- 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.
Hello readers- for the next two weeks I am floating the Grand Canyon without access to the internet. I’ve scheduled a few posts for my absence, otherwise lift blogging will resume Nov. 5th –Peter from Flagstaff, Arizona.
- Ski season launches tomorrow at A-Basin. COO Al Henceroth is also looking for one of the resort’s original single chairs.
- Silver Mountain reportedly sells for a fire-sale price of $5 million. The resort’s gondola, formerly the world’s longest, cost $8 million in 1990.
- Doppelmayr goes to Moscow, Poma goes to Barcelona and Orlando.
- Wire Austin gets a website.
- Take a ride on the newly-named Hexago six-pack at Le Relais.
- In case you missed it, Gregg Blanchard of SlopeFillers fame interviewed me about Lift Blog.
- Woman sues Aspen Skiing Company over loading incident at the Snowmass Village Express.
- Vail Resorts to debut $100 million in capital improvements for 2016-17 including four new lifts. With Whistler-Blackcomb now Epic, the company will likely invest even more in 2017.
- 9News profiles the CPTSB.
- Michael Seeber takes a ride on Berlin’s new mile-long gondola built for the International Garden Exhibition.
- Guests can now view bears and gorillas from gondolas with glass floors in Spain.
- Paris launches study of 2.8 mile, €120 million urban gondola.
- The press takes a tour of the Partek-built State Fair Flyer in North Carolina.
- Regional district approves rezoning for Valemount Glacier.
- The future of the Grand Canyon Escalade will likely be decided Oct. 17th, construction could be complete by 2020.
- Follow this thread to see LST’s very first detachable lift take shape in La Plagne.
- NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com posts a grim progress report from Sunday River.
- Waterville Valley cuts the lift line for Green Peak.
- Good news for Leitner-Poma: Ruapehu Alpine Lifts in New Zealand plans another quad chair for 2017, gondola in 2018 that will likely be built in Colorado.
- The Teleférico do Alemão in Rio unexpectedly shut down Thursday for at least six months following the discovery of abnormal wear in the haul rope which now needs to be replaced.
- As Snowbird plans for construction in Mary Ellen Gulch beginning in 2018, environmental group takes the media on a tour of abandoned mines there. The 500-acre expansion will likely include a two-stage gondola, Sunday Saddle lift and a new, longer Mineral Basin six-pack.
- Jan Leonard, of CTEC and Skytrac fame, will be inducted into the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Park City tomorrow.
- Big Sky posts lots of pictures as their new lifts near completion.
- Grouse Mountain is for sale, including two aerial tramways and four quad chairs.
- Doppelmayr signs agreement with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme to collaborate on mobility solutions worldwide.
- Yet another city in Mexico – El Marqués – looks at building a gondola.