- MND Group subsidiary LST will build its third US ropeway this summer, a T-Bar replacing this Hall one in McCall, Idaho.
- Copper confirms the new American Flyer will get more towers to “support and optimize” the lift.
- This incredible timelapse of the longest lift in the world gets a lot of attention on Reddit.
- US skiers and snowboarders came out 59.1 million times this season, a nearly 11 percent increase over 2017-18 and the fourth best participation ever.
- The National Ski Areas Association launches a charitable foundation to grant money to resort employees to attend conferences such as LMS and RMLA.
- West Virginia’s closed Timberline Four Seasons Resort files for bankruptcy.
- A Vermont sheriff can no longer find Hermitage Club founder Jim Barnes to serve him with legal papers related to the ski resort’s closure.
- In Serbia, Poma will realize the longest gondola in the world at 5.6 miles in two sections.
- The year round, high speed quad-served bike park experiment in New Zealand gets a $3.3 million government bailout to keep operating.
- If you want a retired Steamboat Gondola cabin, Sunshine Polishing is acquiring 105 of them.
- Bogus Basin’s old Riblet chairs are selling for an average price of $1,775 apiece.
Hon Thom 3S
News Roundup: Urban Momentum
- Plans for a 3S gondola servicing Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles move ahead.
- A new gondola system ridership record is set: 406,459 passengers in a single day.
- Killington joins the bubble club with Snowdon Six Express.
- Fatzer says it has donated more than 180 miles of wire rope leftover from ropeways to build 600 bridges in developing countries.
- Ramcharger 8 flies tomorrow at Big Sky Resort.
- Accidents knock two gondolas out of commission at the same Austrian ski resort in the span of a week. One due to a fire and the other a pileup of cabins. The latter one is already back in service.
- Doppelmayr USA taps former New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority head Ted Blazer to lead the company’s urban ropeway push.
- Copper Mountain hopes to have the new American Flyer bubble lift operational by Christmas.
- There might be some news regarding the shuttered Hermitage Club early next week.
- Big White’s Powder 2.0 opens today.
- So does the big Blackcomb Gondola.
- More than 150 guests are evacuated from the Blue chairlift at Mt. Hood Meadows after multiple systems fail.
- Peak Resorts releases quarterly financial results including strong season pass sales figures.
- Timerline Four Seasons Resort keeps pushing back its opening day, now scheduled for December 21st. Yesterday its managing partner was arrested and charged with failing to remit hotel taxes.
- Work carriers are spotted traversing Walt Disney World.
News Roundup: Friday Night
- Disney unveils a Skyliner cabin and confirms there will be no air conditioning.
- Could Vail Resorts or Alterra buy Jay Peak?
- Friday, December 7th is the big day Vail announces first quarter earnings and capital expenditure plans for next year.
- The Hermitage Club might be loaned $25 to $30 million next week.
- Doppelmayr/Garaventa worldwide revenues grow 5.7 percent to $965 million for the 2017/18 fiscal year.
- American Eagle at Copper is beginning to look like a Telemix.
- My brother Ben Landsman and Tiffany Wilson are Lift Blog Southeast Asian correspondents this week. Check out their adventure on the world’s longest and fastest gondola earlier today.
News Roundup: Must Read
- A planning document shows Big White has applied to build two lifts east of Black Forest Express called Backcountry and Backcountry Connector.
- Snow King Mountain’s expansion officially enters the National Environmental Policy Act pipeline. Proposed lifts are a 1,500 pph gondola with cabin storage, a 3,015′ backside fixed-grip quad, one 679′ T-Bar or platter and two new carpets.
- The iconic Volkswagen funitel marks 15 years of operation, having delivered over three million vehicles from factory to test track.
- A proposed urban gondola in Loveland, Colorado would be built by Leitner-Poma with up to five stations.
- Arapahoe Basin drops its new trail map showing the big Beavers expansion.
- An avalanche takes out the last tower of a Doppelmayr six-pack in New Zealand.
- Skytrac is hiring for project foreman and general construction positions.
- Denver Post alum Jason Blevins, now writing for the Colorado Sun, traces the remarkable ski industry journey of the Mueller family from Vermont to Colorado. Insights from his must read piece: Tim and Diane Mueller took out a second mortgage on their home to buy Okemo, invested in Catamount before it failed, nearly bought Steamboat and once bid to operate Winter Park.
- Windham’s retired F lift heads to Greek Peak to upgrade lifts 3 and 5.
- The New Mexico State Fair will sport a new skyride-style chairlift beginning next month.
- Alterra Mountain Company hires an Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer from Wall Street and looks to name a Vice President of Planning and Resort Development.
- Enjoy the most detailed glimpse yet of the world’s longest lift.
- The name game continues: Wolf Creek’s newest high speed quad is now Charity.
- One of the world’s oldest high speed quads is going away in favor of a six pack.
- I’m in New Mexico this weekend checking out as many lifts as I can. First stop: Taos, where this yet-to-be-named Leitner-Poma detachable quad is the fourth new lift in five years!
Instagram Tuesday: Panoramic
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
News Roundup: On the Block
- Alterra’s David Perry says significant capital is likely be spent at Steamboat in 2018 and 2019 with phase two of the gondola rebuild and other big projects on the table.
- A Denver TV reporter heads to Texas for a two-part interview with the husband of Kelly Huber, the woman killed during a lift malfunction last year at Granby Ranch.
- Two loaded chairs collide at Owl’s Head, Quebec after the Green Chair was pressed into rare operation amid downtime on a neighboring high-speed quad. The 1972 Heron-Poma is the former Big Hitch lift from Stagecoach, Colorado.
- China Peak’s owner wishes he still had the $900,000 he spent to build a new lift last summer that can’t open with no snow.
- The new Peak triple was rope evac’d at Pats Peak last Monday, apparently due to a gearbox issue.
- Poma dedicates its newest factory in France.
- Disney Skyliner’s first tower is up and it’s tapered in the cool Wolfurt style.
- Ian Cumming, founder of Powdr and majority owner of Snowbird, dies at age 77.
- Granite Gorge’s chairlift opens for the season after a gearbox issue and other problems.
- Ariel Quiros officially settles with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $82 million, paving the way for the sale of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain.
- The world’s longest lift is open!
- Killington formally applies to replace the South Ridge triple with a quad chair, manufacturer unknown. The sample profile confusingly shows a Poma Alpha drive and Doppelmayr Eclipse return terminal.
- Teton Pass, Montana won’t reopen under current ownership and is up for sale.
- Skier visits have declined 30 percent in South Korea over the last five years and there are several lost ski resorts in the Olympic region.
- The Sawtooth National Forest tentatively approves Sun Valley’s project to replace the Cold Springs lift with a longer high-speed quad as soon as this summer.
- A chairlift will be studied studied for one of Alabama’s most popular state parks.
- Alterra names Mammoth veteran Rusty Gregory as the company’s first CEO.
4.9 Miles! Lift Length Record Falls Again
It’s finished! The new longest lift in the world, spanning a ridiculous 26,000 linear feet with just six intermediate towers, is undergoing testing and will open soon off the southern tip of Vietnam. With this latest achievement, the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group breaks its own record held since February 2, 2016 by the Fansipan Legend, a 20,755-foot 3S gondola to the highest summit in Southeast Asia. Before these two 3S lifts launched, the lift length record belonged to the Ba Na Cable Car, a monocable gondola stretching 19,032 feet that opened on March 29, 2013 in, you guessed it, Vietnam. With completion of the Hon Thom-Phu Quoc 3S, Da Nang-based Sun Group now operates the three longest gondolas in the world as well as the planet’s largest aerial tramway with the tallest ropeway towers. Silver Mountain’s gondola, the world’s longest when it opened in June 1990, is now fourth at 16,350′. The lengthiest gondola in multiple sections remains the Bursa-Uludag three stage system built by Leitner in 2014 at almost 29,000 feet.
The new record-breaking gondola hopscotches from the large Phu Quoc Island over two smaller ones to an emerald isle called Hon Thom (Pineapple Island), previously undeveloped and encircled by white sand beaches. $458 million of development is planned for the area which currently is a small fishing community with a state-of-the-art gondola station.
Setting aside its length, the rest of the gondola’s stats are also remarkable. Hon Thom-Phu Quoc is the world’s fastest gondola, with cabins transiting at 8.5 m/s or 1,673 feet a minute (another Doppelmayr 3S built for the Sochi Olympics can also go 8.5.) Sun Group’s latest system has more cabins than any other 3S – 70 CWA Taris models for 30 passengers each. At 3,500 passengers per hour per direction, it would be the fourth highest capacity gondola in North America (Peak 2 Peak, the only 3S in the Americas, moves 2,050 an hour.) A ride will take only 15.6 minutes at full speed and the lift’s six towers reach up to 525 feet above the Gulf of Thailand. Four track ropes supplied by Fatzer are a crazy 58.5 mm thick with a 52 mm diameter haul rope. The haul rope loop is so long that it had to be manufactured in two sections totaling 54,212 feet. The new gondola will open to the public sometime this spring and we’ll see what Sun Group and Doppelmayr come up with next as they push the boundaries of ropeway technology in Vietnam.
News Roundup: Vail Effect
- The state of Utah hosted 4.5 million skier visits last season, a new record credited in part to the “Vail effect” and six new lifts.
- The Boston Globe autopsies New England’s nightmare season.
- Bloomberg Businessweek talks urban ropeway growth with Doppelmayr and Poma, so does The Wall Street Journal.
- Snowbird’s tram track cable replacement project is finished a week early.
- Disneyland will demolish historic VonRoll Skyway terminal to make way for Star Wars Land.
- Fatzer finishes six 27,000 foot ropes for the world’s longest 3S, set to open in 2017 in the Gulf of Thailand.
- Powdr buys Eldora.
- Jay Peak works on a plan to get its grounded tram running sometime this summer.