News Roundup: Pass Wars

  • The latest Wir highlights Doppelmayr Connect, various drive concepts and the Sweetwater Gondola.
  • U.S. skier visits climbed 3.7 percent last season to 54.7 million.  479 ski areas operated in 2016-17, up from 464.
  • Silverton Mountain is not a fan of the Epic Pass.
  • Royal Gorge Bridge & Park considers chairlift down to the Arkansas River.
  • Intrawest re-invested 8 percent of revenues at its resorts between 2013 and 2017 (compared with 11 percent across Vail Resorts.)  The company had 173 interested buyers, 16 of which were ski industry players.
  • Early summer update from the Magic Mountain rebirth and Green Chair project.
  • Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group buys Frey AG Stans, a leading global provider of ropeway control systems.
  • Lifts from the defunct Talisman Mountain Resort have been sold; one is headed to Sunridge, Alberta.
  • Granby Ranch investigation update.
  • LA mayor suggests gondola to the Hollywood sign from Universal Studios.
  • Ghost Town in Maggie Valley, NC goes up for sale, including Carlevaro-Savio chairlift that last operated in 2012.
  • Nonprofit nearing purchase of Frost Fire, ND, hopes to repair two chairlifts and reopen skiing next winter.
  • Government considers building world’s longest gondola into the world’s largest cave in Vietnam.
  • Here’s a recap of what we missed at Interalpin.
  • Lutsen Mountains’ six-lift expansion plan moves forward.
  • The Denver Post reports a joint Aspen/Intrawest/KSL/Mammoth pass is in the works for 2018-19, meaning the Mountain Collective could lose seven members and 43 percent of its lifts.  The MAX Pass might fare better, losing the six Intrawest resorts and 85 lifts (20 percent.)  I chart one scenario below.

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Behind the Scenes of the Jackson Hole Tram

The tram's motor room under the bottom dock houses electric motors, a large generator, braking systems and evacuation drives.
A motor room under the bottom dock houses electric motors, two generators, three braking systems and two evacuation drives.

The $31 million Jackson Hole Aerial Tram is the most expensive lift ever built at a US ski area.  Constructed by Garaventa over 20 months, the new tram opened to great fanfare on December 20, 2008.  It can move a hundred people 4,083 vertical feet in under nine minutes.  Compared with a detachable lift, the tram is a relatively simple machine built on a massive scale.

The view from carriage level just above tower 2.
The view from carriage level just above tower 2.

Like most jig-back aerial tramways, there are four track ropes and a single haul rope that that drives both cabins.  All five wire ropes were manufactured by Fatzer in Switzerland.  Five towers support the line; towers 1 and 2 are the tallest and furthest apart.  Two CWA Kronos cabins move 650 passengers per hour per direction at a maximum speed of 10 m/s.  Slope length is 12,463 feet.

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