- Jackson Hole’s Tram Maintenance Manager explains why Big Red is closed this summer.
- Wildcat Mountain says scenic chairlift rides will resume on 7/31 following a lift upgrade project.
- A Salt Lake TV station devotes a half hour to exploring the gondola and bus options for Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- UDOT extends the public comment period for the LCC project to 70 days, ending September 3rd.
- The renaming of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is pushed back to early Fall.
- Okemo reports great progress on two new lifts.
- The Forest Service says at least two of Grand Targhee’s proposed expansion lifts will not be approved and a decision on others won’t come until late 2022.
- The new high speed quad on Peak 7 at Breckenridge will be called Freedom SuperChair.
- Four more mountains will join the Indy Pass next week.
- New Hampshire reports solid pandemic skier visits similar to pre-pandemic numbers.
- Local politicians oppose a direct route for the Burnaby Mountain Gondola.
- Pittsburgh considers an urban gondola to connect two downtown districts.
- Both Doppelmayr Canada and Leitner-Poma offer to finance the Cascade Skyline Gondola.
- Sun Peaks shutters mountain operations due to regional wildfires.
- Progress report from Leitner-Poma and Skytrac’s big project at Snow King Mountain:
With skier visits up 17 percent this season from a previous record, Grand Targhee Resort will spend more than $20 million on improvements the next two years, including a new six place chairlift on Peaked Mountain.
The Peaked lift will become Targhee’s fifth chair and the seventh Doppelmayr D-Line system in the United States. Introduced in 2015, D-Line features more than 200 improvements to previous Doppelmayr detachable technology. The lift will transport 2,000 people per hour, gaining 1,815 vertical feet in just over five minutes. The Peaked area will offer unmatched views of the Tetons with access to over 600 acres of intermediate and advanced terrain. Heavier six passenger carriers will improve the lift’s ability to operate in windy conditions and full carrier parking will help speed storm recovery. Cat skiing will be offered on upper Peaked Mountain for one final season in 2021/22.
Tower/terminal foundations, communications trenching and the lift’s power supply will be completed this summer with steel installation to follow in 2022. New chairs will also be added to the nearby Sacajawea high speed quad during the summer of 2022 to bring its uphill capacity to 2,000 guests per hour. The resort will also construct new employee housing, increase parking and complete a new maintenance shop this summer. “Due to the efforts of many dedicated employees and the support of our guests and partners during challenging times, Grand Targhee is fortunate to be able to announce these projects,” the resort said in a statement.
- Now open: Nordic Valley’s flagship six pack, dubbed the Nordic Express.
- The Yellowstone Club trail map is updated to show two new additions for a total of 23 lifts.
- Still without access to the summit, Mission Ridge provides expanded updates on the Wenatchee Express project including another video.
- Grand Targhee modifies its proposed expansion, pushing potential approval out to March 2022.
- A local newspaper obtains inspection reports from 49 Degrees North showing no red flags prior to last month’s accident.
- Doppelmayr showcases AURO, an autonomous lift which can be run by one person in a ropeway operations center.
- A storm packing 150 mph winds shutters Dodge Ridge for eight days. Eight towers de-roped on Chair 8 with 1,000 feet of comm line needing to be replaced.
- A child is seriously injured in a fall from the lone chairlift at Blue Hills, Massachusetts. The ski area said no mechanical issues caused or contributed to the unfortunate event.
- Three days later, the very same lift strands riders for hours.
- Gearing up for a busy summer, Skytrac is hiring lift construction project managers.
- ORDA will spend $2.2 million for electrical upgrades to Whiteface’s Cloudsplitter Gondola and Face Lift.
- Two more resorts are set to join the Indy Pass on February 2nd.
- Re: Indianhead, an incident report notes the chair hit a halo on tower 4, causing its clip to be ejected from the haul rope. A follow up inspection found no mechanical or structural deficiencies with the lift.
- Steamboat plans to move the bottom terminal of the new Steamboat Gondola outdoors and 300 feet east this summer to make room for the future Wild Blue Gondola.
- Construction will begin early next year on a new point of interest chairlift in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
- Amazon files a patent for a skier-pulling drone.
- Mission Ridge provides another fantastic construction update.
- 2020-21 is the final season the largest ski resort in California will be known by the name Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
- The Forest Service seeks public comments on eight lift projects and more included in the Grand Targhee master plan.
- Big Snow American Dream reopens Tuesday after nearly six months closed. The snow never melted!
- Utah Olympic Park expects to add a fourth chairlift and new terrain next summer.
- After years focusing on snowmaking, Telluride’s owner considers lift upgrades.
- Ski Santa Fe fires up snow guns to help protect lifts from wildfire.
- Glenwood Caverns reopens today following a 16 day fire closure.
- Riders get stuck on the Sandia Peak Tramway for hours.
- Vermont may provide direct payments to ski resorts.
- Harry’s Dream at Beaver Mountain gets a new Skytrac return terminal.
- Vail Resorts won’t sell day tickets early season and will require passholders to make reservations at all 34 of its North American mountains for 2020-21.
- The Denver Post catches up with Colorado mountain leaders to talk winter plans.
- The Lower T-Bar at Pass Powderkeg, AB is being extended.
- Doppelmayr begins testing its D-Line gondola to the beach in Mexico.
- The City of Los Angeles releases four gondola alignment alternatives it’s studying for Griffith Park and the Hollywood sign.
The Caribou-Targhee National Forest recently accepted an updated road map for Grand Targhee Resort, which could eventually result in the western Teton mountain operating as many lifts as the more famous one to the east. The 2018 Master Development Plan serves as a guide for what could change over the following decades and includes a whopping five new fixed grip chairlifts, four detachable quads and three additional surface lifts.
Like its two Grand Teton neighbors, Targhee is owned by a wealthy family with decades of experience across multiple businesses. CEO Geordie Gillett is the son of George Gillett, who owned Vail Associates from 1985 until it went public in 1997. The family went on to create Booth Creek Ski Holdings, which bought Targhee along with seven other resorts coast to coast in the late 1990s. Booth Creek continues to operate Sierra at Tahoe, California while Mr. Gillett independently operates Grand Targhee, Wyoming.
Already analyzed and approved is a Peaked lift servicing terrain above the current Sacajawea detachable quad. The new high speed lift would rise a respectable 1,829 vertical feet with a capacity of 2,000 skiers per hour, topping out at almost 9,700 feet in elevation. To me, Peaked Mountain has always felt like an expansion yet to be completed with a lift that ends below some of its best terrain.
Another proposed project within Targhee’s existing permit boundary is the 4,300′ North Boundary fixed grip triple, which would service six gladed trails beyond the new Blackfoot lift. A second short chairlift called Rick’s Basin would provide access to the North Boundary pod, giving guests a much needed option other than Shoshone on a stormy day. “This lift will provide better utilization of the terrain at the far north edge of the resort, as well as providing access to intermediate and advanced terrain that is currently not lift-accessed,” notes the plan.
More than sixty inches of snow buried the Tetons since I last visited Grand Targhee, but that didn’t stop team Doppelmayr from making a ton of progress on the new Blackfoot lift. Timberline Helicopters assisted flying towers on October 20th and the haul rope was spliced November 12th. With comm-line installation last week, the new quad chair is almost finished.
New Blackfoot marks a huge change from the center pole chairs and wooden ramps of the classic Riblet. Both the load and unload areas were re-worked over the summer and are way more spacious. The new quad will move 840 more skiers per hour (to 1,800 from 960) with a minute faster ride time. A Tristar-model drive station features an auxiliary engine capable of running the lift at nearly full capacity during a power outage. Although it’s a bummer Targhee had to delay opening last week, the recent nice weather no doubt helped crews finishing the new lift. This week’s forecast looks solid so hopefully we’ll be lapping Blackfoot soon!
Work on Grand Targhee’s fourth quad chair is in full swing this weekend with new stations and towers arriving for the all-new Blackfoot quad amid fall foliage and fresh snow. The first shipment of steel from Doppelmayr included 13 towers and the support structure for the bottom station, which is in a new location uphill of the old Riblet. Still to come are the CTEC-style operator houses, bullwheels, motor room, haul rope and chairs. Concrete is in the ground and towers are nearly assembled for when the weather cooperates to fly them. Although Grand Targhee is scheduled to open Nov. 18, Blackfoot usually doesn’t usually open until December.
The new Blackfoot will utilize a Tristar-model drive/tension station at the bottom with a fixed bullwheel on a concrete mast up top, the same setup as Challenger up the road at Big Sky. We’ve now seen at least three different return station styles and four drive station models on this year’s new Doppelmayr fixed-grips, including the Alpen Star (Wilmot, Red River); Tristar (Big Sky, Caberfae, Targhee); and Eco (Mont Bellevue). I find it interesting how many different station models Doppelmayr continues to offer when their competitors each have basically just two.
Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks from Arizona Snowbowl, Big Sky, Jackson, Powder Mountain and Sundance as the snow flies and this year’s crop of new lifts is completed.
Last time I stopped by Grand Targhee, I could still ski down Chief Joseph Bowl as the Blackfoot double was being deconstructed to make way for a new Doppelmayr quad chair. Three months later, workers have finished removing the last of the old Riblet and prepped both station locations for modern terminals. The new Blackfoot will move up to 1,800 skiers per hour 1,200 vertical feet in seven minutes. When completed, Grand Targhee will operate four Doppelmayr and CTEC quad lifts, all built after 1996, with a third high speed quad coming soon.
The new Blackfoot will start a little higher up and further north, though it’s tough to tell where the old base stood with how much dirt has been moved. The new top station is just about in the same spot as the previous one. Lots of rock is getting pushed to make a large unload area in place of the steep wooden ramp at top of Blackfoot since 1974. This week Doppelmayr is tying re-bar for towers and both terminals. The project is still in its beginning stages but will ramp up over as concrete gets poured and steel arrives this fall.
New lifts are coming to both sides of the Tetons this summer and that means three old lifts are coming down. At Grand Targhee, the Blackfoot double is being replaced with a Doppelmayr fixed-grip quad. All 20 towers have been removed along with the top terminal. Blackfoot had wooden ramps at both ends that will be burned down once all the steel is out of the way.