- Many big openings this weekend including Lenawee Express at Arapahoe Basin, Big Red at Whistler, Seven Brothers at Loon Mountain, North Bowl Express at Heavenly, Eagle Peak at Lookout Pass and Black Bear 6 at Camelback.
- Palisades Tahoe launches the Base to Base Gondola tomorrow but it will operate as two separate lifts and close Sunday for more work.
- Vail waits for a weather window to fly the pilot line for Sun Down Express, nears the finish line on Game Creek Express.
- Doppelmayr and Steamboat unwrap Wild Blue cabins.
- Kimberley load tests the Northstar Express following a year of repairs.
- New Sunnyside at Alta won’t be finished by Christmas; the Albion double will spin until it opens.
- The new high speed quad at Telluride won’t open until late January due to labor challenges.
- FourRunner goes down at Stowe and the nearby Sunrise Six isn’t finished yet. Lookout saves the week.
- A “series of setbacks to electrical infrastructure” delays opening of new lifts and the entire Big Boulder ski area.
- Cuchara won’t reopen lift-served skiing this year after all.
- Giants Ridge debuts a new VistaMap.
- Sun Valley launches a website dedicated to next summer’s lift projects.
- As the investigation continues into the Mont-Sainte-Anne gondola incident and the mountain remains closed this weekend, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies seeks a public-private partnership to renew its Quebec infrastructure. Quebec’s Premier isn’t sold on giving public money to RCR.
- The Governor of New Hampshire wants replacement of the Cannon Tram to be voted on by the legislature, a funding mechanism could be selected this year with the earliest possible opening in late 2024.
- Ski Utah previews the upcoming Burns Express at Deer Valley.
- Wisconsin approves a pared down master plan for Granite Peak with two expansion lifts, one on each side of existing terrain.
- Homewood forges ahead with plans to go private for homeowners only.
- The sightseeing gondola proposal in Vernon, British Columbia moves forward.
- An idea to connect Detroit with Windsor, Ontario by 3S gondola is back.
- Construction begins on the new D-Line gondola at a California vineyard.
News Roundup: Northward
- Sun Peaks considers four possible lift projects for summer 2018, most likely being a CAD$8 million replacement of Crystal with an extended detachable. The world’s longest fixed-grip chairlift, Burfield, could be shortened with a corresponding capacity increase or new lifts added to Orient Ridge or West Morrisey.
- Ski Magazine updates us on Big Sky 2025 and plans for a new tram or south side lift on Lone Peak.
- A power outage closes Lake Louise to the public on World Cup Saturday.
- Burke Mountain says goodbye to Willoughby, a 1988 CTEC quad.
- The Florida Department of Transportation studies possible gondola routes from Sarasota to nearby barrier islands.
- Mad River Glen launches $6.5 million Preserve our Paradise capital campaign which includes replacing the 1966 Mueller Birdland with a newer used chairlift.
- Upcoming Aspen Mountain master plan update likely to include new Pandora’s, Gent’s Ridge and Bell Mountain lifts.
- Ski Apache is replacing its 1981 Riblet Chair 6 with a brand new Doppelmayr.
- Less than two years after opening a $7.3 million chairlift, the Hermitage Club falls behind on water and sewer payments.
- Enjoy these sneak peak photos of two new quad chairs at Giants Ridge courtesy of Benjamin B.
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News Roundup: Colorado
- An in-depth look at the history of urban gondolas and what comes next.
- Buttermilk will open with full skier services and groomed runs April 8-9 but with no lifts.
- Hesperus reopens following two week closure to address deferred lift maintenance.
- Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation proposes operating Howelsen Hill.
- Giants Ridge puts a Riblet up for sale in advance of new lift construction. Another will be scrapped. Buttercup at Mt. Hood Meadows is also for sale.
- Vail Resorts revenue up 27.5% year-over-year; no new lifts for Whistler-Blackcomb in 2017.
- New Stagecoach website says two Doppelmayr chairlifts now on track to open in late 2018.
- PCL Construction Services files notice of commencement for utility relocation and prep at six Walt Disney World sites widely believed to be gondola station locations with possible opening in 2019.
- Belleayre gondola likely a go for this summer.
- Wolf Ridge, NC closes for the season following lightning damage to 1988 Doppelmayr quad. The place has an interesting past; a 2006 Doppelmayr CTEC quad and 1980 Borvig were both abandoned after a 2014 fire and only two lifts remain.
- Mexico’s latest gondola gets cabins.
- Poma moving to new headquarters in France.
- Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest approves Alta Supreme and Snowbasin Strawberry/Wildcat high speed quads.
- Moose charges lifties and guests at Alyeska, gets killed.
- Mi Teleférico’s blue line broke its own record last weekend carrying 64,275 passengers over two days.
- First look at a burned-out Christchurch Adventure Park shows some quad chairs were saved, haul rope was not.
- Another urban 3S idea pops up in metro Vancouver.
- Latest Aspen Mountain Lift 1A replacement plan to go before the City Council this month.
- Taos will apparently build three new lifts over the next two years, including a pulse gondola and high speed quad.
Giants Ridge Scores $5.7 Million for New Lifts
Giants Ridge is about to tackle its aging lifts problem with a huge grant from Minnesota’s state economic development agency. Last Tuesday, the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) approved $5.7 million to buy new detachable and fixed-grip quad chairlifts for the 200-acre mountain resort it owns. Giants Ridge’s fleet of five Riblet chairlifts and a Borvig J-Bar date back to 1984, 1987 and 1997. As with hundreds of other small American ski areas, Giants Ridge’s lifts are orphaned, meaning the original manufacturer is no longer in business. Tram Support, Inc. still supplies parts for Riblet lifts but the fact remains that many of these lifts have exceeded their useful life. Giants Ridge Executive Director Linda Johnson told the board, “the company that made our lifts is no longer in business. We can be down for hours and skiers are longing for a high-speed lift experience.”
The IRRRB’s mission is “to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota, providing vital funding, including low or no interest loans and grants for businesses relocating or expanding in the region.” The board bought Giants Ridge outright in 1984 to enhance the quality of life and create jobs for the people of the Iron Range. This news is a win-win for a ski operation that generates an estimated $43 million in community economic impact each year. Of course, not everyone is happy about the government owning a ski area that’s lost more than $40 million. There is a middle ground, however, between government ownership of ski areas and private mountains going out of business. The National Ski Areas Association is currently at work on an initiative urging governments to provide low- or no-interest loans to ski areas investing in infrastructure such as the replacement of older lifts. It’s really no different than state governments providing economic incentives for manufacturing plants or call centers.
The new Calgary Express high speed quad at Giants Ridge will reduce a 5.6 minute ride to 2.3 minutes. A fixed-grip quad will replace a second lift but it’s unclear which one (educated guess is the Helsinki double.) Both new lifts will be completed by November 2017 and there’s no word yet who will build them.