- After years of gondola negotiations with the Town of Jackson, a frustrated Snow King Mountain presses pause while it waits for the U.S. Forest Service to weigh in.
- Doppelmayr completes the final link in the world’s largest gondola chain. The stats: 10 lines, 21 miles, 34 stations and 1,324 cabins carrying 300,000 daily passengers.
- Crested Butte’s longest lift goes down for more than four days due to communication line damage.
- The announced sale of Montana’s Great Divide won’t happen.
- Peak Resorts posts a solid financial quarter with organic growth in revenue and earnings.
- The Whistler paper highlights what happens when the big Blackcomb Gondola goes down.
- SkyTrans Manufacturing says it’s not to blame for the Ohio State Fair’s delay in replacing potentially corroded chairs on its skyride. As a result of the chairlift situation, Ohio will require all ride operators to forward manufacturer directives to state inspectors going forward.
- After tons of hard work by its lift mechanics and contractors, Attitash concedes it won’t be able to fix Summit‘s gearbox this season. “We’ve heard your calls for a new lift to replace the Summit Triple, and while we appreciate all your feedback, this is not a project our parent company, Peak Resorts, is looking to do in the near future,” says GM John Lowell.
- Leaders of Alta, Aspen Snowmass, Big Sky and Jackson Hole all pen letters addressing the chorus of Ikon Pass crowding criticism.
- The Glenwood Caverns gondola takes flight tomorrow with 17 Sigma cabins. 27 more are on a delayed boat from France and will be put on line when they arrive.
- Attitash’s Summit triple is down indefinitely again, this time with a gearbox issue. Peak Resorts executives say even if they wanted to replace the lift with a detachable, there is about a two year wait with both lift companies.
- Northstar California partially evacuates the Promised Land Express by rope on a busy Sunday.
- The new master plan for Timberline Lodge prescribes replacing Pucci with a detachable quad and Bruno’s with a series of carpets.
- At Pajarito, Townsight will end up missing the entire season due to unspecified mechanical issues.
- Alyeska retires its last of seven Riblet double chairlifts, Tanaka.
- A six year old falls 29 feet from an Eldora chairlift after failing to load properly and a petition is asking for policy changes.
- The founder of The Hermitage Club is contesting a no trespass order.
- A child falls from Park City’s Silverlode Express.
- Architectural Digest profiles leading resort design firm SE Group.
- Leitner will build what is sure to become an iconic 3S gondola between Switzerland and Italy from 2021.
- 2019/20 Ikon Passes go on sale March 5th and are virtually unchanged from this season’s versions.
- Tuesday is also the day you should vote if you live in Aspen.
- Timberline, West Virginia throws in the towel and the local paper has an update on the the circumstances.
- A night evacuation takes place at Ski Vorlage.
- James Coleman’s brand new bike park is already a hit.
- Five teenagers perform a flawless catch of a Screaming Eagle lift dangler and earn free Grouse Mountain season passes.
- Somehow a sit skier and lift operator both fall 17 feet from Snowmass’ Elk Camp quad on Tuesday.
- Following a brutal 16 day road closure, Snow Valley eyes a Saturday reopening.
- Bloomberg Businessweek visits the Vail/Alterra HQs and catches up with partners like Boyne Resorts and Telluride.
- Arapahoe Basin ends its Epic Pass partnership with Vail Resorts due to concerns about parking and crowding.
- A year into Ikon, Alterra Chief Marketing Officer Erik Forsell talks about the new season pass landscape.
- Vail takes stock at Crested Butte and may or may not build the Teo II lifts proposed by Triple Peaks.
- As rumored, Vail is acquiring Falls Creek and Mt. Hotham in Australia for $124 million.
- The Spanish ski resort that closed when a chair fell from its Yan detachable quad reopens with uploading via snowcat.
- The San Diego Fire Department performs a successful over water night evacuation of the Bayside Skyride at SeaWorld San Diego.
- Timberline Four Seasons Resort, which has struggled with lift breakdowns and other issues of late, is closed this weekend and could be placed in receivership.
- Snow Valley missed all of President’s weekend will remain closed indefinitely due to road damage. Mountain High is kindly honoring their season passes during the shutdown.
- In France, a six year old is seriously injured after her head gets stuck between a chair armrest and safety bar.
- As a new lawsuit against The Hermitage Club alleges fraud, club founder Jim Barnes tells members a revised reorganization plan is coming soon.
- The New York Times visits the new Taos and its four new lifts.
- Not everyone is happy about changes at Powder Mountain.
- LST Ropeways is still working to repair the company’s first detachable chairlift, which missed its entire first winter, some of last winter and all of this one thus far.
- 49 Degrees North had a challenging weekend with one lift rope evacuated/down for the season and another losing a chair with people on it.
Alterra Mountain Company added both Big Cottonwood Canyon resorts to its flagship season pass today, giving buyers access to five resorts encompassing almost 10,000 acres of the Wasatch. Brighton is the fifth Boyne Resorts-owned mountain to sign on to Ikon and will give passholders seven unrestricted days. Ikon Base passholders will get five with blackout dates. Alterra agreed to acquire Solitude in June and, as expected, access there will be unlimited and unrestricted with full pass. “The Ikon Pass is expanding, and with the addition of Solitude Mountain Resort and Brighton Resort, we are excited to offer unparalleled access to Utah, a state known around the world for its snow quality, variety of terrain, and accessibility,” noted Erik Forsell, Alterra’s Chief Marketing Officer in a media release. “We are nearly 70 days away from opening day in North America and are thrilled to jump start the ski and snowboard season by adding more premier Ikon Pass destinations for winter 2018/2019.”
This could be a huge week for what is already the most expansive season pass on the market with varying degrees of access to 413 lifts at 34 mountains and currently priced at $999. The direct competitor is the Epic Pass by Vail Resorts, which includes skiing at 24 North American destinations with 309 lifts for $899 (the Vail Resorts owned mountains are unlimited and unrestricted while partners Resorts of the Canadian Rockies and Telluride offer seven days each.) The Mountain Collective Pass ($449 right now) includes two days at many of the same mountains as Ikon and offers access to 194 North American lifts. Ikon, Epic and MCP all offer additional days in the Alps, Japan, Australia and/or New Zealand. Another offering is the Powder Alliance, a free benefit for 18 participating resorts’ season passholders to ride a combined 132 lifts across the western US and Canada.
The above Instagram post implies that six more resorts will be added to the Ikon Pass by the end of the week – one tomorrow, four on Wednesday and one more on Thursday. Obvious candidates are Mountain Collective resorts not yet included on Ikon – Snowbasin, Sun Valley and Taos – and remaining ex-MAX Pass resorts:
- Alyeska, AK
- Belleayre, NY
- Boreal, CA
- Boyne Mountain, MI
- Boyne Highlands, MI
- Buck Hill, MN
- Crystal Mountain, WA
- Cypress Mountain, BC
- Granite Peak, WI
- Gore Mountain, NY
- Lee Canyon, NV
- Lutsen Mountains, MN
- Mountain Creek, NJ
- The Summit at Snoqualmie, WA
- Wachusett, MA
- Windham Mountain, NY
- Whiteface, NY
Of those, groupings that could be Wednesday’s announcement are the four outstanding Boyne Resorts or the four New York resorts. The Pacific Northwest is another emerging battleground in the season pass war with Vail Resorts’ recent purchase of Stevens Pass. Alterra has so far invited larger destination resorts onto Ikon and the biggest outstanding mountains in order of vertical are Panorama, Whiteface, Sun Valley, Mt. Bachelor, Taos, Crystal Mountain, Red Mountain, Sun Peaks, Mt. Hood Meadows, Smuggler’s Notch, Le Massif, Alyeska and Whitefish. Stay tuned all week for updates!
Update 8/28: Ikon announced Taos, New Mexico this morning, bringing the pass to 35 mountains with a combined 422 lifts. Access will be 7 unrestricted days or 5 with blackouts for the Ikon Base pass.
Update 8/29: As expected, today is Boyne day with the addition of Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain, Cypress Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie. 39 mountains with a combined 466 lifts now participate in Ikon. That’s approximately one in every five ski lifts in the US and Canada. In addition, Boyne-owned Sugarloaf, Sunday River and Loon Mountain are now considered separate destinations. Ikon passholders will get 7 days at each (5 with the Ikon Base pass.)
Update: 8/30: The final addition for the week is Niseko, Japan. There may be more resorts coming up as the Ikon Facebook page says “Ikon Pass is known for news. Stay tuned.”
The latest battle in the 2018-19 season pass war is being waged to the north. Vail Resorts today announced the Epic Pass will now include up to seven days at six mountains owned by Resorts of The Canadian Rockies – Fernie, Kicking Horse, Nakiska, Kimberley, Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham. The addition of these MAX Pass refugees follows Alterra’s recent announcement that Revelstoke, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay and Sugarbush will join the new Ikon Pass. In addition, Telluride has defected from the MCP to join Epic and Ikon partner Big Sky Resort will also join the Mountain Collective.
The 10th anniversary Epic Pass will go on sale tomorrow with access to 21 North American destinations with 284 lifts. It will offer unlimited skiing with no blackout dates at Vail Resorts owned mountains and a limited number of days at partner properties like Telluride. Epic Passes will also offer access to international resorts including Hakuba Valley, Japan; Perisher, Australia; and Val d’Isère, France. In theory, you could hit a crazy 61 resorts on this pass. Pricing is still pending.
The 2018-19 Mountain Collective Pass is on sale now for $409 and includes up to 33 days at 16 destinations, most of which are unchanged from last year (Telluride is out, Big Sky in.) The MCP includes access to 19 separate mountains in North America with 231 lifts and 50 percent off days after the first two. Most Mountain Collective destinations are also on the new Ikon Pass for those seeking more days.
The Ikon Pass offers unlimited access to most of Alterra Mountain Co.’s resorts with limited access to Deer Valley and numerous partner resorts. The flagship pass will cost $899 with a blackout date version for only $599. Ikon includes the most North American options by far with 32 mountains and 400 lifts. It’s not quite as many as the defunct MAX Pass (45 mountains, 435 lifts) but Ikon offers many more days at higher-caliber places. The Ikon also goes on sale tomorrow.
- Doppelmayr and CWA unveil world’s most luxurious gondola cabin with air conditioning, a fridge and more powered by carriage wheel generators.
- The five chairlift Hermitage Club lays off 50 to 80 employees and cuts ski operations to weekends only, a result of significant financial challenges.
- Children fall from lifts at West Mountain and Windham Mountain.
- 2022 Winter Olympics host China is up to an impressive 236 ski areas with at least one chairlift.
- Woodward Park City remains in limbo pending the outcome of three appeals.
- Theme park projects such as the Doppelmayr-supplied Hogwarts Express and Disney Skyliner drive record revenue for PCL Construction of Edmonton.
- There was a deropement followed by partial rope evac of the triple chair at Red Lodge Mountain over Presidents’ weekend.
- Apres Vous at Jackson Hole was evacuated yesterday following a gearbox issue.
- Sunday River reveals why it takes 3.5 hours to put cabins back on the Chondola after a windstorm.
- Here’s more construction eye candy from Disney World.
- Stella, the only six-pack in Idaho, was named and themed by a former Disney imagineer.
- Catch up on the upcoming season pass battle and what else lies ahead for Alterra with company President Dave Perry.
- Speaking of the Ikon Pass, it now includes 400 lifts with new partners Revelstoke, Sugarbush, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay for $899.
Alterra Mountain Company dropped a bomb at the Outdoor Retailer/SIA show this morning, announcing the forthcoming Ikon Pass will bring together its dozen North American resorts along with eleven other major mountains. Aspen Skiing Company, Boyne Resorts, Powdr Co. and more have partnered with Alterra to add destinations such as Aspen Snowmass, Alta, Snowbird, Big Sky, Killington and Jackson Hole. “The Ikon Pass is a collaboration of like-minded mountain destinations across North America where incredible terrain, unique character and local traditions are celebrated,” said Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer for Alterra Mountain Company. “We’ve curated a community of iconic destinations. We believe this new pass offers tremendous opportunity and appeal to mountain enthusiasts who have a passion for outdoor adventure.”
Pass options will range from a set number of days at varying destinations to an ultimate, unlimited season pass. I can’t stress enough how much this changes big mountain skiing in North America. For years now, Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass has been the largest and most successful season pass product in the world, now offering access to 272 lifts and 44,000 acres at 15 mountains in North America and Australia to some 750,000 passholders. Ikon will one-up Vail’s terrain offering with access to 23 top-tier North American resorts, a ridiculous 363 lifts and 48,840 acres (for both passes, I am counting gondolas, chairlifts and surface lifts with towers. If carpets and rope tows are included, the Epic Pass offers 340 lifts while Ikon has 434.)
Ikon Pass resorts for 2018-19 will be:
- Alta, Utah
- Alpine Meadows, California
- Aspen Highlands, Colorado
- Aspen Mountain, Colorado
- Bear Mountain, California
- Blue Mountain, Ontario
- Big Sky, Montana
- Buttermilk, Colorado
- Copper Mountain, Colorado
- Deer Valley, Utah
- Eldora, Colorado
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- June Mountain, California
- Killington, Vermont
- Loon Mountain, New Hampshire
- Mammoth Mountain, California
- Snowbird, Utah
- Snowmass, Colorado
- Snowshoe, West Virginia
- Snow Summit, California
- Squaw Valley, California
- Steamboat, Colorado
- Stratton, Vermont
- Sugarloaf, Maine
- Sunday River, Maine
- Tremblant, Quebec
- Winter Park, Colorado
Ikon passholders will also receive discounts and special offers at CMH heli-skiing in British Columbia. Epic holders already enjoy limited access to 30 European resorts. The Liftopia-powered Mountain Collective Pass, which allows destination skiers to sample many large resorts, will remain an option in its current form and also go on sale in March. The M.A.X. Pass, founded by Intrawest, Powdr and Boyne, will sunset. Specific Ikon tiers and prices will be released in the coming weeks.
As an employee of one of the independent resorts on the MCP and now Ikon Pass, I watched first hand the worry of consolidation last spring turn to optimism in the fall. Now I know why.