- Massanutten takes down its Borvig J-Bar.
- Breckenridge posts a Freedom SuperChair progress report along with a new trail map.
- The Atlantic Gondola carries its first passengers in Nova Scotia.
- Kicking Horse shows how it feeds a captive grizzly bear by throwing food from the Golden Eagle Express.
- Heavenly ends summer operations early due to smoke and fire danger.
- The Caldor Fire threatens both Sierra at Tahoe and Kirkwood.
- Alta Sierra narrowly escapes being burned by a different fire.
- Environmentalists use balloons to demonstrate their opposition to gondola cabins and towers in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The last chance to comment on the gondola proposal is September 3rd.
- All remaining resorts in Australia and New Zealand close due to Covid and operators are devastated.
- Highlander Lift Services & Construction is hiring team members to help build the first two lifts at Utah’s Wasatch Peaks Ranch.
- Michigan’s Alpine Valley is under new ownership, widely rumored to be Wisconsin Resorts Inc., though I have been unable to independently confirm that.
- Holiday Valley makes progress on its self-installation of a new Doppelmayr detachable.
- A new lawsuit alleges the State of Vermont knew about and failed to protect investors from the fraud at Burke Mountain.
- County planners recommend rejection of the Pandora’s expansion proposal on Aspen Mountain.
- Parks Canada again says no to a Banff-Norquay gondola.
- The Forest Service seeks public comments on Whitefish Mountain Resort’s Chair 4 replacement project.
- Cockaigne, New York intends to reopen this winter after eight closed seasons.
- Red Mountain has a new lift, new trails and now a new trail map.
- A New Zealand bike park heads to court, accused of spreading flames by running its chairlift empty during a wildfire.
- Nearly a month after disaster struck, the Sea to Sky Gondola reopens its Basecamp Cafe, retail store and select hiking trails.
- A Peak Resorts investor sues to stop the sale of the company to Vail.
- Wisconsin lost ski area Deepwood may reopen as WoodWind Park.
- The chairlift at the Nebraska State Fair breaks down and gets evacuated.
- Steamboat’s new gondola will have Wi-Fi.
- Aspen Snowmass offers numbers on Ikon Pass lift line impacts.
- Highlander Lift Services & Construction partners with Timberline Helicopters to fly towers for two new Idaho lifts in two days.
- Alterra, Oz Real Estate, Pacific Group and Snow Operating have all reportedly been interested in Jay Peak.
- Jay celebrates the successful replacement of over 20,000 pieces of tram hardware.
- Treeline Cirque at Alpine Meadows is shaping up to be one cool lift but I don’t think it will have the first double grooved bullwheel angle station in the U.S.
- Green Mountain Valley School looks to replace its platter lift at Sugarbush with a $1.4 million T-Bar in an extended alignment.
Eldora Mountain Resort will launch its first detachable lift next ski season, a six-pack replacing two decades-old fixed-grips at Powdr Co.’s newest resort near Denver. Doppelmayr USA and Highlander Ski Lift Services & Construction will partner to manufacture and install the six-pack this summer and fall, reuniting the team that collaborated to launch the new Cloudchaser lift at sister resort Mt. Bachelor in 2016. Highlander also installed Solitude’s Summit Express in 2015.
“This new high speed lift is another significant improvement that will greatly enhance the Eldora experience for our snowsports community,” said Brent Tregaskis, general manager at Eldora in a press release. “The goal of Eldora and Powdr Adventure Lifestyle Co. is to service our guests and community as best we can.” Powdr bought Eldora last June and promised to make major upgrades.
The new six-place detachable will replace both Cannonball, a 1973 Heron-Poma double, and Challenge, a 1971 Hall triple relocated to Eldora from Sun Valley in 1992. The yet-to-be-named new lift will load between the Indian Peaks and Timbers lodges and rise 1,000 vertical feet in just 4.5 minutes. Capacity will reach an impressive 3,600 skiers per hour with 17 towers and a slope length of 3,829′. Eldora released renderings of the new lift showing sleek dark red and black Uni-G terminals.
The old lifts will be recycled and chairs sold to the public with a contest to be held soon to name the big new lift. Four other detachable chairlifts have been announced by Colorado resorts for next ski season: a Doppelmayr high-speed quad at Beaver Creek and Leitner-Poma six-packs at Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail.
A new lift changes a mountain. In this story, the mountain is a volcano and the actors are Mt. Bachelor, Doppelmayr, Highlander Lift Services & Construction, Timberline Helicopters and the Forest Service. Cloudchaser: The Story Behind Building a New Lift is one of the best videos you’ll see in awhile.
Congratulations to the team on a job well done. Thanks to their efforts, Mt. Bachelor is now the sixth largest ski resort in the United States!
“We don’t fly the helicopter and we don’t tie the knot.” – Paul Johnston, Highlander Ski Lift Services & Construction.
Since I last posted about Solitude’s Summit Express project in September, workers from Solitude and Highlander Lift Services have made a ton of progress, completing 19 towers and the top terminal. Comm-line is being installed and the haul rope is on a spool at the bottom terminal location. I say location because the lift doesn’t actually have a bottom terminal yet. Walking up to the summit today, it’s obvious why the top got priority. Not only is it the drive, the top is also located on a ridge at over 10,000 feet. These guys are lucking out with the weather to be building terminals in November with just inches of snow on the ground instead of feet. The bottom terminal will be at 8,690′ in a more accessible spot and should go up quickly. The biggest components for it are already up there and the operator house is installed.
The Summit Express is a Doppelmayr detachable quad replacing a double chair which was one of the first twenty lifts CTEC built back in 1982. The replacement high speed quad’s lift line is completely new and very steep with a bunch of challenging tower locations. At one point, the lift line crests a ridge and jogs sharply down before continuing up again. This lift reminds me of Peruvian at Snowbird (which is only a few miles away) with some very steep sections alternating with flat ones.
Deer Valley closed on its purchase of Solitude Mountain Resort in May and announced they would replace the Summit double with a new Doppelmayr detachable quad. The new Summit will be in a new, longer alignment that is easier to access from Apex Express. I checked out the progress last week.
The old lift is completely removed and stored in the Moonbeam parking lot. It looks like the Thiokol double will be used elsewhere (the last lift Solitude removed ended up at Canyons Resort.) Trees are gone from the new lift line and a lot of earth work has been done although nothing has been built yet. Highlander Ski Lift Services appears to be building the new quad. With 13 new lifts projects and counting, Doppelmayr is stretched pretty thin. I did not see any parts for the new lift but I am sure they will be arriving soon.