News Roundup: Black Friday Edition

News Roundup: Valleys

News Roundup: Naming

Grand Targhee Selects Doppelmayr D-Line for Peaked 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.

News Roundup: Reports

News Roundup: Endless Winter

New Plan Lays Out Grand Targhee Growth

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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.

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Peaked Mountain features one high speed quad today and hopefully will sport a new one soon.

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.

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Checking Out Grand Targhee’s New Blackfoot Quad

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Tower 6 of Grand Targhee’s new Blackfoot lift above Teton Valley, Idaho.

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!

Instagram Tuesday: Solo

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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Fall Blackfoot Construction Update from Grand Targhee

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Look closely and you will see the upper tower locations and top station mast for the new Blackfoot quad in this Oct. 2, 2016 photo.

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.

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The 2016-17 Grand Targhee trail map highlights the new Blackfoot chair on the north side of the mountain.

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.