- Firm pitches gondola to link South Station to the Seaport district in Boston.
- The United Nations Human Settlements Programme and Doppelmayr publish a 12-page summary of their first Academy of Sustainable Urban Mobility conference held in Austria last April.
- LST Ropeways will build its second North American lift at Waterville Valley, though Skytrac will no longer provide controls, operator houses and installation for the French company.
- A new Doppelmayr gondola, bubble high speed quad and triple chair will debut in December on Eglise Mountain at the Yellowstone Club, by far the biggest lift project in North American skiing for 2017. Thanks to Everett K. for these cool photos of the progress.
- Y.C. has also listed for sale the 160-acre Cedar View Ranch, offering someone the opportunity to build a private lift to the bottom of the Lake lift.
- Anakeesta opens tomorrow.
- Eldora flies towers and ditches the announced Eldo Express name in favor of Alpenglow. Photos credit Michael Weise.
- Pebble Creek joins the growing list of ski areas spinning extra lifts for the Great American Eclipse but there’s one problem: lifts weren’t designed for downloading so guests must walk down!
- The Weather Channel and the BBC will broadcast live from the top of the Jackson Hole Tram on eclipse day.
- Disney and Doppelmayr are building a gondola station in the middle of a lake.
- Mayor of Rossford, Ohio wants to build a gondola across the Maumee River to Toledo.
- Albany gondola idea moves along.
- Metal fatigue eyed in horrific ride incident at the Ohio State Fair (additional photos of the break are here.) The Fair’s SkyGlider chairlift was not involved but temporarily shut down as a precaution.
- Leitner-Poma will build two new lifts at Arapahoe Basin over the next two years. A 400′ Telecorde surface lift called Lazy J Tow will go in this summer to access Montezuma Bowl while the Beavers fixed-grip quad will follow next year.
- Sunshine Village closes again as fire rebounds.
- Intrawest, Mammoth Resorts and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows are now one company owned by KSL, the Crown Family of Aspen Skiing Co. and Rusty Gregory. Currently known as Hawk Holding Company, LLC, a new name and brand will be introduced this fall.
- Rescuers in boats and ladder trucks assist with dramatic evacuation of a bi-cable gondola over the The Rhine in Cologne, Germany.
- Bill Brett, retired GM of Timberline writes about rime and how Palmer almost became Riblet’s first detachable.
- Snowbasin gets an A+ for its latest lift construction update.
- Arizona Snowbowl begins work on its third new lift in three years.
- Gravity is a crazy way to remove an old haul rope.
- Skytrac takes the Instagram plunge.
- Pair of investors nears deal to reopen Cockaigne, NY in 2018-19, a mountain with four Hall lifts that closed in 2011.
- Leitner Ropeways to build a unique two-section gondola in Austria with a single direct drive powering two separately-tensioned haul rope loops.
- Grand Canyon Escalade bill to finally go before the Navajo Nation Council this fall.
- Gulmarg Gondola reopens 39 days after fatal tree accident.
- Doppelmayr inaugurates the first 3S gondola in China with another on the way.
- NPR devotes almost six minutes of airtime to Mexico City’s innovative new gondola.
- Ski Areas of New York members to host six free lift maintenance trainings this summer across the state.
- Jay Peak made $9 million this year, Burke Mountain lost almost $2 million and $4.9 million in tram upgrades are underway with completion scheduled for next month. Follow along with Moving Parts|A Tram Story.
- Unfortunate winch cable accident sends Peruvian chair to the ground at Snowbird.
- Friends of Squaw Mountain, Maine get ~$2.4 million quote from Skytrac to replace a base-to-summit Stadeli double, which has not operated since 2004.
- Follow this thread for sweet construction photos from the world’s largest urban gondola network.
- Crews load test the new Gatlinburg Sky Lift. Cool to see non-galvanized EJ chairs with wood slats! Anakeesta’s lift is not far behind.
- Noting plans to “definitively enter the US market,” LST Ropeways is hiring a design engineer.
- New York State Fair gondola may not happen.
- Blacktail Mountain is for sale for $3.5 million.
- Brian Jorgenson tells Skytrac why lift installation is his favorite kind of flying.
- Here are the full specs for Leitner’s new station and Sigma’s new Diamond Evo cabin.
- Apex Mountain Resort sells to new ownership group eyeing capital investments.
- New D-Line six-pack in Ischgl will cost a whopping $13.1 million.
- Leitner Ropeways publishes 2016 Annual Report (Leitner-Poma of America installations are featured in a separate Poma Reference Book.)
- Revelstoke homeowners aren’t happy lift development has stalled for almost ten years now. The resort’s response identifies master plan lifts 1 and 11 as the highest priorities but notes construction of them is subject to market demand.
- In an interview, new Crystal Mountain owner John Kircher says he wants to build a second gondola to Campbell Basin.
- NY State Fair gondola continues to be targeted as an example of government waste.
- Whaleback’s T-Bar project is a go. The lift came from Plattekill, NY and will be installed by SkyTrans.
- New Gatlinburg Sky Lift looks to be almost finished.
- Poma reaches agreement to build new gondolas in Vietnam with the first next-generation Sigma Diamond EVO cabins introduced yesterday at Interalpin. The new cabins offer more natural light and feature doors that slide rather than opening out.
- Move over D-Line: the new Leitner Station is here.
- LST gets another detachable contract.
- Leitner launches urban gondola in Berlin.
- Skier visits at Vail Resorts were down 2.8 percent this season but lift ticket revenue increased 7.4 percent.
- Mi Teleférico opens $1.5 million Operations Control Center with 22 people monitoring 1,300 surveillance cameras on 66 screens and lightning detection system for four gondola lines.
- Purgatory will add a mid-station to its Needles triple this summer.
Eight new eight-passenger chairlifts debuted this ski season, the highest number in history. Twenty years since the technology debuted, Doppelmayr, Garaventa, Leitner and Poma have now built a combined 78 of these mega chairlifts on three continents and in eleven countries. With 2016 seeing the greatest number of eight-passenger chairlifts constructed, a question on everybody’s mind should be: when will the world’s second largest ski market finally build one?
Doppelmayr debuted eight-passenger chair technology in 1997 (in Norway of all places) and continues to be the market leader, having built two-thirds of those operating today. But for the first time ever the Leitner-Poma Group installed more than Doppelmayr and Garaventa combined last year. In 2006, Leitner built the first combined installation with eight-passenger chairs and 10-passenger gondola cabins and there are now seven of these across Europe. Bubble chairs and seat heating came along in 2000 and nearly every new eight-passenger lift features both these days. In total, 60 percent of eight seaters globally have bubbles and half sport heated seats.
Austria is home to over 60 percent of the world’s eight-passenger chairlifts and exactly five have ever made it out of Europe. Australia and Asia each got their first in 2003 but several leading ski markets have never gone there – among them Japan, Canada, China and the United States.
For the first time in 24 years (and post-Lift Engineering) an electrical or mechanical problem has led to a fatality on an American ski lift. The Quickdraw quad at Granby Ranch will re-open Tuesday after the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board reached an interim operation agreement with the ski area. The news comes almost two weeks after the December 29th accident, in which a mother and her two daughters fell from a chair. Unfortunately, the agreement notes that a “rare dynamic event” due to issues with the electronic drive/control system caused the riders’ fall. Environmental factors, weather and/or rider behavior were not to blame.
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, which oversees the tramway board, conducted extensive testing in addition to interviewing witnesses and engineers over the past 10 days. Mother Kelly Huber and her two children were riding chair number 58 when it came into contact with tower 5 due to irregular line dynamics. The lift had been load tested less than four weeks prior, on Dec. 5th.
The operation agreement with the CPTSB is stringent. Quickdraw’s electronic drive must be disconnected (this particular lift has two diesels – auxiliary and evacuation.) Lift mechanics, operators and ski patrollers all must perform a line check prior to operation each day. Additional visual line and ground checks will be required to be documented every two hours. For the first three days, the lift will only be permitted to move 600 feet per minute, even though the diesel auxiliary is rated for up to 900 fpm. After two additional days at 700 fpm, Granby Ranch will be permitted to operate the lift at 800 fpm for the rest of the season. Presumably this summer the lift will get a completely new drive.
The operation agreement is not a final report and does not identify any acts or omissions leading up to the accident, but merely outlines the conditions under which the lift can re-open. In a press release dated today, Granby Ranch echoed its condolences to the family of the victims and affirmed its commitment to safety. “The Quick Draw Express has been operating safely at Granby Ranch over the 16 seasons since its installation,” the company noted. “Granby Ranch has followed all prescribed protocols in operating the lift.”
We haven’t heard the end of this one. Hopefully the final report will provide some insight into how this type of event can be avoided in the future.
Update 1/10/17: Apparently a third-party company installed a new ABB drive last summer that ramped up and/or down too quickly, leading to the dynamic event.
- Rope evac goes smoothly at Rabbit Hill, Alberta.
- Bridger Bowl’s new Virginia City lift sounds like a go for 2017.
- Leitner’s newest urban gondola system makes the New York Times.
- Sundance Ski Patrol rescues a second child in as many weeks dangling from Ray’s lift, which has four unload ramps.
- The CPTSB is still investigating at Granby Ranch and Quickdraw remains closed.
- Bruno’s lift at Timberline had a rough day today.
- Eaton Mountain won’t open for skiing this winter, but the dream still lives.
- The brand new LST Valar T-Bar at Cannon Mountain also remains closed, apparently due to multiple problems.
- Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley are doing their best to weather Winter Storm Helena.
- Across the board, North America had a hugely successful holiday week.
- And yet another crazy dangler story from Colorado.
- With construction progressing ahead of schedule, Mi Teleférico in La Paz will open its 4th, 5th and 6th gondolas in 2017 – to be named the Orange, Blue and White lines.
- Costa Rica to study urban gondolas, along with Guanajuato, Mexico.
- Al Jazeera English tours Mexico City’s new gondolas that are improving the lives of working families.
- Doppelmayr to build another 3S carrying 80,000 passengers daily across Kilindini Harbour in Nairobi, Kenya from mid-2018.
- Two new gondolas in Austria – Giggijochbahn (Doppelmayr 10-MGD) and Eisgratbahn (Leitner 3S) – join the ranks of the most capable lifts on the planet.
- Bartholet’s first urban cable car opens in Brest.
- It was a $9 million summer at Cascade Mountain.
- Magic Mountain sale closes.
The 2.8 mile 3S gondola Eisgratbahn, believed to be the world’s most expensive lift, debuts today after two long summers of construction. The two-stage system features 49 32-passenger Symphony cabins transporting up to 3,014 passengers per hour 4,000 vertical feet. The goal is to reduce the frequency of wind closures versus the former gondola lift. Congratulations to Leitner Ropeways and Stubaier Glacier on completing this monster project.