- The Jay Peak receiver hires an investment bank to market Vermont’s northernmost resort to potential buyers.
- Now flying at Copper Mountain: the world’s longest bubble chair. Down to five new ski lifts that have yet to open this season in the United States.
- The government shutdown coincides terribly with Hurricane Ridge’s ski season, which can’t start without funding for the National Park Service.
- Alpine Media Technology launches digital signage on lifts at Steamboat with more Alterra resorts to follow.
- Many North American resorts enjoyed a banner holiday week.
- Vail Resorts North American skier visits are up 16.9 percent through January 6th.
- Killington applies for permission to replace the North Ridge chairlift with a fixed grip quad.
- The BBC traces the global rise of urban gondolas.
- A Maine county joins the state in suing the owner of Big Squaw Mountain for failing to operate the resort, which once was the second largest in Vacationland.
- The Lift 1 Corridor Project heads to Aspen voters March 5th.
- Arizona Snowbowl closes Agassiz for a mid season gearbox replacement.
- Elk Ridge, Arizona won’t operate for the second season in a row, leaving just three ski areas in the state.
- Attitash’s Summit triple is still closed.
- So are two of Pajarito’s main lifts indefinitely.
- The 2018 Olympic Downhill venue – gondolas, high speed quads and all – may be returned to a natural state.
- Lawyers for The Hermitage Club seek more time to respond to a lawsuit filed by investors who helped purchase the Barnstormer bubble chairlift.
- Santo Domingo, the largest city in the Dominican Republic, solicits bids for its third and fourth urban gondola sections with hourly capacities of 6,000 and 4,500, respectively.
- Scott Pierpont retires as Vice President of Sales at Doppelmayr USA and is succeeded by Shawn Marquardt.
- Glenwood Caverns’ old gondola is already rising again in southern Illinois.
- Last month’s lift evacuation at Whitefish got worldwide media attention. The Flathead Beacon digs into why the mountain was so well prepared for the situation.
Two days before Halloween, Colorado’s Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will close for the longest stretch in years so its pulse gondola can be replaced with a detachable one. The Iron Mountain Tramway is a 2002 Poma model and I’m happy to report it will find a new home 1,000 miles down I-70. SkyTrans Manufacturing has purchased most of the machine and will will turn it into a fixed-grip chondola at Aerie’s Resort in Grafton, Illinois. This town of 675 sees more than 1.5 million cars pass through each year and Aerie’s already operates a winery and zip line on the site. The lift, to be known as the Grafton Sky Tour, is a joint venture of the resort, SkyTrans, and ride operator SkyFair. “The goal is to build something that is not only a unique year-round attraction, but also a substantial revenue generator for the city and a boon to the entire Riverbend tourism experience,” the companies said in a press release. The Sky Tour will be the only combination lift in the Midwest and only the second fixed-grip chondola in North America.
The gondola will undergo a bunch of changes for its new mission. Because Leitner-Poma is reusing the 18 towers in Glenwood, SkyTrans will fabricate new ones for Grafton. The company will also swap the 400 HP DC drive and system with a 100 HP AC one (vertical matters!) There are 18 CWA Omega cabins currently on the Iron Mountain lift, 12 of which will make it on the chondola in groups of three. 15 triple chairs will fill in between gondola pods for a total of 72 carriers. A similar Leitner-Poma lift at Anakeesta, Tennessee has a 26 chair-2 cabin cadence and operates at only 200 feet per minute. A one way Sky Tour will last just over 13 minutes.
Aerie’s owner Jeff Lorton and late SkyTrans leader Jerry Pendleton dreamed up the idea for a lift in Grafton five years ago and it was presented to town leadership last spring. The $2 million project is anticipated to open around Memorial Day.