both chair and gondola loading solutions on display. The European industry has embraced vertical racks so passengers can ride on the same chairs as bikes without having to skip chairs with trays.

HTI is also getting into the software game with a resort management program called Skadii including digital logbooks to manage documentation.

Energy efficiency is a huge focus in Europe and HTI also showed off its Ecodrive program, which uses cameras to analyze lift queues and automatically adjust lift speed to save energy.


MND Ropeways had a Waterville Valley style six place chair along with a gondola cabin on display. The company continues to push the benefits of providing lifts, snowmaking, avalanche control systems and summer attractions all from one supplier.

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Three New Triple Chairs Coming to Alpental, Washington

The Summit at Snoqualmie today announced plans to build three new lifts in two years at Alpental, following other recent lift projects at Summit East and Summit Central. Year one at will see construction of a new Sessel triple this summer with a replacement Edelweiss triple and new International triple to follow in 2024. The projects are all part of the Summit 2030 plan announced by The Summit and parent company Boyne Resorts last year.

Sessel will be realigned with a 1,790 foot slope length and 590 foot vertical drop. The existing Riblet lift, built in 1967, rises about 80 feet less. The new Doppelmayr Alpenstar will feature a loading conveyor, boosting rope speed to 500 feet per minute and capacity to 1,800 skiers per hour. The lift will look very similar to the new Hidden Valley triple which Snoqualmie opened this season at Summit East.

Doppelmayr will also commence foundation work for both a replacement Edelweiss chair and brand new International triple this spring. Both these lifts will service upper mountain terrain beginning in the 2024-25 season.

Due to construction, Alpental will close earlier than normal on April 23rd. Most of the ski area is roadless, necessitating over snow access to tower and terminal locations.

Sun Peaks Announces West Bowl Express

Construction has already begun on Sun Peaks Resort’s third new chairlift in six years, the West Bowl Express. The CA$12 million Doppelmayr detachable quad will replace the retired West Bowl T-Bar in a much longer alignment and open in late 2024. West Bowl Express will service approximately 1,000 vertical feet with nearly a mile of slope length in the high alpine. “Sun Peaks continues to evolve and this significant new lift infrastructure will diversify the experience in an important pod of terrain in the resort,” noted Darcy Alexander, Sun Peaks Resort Vice President and General Manager. “Guests will have additional trails and vertical to explore with the convenience and efficiency of detachable lift technology.”

Preliminary site work is already finalized and foundations will follow this summer with steel installation commencing in 2024. When the project is complete next November, Sun Peaks will operate a 100 percent Doppelmayr fleet with eight quad chairlifts and two surface platters.

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Brighton Announces Crest 6 Project

Doppelmayr will build the first D-Line lift in Utah this summer, a six pack replacing the aging Crest Express at Brighton Resort. In typical Boyne Resorts fashion, the replacement lift will feature 90 degree loading with a conveyor and video screen. Riders will enjoy a 5.3 minute ride time with an hourly capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour. In the summer, Crest will serve mountain bikers with three Bike Clips on each chair. The lift won’t have bubbles or heated seats.

Brighton also announced construction of a new mid-mountain restaurant and implementation of a parking reservation system for next season.

Crest 6 is the 9th new lift project announced by Brighton owner Boyne Resorts for the 2023/24 ski season. Construction is expected to begin in May.

Whistler Blackcomb Postpones Jersey Cream Replacement

As part of its quarterly earnings report, Vail Resorts today announced one of its big ticket capital projects will be delayed due to lift manufacturer installation capacity. While work will begin this month on the planned Fitzsimmons 8 project, the Jersey Cream six passenger lift installation has been postponed to 2024. Both new lifts were slated to replace aging high speed quads. “Doppelmayr Canada has informed Vail Resorts that they cannot install both lifts this summer due to their labor and resource constraints,” said Vail in a statement. While equipment for both Fitzsimmons and Jersey Cream is coming largely from two postponed projects in Park City, the biggest constraint manufacturers face right now is installation capacity. Capital saved from the Jersey Cream postponement will instead be allocated toward accelerating Vail Resorts’ investment in its gear rental business.

The Fitzsimmons 8 project proceeding this summer will become the first eight seat chairlift in Canada along with the recently announced Adventure 8 at Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Ontario. “We are committed to working closely with Doppelmayr to ensure that the construction, installation, and testing of Fitz moves ahead safely as planned,” said Whistler Blackcomb, noting that preliminary work for Jersey Cream would also proceed this year. Vail is also adding new lifts at Attitash, Breckenridge, Keystone and Stevens Pass this offseason.

Mt. Seymour to Replace Lodge Chair

A new quad chair is coming to Mt. Seymour, British Columbia, replacing the mountain’s 1985 Mueller double. Doppelmayr Canada will build the Lodge Chair 2.0, a 160 horsepower fixed grip quad with seven towers and 44 chairs. The new lift will transport 1,600 skiers per hour, a 70 percent increase over the current double.

A loading conveyor with automatic gates should allow the lift to run 2.3 meters per second with a ride time of just 3.2 minutes. The lift will become the second modern Doppelmayr chair on the mountain and is expected to debut for the 2023/24 ski season.