New Quad to Anchor Woodward Mountain Park at Mt. Bachelor

WWMP_MapProgression will be the name of the game next winter at a reimagined Sunrise base area on the east side of Mt. Bachelor.  Powdr Co. today revealed three new lifts, a remodeled lodge and new parking lot will make up the first Woodward Mountain Park, designed to offer a fun and intuitive learning experience.  Woodward Mountain Parks will eventually come to multiple Powdr resorts, building on the success of the company’s Woodward indoor action sports parks located throughout North America.  At Mt. Bachelor, 70 foot and 300 foot covered carpets will be joined by a 629 foot long Doppelmayr quad chair servicing five new acres below the Sunrise Lodge.

“Woodward is all about stoking passion and I’m excited for our guests to enjoy reimagined on-mountain environments that’ll be fun for every age and ability level,” said John McLeod, president and general manager of Mt. Bachelor in a statement. “The Mt. Bachelor Woodward Mountain Park will debut expanded terrain and new and inclusive experiences that our guests will love. Combined with our significant Sunrise lodge and base area upgrades, we’re transforming the Mt. Bachelor the guest experience for the future.”  Relatedly, Mt. Bachelor will debut a new trail map next winter painted by James Niehues.

Utah-based Powdr is on an epic building blitz.  The Bachelor addition will be the fourth chairlift for the firm this year on top of new lodges at Killington and Lee Canyon, a major snowmaking upgrade at Pico and the all new Woodward Park City ski area.  Last year, Powdr added six lifts at its resorts for an impressive total of ten in two years.

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First Disney Skyliner Cabins Revealed

In addition to becoming one of the most-ridden gondola systems when it opens this fall, we now know the Disney Skyliner will also be among the most colorful.  After nearly two years of construction, cabins are finally out and about on all three new gondola lines spanning Walt Disney World Resort.

The cabins crisscross between the world’s seventh and ninth most-visited theme parks plus four resort hotels.  Last week, Disney and Doppelmayr removed protective covers from 55 cabins that will service Hollywood Studios, revealing a cornucopia of colors and characters.

There are eight core colors including multiple shades of blue and red.  Some cabins are monotone while others feature Disney icons from across nine decades.  Beauty and the Beast, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Toy Story and Winnie the Pooh are just some of the storied franchises highlighted on gondolas.

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News Roundup: Master Plans

News Roundup: New Gondolas

Lift Makers Show Off New Products at Interalpin

The biennial Interalpin conference kicked off today in Innsbruck, Austria with alpine technology brands showcasing their latest and greatest to customers.  I am just following from afar but this year’s show is already proving to be monumental with major new products and initiatives being unveiled.

Leitner launched a redefined 2S gondola which is being positioned as an economical middle ground between a monocable lift and a 3S.  The reimagined bicable gondola utilizes standard monocable drive components, tensioning systems and cabins but with a single track rope added.  This allows lifts to traverse much longer spans with more cabins than a standard gondola system.

The terminals are of modular design with the exterior designed by Pininfarina.  A new carriage utilizes synthetic rollers and takes cues from the popular LPA grip.  On the lattice-style towers, sheaves are isolated for vibration dampening and track ropes rest on synthetic profiles.  Leitner has also developed a new system for track rope slipping which it calls “simple, safe and time saving.”  I find this product exciting as 3S gondolas are simply too expensive for many operators, as evidenced by their complete lack of adoption in the United States.

Leitner also showed off its next generation premium chair called Evo.  It comes with three bubble color options, three bar styles and two different kinds of upholstered seats.

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News Roundup: 3S

News Roundup: Atria

Snoqualmie Announces Holiday Quad Project

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This 1975 double at Summit Central is being retired in favor of a modern quad chair.

The Summit at Snoqualmie, operated by Boyne Resorts, is getting in on the new lift action.  One of eleven Riblets still operating at Washington’s most-visited resort will be replaced with a fixed grip quad over the summer.  The Holiday Quad will feature a height adjustable loading carpet and more than double hourly capacity on this section of Summit Central, which caters to beginners.  The 1,380 foot lift will rise 260 feet at a maximum speed of 450 feet per minute.  The most recent Summit master plan contemplated removing the Gallery lift alongside this project.

Trail Map inside

Notably, of the more than 35 chairlifts built at Snoqualmie over the decades, Holiday will be the first supplied by Doppelmayr.  “Going from a two-person to four-person chair and adding the easy loading conveyor will be a true game changer for Summit Central, particularly for our first-timers and kids,” stated Guy Lawrence, President & General Manager at The Summit in an online announcement.  Construction will begin in June and wrap up prior to the 2019-20 season.

Sugar Mountain’s Second Detachable to Enhance Beginner Experience

Fifty years after its trusty beginner chairlift opened, Sugar Mountain says the Brown Hall double has carried its last skiers and snowboarders.  Next winter, a Doppelmayr detachable quad chair will run up the Easy Street slope, more than doubling uphill capacity to 2,400 people per hour.  The new lift, tentatively dubbed the Silver Bullet, will also improve ride time from more than six minutes to two and a half while making loading and unloading more comfortable.

slopes

“Replacing the original Easy Street lift is not just an upgrade, it is example of the continued commitment to offering our guests an exceptional mountain experience,” said Sugar Mountain Resort owner Gunther Jochl in a statement.  “The majority of our guests are beginners who go on to develop skiing and snowboarding as a life-long, family activity.  Generation after generation lays roots right here on our beginner terrain.  This hasn’t changed in Sugar’s fifty year history.”  Sugar Mountain launched its first high speed lift, the Summit Express six pack, in 2015.

Disney Skyliner Proving Runs Underway

The first of Walt Disney World’s three Skyliner lines is looking a lot like a gondola these days with cabins moving along at a brisk clip during test runs.  Line speed appears to be at least 5 m/s with cabin interval around 10 seconds, translating to a 3,600 per hour capacity.  We’ll have to wait and see what the final spacing and speeds are but it’s clear these gondolas are going to move a ton of people.

One of the many cabins now flying between Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Hollywood Studios was recently uncovered, providing some clues to how the system will look when completed.  The landing below the cabin doors is wider and squarer than normal for easy loading and unloading.  There are three windows that open out on the front of the cabin, one on the tower side and two at the rear.  Additional vents at the bottom ensure there will be plenty of air flow.  While gondola number 251 is a simple yellow with glazed windows, many other cabins will feature Disney character graphics.

The Epcot line, which stretches some 8,200 linear feet with two angle changes, is not far behind on its way to completion.

At the first angle station, landscaping is underway and stairs are being erected for worker access to the terminal.

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