- 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 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.