- The Aspen Times dives deep into lifty life.
- President of Peru inaugurates long Poma gondola to an ancient fortress.
- Mi Teleférico’s $75 million Blue line moved 41,000 passengers on opening day Friday.
- Mt. Lemmon’s main chairlift has been closed all season following tree damage from an early-season storm.
- Galaxy at Heavenly and High Country at Waterville Valley also see extended downtime.
- Emirates Air Line to close for annual week of maintenance.
- The most powerful man in skiing isn’t sold on bubble chairs (plus many other insights from Vail Resorts.)
- Whistler Blackcomb, Jackson Hole and Big Sky make CNN’s most extreme lifts.
- New Zealand’s first chondola on track to open this year.
- Permit filed Monday shows another probable station for rumored five-stage Disney World gondola system (updated potential alignment here.)
- Doppelmayr gets underway building the new Gatlinburg Sky Lift; aggressive timeline shoots for late April opening. Leitner-Poma is building a chondola across the street.
- Two-stage gondola in one of the world’s oldest cities looking more likely.
- Two skiers injured in fall after tree hits their gondola cabin.
- 130 rope evacuated after Italian chairlift de-ropes in crazy winds.
- Snowbasin and Sugarbush join the Mountain Collective, former member Whistler-Blackcomb goes Epic with Stowe to follow.
- Bogus Basin plans to replace Morning Star…in 2020.
- First LST Ropeways detachable set to finally open in March.
- Silver Mountain’s new owner hints at future new lifts.
- Steamboat paper does a two part story on lift and gondola evacuations.
- Pandora’s lift still in the cards for Aspen Mountain but 1A might come first.
- In France, Poma finalizes contracts to build $121 million urban 3S gondola in Toulouse, $15.6 million jigback in Orléans.
- Arlington says no to Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola.
- Innsbruck to build $12.7 million D-Line gondola.
- Saddleback effort moves forward, but lifts will not spin this season.
- Al Henceroth of A-Basin explains why he chose a fixed-grip quad for The Beavers.
- Town of Gatlinburg to review Boyne’s design for new Sky Lift tomorrow.
- Leitner-Poma presents gondola technology as a potential solution to downtown traffic in Breckenridge.
- Wildfire tears through $24 million Christchurch Adventure Park in New Zealand, where a Doppelmayr high speed quad opened less than two months ago.
- The Skytrac blog has a cool post about the newest Rainforest Adventures park in St. Maarten and its two hurricane-proof fixed-grip quads.
- South Korea prepares for a Doppelmayr Olympics, Poma signs new contract for a 2022 venue in China.
- Whitewater’s Summit double goes up for sale.
- Poma begins hanging 160 Diamond cabins on Santo Domingo’s two new urban gondolas.
Three months since a wildland fire ripped through Gatlinburg, Tennesee, two brand new lifts are under construction as the gateway to the Smoky Mountains rebuilds. As many suspected, the Gatlinburg Sky Lift will be replaced with a new version this spring. “We are investing in a total replacement and are excited to be in process with installation of a new scenic chairlift,” spokeswoman Julie Ard of Boyne Resorts tells the Mountain Press. The Riblet double’s haul rope and chairs have already been pulled in preparation for tower removal. The new Sky Lift will be the third version following the original Heron that operated from 1954-1991 and the Riblet that followed from 1991 until last November.
I’ve reached out to Boyne for the manufacturer of Sky Lift 3.0 and am waiting to hear back. Update 2/6/17: The new lift will be a Doppelmayr Alpinstar triple chair with custom wooden seats.
Before the fire, Boyne Resorts had planned for and received approval to build an adventure park on the site, where the company has operated continuously for more than sixty years. Zip lines, a suspension bridge, walking trails and more will eventually occupy 17.5 acres. While that expansion will take some time, the lift project is progressing quickly. “Reopening of the Gatlinburg Sky Lift is expected to be April/May 2017,” says Ard. “Just as our past guests who want to come back to Gatlinburg to continue traditions of experiencing this iconic attraction, and locals who are aware of its draw among tourists, we are eager to have this lift spinning again just as quickly as possible.”
January 2, 2017; Skylift Gatlinburg closed due to the fire. The station at the top of the mountain was completely destroyed. #skyliftgatlinburg #skylift #closedduetofire #gatlinburgtennessee #gatlinburgtenn #gatlinburgtn #gatlinburg #gatlinburgfire #gatlinburgskylift #gatlingburg2017 #gatlinburgstrong
- I talk six-packs with the Vail Daily.
- Heavenly’s Comet Express remains closed following a Jan. 1st rope evacuation, apparently due to a gearbox issue. This is one of the reasons Vail Resorts is replacing its fleet of 1980s-vintage detachable quads.
- Doppelmayr and the United Nations are hosting a week-long urban mobility ropeway class in April.
- The New York Times tells the tale of Big Sky Resort.
- Ski patroller severely injured in fall from chair at Terry Peak.
- Gondola proposed to serve airport in Vietnam’s congested largest city.
- BC Parks considers a gondola to Mt. Seymour to alleviate parking and traffic problems.
- Ski Area Management‘s lift construction survey dropped this week. Highlights from its outlook for 2017:
- “We’re off to a strong year for ’17, there are lots of people asking about lifts…It’s very positive compared to the previous two years.” – Jon Mauch, Senior Sales Manager at Leitner-Poma
- “There’s a lot of enthusiasm about what could happen under a Trump administration. People expect deregulation and a more business-friendly climate.” – Mark Bee, President at Doppelmayr USA
- “We’re seeing lots of requests quotes, lots of major modifications and retrofits…It’s all being driven by the age of the existing lift infrastructure.” – Carl Skylling, General Manager at Skytrac
- I’ve already identified 29 new lifts likely to be built in 2017, pacing well above the last few years for mid-January.
- Slovakian manufacturer Tatralift debuts its third detachable lift using a Wopfner grip. That makes seven companies capable of building a detachable lift globally – Bartholet, BMHRI (China), Doppelmayr/Garaventa (Austria), Leitner–Poma (Italy), LST (France), STM (Turkey) and Tatralift (Slovakia.)
- An opening day shout out to lift mechanics.
- The Telegraph profiles Giggijochbahn, Sölden’s new gondola that moves more people faster than any other lift on the planet.
- Cloudchaser will open Friday at Mt. Bachelor with a shortened Rainbow chair to follow.
- Ober Gatlinburg restarts operations following the recent wildfire after inspections of its aerial tram by Frey and Garaventa.
- The Gatlinburg Sky Lift sustained extensive damage and Boyne Resorts announces its intention to re-open with a new or repaired lift in spring 2017.
- Robert Redford, notably a Doppelmayr and Skytrac customer, releases video opposing the Grand Canyon Escalade.
- Jay Peak faces another setback as its tram haul rope tangles around track ropes following icing event.
- Peak Resorts lost almost $8 million in Q2.
- Whaleback won’t get a new T-Bar this year.
- Bullwheel entanglement kills tram mechanic in Japan.
- Branson Gondola memorandum of understanding vote postponed amid concerns about the business model.
- Trouble in Oregon as guests leash themselves to and dangle themselves from chairs at Ashland and Meadows, respectively.
- Nakiska sends apology letter to passholders and offers free skiing at sister resorts as multi-week shutdown of the Gold Chair Express continues.
- Bridger Bowl wants to replace Virginia City and move Snowflake within the next two years.
- This is Doppelmayr’s first D-Line chairlift.
- One lift goes down, another is rope evac’d on opening day at Snow Trails, OH.
- NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com posts a rundown of possible new lift projects for 2017 in New England.
Fast-moving fires tore through Gatlinburg, Tennesee last night, forcing the evacuation of 14,000 people and burning at least 250 structures. The town home is home to the Ober Gatlinburg ski resort, a scenic aerial tramway and the Gatlinburg Sky Lift. While reports are conflicting, Ober Gatlinburg posted on its Facebook page that the ski resort is undamaged and the company is assessing the lower tram terminal downtown. VonRoll built a 130-passenger tramway between the town and ski resort in 1973 and it received new cabins in 2007. The ski area features two Borvig quad chairs, a 1978 Riblet double and 1962 Carlevaro-Savio double.
The Gatlinburg Sky Lift’s lower terminal is apparently standing, but the hillside it ascends burned with unknown damage at the top station. Boyne Resorts Senior VP of Marketing Julie Ard told the Petoskey News-Review, “At this time, we are focused on the well-being of our valued Gatlinburg Sky Lift staff.” The Sky Lift employs 26 people. Ard went on to note, “video posted today by state officials gives us confidence that our street-level building is intact, but status of the lift’s upper terminal and surrounding structures is unknown.” Boyne has continuously operated the Sky Lift since 1954. A Riblet double replaced the original Heron version in 1991.
1. Single Chair, Mad River Glen, VT – 1948 American Steel & Wire Single Chair
The single chair at MRG still has its original towers and terminal structures but everything else was replaced by Doppelmayr CTEC in 2007. As part of that project, towers were removed, sandblasted and repainted before being flown back to new foundations with new line gear. Doppelmayr also replaced the bullwheels, chairs, grips, drive and haul rope. This begs the question of ‘when is an old lift a new lift?’
Gatlinburg Sky Lift, Gatlinburg, TN – 1954 Riblet double
Everett Kircher of Boyne fame bought this chairlift from Sugar Bowl, CA for $3,000 in 1954. Originally it was a single chair built in 1939. Modified sheave assemblies were machined at the Kircher’s car dealership in Michigan when the lift went to Tennessee. At some point it appears to have gotten newer-style Riblet towers. Boyne Resorts still operates this lift 800 miles from their nearest ski resort. (edit: JP notes in the comments below that this version was replaced by a Riblet double in 1991. Thanks JP!)
3. Chair 1, White Pass, WA –
1955 1962 Riblet double
This lift only operates on busy weekends and holidays but it’s an old one and a good one . A classic Pacific Northwest center-pole double with very few modifications from its original design and no safety bars! (edit: Brian notes in the comments that this lift was actually installed as Chair 2 in 1962. The original chair 1 operated 1955-1994.)