- Mont-Sainte-Anne is ordered not to operate its gondola until the lift is deemed safe.
- A New Brunswick resort will pay a fine for a lift employee’s on the job injury.
- All three Disney Skyliner gondolas are set to reopen July 15th.
- Liftopia fights to stay out of bankruptcy as more ski areas say the company owes them money.
- Silver Mountain celebrates the anniversary of a historic agreement to bring the world’s longest gondola to Kellogg, Idaho.
- With its first chairlift complete, Skeetawk sets its sights on a much longer detachable quad.
- Construction of the planned Valemount Glacier resort is delayed.
- Cape Smokey begins building foundations for Atlantic Canada’s only gondola.
- White Pass will switch rotation direction of the Basin quad, requiring a tower to be moved.
- Snowy Range removes the Chute double’s drive terminal in preparation for a Skytrac Monarch upgrade.
- Big Sky Resort launches first in North America self load, self unload bike carriers on Ramcharger 8.
- The Forest Service approves expanding Summit Ski Area’s footprint to connect with Timberline Lodge & Ski Area.
- The California zoo which debuted a detachable gondola three years ago finds itself on the brink of permanent closure.
- As the Forest Service continues its review, the Town of Jackson once again takes up the issue of a Snow King Mountain gondola.
- Mission Ridge will auction off chairs from the former Liberator Express.
- A coalition including Alta, Snowbird, Ski Utah and Powdr launches a website and media campaign advocating for a Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola.
- Last year’s addition of the Peak 1 quad allows Lookout Pass to launch summer operations for the first time.
- Remains of a very old tramway in Utah may be removed.
- Green Mountain Valley School celebrates groundbreaking for a state-of-the-art T-Bar at Sugarbush.
- It took five long weeks to get a European specialist into New Zealand and able to splice the country’s first D-Line lift.
- Hunter Mountain abruptly cancels its summer skyride opening and will share more information in the coming weeks.
When the Utah Department of Transportation unveiled three Little Cottonwood Canyon mobility alternatives, many Utahns were pleased to see a gondola included. However, two criticisms emerged: a lack of on-site parking at the bottom terminal and a low hourly capacity of 1,050 passengers per direction. A new proposal by a private landowner and developer seeks to address both of those issues by requesting UDOT amend the location of the bottom terminal to a 37.5 acre site adjacent to Highway 210. The alternative base station would be located near the LaCaille estate, seven tenths of a mile from the mouth of the canyon. The requested amendment to the current gondola plan would provide enough room for a public parking garage as well as transit center for bus riders to transfer directly to the ropeway.
Chris McCandless is the former Sandy City Councilman behind the proposal along with Wayne Niederhauser, a former Utah State Senator. Their company, CW Management, owns the site and plans to develop it but is willing to preserve the land needed for use as a gondola station if UDOT approves of this new option. If the gondola loads there, a non-loading angle station would be required in lower Little Cottonwood Canyon to avoid the alignment passing over designated wilderness. A second angle station at Tanners Flat, like in UDOT’s alternative, would also be included. Cabins would slow down just enough to make turns at these stations and gondola doors would stay closed.
CW Management consulted with Salt Lake-based Doppelmayr USA, which confirmed such a gondola is feasible. McCandless envisions an up to 4,000 passenger per hour 3S travelling at a speed of 8.5 meters a second. The Department of Transportation planned cabins arriving only once every two minutes, diverting only 30 percent of skiers out of private cars. Under the LaCaille vision, cabins would arrive every 30 seconds and divert up to 10,000 people off the highway during a peak three hour period. Ride time would be 27 minutes to the Snowbird Center with no need to ride a shuttle bus. The four 3S segments would range in length from 6,700 feet to 17,550 feet with cabins transferring seamlessly between multiple haul rope loops. As an alternative to the larger 3S gondola travelling to Alta, a second gondola, probably a monocable or 2S design, could connect Snowbird to Alta.
Some big players have already expressed support for a Little Cottonwood gondola and further study of the alternate CW Management proposal, including Alta Ski Area, Snowbird Resort and Doppelmayr. Snowbird notes that if a gondola is successfully designed and implemented, the company would consider placing additional private land it owns in the canyon under permanent conservation.
If you have opinions regarding one or both of the gondola/bus options, UDOT would like to hear from you. The agency continues to accept public comments through July 10th.
Between crush loads of cars, large avalanches and frequent collisions, Utah State Route 210 can be a nightmare in winter. The 13.5 mile road connects the Salt Lake Valley to Little Cottonwood Canyon’s legendary Alta and Snowbird resorts. Utah’s Department of Transportation is currently studying ways to improve mobility in and out of the canyon with a focus on peak winter demand. Starting with 105 possibilities, the DOT last week narrowed its focus to three options: enhanced bus service, bus service combined with road widening and a hybrid bus/gondola option.
Stretching more than eight miles, the gondola would be among the longest in the world with more stations than any 3S system built to date. A tricable design was chosen for its ideal balance of speed, capacity and tower spacing. The lift would begin at the bottom of LCC, pass through an angle station at Tanners Flat and arrive at Snowbird 24 minutes later. Another 10 minute hop would link the eastern terminus at Alta Ski Area. The premise of the gondola is not to replace the road but rather divert a portion of trips to the air. This would be the second lowest capacity 3S ever built with thirty 30 passenger cabins arriving at stations every two minutes. A modest capacity would help manage costs and allow for towers spaced thousands of feet apart.
The Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola could operate in winds up to 68 miles per hour and strategically placed towers could keep it running when snow slides and crashes close the road. Guests and employees would enjoy an aerial journey through the canyon unlike anything in the United States. The system would cost $393 million, $77 million less than road widening but $110 million more than an enhanced bus solution. The gondola itself would run $240 million while the other $153 million is associated infrastructure such as parking and tolling. The aerial option would cost the least to operate, just $4.5 million per year versus $6.2-9 million annually for the bus options.
- In Massachusetts, Bousquet sells to a private investment firm which will be advised by Jon and Jim Schaefer.
- Magic Mountain resumes work on the Black Line Quad project.
- Bravo to many more ski areas offering up ski lifts for graduation ceremonies: Big Bear, Canyon, Copper Mountain, Deer Valley, Giants Ridge, Jackson Hole, Mountain High, Snow Valley and Treetops.
- Nub’s Nob says goodbye to the Blue Chair.
- There will be no summer skiing on Blackcomb Glacier this year.
- A Canadian government decision means no Alaska cruises will sail in 2020 and it will likely be 2021 until Icy Strait Point’s dual gondola system debuts.
- The creator of the Indy Pass argues shared revenue models are the future of ski passes.
- Poma’s 2019 Reference Book is here.
- Doppelmayr begins building Saddleback’s $7 million high speed quad.
- The Aspen Mountain Telemix may happen in 2022.
- Mountain Collective adds a fifth new resort for 2020/21: Sun Peaks, British Columbia.
- Set to become the world’s longest alpine 3S, Jungfrau’s Eiger Express will open early.
- Launching tomorrow: another spectacular 3S which travels 705 feet above the sea in Vietnam. Three more sections will eventually form a 12.1 mile gondola chain.
- Demaclenko creates a fully automated fogging/disinfection solution for moving gondola cabins.
- Construction gets underway on the first bubble chairlift in the Pacific Northwest, which will load and unload inside buildings.
- In Minnesota, both Welch Village and Spirit Mountain pull the plug on summer operations.
- Vail Resorts lost $40 million less than anticipated in March and April and reported a net income of $152.5 million for the quarter ended April 30th.
- Purgatory proposes building a detachable quad chair and four low intermediate trails in an area known as Ice Creek.
- On Mt. Hood, Summit Ski Area seeks a boundary extension to the Timberline border, a first step towards a possible lift link.
- Leitner-Poma President Daren Cole pens a letter addressing challenges facing the ski industry in the age of coronavirus.
- Alterra extends the Ikon Pass deferral option to April 2021 and introduces a credit policy in the event of resort closures next season.
- A new English edition of International Ropeway Review profiles Treeline Cirque at Alpine Meadows and the Express du Village at Bromont.
- Utah’s Department of Transportation narrows its Little Cottonwood Canyon mobility study to gondolas and buses.
- The Snowbird tram will carry only 25 passengers when it reopens June 13th.
- The City of Idaho Springs, Colorado conditionally approves the Mighty Argo Cable Car, a 1.2 mile gondola on the site of a historic mine.