Bromont Announces Construction of Canada’s Second Chondola

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Dignitaries celebrate the surprise announcement of a chondola and more in Bromont, Quebec April 20, 2018.  Photo credit: Bromont, montagne d’expériences.

The Government of Quebec and Bromont, montagne d’expériences are partnering to the tune of $19.6 million, the two confirmed yesterday.  More than half that money will go to build a base-to-summit combination lift in place of a 1985 Poma detachable.  The new $10.1 million machine with six place chairs and eight passenger cabins will be the second such combo lift in Quebec and one of two built this year in North America.  Doppelmayr will install the lift and capacity will increase 20-25 percent on the front side.  Competitor Tremblant is also building a Doppelmayr detachable this year.

Bromont is less than an hour from the Vermont border and has grown to become one of Eastern Canada’s largest resorts with eight major lifts.  The new chondola and a new lodge make up the first phase of Project Altitude, which will see approximately $80 million invested through public-private partnerships over the next few years.

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Deer Valley Plans 13th High-Speed Quad to Replace Homestake

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Deer Valley’s Homestake lift is less than twenty years old and eyed for replacement with a detachable version.

When Alterra revealed its hefty roster of 2018 upgrades on a Monday in March, Deer Valley Resort was noticeably absent.  The Utah flagship has averaged nearly one new lift every year since its 1981 inception but is coming off of a five year drought since the Mountaineer Express was added.  Now, as the Vail-owned owned neighbor builds a detachable beginner lift above Canyons Village, the Park Record reports Deer Valley is finalizing plans to replace the Homestake quad with a detachable of its own this offseason.dvhomestakemap

Garaventa CTEC installed the current Homestake lift, which runs roughly parallel to the downhill section of the Silver Lake Express, in 1999.  It is only 1,720 feet long but serves as a key link between Bald Mountain and Bald Eagle Mountain.  The new machine would be the sixth shortest detachable in the U.S. and might re-use some components like towers.  It is almost certain to be built by Doppelmayr USA, which is based just down I-80 in Salt Lake.  The resort says it is still finalizing plans and lining up permits but it’s looking like there will be only a handful of fixed-grip chairlifts remaining next season at Deer Valley.  With this likely addition, 2018 is now pacing nearly 30 percent above last year for announced new lift construction with a very busy summer ahead across North America.

News Roundup: Capital

  • There will be no construction at Valemount Glacier this year after all.
  • Catamount (the New York/Massachusetts one, not Colorado) seeks new investors or an outright buyer.
  • Following another best ever season, Whitefish Mountain Resort eyes improving lift service from the base lodge and in Hellroaring Basin, which might mean replacing lifts 4 and 8.
  • Blackcomb’s Catskinner triple will soon be available for sale.
  • Ski Areas of New York will again offer a series of lift maintenance training classes across the state.
  • French regulators propose $800,000 in fines against MND Group and its CEO for allegedly misleading investors and deleting emails, which the company denies.
  • Amid the turmoil, MND subsidiary LST Ropeways inks an order to install its second detachable chairlift worth $5.4 million in Avoriaz, France.
  • As Crested Butte departs the Powder Alliance, Marmot Basin, Castle Mountain, Sugar Bowl and Loveland join up.
  • Red Mountain is searching for a used Doppelmayr T-Bar.
  • Loveland confirms Leitner-Poma will build its much anticipated first high-speed quad.
  • The Trump Administration’s proposed tariffs target goods from China including “teleferics, chair lifts, ski draglines; and traction mechanisms for funiculars.” Outside contacted both Doppelmayr and Leitner-Poma for comment with interesting results.
  • More contractors and employees say the Hermitage Club didn’t fully pay them and the Town of Wilmington may hold a tax sale in June.
  • A man claims he was left to spend a cold night on one of Gore Mountain’s chairlifts and wasn’t found until the next morning, April Fool’s Day.
  • A bullwheel bearing issue on Nob Hill at Sugar Bowl throws a major wrench in the end of the season.

  • Bretton Woods’ new gondola is on track to break ground in June or July, which would make 11 new gondolas for 2018 in North America – the most ever.
  • Approaching two years post-Olympics, both urban gondolas in Rio remain abandoned.
  • Bloomberg is out with a not-so-complimentary article about the Whistler Blackcomb-Vail transition.
  • Doppelmayr wins contracts to build nine Beijing 2022 Olympic lifts including five gondolas and two bubble six place chairs.
  • A gondola once the symbol of an Olympics destroyed by war returns to Sarajevo thanks to Leitner Ropeways and a $3.5 million donation from an American.
  • The Oakland Athletics consider building a gondola to their new stadium.
  • Nine different mountains in Sweden will spin T-Bars for mountain bikers this summer.
  • If approved, Vail’s new Golden Peak lift will likely be a T-Bar.
  • Owl’s Head retires its Green lift and will give the chairs away to season pass buyers.
  • I started this blog three years ago this week as an off season project.  It now sees 215,000 page views each month from 40,000+ unique visitors.  Thanks to everyone who has helped to make Lift Blog a success!

Disney Skyliner Work Accelerates

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.

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News Roundup: Symphony

Beech Mountain Adding Two Doppelmayr Quads

Beech Mountain, North Carolina will replace two of its workhorse chairlifts ahead of the 2018/2019 winter season as had been rumored for weeks.  Lift 5, which ascends to the 5,506-foot summit and was originally built in 1987, is currently being disassembled in preparation for the installation of a new Doppelymayr fixed-grip quad.  The new lift will include a loading conveyor to ensure safe boarding, higher travel speeds and shorter trip times.  Lift 5 will now include 144 chairs with a 6.5 minute ride time accommodating 2,400 people per hour.

This marks only the second time in North American history that a fixed-grip chairlift will replace a detachable one, though there could be more in the near future.  Sugarbush, Vermont swapped the 1990 Green Mountain Express for a fixed quad in 1995, though the route went detachable again in 2002.  Willamette Pass, Oregon’s detachable six-pack is currently up for sale, eyed to be replaced with a fixed-grip lift that would be more affordable to operate.  A used T-Bar may also rise this summer at Ascutney, Vermont on the site of a former high-speed quad.  If Tamarack, Idaho is ever able to rebuild the Wildwood Express, it could be another detachable-turned-fixed-grip scenario.

Back to Beech, Lift 6, currently a double chair with parts from Goforth Brothers, Hall and Doppelmayr, will be replaced with another Doppelmayr fixed-grip quad.  This one will feature 106 chairs and a 6.5 minute travel time with a capacity of 2,000 people per hour.  Both quad lifts will feature footrests, upholstered seating and back rests.  Guests can now expect to reach the mountain’s 5,506-foot summit with easy on-and-off loading, comfortable seating, and a more efficient layout to eliminate congestion.

La Paz Debuts Sixth & Seventh Urban Gondolas

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La Paz, Bolivia’s newest gondola rises above traffic as part of the city’s innovative elevated transit system.

Under blue sky at 12,000 feet, the President of Bolivia pressed start at high noon yesterday for Línea Blanca, the newest gondola in the world’s urban ropeway capital.  Surprising thousands gathered for the occasion, President Evo Morales then proceeded to inaugurate the first section of the Sky Blue line, initially slated to open later this year.

The day was momentous as seven color-coded gondola lines now stretch contiguously throughout La Paz and El Alto with no significant gaps between them.  From this weekend, Mi Teleférico (My Cable Car) includes approximately 140,000 feet of haul rope, 962 gondola cabins, 168 towers and 26 stations.  The scale is almost unbelievable and there are still four more lines in development!

Built by Doppelmayr like most of Mi Teleférico, the White line services four stations with 131 10-passenger cabins.  It’s capable of transporting 3,000 passengers each hour on a 13 minute trip between the Sky Blue (Celeste) and Orange (Naranja) lines.  The initial section of Celeste was once planned to be part of a four-section White line which was later split to serve additional neighborhoods and prevent any one line from becoming too congested.  Like most of the world’s largest gondola system, I’m pretty sure the White Line is made up of two separate haul rope loops and vault drive systems with cabins that rotate through both.

 

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Government: Human Error Caused Gudauri Rollback

Georgian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitry Kumsishvili held a press conference today to announce initial findings of an investigation into the rollback of a 2007 Doppelmayr quad chair at the Gudauri ski resort, which injured 11 people a week ago.  French firm Bureau Veritas confirmed the lift’s initial stop was caused by a power outage.  “After the chairlift was stopped, the operator had to introduce specific sequence of procedures and after implementation of the certain actions, the operator had to switch the chairlift on to the diesel generator power and bring the tourist to the safe site,” a translated press release reads.  “Unfortunately, according to the current conclusion, the operator made a mistake. The combination of the actions that he should have had carried out were not implemented in compliance with the relevant instructions – it was a human error.”

The report notes the chairlift had undergone an inspection in December and was in “perfect technical order.”  The operator on duty at the time has been fired and may face criminal charges at the conclusion of the investigation.  The Head of Gudauri Mountain Management and Deputy Director of the Mountain Resort Development Company have both resigned in the wake of the incident.  Georgia is in active talks to retrain employees from Gudauri and other ski areas, though staff had been to training courses at Doppelmayr headquarters in Austria in 2017 and Poma was on site offering training opportunities as recently as January.  The government says there are 15 total chairlifts in the country that are “in line with the world’s advanced standards.”  A statement from Doppelmayr linking to the release notes, “We hope that the injured persons are getting well soon. This remains the most important point at the moment.” According to Minister Kumsishvili, all of those injured have been released from hospitals and invited to return to ski next year for free.

Doppelmayr Takes Ropeway Configurator to the Next Level

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What if you could launch a new lift at your favorite mountain?  Say, for instance, you owned the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and wanted to upgrade the popular Thunder fixed-grip quad.  Guests are seeking a faster ride but wind is an issue and you don’t want to overcrowd the storied Amphitheater and legendary Laramie Bowl.  The neighbors to the north are going D-Line but the media facade doesn’t quite fit in with the Teton landscape.  With Doppelmayr’s latest generation ropeway configurator, part of Doppelmayr Interactive, anyone with a computer can visualize the lift of their dreams.  For Thunder, I came up with a modest capacity D-Line six place in gray and red.

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I spent way too much time testing out other hypotheticals on the new version tonight.  Another one: Arizona Snowbowl is considering Doppelmayr for its new base-to-summit combination lift.  With the configurator, owner James Coleman could customize D-Line and non D-Line versions of six-passenger chairs and 10-passenger gondola cabins from anywhere.  My mock up includes galvanized D-Line bubble chairs and and Omega cabins in Snowbowl blue.  You can create whatever you like and then take a zoomable 360-degree spin.

Last one: say a group of investors finally fronts the money to purchase the beautiful Saddleback Mountain in Maine and wants to build a signature lift to replace Rangeley up the heart of the mountain.  No D-Line this time, simply a modern take on classic green and gray for a new UNI-G six-pack launching in late 2019.  If only it was this easy!

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Just like a real lift, the possibilities are endless.  Models now available to customize are 6E98 & 6DCD chairs, CWA Omega IV-8 LWI & Omega IV-10 SI D cabins, and UNI-G, UNI-G Vision, D-Line R1 & D-Line R2 stations.  You can even upload background images and logos to customize your dream lift with any colors in the RAL spectrum.  For those with access to the Doppelmayr customer service portal, your existing account works to save and send your creations.  Pretty darn cool!

News Roundup: Available

  • 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.