- Keystone shows the process for creating a new trail map with next winter’s Bergman Bowl expansion.
- The Balsams redevelopment notches another necessary approval.
- Alta Sierra closes for weeks due to storm impacts.
- Salt Lake City prefers a 2034 Olympics over 2030.
- Troll, BC shows off 30 new runs to be serviced by a new T-Bar.
- Loon previews its expansion on South Peak.
- A man dies after falling from Breckenridge’s Zendo quad.
- Granite Peak rope evacuates the Blitzen triple.
- Heavenly offers a look into wind hold decision making.
- Snowbasin cancels construction of a Club Med, calling into question associated lift projects.
- Great Bear considers building a second chairlift.
- Steamboat again floats replacing the Wildhorse Gondola with a detachable version.
- Still no deal between Deer Valley and Mayflower although talks continue.
- Here’s a Cascade Skyline Gondola update.
- Vail settles a lawsuit with the family of a man who died while dangling from a chairlift in 2020.
- Doppelmayr is one of three finalists to replace Newark Airport’s automated people mover.
News Roundup: Chair Sale Season
- Jackson Hole takes initial steps toward adding Rock Springs and Green River canyons to its permit area, eyes new Sublette and Lower Sublette lifts.
- A California winery’s new D-Line gondola marches toward opening.
- Keystone confirms Bergman Bowl construction is a go to resume this summer and Rad Smith will paint an all-new Keystone trail map.
- Schweitzer’s upcoming detachable quad will be called Creekside Express.
- Utah Olympic Park christens its new high speed quad called Game Changer.
- Mission Ridge loses a lawsuit seeking $6 million from the county it operates in over an expansion dispute.
- MND wins a $106 million contract to supply equipment for a new ski resort in Uzbekistan including an 80 passenger aerial tramway, 10 passenger gondola, two chairlifts, six conveyor lifts, a mountain coaster, zip lines and avalanche safety systems.
- Attitash will auction chairs from the outgoing Summit Triple. Snowriver too.
- Software provider Entabeni Systems acquires Indy Pass, will cap sales next year and issue direct-to-lift cards.
- Mountain Division President James O’Donnell and Whistler Blackcomb COO Geoff Buchheister both leave Vail Resorts effective today. Buchheister is named CEO of Aspen and Bill Rock will become the new Mountain Division President at Vail.
- Crabbe Mountain explains recent lift down time.
- Paradise at Powder Mountain closes indefinitely due to a maintenance issue.
Vail Resorts to Install Deferred Park City Lifts at Whistler Blackcomb
In its earnings report today, Vail Resorts announced new six and eight passenger lifts will be built at Whistler Blackcomb in 2023, replacing the aging Jersey Cream and Fitzsimmons high speed quads. The project will utilize Doppelmayr equipment originally purchased for Park City Mountain but not installed due to a successful permit appeal by four local residents. On Blackcomb Mountain, Jersey Cream will become a six passenger detachable and on Whistler Mountain, Vail Resorts’ first eight place D-Line will replace the Fitzsimmons Express. Jersey Cream services the heart of Blackcomb’s mid mountain and Fitzsimmons provides out-of-base capacity to Whistler Mountain along with servicing the world’s largest bike park. Jersey Cream capacity will increase 29 percent and Fitzsimmons capacity will jump 73 percent. Fitz will also become the first eight place and first D-Line in Canada.
The two lifts were originally slated to become Eagle and Silverlode, respectively, at Park City. Vail said it remains “committed to resolving our permit” for the new Park City lifts in the future. “When that happens, we plan to purchase the lifts and equipment needed,” the company said. Vail Resorts appealed the permit revocation in July but no resolution has been reached. Due to continued uncertainty, lift equipment was placed in storage in Utah over the summer and will be re-engineered and modified for Whistler Blackcomb. An intermediate unloading station built for Eagle likely won’t be utilized in Whistler. Despite the Park City situation, 18 other lifts that are part of the 2022 Epic Lift Upgrade are proceeding on schedule, including two at Whistler Blackcomb.
“We are excited to continue investing in the guest experience here at Whistler Blackcomb, and the opportunity to upgrade the Fitzsimmons Express and Jersey Cream chairlifts reinforces our commitment to excellence, especially as a world-class destination resort,” said Geoff Buchheister, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Whistler Blackcomb. “Following approvals and installation, these upgrades will reduce lift line wait times and create easier access and flow for all who visit our beautiful mountains,” he continued.
The Whistler Blackcomb projects bring Vail Resorts to at least six new lifts for 2023, including three previously announced investments and the delayed Keystone Bergman Bowl expansion. In July, Vail unveiled plans to replace Summit at Attitash, 5-Chair at Breckenridge and Kehr’s Chair at Stevens Pass for 2023. The Attitash and Breckenridge projects will be detachable quads while Stevens Pass will see a fixed grip quad. Manufacturer(s) for those lifts have not been announced. At Keystone, Bergman Bowl will feature a six passenger Leitner-Poma detachable.
Vail also reported season pass sales increased approximately 6 percent in units and 7 percent in sales dollars through September 24th as compared to a year ago. However, full Epic and Epic Local unlimited season pass sales declined roughly 10 percent. The company’s total 2023 capital plan is expected to total $191 million to $196 million, significantly less than this year’s $323 to $333 million. Those numbers reflect approximately $10 million in capital deferred from 2022 to 2023 as a result of the Park City and Keystone lift delays.
In addition to the six 2023 lift projects, Vail also plans to debut new technology allowing guests to use phones as lift passes via Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity next season.
News Roundup: Alterra, Boyne, Powdr and Vail
- Sunday River explains why Jordan 8 came before Barker replacement.
- Brighton proposes swapping Crest Express for a six place D-Line.
- Snowbird looks to replace Wilbere.
- This document details Snowbird’s temporary one car tram operation.
- A hearing to consider the sale of Jay Peak is scheduled for August 26th.
- Eaglecrest and Mt. Spokane join the Freedom Pass alliance.
- Flash flood cleanup closes the Palm Springs Tram for the week.
- A power outage leaves guests waiting hours at the top of the Sandia Peak Tram.
- Eleven ski areas in the White River National Forest paid a record $24 million in profit sharing to the Forest Service last year.
- Steamboat and Doppelmayr fly towers for the Wild Blue Gondola.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers display a Sigma 3S gondola cabin which could provide future stadium transport.
- Mt. Shasta releases a preliminary map of the Grey Butte expansion.
- Bartholet begins construction of the first Ropetaxi with cabins that will move individually based on passenger demand and destination.
- The restoration plan approved for Keystone’s Bergman Bowl requires annual monitoring through 2033.
- Boston Mills/Brandywine will auction double and quad chairs next week.
News Roundup: Early August
- A Forest Service report details what Keystone did wrong in Bergman Bowl, the lift will not not be completed this season.
- One Gunstock Area Commissioner resigns, another is removed from office and another appointed. Staff reopened the resort yesterday.
- Forbes interviews Doppelmayr Managing Director Thomas Pichler.
- NSAA launches a lift service bulletin database for members.
- In Argentina, a mechanic dies after his legs become caught in chairlift machinery.
- Apex Mountain Resort is evacuated due to a nearby wildfire.
- Ex Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros reports to prison.
- Sommet Gabriel’s new Doppelmayr quad will be called La Laurentienne.
- The new triple at Dodge Ridge will be Triple Nugget.
- ORDA awards a $3.2 million contract to Skytrac for construction of the Bear Cub Quad at Gore Mountain.
- Snoqualmie and Doppelmayr conduct a heli mission to scope upcoming International triple construction.
- Vail Resorts completes its acquisition of a majority stake in Swiss ski resort Andermatt-Sedrun.
- Alta opts not to remove Albion until next year.
- Here are some pictures of an Epic Lift Upgrade project on track at Vail Mountain (thanks to reader Mark.)
News Roundup: Gunstock & More
- Indy Pass signs its largest partner yet by skier visits: Mt. Hood Meadows.
- Former Indy Pass resort Marmot Basin joins the Mountain Collective.
- Some 300 people show up to what was intended to be an executive session of the Gunstock Area Commission to discuss legal, financial and employment matters. Two commissioners end up walking out. Another meeting is scheduled for today.
- Resigned Gunstock Area Commissioner and former Stowe CEO Gary Kiedaisch attempts to un-resign.
- A New Hampshire State Representative alleges former Gunstock General Manager Tom Day improperly donated $500 in public money to Governor Sununu’s 2020 re-election campaign.
- Organizers of a music festival set to take place at Gunstock next weekend threaten legal action if the Panorama high speed quad doesn’t run as contracted.
- Deer Valley and Mayflower work toward an operating agreement.
- Eaglecrest General Manager Dave Scanlan goes on the radio to talk about the gondola project.
- Skytrac is still hiring folks to build ski lifts, particularly at Jack Frost and Big Boulder in Pennsylvania.
- Smugglers’ Notch gives a rundown of all the work that goes into servicing a bullwheel.
- Sierra at Tahoe completes haul rope replacements on two more lifts.
- A bolt tightening contractor is hit by a tram carriage and seriously injured at Jackson Hole.
- Skytrac begins building on Eagle Peak at Lookout Pass.
- Greek Peak starts construction of a new Chair 3.
- Utah Olympic Park’s big expansion won’t be open to public skiing with limited exceptions.
- The first D-Line in California is approved, will feature unique angle stations.
- Closed Connecticut ski area Woodbury goes back up for sale.
- The company seeking to build a gondola in Edmonton, Alberta would pay $1.1 million a year to lease city right of way.
- A woman found dead under Anakeesta’s chondola last night is believed to have fallen from the lift, which remains closed today.
- Two men are killed while working to build a Doppelmayr gondola in France.
- Below is the July 8th Notice of Noncompliance the Forest Service sent Keystone regarding unauthorized road construction in Bergman Bowl. Since the letter is three weeks old, Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams sent an update on where things stand.
Error Pauses Bergman Bowl Construction at Keystone
Keystone Resort has apologized and halted some work on the Bergman Bowl expansion due to a mistake made by the construction team. “An area that was supposed to have a minimal construction route was instead approached as a temporary construction route. This was due to a misunderstanding by our construction team, for which we take full responsibility,” read a statement from Keystone Vice President and General Manager Chris Sorensen released this afternoon. “Keystone Resort has a long history of successful partnership with the U.S. Forest Service on projects that provide guests the opportunity to enjoy outdoor recreation within our National Forest. We take this mistake seriously, and at their direction have paused some work at the site while the USFS conducts an assessment to determine next steps,” he continued.
The expansion encompasses 555 acres with 16 new trails and is one of the largest capital projects in the United States ski industry this season. Leitner-Poma was in the process of building the six passenger Bergman Express, set to top out at 12,282 feet in elevation. Keystone’s statement did not specify whether it was resort employees or a contractor that made the mistake. “We deeply regret the impact this unauthorized construction activity has had on the environment that our team works carefully to protect every day. At this time, we do not yet know if this will impact the opening of lift-served terrain at Bergman Bowl this season,” said Sorensen, who promised to keep the public informed.
The Bergman project is part of the Epic Lift Upgrade, a push to build or replace 21 lifts across 14 Vail resorts in 2022. Two large lift projects at Park City were already dropped from this year’s program due to a successful appeal by local residents.
News Roundup: Uniting Legends
- Palisades Tahoe posts more details on its Gondola and Red Dog projects. The gondola will include 96 cabins and a name will be released later this summer.
- The Telluride-Mountain Village gondola is likely to be replaced with a brand new system.
- Steamboat’s newest high speed quad will be called Greenhorn Ranch Express.
- Stowe to sell chairs from the Mountain Triple today; its replacement will be called Sunrise.
- Mount Snow is also selling chairs now from Sunbrook and Tumbleweed.
- Northstar too.
- Keystone’s new six pack will be called Bergman Express.
- Utah smashes its all time skier day record with 5.8 million visits.
- New Hampshire skier visits drop 3 percent.
- Looking for a rewarding job in the mountains? Leitner-Poma is still hiring installation team members to build lifts across North America.
- For the first time in years, the Blackcomb Glacier is open for summer skiing.
- Arizona Snowbowl temporarily closes due to regional wildfires.
- Toggenburg goes back on the market with a list price of $2.9 million.
- Sterling Vineyards releases renderings of its new gondola cabins.
- The family of a woman killed when a chairlift malfunctioned reaches a confidential settlement with Granby Ranch.
News Roundup: Any Day Now
- British Columbia’s Troll Resort proposes an expansion serviced by a 2,600 foot T-Bar.
- Loon Mountain is selling a 1985 CTEC triple chair.
- White Pass’ former Doppelmayr platter is up for sale again.
- The Forest Service accepts Tamarack’s expansion proposal, which now moves to an environmental review.
- UDOT will announce soon whether it will pursue a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- Kendall Mountain rope evacuates its only chairlift.
- Vail Resorts reports improving financial results with skier visits up 11.7% from last year and +2.8% from pre-Covid 2019/20.
- Vail will invest an extra $175 million in employees next year including implementing a $20 per hour minimum wage ($21 for maintenance technicians.)
- A child is uninjured after falling from the only chairlift in the Yukon Territory.
- Juneau moves ahead with its used gondola purchase.
- Keystone shows off a map of the Bergman Bowl expansion.
- The owner of Big Squaw appeals millions of dollars in fines.
- A dispute over whether to expand Gunstock Mountain gets very nasty.
- A new gondola has revitalized an entire community in Eastern Canada.
- Bill Jensen talks about the transformation of Sundance and teases a soon-to-be-announced terrain expansion.
- The lift line is cut for Mayflower’s first lift adjacent to Deer Valley.
News Roundup: Consolidation
- Doppelmayr USA’s Katharina Schmitz joins the Ski Utah podcast to talk lift technology, next year’s projects and more.
- According to Forest Service documents, Alta plans to replace Sunnyside and Albion this summer with a single six place chairlift.
- Sierra at Tahoe President John Rice takes SAM podcast listeners through the harrowing Caldor Fire disaster and recovery effort.
- White Pine, Wyoming is sold to new owners.
- Kimberley announces the Northstar Express will be inoperable for the entire season following last month’s fire.
- Vail Resorts says Stevens Pass faces its most acute staffing problems, replaces the General Manager the same day as a Seattle Times front page story comes out.
- Nine people successfully catch a child who fell from a chair at Mt. Washington.
- Big White seeks more parking at the Black Forest base in advance of two planned lift installations.
- Steamboat repairs the Sunshine Express; Storm Peak Express lives up to its name.
- Mt. Bachelor will be without the Skyliner Express for an indefinite period.
- Keystone closes the River Run Gondola for three days of maintenance (now back open).
- Redevelopment of the Meadows parking lot at Steamboat could include replacing the Wildhorse Gondola with a higher capacity detachable.
- BigRock Mountain’s quad chair fundraising gets off to a strong start.
- Vail Resorts and Park City ski patrollers reach a tentative contract agreement, likely avoiding a strike.
- Despite the headlines, Vail Resorts’ skier visits are actually down from the last two seasons as of January 2nd. Ski school, dining and retail/rental revenue are all up from last year but still down significantly from pre-Covid 2019-20.