News Roundup: Fighting

  • The first of many Omega 10 passenger gondola cabins is spotted at Walt Disney World.
  • Saddleback Mountain Foundation plans to make a second offer for Maine’s third largest ski area, which has been closed for nearly three years.
  • Santiago, Chile awards the contract for an $80 million, four station urban gondola to Doppelmayr.
  • The first indoor ski area in the Western Hemisphere plans to open March 1, 2019 with a Doppelmayr CTEC quad chair and platter that were installed back in 2008.
  • A gondola is one option being considered to improve mobility in Little Cottonwood Canyon, home to Alta, Snowbird and lots of traffic.
  • A Basin’s Al Henceroth updates us on Norway’s removal and hints more lift changes may be in store for Lenawee Mountain.
  • Members of Congress from four states pen a letter to the Forest Service asking for Arizona Snowbowl to be reopened or further explanation given as to why its extended closure is necessary.
  • Doppelmayr scores another project in Canada – a $1.8 million fixed-grip quad with loading carpet at Sugarloaf, New Brunswick.
  • Rope evacuating 20-25 mountain bikers turns into a four hour affair at Marquette Mountain.
  • Ikon Pass destination number 27 is Thredbo, Australia.
  • Jumbo Glacier Resort is fighting to reinstate its construction permit.
  • A spokesman for the new owners of Maple Valley, Vermont says reopening for skiing is a long term goal that could take many years to accomplish.
  • Loveland seeks a good name for the new Lift 1.
  • Loon Mountain is buying brand new CWA Omega cabins for its gondola this fall.
  • Tremblant says goodbye to the Lowell Thomas triple, making way for a detachable quad.
  • The first Hermitage Club property auction yields a $1.2 million winning bid. “There will be more of these coming up,” says the Windham County Sheriff.
  • A breakdown at the Jasper SkyTram leads to an 18 hour helicopter evacuation of 160 guests.

Jumbo Glacier Resort is Dead

British Columbia’s Minister of Environment has finally killed the Jumbo Glacier Resort, proposed to rival Whistler in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia.  Jumbo Glacier is a spectacularly-remote place up a dirt logging road from Panorama Mountain Village and Invermere.  It’s more than 200 miles from Calgary, the nearest major city and airport.  The plan was to build 20+ lifts on 3,000 hectares of public land above 5,000 feet.  You can read the full master plan here.

Leitner-Poma poured some footings last fall in a last-ditch effort.
Leitner-Poma poured some footings last fall in a last-ditch effort.

The project was first submitted to the BC government in 1991 and received environmental approval in 2004.  The resort claimed they would get 2,700 skiers per day. This was always a red flag to me as 2,700 skiers is not a big number for a destination ski resort.  Take for example a mid-sized area like Mt. Sunapee in New Hampshire.  It has six lifts and a comfortable carrying capacity of 5,220 skiers per day.  2,700 could justify perhaps three or four lifts at Jumbo, not 23.

BC has no shortage of large ski areas struggling due to remoteness. Kicking Horse and Revelstoke are perhaps most similar to the Jumbo proposal. Revelstoke was supposed to have 21 lifts; they built three before running out of money in 2008. Lucky for them, the 27th richest person in Canada bought in and paid off over $100 million in debt.  Kicking Horse was in similar trouble when it was rescued by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies in 2011. Both of these resorts are on the Trans-Canada Highway, not 50 miles from a town.

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