News Roundup: Coast to Coast

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News Roundup: Nine Figures

  • wild wind video from South America makes the internet rounds.  Anyone know why are there double and quad chairs on the same lift?
  • A founding partner of the hugely successful Sea to Sky Gondola looks at building a similar lift along the Trans-Canada Highway near Chilliwack, BC.
  • 9News checks in on Winter Park’s major gondola upgrade.
  • Mexicable’s second gondola line could be a $105 million monster: 5.2 miles long with six stations carrying an estimated 35,000 riders each day.
  • I usually write about lifts and not myself but Skytrac recently interviewed me.
  • A BC court will hear the case of a skier injured when a Mueller lift de-roped four years ago. Crystal Mountain never reopened following the incident, which was blamed on multiple factors.
  • A local photographer is posting weekly pictures of Killington’s three simultaneous lift installations.
  • Fatzer releases more details on the US debut of Compacta at Big Sky.
  • The Balsams withdraws its application for a $28 million state loan guarantee, effectively shelving redevelopment for now.
  • LST’s American lift number two looks sharp at Waterville Valley.
  • Another Blackcomb Gondola update courtesy of Rob at WB shows how giant UNI-G XXLs are.

Killington to Add Bubble Six-Pack, South Ridge Quad & New K-1 Cabins

Powdr Co. will invest a whopping $16 million on lift improvements at Killington Resort this summer, adding two new chairlifts and upgrading the cabins on the K-1 Express Gondola.  The Snowdon Quad will be replaced with Vermont’s fourth six-place bubble chair, turning the current 10-12 minute jog into a four-and-a-half minute minute blip.  This new flagship lift will move 3,000 guests per hour and feature bubble chairs along with indoor parking.  “While we are committed to staying core to our beastly advanced terrain, we are also putting the focus on our blue family-friendly terrain.” says Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington Resort in a release. “The investments we’re making will re-shape the guest experience for years to come. Uphill capacity will increase to 48,000 per hour and the downhill enhancements will create more diverse terrain for all levels of skiers and riders.”  Built by built by Leitner-Poma of America, the new Snowdon lift will be similar to the bubble sixers at Mt. Snow and Okemo.

The old Snowdon quad, which used a mix of new and used Poma parts when it was built in 1987, will move to South Ridge.  A triangle-shaped Yan there stopped carrying skiers in 2011 and the terrain hasn’t been directly serviced since.  The new quad will follow the downhill alignment of the old triple and feature new hangers, grips and electrical controls.

K-1 will see all new Sigma Diamond 8 cabins to replace the CWA Omegas from 1997 along with a new haul rope.  Stratton’s gondola received the same cabins in 2014 and Killington will keep K-1s cabins as spares for Skyeship 1+2.  Powdr will also finally complete the gondola’s cabin parking facility so the shiny new cabins can be stored inside.

The new lift and two relocations will cost $7.8 million with the gondola upgrades totaling $2.2 million.  If all that wasn’t enough, the Beast of the East is also going to add Axess RFID ticketing for 2018-19, relocate the Snowdon Poma (built in 1958!) to Ramshead and make significant trail improvements.  These moves represent the largest capital program at Killington in more than 20 years – since the American Skiing Company days.  Welcome to lift announcement March!

News Roundup: On the Block

  • Alterra’s David Perry says significant capital is likely be spent at Steamboat in 2018 and 2019 with phase two of the gondola rebuild and other big projects on the table.
  • A Denver TV reporter heads to Texas for a two-part interview with the husband of Kelly Huber, the woman killed during a lift malfunction last year at Granby Ranch.
  • Two loaded chairs collide at Owl’s Head, Quebec after the Green Chair was pressed into rare operation amid downtime on a neighboring high-speed quad.  The 1972 Heron-Poma is the former Big Hitch lift from Stagecoach, Colorado.
  • China Peak’s owner wishes he still had the $900,000 he spent to build a new lift last summer that can’t open with no snow.
  • The new Peak triple was rope evac’d at Pats Peak last Monday, apparently due to a gearbox issue.
  • Poma dedicates its newest factory in France.
  • Disney Skyliner’s first tower is up and it’s tapered in the cool Wolfurt style.
  • Ian Cumming, founder of Powdr and majority owner of Snowbird, dies at age 77.
  • Granite Gorge’s chairlift opens for the season after a gearbox issue and other problems.
  • Ariel Quiros officially settles with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $82 million, paving the way for the sale of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain.
  • The world’s longest lift is open!
  • Killington formally applies to replace the South Ridge triple with a quad chair, manufacturer unknown. The sample profile confusingly shows a Poma Alpha drive and Doppelmayr Eclipse return terminal.
  • Teton Pass, Montana won’t reopen under current ownership and is up for sale.
  • Skier visits have declined 30 percent in South Korea over the last five years and there are several lost ski resorts in the Olympic region.
  • The Sawtooth National Forest tentatively approves Sun Valley’s project to replace the Cold Springs lift with a longer high-speed quad as soon as this summer.
  • A chairlift will be studied studied for one of Alabama’s most popular state parks.
  • Alterra names Mammoth veteran Rusty Gregory as the company’s first CEO.

News Roundup: Removed

  • Reopening of Steamboat’s refurbished gondola has been delayed one more week to July 21st.
  • Pats Peak starts work on the new Peak chair, a CTEC from Ascutney, VT with Skytrac upgrades and a loading carpet.
  • Alta updates skiers on the new Supreme.
  • The Snowdon triple at Killington is getting new SkyTrans crossarms this summer.
  • Didn’t make it to Interalpin?  You can see the Leitner-Poma Group’s booth through an interactive panorama.
  • This week’s Disney gondola update comes from EPCOT.
  • Waterville Valley proposes replacing unreliable High Country double with a T-Bar.
  • More details surface in fatal Gulmarg Gondola tree incident.
  • Six Flags sky ride reopens with new between-leg restraints following rider fall.
  • The Community Ski Areas at Risk Symposium, sponsored by Skytrac, is a worthy watch.
  • I stopped by Hogadon this weekend and confirmed the Red chair has been removed.  Pictures of all 33 of Wyoming’s lifts are now in the database and Montana will be completed next.
  • An Eldo Express update.
  • Doppelmayr opens an impressive over-water gondola in South Korea’s second largest city.
  • Medellín’s four gondola lines will be joined by a fifth.
  • The Lake Compounce Skyride, a 1997 CTEC Sprint with 14 towers closes for good.
  • Leitner’s new urban gondola in Berlin sees a million riders in its first three months.
  • Insolvent Ski Blandford may be sold to Ski Butternut.

Killington Adding South Ridge Quad in 2018

southridgemap
A new South Ridge quad chair will debut at Killington Resort for 2018-19 in the path of an old chairlift retired in 2011.

Killington Resort and a local developer will invest $110 million to revitalize Bear Mountain over the next few years, including the addition of a fixed-grip quad chair at South Ridge next summer.  Most of the plans involve base infrastructure and real estate but the lift news is exciting given the South Ridge area has been without direct service since its triple chair was removed in 2011.  The $3 million quad chair will be the first new lift at the East’s most visited resort since the addition of the Skye Peak Express in 2008.  “This Bear Mountain Revitalization Plan is especially exciting for me because I know that our core group of season pass holders has wanted a new South Ridge lift since the day we removed the old one,” says Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington Resort. “With the trail work our team has planned, this layout should greatly enhance the Killington experience by improving connectivity between the north and south sides of the resort.”  The Bear Mountain Quad, a 1979 Yan will remain for now but is likely to be upgraded in the future with new development at its base.

Lift Engineering built the old South Ridge lift in the shape of a triangle, a wacky setup that will not be repeated.  The new version will follow the path of the old light side from the bottom of Roundabout to an unload near the summit of Killington Peak.  “From the top of the Bear Mountain Quad, the long-awaited replacement of the South Ridge lift will give skiers and snowboarders easy access the resort’s north side terrain including the Canyon and Snowdon areas, or easy access to the many trails in the sunny South Ridge area,” says Jeff Temple, director of mountain operations.  Leitner-Poma is likely to build the fixed-grip quad as a longstanding supplier to Killington, but there’s also a chance it could go to Doppelmayr with Powdr Co.’s recent history.  In further good news, The Beast also announced an agreement yesterday to host World Cup ski racing in both 2017 and 2018.

News Roundup: 360

News Roundup: One Third

  • Alpine Mountain says goodbye to skiing.  The Pennsylvania ski area once operated three Borvig fixed-grips chairlifts.
  • Nearing December, Suicide Six and Waterville Valley are still building their respective new lifts.
  • Skytrac talks ANSI and more with Ross Stevens of Stevens Engineering.
  • East River Skyway gains more backers.
  • City of Branson to vote on American Gondola agreement Dec. 13th.
  • One summer is down, two more to go building the world’s highest 3S.
  • Chile’s President inaugurates new Poma gondola in Santiago.
  • Saddleback Mountain Foundation raises one third of the millions needed to reopen Maine’s third largest resort as a co-operative.
  • Parks Canada is not on board with gondola transit for Banff.
  • Ski racer gets $750,000 after being left on a gondola at Killington for five hours in October 2011.

News Roundup: Co-Op