- Squaw seeks extension for permit to replace Red Dog lift.
- MND Group turnover increases 15.1 percent year-over-year. The company aims to double sales by 2020 partially through LST Ropeways subsidiary. Referencing the new Cannon Mountain T-Bar in the latest magazine, MND notes “success has enabled LST to penetrate the US market, paving the way for other promising opportunities.”
- Doppelmayr will begin building its next tri-cable gondola in December. Who would have guessed Kenya would get a 3S before the United States!
- Forest Service gives final green light for Breckenridge and Keystone six-place upgrades.
- A slow landslide continues to move tower 6 of the Barrows lift at Howelsen Hill.
- SE Group will study placement of Aspen Mountain’s future Lift 1A.
- Denver Post publishes two part interview with Larry Smith of the CPTSB re: Granby Ranch.
- The LiftDigital safety bar display system with integrated Wi-Fi will launch in Colorado for 2017-18.
- New PomaLink newsletter features the Grand Canyon Express and a six-station gondola at a zoo in China.
- Poma’s 2016 Reference Book includes LPOA installations but not Skytrac ones.
- Mountain Creek files for bankruptcy protection with debts totaling $40+ million including $500,000 balance on 2012 Partek chairlift loan.
- One of Heavenly’s original 1962 tram cars is for sale. Email me if you’re interested.
- Artur Doppelmayr died Friday at age 95. May he rest in peace.
- I talk six-packs with the Vail Daily.
- Heavenly’s Comet Express remains closed following a Jan. 1st rope evacuation, apparently due to a gearbox issue. This is one of the reasons Vail Resorts is replacing its fleet of 1980s-vintage detachable quads.
- Doppelmayr and the United Nations are hosting a week-long urban mobility ropeway class in April.
- The New York Times tells the tale of Big Sky Resort.
- Ski patroller severely injured in fall from chair at Terry Peak.
- Gondola proposed to serve airport in Vietnam’s congested largest city.
- BC Parks considers a gondola to Mt. Seymour to alleviate parking and traffic problems.
- Ski Area Management‘s lift construction survey dropped this week. Highlights from its outlook for 2017:
- “We’re off to a strong year for ’17, there are lots of people asking about lifts…It’s very positive compared to the previous two years.” – Jon Mauch, Senior Sales Manager at Leitner-Poma
- “There’s a lot of enthusiasm about what could happen under a Trump administration. People expect deregulation and a more business-friendly climate.” – Mark Bee, President at Doppelmayr USA
- “We’re seeing lots of requests quotes, lots of major modifications and retrofits…It’s all being driven by the age of the existing lift infrastructure.” – Carl Skylling, General Manager at Skytrac
- I’ve already identified 29 new lifts likely to be built in 2017, pacing well above the last few years for mid-January.
- Slovakian manufacturer Tatralift debuts its third detachable lift using a Wopfner grip. That makes seven companies capable of building a detachable lift globally – Bartholet, BMHRI (China), Doppelmayr/Garaventa (Austria), Leitner–Poma (Italy), LST (France), STM (Turkey) and Tatralift (Slovakia.)
- Father accuses Ragged Mountain of operating a lift unmanned after his son falls 20-30 feet. Another child falls 40 feet at Squaw Valley.
- Pretty neat article about Aspen’s old Riblets finding new homes as far afield as Montana, Alaska and Pakistan.
- Aspen Skiing Company’s first rope evac in decades was a learning experience.
- Adding a new Doppelmayr terminal to a 25-year old Borvig at Sugarloaf didn’t go exactly as planned but all’s well that ends well.
According to published reports, an unoccupied chair fell from the light side of Heavenly’s North Bowl triple just before 11:00 am today. As a result, approximately 65 people were evacuated from the lift in about two hours. The incident is under investigation. North Bowl is a 1984 Riblet triple with insert clips. The video below shows a skier being lowered by rope and North Bowl will remain closed until further notice.
Vertical transport feet per hour (VTFH) is the best way to measure how lifts move people up mountains. VTFH combines hourly capacity and vertical rise into one number, usually measured in millions. Ski Area Management uses this metric each fall when they look at how good of a year it was for the lift-building business.
For a lift to score big it has to have a high hourly capacity (think lots of carriers, high speed) and large vertical rise (think big slope length with many towers.) The Jackson Hole tram has a huge vertical (over 4,000′) but very low capacity so its VTFH is only 2,654,600 – not even in the top 400. The Peak 2 Peak Gondola has a huge capacity but only rises 119 feet for a dismal VTFH of 243,950. There are 49 lifts in the US and Canada that move enough people high enough to achieve a VTFH over five million. Below are the top ten.
1. Revelation Gondola Stage II, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia
2007 Leitner-Poma 8-passenger gondola
2,952′ vertical x 2,800 passengers per hour = 8,265,600 VTFH
2. Gold Coast Funitel, Squaw Valley, California
1998 Garaventa CTEC 28-passenger funitel
2,000′ vertical x 4,032 passengers per hour = 8,064,000 VTFH
3. Heavenly Gondola, Heavenly Mountain Resort, California
2000 Doppelmayr 8-passenger gondola
2,874′ vertical x 2,800 passengers per hour = 8,047,200 VTFH
4. Gondola One, Vail Mountain, Colorado
2012 Leitner-Poma 10-passenger gondola
1,996′ vertical x 3,600 passengers per hour = 7,185,600 VTFH
5. Centennial Express, Beaver Creek Resort, Colorado
2014 Doppelmayr 6/10 chondola combination lift
2,102′ vertical x 3,400 passengers per hour = 7,146,800 VTFH
North America’s top ten longest lifts are all gondolas or aerial tramways and only half of them are directly used for skiing. Silver Mountain’s Gondola is number one although it is no longer the world’s longest. Since 2014, that title has belonged to the Bursa Uludag Gondola in Turkey which is a ridiculous 28,871 feet. This list does not include systems which have multiple haul ropes, such as Blackcomb’s Excalibur, which I consider to be two separate gondolas.
1. Silver Mountain Gondola, Silver Mountain, Idaho – 1990 VonRoll 8-passenger gondola
16,350′ ride time 16.4 minutes
2. Sunshine Village Gondola, Sunshine Village, Alberta – 2001 Poma 8-passenger gondola
14,894′ ride time 12.4 minutes
3. Peak 2 Peak Gondola, Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia – 2008 Doppelmayr 3S tri-cable gondola
14,497′ ride time 9.8 minutes
4. Sandia Peak Tramway, Albuquerque, New Mexico – 1965 Bell 50-passenger tramway
5. Silver Queen Gondola, Aspen Mountain, Colorado – 1986 Poma 6-passenger gondola
13,216′ ride time 13.2 minutes