- Indy Pass signs on Manning Park, British Columbia; The Rock, Wisconsin; and Seven Oaks, Iowa.
- Big Snow American Dream will remain closed several more weeks following last week’s fire.
- Leitner-Poma to build the previously announced Lakeview Express at Mt. Rose next year.
- The gondola to the gondola at Breckenridge nears approval.
- Rad Smith completes his largest illustration yet – a new map for Big White in the style of James Niehues.
- Another protest takes place against a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- Nitehawk continues fundraising for a new chairlift as it nears a second season without one.
- Lookout Pass works to convert Timber Wolf from a double into a triple.
- Alpine-X seeks to raise up to $5 million through crowdfunding.
- An Iowa county agrees to purchase Sleepy Hollow, a chairlift-served tubing park.
- Palisades Tahoe renames two of its chairlifts Resort Chair and Wa She Shu.
- Doppelmayr arrives on site to assess and make recommendations regarding the storm-damaged chairlift in Gallix, Quebec.
- Amsterdam could see a river crossing 3S gondola.
- Sundance will host a party on October 10th to celebrate the final rides on Ray’s Lift before removal.
- Another gondola concept emerges in Los Angeles.
- Lake Louise’s new high speed quad will be called Juniper Express.
- Camelback says it has completed an extensive inspection and certification process for its lifts and implemented additional safety protocols in the wake of last season’s chair fall.
- Stuart Winchester gets the latest from Aspen Snowmass CEO Mike Kaplan on 1A, Pandora’s, Coney Glade, Burnt Mountain, Goldenhorn and other lift projects.
- The Superior National Forest will host a virtual open house Tuesday regarding the Lutsen Mountains expansion.
- West Mountain unveils plans for its first detachable lift, including an intermediate station.
Despite an 18 month pandemic, supply chain challenges and continued uncertainty, a handful of US and Canadian ski resorts are putting finishing touches on expansion projects set to debut this winter. Two of these were delayed in 2020 and resumed construction this year while others were actually accelerated during Covid. Many of this year’s projects focus on learning terrain enhancements following the pandemic winter when new and lapsed skiers gravitated toward the mountains.
McCoy Park – Beaver Creek Mountain, Colorado
The lone expansion this year featuring two new chairlifts is Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park, encompassing 250 acres of new high alpine terrain. This beginner zone follows in the footsteps of Haymeadow Park and Red Buffalo Park, which both offer dedicated terrain for new skiers and snowboarders with detachable lifts. The new McCoy Park Express will service 17 trails and the Reunion Quad will provide easy exit from McCoy Park to the Upper Beaver Creek Mountain and Strawberry Park Express lifts.
Lower Juniper – Lake Louise, Alberta
Another beginner-focused expansion featuring a detachable quad is underway at Lake Louise. The new Lower Juniper Express is the second new chairlift here in two years. It will access four new low intermediate trails and provide an alternate out-of-base option to access the upper mountain.
Sunny Side – Snow King Mountain, Wyoming
Shadowed somewhat by construction of a new 8 passenger gondola on the front side of the mountain, Sunny Side at Snow King Mountain will also open this winter. This new backside bowl features extensive snowmaking and a Skytrac fixed grip quad.
Buzzsaw – Searchmont, Ontario
Searchmont hasn’t hosted a single day of skiing since March 2020, which makes its terrain expansion even more remarkable. New owner Wisconsin Resorts took delivery of two Skytrac triples last year, one of which replaced an existing Borvig double. The second lift sat in storage last winter and is now being installed to service two brand new beginner trails.
Merrill Hill – Sunday River, Maine
2021’s only New England expansion is a ninth peak at Sunday River. Merrill Hill features four ski trails and 23 new home sites near the South Ridge base area. This low angle zone will be serviced by a new Doppelmayr fixed grip triple, the mountain’s 15th chairlift.
Lake Louise owner Charlie Locke shared a hopeful year end message today, detailing among other things construction of the mountain’s eighth lift. Known as Lower Juniper in the Lake Louise Long Range Plan, the quad chair will eventually be joined by a second lift to form a new route from the Whiskyjack base area to the Top of the World. Lower Juniper is expected to transport 2,200 guests per hour and service 75 acres of beginner and low intermediate terrain.
Contract signing for a new lift in 2021 is the latest in a string of good news from Lake Louise, which just debuted West Bowl terrain along with a new Doppelmayr fixed grip quad. The manufacturer for Lower Juniper was not specified.
“As this challenging year draws to a close, we would like to give our heartfelt thanks to all our guests, staff, community members, and healthcare workers of all kinds who have supported us during this difficult time,” said Locke. “We have shown how resilient, creative and collaborative we are when faced with adversity and uncertainty. We are all looking forward to a New Year that will be safe, happy, healthy, and secure for all of us as the light at the end of this dark tunnel becomes ever brighter.”
- Sunrise Park Resort considers building a combination lift.
- Mont-Sainte-Anne works diligently toward reopening its gondola with a reduced capacity of 30 cabins at first.
- A Vancouver developer scraps a gondola from its plans.
- Ontario’s more than 40 ski areas are ordered to close as part of a multi-week lockdown beginning tomorrow.
- The City of Sioux Falls orders a Skytrac quad for Great Bear Ski Valley.
- Fashion designer Rachel Zoe shares the story of her son falling from a Buttermilk quad chair on social media.
- Another fall at Sundance gets featured on Reddit.
- An 8 year old raises $10,000 to support a struggling nonprofit ski area in North Dakota.
- Snow King Mountain previews its gondola cabins which are being fabricated in France.
- Michigan’s Blackjack and Indianhead are both for sale with a listing price of $3.49 million.
- Blizzard Beach, chairlift and all, will reopen March 7th after a year-long closure.
- A group proposes connecting West Seattle to the regional transit network with a four station gondola.
- Steamboat creates a virtual gondola line powered by text message.
- With Europe’s ski industry struggling particularly hard, MND Group focuses on international markets including North America.
- The reimagined Bousquet Mountain opens with a new triple chair January 1st.
- Mission Ridge’s new summit lift opening later this winter will be called the Wenatchee Express.
- Lake Louise updates its trail map to show the West Bowl expansion, Summit lift and two future lift alignments.
- The New York Times checks in with ski resorts across the country about business during the pandemic.
- Sun Peaks’ seventh quad chair is complete.
- Lake Louise previews Canada’s only expansion for 2020.
- Camelback announces the new Sunbowl Quad will extend higher than the lifts it replaces.
- Mission Ridge forges its own path erecting a used high speed quad in house with local contractors.
- Alterra’s Rusty Gregory talks about winter demand.
- Cannon Mountain’s tramway will likely start the season on indefinite hold due to public health concerns.
- Australian regulators conclude hand carrying bikes on chairlifts is not safe.
- After six months closed, the Palm Springs Tramway reopens at less than 25 percent capacity.
- Soldier Mountain reveals comm lines, chairs and haul ropes were all damaged in this summer’s fire.
- Another new resort will join the Indy Pass, to be announced Monday.
Work is underway to add 480 acres of new high alpine, advanced terrain at Lake Louise for next winter. West Bowl will be accessed by a Doppelmayr fixed grip quad replacing the old Summit Platter. This expansion will feature natural, side country-style terrain with gladed trees. The only groomed portion will be a new ski-out trail to the front side of the mountain.
The new Summit quad will be Lake Louise’s first Doppelmayr chairlift. It will run in a new alignment from Top of the World to Mt. Whitehorn. That means a lap will in West Bowl will require three lift rides: Glacier Express or Grizzly Express, Top of the World and Summit. Eventually, a new Upper Juniper lift will eliminate the need for West Bowl skiers to transit the base area and ride three lifts.
Lake Louise plans to replace and make more lift additions in future years as part of its new Long Range Plan in partnership with Parks Canada.
- Mt. Rose wants to replace Lakeview and build a two stage detachable Atoma lift instead of two separate alignments shown here.
- Two people survive after their small plane crashes into and is caught by chairlift cables in Italy.
- The Forest Service seeks public comment on issuing a special use permit to Mountain Capital Partners to operate Elk Ridge, Arizona, which closed in 2017.
- The owners of 100 year old Pocono Manor want to build a 1.5 mile chairlift to the upcoming Pocono Springs lifestyle and entertainment complex.
- The New York Times considers whether a planned four station gondola is appropriate in historically holy Jerusalem.
- All three Disney Skyliner lines remain closed following Saturday’s mishap at the Riviera station.
- The replacement for Big Burn at Snowmass may be a six place bubble model.
- Hermitage Club founder Jim Barnes is ordered to pay a member more than $5.4 million for making misrepresentations.
- Crystal Mountain adds 12 gondola cabins with the mountain’s new logo, bringing the Mt. Rainier Gondola to its maximum capacity of 900 passengers per hour.
- Magic Mountain’s new quad may not spin by Christmas but hopefully MLK weekend.
- Environmental review of the New York Capital Gondola project should commence next week.
- Lake Louise’s VonRoll gondola towers finally fly away after 60 years.
- The VonRoll in Oklahoma thrills riders for a 54th year.
- Fatzer fast tracks a new haul rope for the Sea to Sky Gondola.
- The recently opened 3S in Norway successfully toes the line between an urban gondola and ski/tourism lift.
- Vail seeks to buy the Hermitage Club’s snowmaking guns.
- A super cool LST T-Bar on the roof of a waste-to-energy plant opens for skiers in Copenhagen.
- Poma begins constructing a five section urban gondola on the remote Indian Ocean island of Réunion.
- Grouse Mountain acknowledges the Blue Skyride‘s days are numbered and will study replacing it over the coming year.
- Frost Fire, which was unable to spin its brand new Skytrac quad last winter, says it will open this winter.
- Copper’s new lift up Tucker Mountain will be named Three Bears after three members of the Cumming family who founded Powdr Co.
- Parks Canada green lights Lake Louise’s new long range plan including nine new lifts.
- The Forest Service weighs environmental concerns about Breck’s planned Peak 7 infill lift.
- Proposed federal legislation would set aside large swaths of the Wasatch for conservation and limit ski terrain expansion options.
- The fixed grip chondola in Illinois still doesn’t have an opening date but progress is ongoing.
- Revelstoke Mountain Resort previews the Stellar expansion and introduces a new trail map.
- A local TV reporter learns how to operate the Portland Aerial Tram and a Discovery Channel personality plays tram mechanic in Palm Springs.
- Wooward Park City, the all-new actions sports park with a Doppelmayr quad chair, will launch November 27th.
- Charles Hlavac purchases Teton Pass and plans to reopen as soon as possible under a new name.
- Disney bloggers discover the Disney Skyliner cabins feature automated narration. T-minus 16 days!
- Stevens Pass will sell 216 chairs from Daisy and Brooks on Thursday, September 19th with proceeds benefiting the Epic Promise Foundation.
- Eaglecrest opens a public survey to gauge interest in its gondola proposal and other projects.
- Here’s a rundown from the Saddleback community meeting.
- Mt. St. Louis Moonstone invests over CAD$6 million on a Leitner-Poma detachable six place lift to replace the Louis Express.
- A new lawsuit seeks to block approval of the Squaw-Alpine gondola project.
The only regular venue for World Cup alpine racing in Canada is Lake Louise, which also happens to be among the most naturally scenic places one can ski anywhere. Louise is one of three ski resorts located in Banff National Park along with Sunshine Village and Norquay, which are also considering making major lift investments in the coming years. Lake Louise hopes a proposed reduction in overall acreage will allow it to add up to nine new chairlifts along with other improved amenities over the next 15 years. Even though the resort’s permitted boundary would decrease from 5,400 acres to approximately 4,100, comfortable carrying capacity would increase from 6,000 to 9,000 skiers per day. “The new plan focuses on enhancing terrain, facilities and services for all visitors, during all seasons, and will lead to a better visitor experience,” the project website notes. “It will allow us to continue to protect local sensitive areas and species, while advancing environmental awareness and conservation goals for future generations.”
Like at other large mountains with only one portal, out-of-base capacity is a problem. At Lake Louise, it was compounded by the retirement of Olympic without a direct replacement in 2004. The four person, Leitner-built Glacier Express would be rebuilt as a six place lift. A new Juniper high speed quad is proposed load near Olympic and service three new beginner trails. Another new lift called Meadowlark would board near the Grizzly Express Gondola with detachable quad chairs. These improvements would bring out-of-base capacity to 9,000 skiers per hour, almost double the current level.
Another high speed quad called Upper Juniper would relieve pressure from the Top of the World Express. Summit Platter would be removed and replaced with a fixed grip chairlift in completely a new alignment with wind exposure in mind. The new lift would load at the Top of the World and unload higher near the true top of Whitehorn Mountain. Also on the upper mountain, a new Eagle chairlift would replace the retired Mueller double with a detachable quad and ease pressure on the gondola. Sometimes ski resorts go in circles!
- Move over Epic Pass, Alterra is launching the Ikon Pass.
- Granby Ranch is officially listed for sale.
- Aspen CEO Mike Kaplan says snow challenges bring out the best in people.
- Think your area is busy on a Saturday? The urban gondola network in La Paz sets a new one day record: 278,621 riders!
- New York Governor calls previously announced state fair gondola “an exciting idea” but withholds funding for now.
- More stories surface of the Hermitage Club owing people money.
- Skier records volcano erupting from a Doppelmayr detachable in Japan. One person was killed and a gondola damaged by rockfall.
- ORDA, the state owner of Belleayre, Gore Mountain and Whiteface, lost $20.8 million last year.
- Powder catches up with Alterra President and COO David Perry, who stresses the company will do things differently than Vail.
- Public comment period opens for Mt. Rose’s Atoma expansion, which would include construction of one or two new chairlifts as early as 2019.
- The draft environmental impact statement is also out for Steamboat’s expansion, to include a second gondola, Rough Rider chairlift, new Bashor lift and Pioneer Ridge pod with groundbreaking possible by May.
- Lake Louise and Nakiska are probable venues for a possible 2026 Calgary Olympics. Denver, Reno-Tahoe and Salt Lake also weigh bids.
- Just upgrading electric infrastructure for Disney’s Skyliner gondola system will cost $3.8 million, around the total price tag of a typical ski lift project!
- For the first time since I started keeping track, 2018 new lifts are pacing behind 2017.