- Mt. Hood Meadows, Skytrac and Timberline Helicopters fly Buttercup towers in just 45 minutes.
- Vail Resorts schedules annual meeting for Wednesday, December 6th, where multiple new lift projects are likely to be revealed.
- Aspen Skiing Company, the City of Aspen, private landowners and the public collaborate towards building a long-sought detachable Lift 1.
- Latest LST detach update: chairs are back at the factory being reworked and the Envers lift is expected to be up and running around Christmas.
- Revelstoke adds 24 new gondola cabins, Crystal Mountain gets five more.
- Navajo Nation leadership soundly rejects Grand Canyon Escalade gondola in 16-2 vote.
- SkiCo and the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club plan to build a platter surface lift on the skier’s right side of Golden Horn at Aspen Highlands next summer.
- There’s an unconfirmed rumor that the Cyclone at Sunrise Park, AZ won’t operate this winter. The 1983 Yan is North America’s longest triple chair at 7,982′ with 32 towers and 352 chairs. I’ve reached out to Sunrise for comment and will update if I hear anything.
- Montana Snowbowl’s TV Mountain expansion won’t open this season.
- After building three new lifts in a row, the Hermitage Club finds itself in a cash flow crunch.
Grand Canyon Escalade
News Roundup: Investments
- MND Group’s LST Ropeways subsidiary invested $4.3 million and hired 25 people to develop detachable product that is now available worldwide.
- Cleveland Planning Commission considers nine-station gondola network.
- Arizona Republic takes a deep dive into Grand Canyon Escalade cultural and natural resource issues.
- Big investments are likely coming to Steamboat, Winter Park and the rest of the resorts KSL and Aspen acquired this week.
- Leitner has a new iPhone-like control system called LeitControl.
- Are there too many urban gondola ideas?
- Revelstoke will add 24 cabins to the Revelation Gondola this summer along with 21 chairs to The Stoke to address sometimes epic lift lines.
- Mechanics in New Zealand work to repair the fire-damaged lift at Christchurch Adventure Park.
- New York State Fair Gondola funding slammed by politicians and citizens alike.
- Vail Mountain proposes 1,870 foot fixed-grip lift above the Riva Bahn mid-station on Golden Peak.
News Roundup: Setbacks
- Oakland Zoo’s California Trail gets North America’s first safari-style Omega cabins.
- Vail purchase could mean replacements for Toll House, Lookout and Mountain at Stowe.
- Denver station reports new complaint filed against Ski Granby Ranch last week, though details are sparse.
- Hesperus Ski Area voluntarily closes, possibly for the season following unannounced visit by Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board inspectors. Hesperus similarly closed for a season in the mid-1990s after being found to be running the same lift without an operator.
- Cherry Peak finally opens Sundays, still has not completed promised Summit lift.
- Setbacks pile up for the Grand Canyon Escalade.
- Emirates Air Line ranked highest in customer satisfaction among Transport for London modes and is the only one to turn a profit.
- Sweden once had a material cableway that stretched 26 miles.
- Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, taking a beating on social media, explains why the Headwall lift has been closed all but 16 days so far this year.
- Mexican city of Zacatecas seeks to re-hang its old tramway cabins, further delay execution of its contract with Poma for a new gondola system.
- Urban gondola story makes the front page of the Seattle Times.
- The new urban aerial tram in Brest, France is a hit, seeing 6,000 rider days.
- Whistler Blackcomb’s Master Development Agreements renewed and Master Plan approved.
- Suit seeks at least $75,000 from Sugar Mountain, where a teenager apparently went around a bullwheel at closing time, became stranded and jumped from a chair overnight last season. edit: Resort says rescuers were close by when teen jumped.
- The Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola idea lives to fight another day.
- Outside profiles James Coleman and his commitment to improving the ski experience at five Southwestern resorts.
- Snow King Mountain abandons plans for East side lift, will try for backside lift instead.
News Roundup: Oregon
- 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.
News Roundup: Out of Commission
- Leitner-Poma, Georgetown University, ZGF Architects host urban gondola forum with speakers from the Portland Aerial Tram and Medellín Metrocable, among others.
- With one of three chairlifts out of commission, Big Tupper, NY is unlikely to open this winter.
- 14-year old boy falls from the Emerald Express at Whistler.
- Costa Rican officials and Doppelmayr Mexico sign letter of intent to build Central America’s first urban gondola.
- $15 million Arthurs Seat Eagle debuts in Australia.
- Brest Cable Car (shown above) shuts down after only two weeks of operation.
- Nakiska’s sole summit access lift has been down since November 27th.
- The latest D-Line chairlift installation Waidhofen is reportedly also the first in the world supplied with Doppelmayr Direct Drive (DDD.)
- Loon Mountain restores a 1966 Hall Skycruiser gondola with help from Lutsen.
- The Boston Globe Magazine explains how a non-skier in Fort Lauderdale came to run two of Vermont’s major ski resorts.
- Grand Canyon Escalade legislation heads to the second of four Navajo Nation committees on Tuesday.
- Granite Peak releases more details about its proposed lift and trail expansion.
News Roundup: Leitner
- Michael Seeber takes a ride on Berlin’s new mile-long gondola built for the International Garden Exhibition.
- Guests can now view bears and gorillas from gondolas with glass floors in Spain.
- Paris launches study of 2.8 mile, €120 million urban gondola.
- The press takes a tour of the Partek-built State Fair Flyer in North Carolina.
- Regional district approves rezoning for Valemount Glacier.
- The future of the Grand Canyon Escalade will likely be decided Oct. 17th, construction could be complete by 2020.
- Follow this thread to see LST’s very first detachable lift take shape in La Plagne.
- NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com posts a grim progress report from Sunday River.
- Waterville Valley cuts the lift line for Green Peak.
- Good news for Leitner-Poma: Ruapehu Alpine Lifts in New Zealand plans another quad chair for 2017, gondola in 2018 that will likely be built in Colorado.
- The Teleférico do Alemão in Rio unexpectedly shut down Thursday for at least six months following the discovery of abnormal wear in the haul rope which now needs to be replaced.
- As Snowbird plans for construction in Mary Ellen Gulch beginning in 2018, environmental group takes the media on a tour of abandoned mines there. The 500-acre expansion will likely include a two-stage gondola, Sunday Saddle lift and a new, longer Mineral Basin six-pack.
- Jan Leonard, of CTEC and Skytrac fame, will be inducted into the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Park City tomorrow.
- Big Sky posts lots of pictures as their new lifts near completion.
- Grouse Mountain is for sale, including two aerial tramways and four quad chairs.
- Doppelmayr signs agreement with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme to collaborate on mobility solutions worldwide.
- Yet another city in Mexico – El Marqués – looks at building a gondola.
Grand Canyon Escalade Debate Heats Up
This week could prove pivotal in the fight over the future of the Grand Canyon and the proposed gondola adjacent to one of America’s most treasured National Parks. On Monday, a member of the Navajo Nation formally submitted legislation to authorize $65 million for construction of a road to the site and infrastructure for the Escalade near the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers. Confluence Partners LLC, a non-Navajo corporation based in Scottsdale, proposes a 1.4 mile gondola and related facilities to be located entirely on Navajo land but within a quarter mile of Grand Canyon National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Escalade idea is nothing new. Confluence Partners has wanted to build a gondola from the canyon rim to the bank of the Colorado for years. Under the proposed arrangement, the company will give the tribe between 8 and 18 percent of the Escalade’s revenue depending on ridership. In addition to the gondola, the Escalade site plan includes a hotel, elevated river walk, amphitheater, restaurants and a gift shop. Most of the 420-acre development would be on the canyon rim with the gondola connecting to a smaller complex 3,000 feet below along the Colorado. The gondola could carry up to 10,000 passengers per day to the bottom of the canyon that today can only be reached by foot, boat, mule or helicopter. Confluence Partners says it will create 3,500 jobs on a reservation that suffers from 44 percent unemployment. The jobs number sounds extremely optimistic to me.
Under Navajo Nation law, a five-day public comment period lasts through Saturday and then the 23 members of the Navajo Council will vote on the bill. For comparison, public comment periods for ski area master plans in National Forests last 30 days. The President of the Nation has vowed to veto the Escalade bill but that could be over-ridden by a two-thirds majority, creating a mad dash by groups on both sides attempting to sway undecided members of the council.
The Grand Canyon Trust, American Rivers, Save the Confluence and others are circulating petitions this week and soliciting public comments to send to the tribe. There’s no question the gondola is technically feasible and would provide a unique experience. Whether such a development is appropriate for this particular location is an entirely different question. You can tell the Navajo Nation what you think by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 pm Saturday, September 3rd.