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Sunday River releases maps of the upcoming Merrill Hill project. Updated stats from NSAA show how many ski areas operated in each state last winter. Las Vegas’ decision to go with Teslas in a tunnel rather than a Doppelmayr automated people mover may have been short sighted. Jay Peak President Steve Wright discusses joining the Indy Pass, limited winter tram operations and potential future lift upgrades. Mission Ridge begins erecting terminals for the new Liberator Express, which load and unload inside buildings. Whiteface’s new beginner quad will be called Owl Express. A new lift at Sun Valley will also get a fresh name, to be announced soon. Gunstock burns down an old T-Bar station for firefighter training. An Ontario ski area worries about lift safety following a rash of vandalism. With the launch of a gondola up Hoonah Mountain next year, an Alaska Native corporation sees new opportunities for development. Despite a 30 percent drop in business last winter, at least two New Zealand resorts plan to build new lifts this offseason. As Smartwool moves headquarters from Steamboat to Denver, the company gifts $1.5 million to Howelsen Hill for a new Barrows chairlift, to be built by Skytrac. A Michigan ski area with 12 lifts won’t make snow and will operate weekends only due to Coronavirus. Mont-Sainte-Anne is no longer certain its base-to-summit gondola will be functional by December. Big Sky wraps up a busy season of preparation for the Swift Current 6 top terminal and carrier storage facility.
A dozen years after closing, North Carolina’s Hawksnest lists two Hall doubles for sale. As it attempts to lower its tax bill, Jay Peak reveals it received several non-binding offers ranging from $38 million to $70 million. Burke Mountain argues it’s worth only $11.2 million, citing seven figure losses each of the last three years. Wachusett will sell four different sessions this winter rather than day and night tickets. Garibaldi at Squamish now plans to break ground in 2023 and spin lifts circa 2027. For the second time in a year, the tram in Juneau, Alaska has a new name: Goldbelt Tram. An American visitor caught riding the Banff Gondola faces a CA$750,000 fine. Not good: a paraglider gets tangled up in a chair. Sugarloaf reiterates its commitment to West Mountain, which will include a lengthy detachable lift. Holimont plans to eventually move Chipmunk, replace Sunset and build a new lift on WestMont Ridge. Maine’s closed Eaton Mountain becomes a non-profit and will aggressively seek funding for a new chairlift. Park City won’t be seeing gondola transit any time soon. Nitehawk’s only chairlift will remain out of service for the entire 2020-21 season following last spring’s landslide. Elk Mountain has not been sold. North America’s 2019-20 ski season will come to an end August 30th. Sunday River plans to build the Merrill Hill lift in 2022. Quebec-based Samson Industries, which built more than 100 ski lifts, calls it quits after 160 years. What was supposed to be New Zealand’s first 10 passenger Doppelmayr gondola will sit in shipping containers until tourism recovers. Big Sky and Doppelmayr get to work on Swift Current 6 (shown below.)
Bogus Basin shells out $53,000 to settle alleged environmental violations related to the construction of the Morning Star Express and other projects. Former owner Ariel Quiros will plead guilty to orchestrating a fraudulent investment scheme at Jay Peak. The Jay Peak receivership has racked up more than $8 million in attorney and accountant bills so far. Aspen Snowmass hasn’t decided whether the Big Burn six place will get bubbles. A near collision leads to an evacuation of a Leitner-Poma six pack in New Zealand. Skiing in that country proves super popular even without international travel. The State of New York makes huge investments at Whiteface this summer: $2.4 million worth of gondola upgrades, a new quad chair, a new lodge and snowmaking enhancements. Skytrac is the low bidder to replace Howelsen Hill’s Barrows double with a quad next summer. Alterra characterizes season pass sales for next winter as “ shockingly strong.” Mt. Norquay will try again for approval to build a gondola linking the ski area to Banff.
The Summit at Snoqualmie shuts
Hidden Valley for the season due to an “ unusual mechanical problem.” Sugarloaf closes
King Pine due to a sheave assembly issue. Dave Brownlie, former head of Whistler Blackcomb and current Revelstoke President,
weighs in on the state of the British Columbia ski industry and his company’s plans for Grouse Mountain.
The Colorado Sun interviews three Colorado resort pioneers about industry trends and challenges. As the gondola at Mont-Sainte-Anne
reopens, the resort says an external power issue caused last month’s sudden stop. A lawsuit has been filed and the power company denies responsibility. Just the
Leitner portion of Mexico City’s new urban gondola network will feature seven stations and 300 cabins. Experienced resort executives Andy and Jace Wirth
may take over operations at Granby Ranch. Limited Ikon/Mountain Collective visits to Arapahoe Basin are
69 percent lower than unlimited Epic visits last year and the “experience is way up,” says Al Henceroth. Another
informative podcast from Stuart Winchester features an executive from Mountain Creek and Big Snow talking about the next new lift and a possible Big Snow Miami. Smugglers’ Notch
has no intentions of losing its independence or ditching its fleet of fixed grip double chairs. Whitefish will begin work in Hellroaring Basin this summer and move the current
Hellroaring triple to a new alignment in 2021.
After missing last season, Mt. Timothy gears up
to reopen under new ownership. Tariffs on imported Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum
are history as of last weekend. The “Balsams Bill”
becomes law in New Hampshire. Creditors seek an involuntary
Chapter 7 bankruptcy of the Hermitage Club. Jackson Hole wants to
increase clearance under the aerial tramway for big snow years. The first
indoor chairlift in America should finally open this fall in New Jersey. Utah crushes its previous skier visit record, hosting more than
five million skiers for the first time in history. Jay Peak and Burke Mountain’s former owner and ex-CEO are
indicted by a federal grand jury on 14 counts. As of April 30th,
26 potential Jay Peak buyers had signed non-disclosure agreements. The resort says revenue was up 4 percent this season, skier visits increased 3.5 percent and room nights shot up 11 percent. Burke Mountain is still losing money but revenue increased by 26 percent this season, skier visits were up 20 percent and room nights 47 percent.
With the Forest Service’s blessing, Ski Cooper embarks on
adding 71 acres and a Leitner-Poma T-Bar for next season. The Poma-built urban cable car in the Dominican Republic capital transported over
four million passengers in its first year. Mexico City’s transportation authority
rejects all three Cablebus bids from Leitner, Bartholet and Doppelmayr. A Loveland, Colorado developer still wants to build
a gondola as part of an amusement complex. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority selects Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build a new people mover
over Doppelmayr . Still no opening date for the Disney Skyliner but gondola
merchandise has arrived. In a few years, you may be able to ride
twin tramways between Russia and China with immigration and customs facilities at each end.