News Roundup: 2019

  • Valemount Glacier Destinations says it’s in talks with both Leitner-Poma and Doppelmayr for construction of phase one lifts in 2018-19.
  • SE Group to present nine alignment options for a new Lift 1A on Aspen Mountain.
  • La Paz breaks ground on its 17th and 18th gondolas, set to open in 2019.
  • The Saddleback sale still hasn’t closed and an update suggests a shift in focus from building new lifts to reopening with a limited number of existing ones.
  • Here’s a great rundown of Sigma’s new Symphony 10 gondola cabin, which complements the Diamond series.
  • In surprise announcement, Teton Pass says it won’t open this winter.  This awesome but remote Montana resort has a 1973 SLI double and a number of used chairlifts in the parking lot for possible expansion.

  • New Zealand’s longest chairlift will reopen December 5th, nine months after a wildfire burned chairs and ruined the haul rope.
  • Forest Service releases draft draft Environmental Assessment for Alta’s Baldy tram, Flora lift and Wildcat/Sunnyside replacement projects.  Final public comment is now open.
  • World’s largest gold producer proposes building a ski resort with up to 18 lifts on a former mine site near Hope, BC.
  • The Economist looks at why Latin American countries build so many urban gondolas.
  • The Grand Canyon Escalade bill goes before the Navajo Nation Council on Tuesday and needs a two-thirds majority to pass.
  • Squaw Alpine names 13,000-foot interconnect gondola California Express, plans 2019 opening.

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Instagram Tuesday: Fireworks

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Kicking Horse Gondola Evacuated by Helicopter

A transformer failed yesterday afternoon at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, knocking two lifts out of service.  Crews restarted the Catamount quad on auxiliary but the Golden Eagle Express Gondola sustained damage to its safety systems such that it could not operate.  With nightfall approaching, some of the gondola’s 75 passengers were plucked out of cabins by helicopter at sunset, making for some pretty spectacular GoPro footage.  The rest were roped down by ground teams over about five hours. The 8-passenger, 11,188′ Golden Eagle Express was built by Poma in 2000 and rises more than 3,500 vertical feet.  The gondola remained closed today but the mountain hopes to have it back in business tomorrow.

Kicking Horse posted the following statement on Facebook this morning:

“Further to an electrical issue, the Golden Eagle Express Gondola was manually evacuated yesterday evening. With everyone safe, warm and fed, we apologize to each of you involved for the inconvenience. We are thankful that everyone is safe and credit to the talented team of professionals; Kicking Horse Mountain Resort teams, Golden and District Search and Rescue & Canadian Ski Patrol.  We are hopeful that the Gondola will be spinning later today, though currently is still on standby. We are offering skiing and snowboarding via the Catamount Chair & Pioneer Chair.  Stay tuned for further updates.”

 

Instagram Tuesday: Epic

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Instagram Tuesday: Big Span

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Instagram Tuesday: Still Building

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North America’s Top Ten Longest Lifts

North America’s top ten longest lifts are all gondolas or aerial tramways and only half of them are directly used for skiing.  Silver Mountain’s Gondola is number one although it is no longer the world’s longest.  Since 2014, that title has belonged to the Bursa Uludag Gondola in Turkey which is a ridiculous 28,871 feet.  This list does not include systems which have multiple haul ropes, such as Blackcomb’s Excalibur, which I consider to be two separate gondolas.

Silver Mountain's VonRoll gondola was the world's longest when it opened in 1990.
Silver Mountain’s VonRoll gondola was the world’s longest when it opened in 1990.

1. Silver Mountain Gondola, Silver Mountain, Idaho – 1990 VonRoll 8-passenger gondola

16,350′ ride time 16.4 minutes

2. Sunshine Village Gondola, Sunshine Village, Alberta – 2001 Poma 8-passenger gondola

14,894′ ride time 12.4 minutes

3. Peak 2 Peak Gondola, Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia – 2008 Doppelmayr 3S tri-cable gondola

14,497′ ride time 9.8 minutes

4. Sandia Peak Tramway, Albuquerque, New Mexico – 1965 Bell 50-passenger tramway

14,338′

5. Silver Queen Gondola, Aspen Mountain, Colorado – 1986 Poma 6-passenger gondola

13,216′ ride time 13.2 minutes

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