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.
Governor Andrew Cuomo surprised many back in February when he committed $8 million in public money to erect a gondola and make other improvements at Belleayre, the smallest of New York’s three state-owned ski resorts. Reaction was swift with a vocal group of critics questioning the use of funds at a mountain with a modest 135,000 annual skier visits. “Gondola to nowhere,” one user wrote on the NY Ski Blog. “The stupidest lift ever built in the world,” said another passionate New Yorker. Yet another, simply “a waste.” Then came an anti-gondola petition.
The Olympic Regional Development Authority stuck to its guns and Doppelmayr USA won the contract, beginning work on June 21st. Just four and a half months later, a grand new machine stands with 13,615 feet of haul rope, 60 cabins and 16 towers coming together. The new lift rises 1,350 feet from Discovery Lodge to the summit with super views along the way.
Frost Fire, ND won’t open this winter, citing the “dire” condition of its triple chairlift. The nonprofit mountain estimates $1.35 million is needed to buy a replacement. The statement makes no mention of the mountain’s other lift, a double chair with Poma components.
There’s quite a party in the urban gondola capital of the world tonight as Mi Teleférico (My Cable Car) opens the Bolivian capital’s fifth urban gondola line. The Línea Naranja (Orange Line) carried its first public passengers just after 6:00 pm and will serve some 30,000 La Paz commuters daily. Joining the Red, Yellow, Green and Blue lines already in service, the new 10-passenger Doppelmayr system features the world’s first underground gondola station and amenities such as free Wi-Fi, video monitoring and cabin lighting. As La Paz builds out its eleven-line subway in the sky, the Orange Line forms an impressive continuous gondola route 6.1 miles long with the Blue and Red lines.
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Like its predecessors, the newest line is technically two gondolas with four stations, a combined 26 towers and 127 cabins representing a $66 million investment. One way ride time is 9.5 minutes with a capacity of 3,000 passengers per hour, per direction. The project uses a mix of UNI-G and tunnel-style terminals built into modern station buildings.
Revealed in a surprise March announcement, Snowbasin Resort will debut its fifth detachable lift this winter on a slope rich with history. As chronicled in an awesome blog post, the upcoming Wildcat Express replaces a 1973 Thiokol, which itself replaced parallel Constam single and American Cableways double chairs. When the Holding family invested massively to build a new base area, two gondolas, a high-speed quad and aerial tramway in the 1998 run up to the Olympics, all of Snowbasin’s old lifts were left in place. Ten years later, Littlecat was swapped for a Doppelmayr detachable quad and now it’s Wildcat’s turn.
Like the Littlecat Express next door, Wildcat Express will be a green and white Doppelmayr Uni-G with torsion grips. The six-place chairs will feature slats rather than backrests for wind resistance along the relatively exposed profile. The new haul rope is manufactured by Redaelli and the lift will whisk 2,400 skiers an hour to Middle Bowl in just six minutes. Most components have arrived at Snowbasin and the Doppelmayr crew is working six days a week towards completion.
Firm pitches gondola to link South Station to the Seaport district in Boston.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme and Doppelmayr publish a 12-page summary of their first Academy of Sustainable Urban Mobility conference held in Austria last April.
LST Ropeways will build its second North American lift at Waterville Valley, though Skytrac will no longer provide controls, operator houses and installation for the French company.
A new Doppelmayr gondola, bubble high speed quad and triple chair will debut in December on Eglise Mountain at the Yellowstone Club, by far the biggest lift project in North American skiing for 2017. Thanks to Everett K. for these cool photos of the progress.
Y.C. has also listed for sale the 160-acre Cedar View Ranch, offering someone the opportunity to build a private lift to the bottom of the Lake lift.
You can follow along as Garaventa enters the home stretch building the record-breaking Eibsee Cable Car 2.0 in Germany.
There’s also a construction blog for Leitner’s 3S project in Zermatt.
Steamboat finally opened its gondola Monday, lamenting “we made a mistake by trying to set an opening date” and thanking guests for weeks of patience.
Sunshine Village reopened the same day following fire scare.
Bidding opens for construction of a four-stage, 10-passenger urban gondola in Santiago, Chile – a contract estimated to be worth $78 million. When complete, Latin America will sport urban gondolas in Mexico City, Mexico (Leitner); Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Poma); Medellín, Colombia (Poma); Caracas, Venezuela (Doppelmayr); Lima, Peru (Poma); Quito, Ecuador (Poma); La Paz, Bolivia (Doppelmayr); Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Doppelmayr and Poma) and Santiago, Chile (TBD.) Impressive.
It’s official: North America’s largest-ever gondola network is coming to Walt Disney World in Orlando. Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced the project in a Steve Jobs-esque keynote at a Disney fan convention in Anaheim yesterday. The name for the new system will be Disney Skyliner in a nod to the Skyway VonRoll gondolas which operated at three Disney Parks from the 1950s until 1990s. “I’m proud to announce that we’re building a whole new transportation system,” Chapek said onstage to wild applause. “The Disney Skyliner will soon give our guests a bird’s eye view of Walt Disney World. Many of these gondolas will feature your favorite Disney characters and what a better way to get around the resort than with your pals in the sky.” A simultaneous post on the Disney Parks Blog noted, “[This] new transportation system will add even more magic to your future vacation experiences.”
As rumored since February, there will be five stages connecting Disney’s Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach Resort, and new Riviera Resort to Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at EPCOT. Whistler Blackcomb currently operates the most gondola sections in North America – six – but they are not contiguous and utilize varying technologies. The longest of three individual lines at Walt Disney World will have two angle stations, one of which will serve the all-new Disney Riviera Resort opening in 2019. All three lines will meet at a hub on the south side of Caribbean Beach Resort, where guest can change cabins based on destination. Renderings confirm Doppelmayr and CWA ropeway technology and this is probably Doppelmayr USA’s largest lift contract ever (excluding DCC rail-based systems like the Oakland Airport Connector.) Air conditioning does not appear to be included but the Omega cabins will include more open windows than normal like those on the recently completed Arthurs Seat Eagle in Australia and California Trail at the Oakland ZooSingapore Cable Car.