News Roundup: Hurdles

News Roundup: Fresh Designs

News Roundup: Quiet Week

News Roundup: All Over

News Roundup: Final Rides

“The 2021 construction season was particularly challenging due to a number of unusual circumstances. The pandemic resulted in labor shortages for not only the lift construction crews and building teams, but also with the supply chain companies delivering key materials. Helicopter usage was a key component for construction, as they were required for activities including tree removal, setting of lift towers and pouring the foundations at the KT mid-station. Helicopter availability was greatly affected by one of the worst wildfire seasons in California history, and once helicopters were available, their operations were shut down as they could not safely fly in the smoky conditions. The fires also resulted in periods when the crews had to be sent home due to unhealthy air quality. For these reasons, construction could not be completed within the six-to-eight-month time frame anticipated in the EIS.”

News Roundup: Any Day Now

News Roundup: Flying High

Eaglecrest Details Gondola Proposal

Alaska’s Eaglecrest Ski Area would bring a first-of-its-kind gondola to North America under a plan spearheaded by General Manager Dave Scanlan. The pulse gondola, currently in service in Austria, features a dozen 15 passenger cabins built by Austrian manufacturer SSG in 1990. At Eaglecrest, the gondola would span approximately 6,600 feet with a 1,700 foot vertical rise. An intermediate station would allow for loading and unloading as pulses of cabins slow down for stations. When not in stations, gondolas would accelerate to a brisk 7 meters per second. “Pulse gondolas are mechanically simple, durable, and easier to maintain than traditional detachable gondolas,” Eaglecrest notes. The main downside of pulse lifts is their relatively low capacity.

The idea is not only year round ridge access for locals but also an attraction appealing to the million-plus cruise passengers who visit Southeast Alaska each summer. The Goldbelt Tramway in nearby Juneau pioneered ropeway sightseeing in the region and two new Doppelmayr gondolas are set to debut on Chichagof Island this summer. Both existing attractions are owned and operated by Alaska Native tribes, the latter one in partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line.

Eaglecrest operates as a non-tribal local government facility with a lean budget. Longtime blog readers may recall the ski area proposed building a Doppelmayr or Leitner-Poma gondola in 2019. A lot has changed since then and Scanlan says the new gondola would now cost $22 million, taking upwards of five years to complete. The used gondola would cost taxpayers around $7.5 million and could generate revenue needed to replace Eaglecrest’s main chairlift in five to eight years.

Eaglecrest Ski Area is working with SE Group on the gondola project and plans to host a public information session this Wednesday night at 6:00 pm Alaska time.

News Roundup: Quad For Sale

  • In an op-ed, Vail Mountain Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Beth Howard says the company is evaluating wages for next season.
  • Mike Goar pens a similar letter to the Park City community.
  • New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu says his office is working to address complaints about Vail Resorts operations at state-owned Mt. Sunapee.
  • Indy Pass adds Sunlight, Colorado.
  • A 7 year old is expected to be okay after falling 35 feet from a chairlift at the Florida State Fair.
  • New York State issues an RFP for the North Creek Ski Bowl detachable quad project at Gore Mountain.
  • Here’s a preview of the Lookout Pass Eagle Peak expansion, set for a CTEC quad this summer:

News Roundup: Exceptional Ride

On the Black Quad lift front, there always seems to be something. And, the engineering firm who designed the lift has come back with quite a few changes that need to be implemented by Pfister Mountain Services, including changing out some sheave assembly wheel combinations at a few towers and a major overhaul of tower 13 cross arm and uphill sheave assembly. None of this is a quick fix at this point in our construction phase and comes as unwelcome news. And, of course, tower 13 is in a very difficult spot to get to, especially for what equipment will be needed to execute the cross arm changes. No timetable or budget as been provided as of yet. We will continue to keep you posted as news warrants. Certainly frustrating after all this time as we’d like to see our money put to good use for you. All I can say is that the Quad will be a part of our future here at Magic so we can expand uphill capacity and lift redundancy as we grow.