- Oak Mountain retires its last T-Bar, which may live on in Vermont.
- Nitehawk still doesn’t know how it will replace a chairlift destroyed by ground movement one year ago.
- KSL Resorts, owner of Camelback, will manage and invest in nearby Blue Mountain.
- A construction update from Great Bear.
- A company under fire for a bridge collapse which killed 26 people in Mexico City also oversees two Cablebús gondola lines.
- Poma inaugurates a new urban gondola in Belgium.
- Preliminary indications from the March incident at Camelback point toward a dynamic event involving speed changes.
- Bridal Veil Mountain Resort will hold a public information session via Zoom on Wednesday, May 19th at 7:00 pm. There’s also a new video tour of the proposed ski resort.
- Austin looks at tourist-focused gondola transportation.
- Steamboat Springs considers gondola transit.
- Sunridge disassembles its Yellow T-Bar.
- Howelsen Hill lift construction gets off to an exciting start as workers accidentally start a fire.
- Bluewood plans to upgrade or replace Skyline Express and build a lift servicing 200 acres of new terrain in the next three years.
- Poma’s exciting urban 3S project in France enters the home stretch.
- Work gets underway on the Squaw-Alpine gondola.
- The Seattle Times runs a feature story on Vail Resorts’ operational challenges at Stevens Pass compared with Alterra at Crystal Mountain.
- Ridgeline Executive Group will continue running Granby Ranch following the sale to a new ownership group.
- The unique triangle gondola at Sterling Vineyards remains closed seven months after a wildfire with no estimate for reopening.
- Big Snow renames its quad chair in honor of General Manager Jim Haas and others who died of Covid-19.
- Two employees of the Georgian ski resort where a lift rolled back in 2018 have been charged criminally and face up to five years in prison.
- Visits to New York’s three state-owned ski areas were up 14 percent to 672,000 with revenue up 10 percent and expenses down 8 percent.
- Whiteface will replace the Bear and Mixing Bowl lifts with a $2.5 million Skytrac quad.
- Powder Mountain, Mt. Ashland and West Mountain join the Indy Pass, which topped 96,000 redemptions this season.
- Cherry Peak, Eagle Point, Red River and Snow Valley sign on to the Freedom Pass alliance, Toggenburg leaves.
- Another fire threatens Ski Apache, which is so far unscathed.
- We now know why the Mighty Argo Cable Car project is stalled. Owners have sued lenders, alleging breach of contract and a $4.5 million loss.
- The Routt National Forest approves Steamboat’s Wild Blue Gondola and Sundown Express replacement projects, subject to a customary objection period.
- Japan’s first urban gondola opens.
- Mi Teleferico celebrates seven years as La Paz’s urban gondola system, providing 328 million rides.
- Loon Mountain confirms the former Kancamagus detachable quad will replace Seven Brothers in 2022.
- Loveland closes Lift 8 for the season due to a mechanical issue.
- The only jigback tramway in Texas could make a return.
- Holiday Valley posts tons of photos of its latest lift replacement project.
- The first gondola components arrive in Squaw Valley.
- Blue Mountain provides younger guests with a two minute introduction to how lifts work.
- Soldier Mountain’s major midseason repair is a success.
- Whaleback gets its summit lift operational for the season after replacing bullwheel bearings.
- A crowdfunding campaign seeks to purchase Big Tupper out of foreclosure.
- Drone video shows the damage to Eaglecrest’s Ptarmigan chair (now back open).
- Two class action lawsuits proceed regarding gondola incidents at Mont-Sainte-Anne last winter.
- The girl who fell from a Sugarloaf chairlift last week makes the network morning show rounds.
- Another video shows a perfect catch of a six year old who fell from a Crested Butte triple chair.
- A boy is also uninjured after landing in a net at Diamond Peak.
- Utah legislators weigh funding a Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola amid a long list of wish list projects.
- Speaking of LCC, proponent Chris McCandless joins the Ski Utah podcast to talk gondolas.
- North America’s largest city looks to build a fourth urban gondola line in 2022.
- Bousquet Mountain debuts the Yellow triple following a delay due to six towers needing to be moved.
- Doppelmayr prepares to ship 80 containers worth of lift components from Austria to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
- Italy’s ski reopening is postponed just hours before lifts were set to spin.
- In Wisconsin, a T-Bar ski area opens for the first time in 25 years.
- Aspen Skiing Company puts the Ajax Pandora’s expansion back on the front burner.
- The first riders ascend Mission Ridge on the Wenatchee Express.
- Developers at Moosehead Lake look for up to $135 million in financing.
- For the second time this winter, the Purgatory Express is down due to technical problems.
- Two more resorts get set to join the Indy Pass next week.
- The Forest Service seeks public comments on Arapahoe Basin’s proposal to replace Lenawee with a detachable quad or six pack in 2022.
- Snow Valley blogs about its lift history and claims the world’s fastest fixed grip quad.
- Magic Mountain provides the below update on progress towards opening a third chairlift.
On the Black Quad lift front, there always seems to be something. And, the engineering firm who designed the lift has come back with quite a few changes that need to be implemented by Pfister Mountain Services, including changing out some sheave assembly wheel combinations at a few towers and a major overhaul of tower 13 cross arm and uphill sheave assembly. None of this is a quick fix at this point in our construction phase and comes as unwelcome news. And, of course, tower 13 is in a very difficult spot to get to, especially for what equipment will be needed to execute the cross arm changes. No timetable or budget as been provided as of yet. We will continue to keep you posted as news warrants. Certainly frustrating after all this time as we’d like to see our money put to good use for you. All I can say is that the Quad will be a part of our future here at Magic so we can expand uphill capacity and lift redundancy as we grow.
- Sugarloaf’s forthcoming West Mountain expansion makes the trail map.
- Disney blogs report some recent downtime on the Skyliner.
- Pine Knob removes Chair 4 and puts a rope tow in its place.
- Four mountains get new trail maps from VistaMap: Granite Peak, Loon Mountain, Sunrise Park and West Mountain.
- Winter Park renames Eskimo Express Explorer Express with the following reason behind it:
Last summer, we examined the names of our trails and lifts, and recognized that the name “Eskimo” is considered derogatory and offensive by many. Through research we learned people in many parts of the Arctic consider Eskimo a derogatory term because it was widely used by racist, non-native colonizers. Many people also thought it meant eater of raw meat, which connoted barbarism and violence. Brands with longer histories than Winter Park’s have also decided to abandon the term. The iconic Eskimo Pie dropped the name in 2020, and the Edmonton Canadian football team announced it would no longer use the name as well.
Winter Park is a place for all people to Venture Out, to escape and retreat, to transform and trailblaze. Winter Park is an inclusive place and that’s why we moved to change the name of the Eskimo Express Lift to the Explorer Express Lift. The name “Explorer” more accurately represents our resort, our brand, our team, and our guests.
- Both Gore Mountain’s new lifts run in somewhat new locations.
- You can virtually tour the new 3K K-onnection 3S gondola, including on top of towers and inside stations.
- Europe’s longest 3S opens tomorrow.
- New ski area alert! Skeetawk sends first chair tomorrow after decades of dreaming.
- Paul Bunyan, Wisconsin to reopen this month after 25 years shuttered.
- Mt. Baldy, Ontario’s new quad chair isn’t finished so the ski area is closing for an hour to teach people how to ride the T-Bar.
- Austria and Switzerland say yes to skiing while France, Germany, and Italy continue to keep lifts closed.
- BousquetMountain.com goes live with a new trail map.
- Liftopia will likely be sold with proceeds going to creditors.
- Saddleback secures $1.3 million in new funding to support redevelopment.
- Mountain Capital Partners’ bet that Texans would love lift-served mountain biking is paying off.
- This fact sheet outlines the five transportation options for Little Cottonwood Canyon, two of which include a gondola.
Boyne Resorts and Doppelmayr have reached an agreement to delay construction of two major lifts due to the Coronavirus emergency. Both Swift Current 6 at Big Sky Resort and Kancamagus 8 at Loon Mountain will now be constructed in 2021. “Proceeding with a complex and deadline sensitive construction project during the COVID-19 emergency would not be a prudent decision,” stated Troy Nedved, General Manager at Big Sky Resort. “Concerns about construction worker health and the unknowns related to the construction supply chain make the project too risky to undertake in 2020,” he continued.
Site preparation and limited construction may proceed this summer if public health conditions permit. Manufacturing of Swift Current’s components is nearly complete and the lift will be stored either in Wolfurt, Salt Lake or the Bozeman-Big Sky area until next year. When completed in 2021, Swifty will become the fastest six place chairlift in North America.
At Loon Mountain, skiers and riders will have to wait another year to ride the east’s first eight passenger chairlift, Kancamagus 8. “Although significant investment has already been made, we cannot proceed with a project of this scale knowing the COVID-19 situation could further complicate its installation – potentially cutting off the Governor Adams Lodge and base area from the rest of the resort next winter,” said Loon General Manager Jay Scambio in a letter to season passholders. “This postponement allows us to better support our team, our guests, and the greater Loon community at a time when it is needed most.” Permitting and planning will continue in preparation for 2021 installation.
I spoke with Boyne Resorts President Stephen Kircher this morning about the decision and his outlook during this challenging time. The company will closely monitor impacts on summer business as well as season pass sales and proceed accordingly. “We are going to be assessing our capital projects each week,” said Kircher. “We’ve got milestones on every single project and last possible start dates to meet deadlines for next winter. We’re optimistic we are going to be executing a number of projects but we need to see clarity.”
As long duration, all-or-nothing projects, the two D-Line lifts had to wait. Boyne knew it needed to be underway this week at Loon and within two weeks at Big Sky in order to meet aggressive construction schedules. Bubble lifts by definition include carrier storage buildings that are as complex to build as the lifts themselves. “What happens if work stoppages occur again in the middle of summer or the fall?” lamented Kircher. “Once we tear the existing lifts down, we’re at risk. We would be dead in the water [without Swift Current or Kancamagus.] The second worst thing other than this shutdown would be not having a key lift coming out of the base next winter.”
Boyne’s decision is the second such deferral among North American multi-resort operators this week. On Wednesday, Vail Resorts delayed seven different lift projects with two different manufacturers in order to cut costs. Kircher acknowledged his decision was difficult for both customer and supplier but in some ways proved clear. “We are working with a great partner in Doppelmayr. Obviously they are dealing with a lot of difficult conversations across the planet,” he said. “We talked through what the best scenario was for both companies. They don’t want to be in a situation where they can’t finish a lift either. I want to install a lift that we own and is sitting in warehouses more than anybody but it’s just not prudent.”
- Did you catch a glimpse of gondolas flying during the Super Bowl? The lift is called the Bud Light Seltzer SkyView and is expected to be open around 50 event days per year at Hard Rock Stadium.
- The Bridger-Teton National Forest releases a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Snow King with a preferred alternative including a new gondola, backside fixed grip quad and access platter or T-Bar.
- Arctaris officially owns Saddleback and plans to order at least a detachable quad.
- With its longest chairlift out of service for weeks, Arizona Snowbowl opens its summit to hiking access.
- An Austrian newspaper interviews Anton Seeber, head of the Leitner Group, about the company’s growing presence in that country and worldwide.
- Sasquatch Mountain’s access road washes out, trapping guests at the resort for days and closing the mountain for a week.
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota budgets $1.6 million for a new chairlift at Great Bear.
- Donner Ski Ranch finds success as a family business despite being surrounded by larger resorts.
- Two more individuals bid on Hermitage Club assets with an auction now scheduled for March 20th.
- Bartholet and MND Group/LST Ropeways expand their ropeway partnership to include unified sales, service, production and products.
- The Australian resort hit hardest by this year’s wildfires won’t open next season.
- Wynn Resorts considers building a gondola from a casino in Everett, Massachusetts to a nearby transit station.
- Loon Mountain GM Jay Scambio talks extensively about Kanc 8 and Flight Path 2030.
- Keystone plans to remove Argentine as part of the Peru Express replacement project.
- New Hampshire’s largest newspaper visits Cannon Mountain and highlights the lift maintenance profession.
- A lift operator born deaf blazes trail for people with disabilities at Breckenridge.
- Struggling White Pine, Wyoming goes up for sale.
- A small Minnesota ski area closes due to chairlift problems but another local resort steps in to help.
- Three different lifts are under construction this winter in Alaska including one at the new Skeetawk ski area.
Boyne Resorts will invest millions to build its third D-Line chairlift, an eight place at Loon Mountain set to open for the 2020-21 season. The first such lift in the Eastern United States will replace the Kancamagus Express, a 1995 detachable quad servicing the lower mountain. Like Boyne’s two Doppelmayr D-Line systems at Big Sky, the Kanc will feature tinted bubbles, heated seats, locking safety bars, a loading conveyor and direct drive. “The Kancamagus 8 chairlift will be a leap into the future of skiing for our guests,” said Jay Scambio, president and general manager of Loon Mountain Resort. “We are committed to bringing the latest advancements to our guests—this lift is the next example of that, following our first-in-the-world dual-frequency RFID installation.”
Loon Mountain currently operates an all-Doppelmayr fleet of ten lifts. “We have a deep, long-standing relationship with both Loon and Boyne Resorts,” noted Mark Bee, President of Doppelmayr USA. “We are proud to be a part of a major step forward in the eastern ski scene that puts Loon on a path towards achieving its goal of having one of the most advanced lift systems in the world.” The east’s most technologically advanced lift will spin at 1,100 feet per minute, making it even faster than Ramcharger. A ride on one of 62 ultra-wide chairs will take just 4.5 minutes. Capacity out of the Governor Adams base area will increase 25 percent to 3,500 guests per hour.
No other American or Canadian ski operator has purchased eight place or D-Line lifts to date. I asked Stephen Kircher, Boyne’s chief executive, what it feels like to be the American early adopter for such technology and this was his response:
It is humbling to be able to continue our company and family’s legacy of over 70 years bringing skiers the next generation of chairlift technology. Now doing it beyond the midwest, with Doppelmayr’s new D-Line technology and doing it with the first two 8 place chairs is even more gratifying. Ironically it took the rest of North America time to adopt triple, quad and six place chairlifts after those were introduced at Boyne in the 60’s through early 90’s, it seems eerily similar for 8 place chairlifts and the new D-Line. Boyne Resorts is proud to be showcasing the future of uphill transportation in the rockies and the east. We believe this will become the new standard of quality and efficiency in the decades ahead. This is likely only the beginning of many more of these types of lifts across North America. Ultimately, enhancing the experience and attracting many more people to the mountains.”
– Stephen Kircher, CEO/President, Boyne Resorts
Kanc 8 will be the first major investment of Flight Path: 2030, a ten year infrastructure push at Loon also announced today. Future projects will seek to elevate the ski experience, grow the business responsibly in every season and connect with the local community. Lift upgrades over the next ten years may include Seven Brothers, Lincoln Express, North Peak Express and the gondola . “Loon’s 10-year plan will have a positive impact on development throughout the Lincoln and Woodstock communities—as we travel together on our path to be New England’s premier mountain destination,” said Scambio.
The Forest Service has already approved the Kanc 8 project and construction will commence in early spring.
The Interstate 93 corridor in New Hampshire could soon be a hotbed of lift construction. Four exciting projects appeared on the White Mountain National Forest proposed actions page this week. In what would be a major move, Loon Mountain is seeking to replace the Kancamagus detachable quad with an eight seater chairlift. Next, the Seven Brothers triple would be replaced with a detachable quad, presumably utilizing equipment removed from the Kanc. This project would be similar to one Loon’s owner Boyne Resorts completed last year at Big Sky. There, the Ramcharger detachable quad was replaced by North America’s first eight passenger chairlift and the old machine moved to replace a Heron-Poma double.
Just to the south at Waterville Valley, the White Peaks Express is proposed to be replaced by a six passenger detachable lift. The current machine was built in 1988 and shortened to its current length in 1996. In a second project, the Sunnyside triple would be swapped for a fixed-grip quad and the Northside double removed. Both of these lifts were built decades ago by Stadeli. Waterville Valley has been independently owned and operated by a local group of investors since 2010. They recently replaced another aging Stadeli lift with an LST T-Bar.
It is unknown whether any of these new lifts will feature bubbles and/or heated seats, which have become popular across New England. The Forest Service expects to make decisions on whether to approve the projects in December.
- The first of many Omega 10 passenger gondola cabins is spotted at Walt Disney World.
- Saddleback Mountain Foundation plans to make a second offer for Maine’s third largest ski area, which has been closed for nearly three years.
- Santiago, Chile awards the contract for an $80 million, four station urban gondola to Doppelmayr.
- The first indoor ski area in the Western Hemisphere plans to open March 1, 2019 with a Doppelmayr CTEC quad chair and platter that were installed back in 2008.
- A gondola is one option being considered to improve mobility in Little Cottonwood Canyon, home to Alta, Snowbird and lots of traffic.
- A Basin’s Al Henceroth updates us on Norway’s removal and hints more lift changes may be in store for Lenawee Mountain.
- Members of Congress from four states pen a letter to the Forest Service asking for Arizona Snowbowl to be reopened or further explanation given as to why its extended closure is necessary.
- Doppelmayr scores another project in Canada – a $1.8 million fixed-grip quad with loading carpet at Sugarloaf, New Brunswick.
- Rope evacuating 20-25 mountain bikers turns into a four hour affair at Marquette Mountain.
- Ikon Pass destination number 27 is Thredbo, Australia.
- Jumbo Glacier Resort is fighting to reinstate its construction permit.
- A spokesman for the new owners of Maple Valley, Vermont says reopening for skiing is a long term goal that could take many years to accomplish.
- Loveland seeks a good name for the new Lift 1.
- Loon Mountain is buying brand new CWA Omega cabins for its gondola this fall.
- Tremblant says goodbye to the Lowell Thomas triple, making way for a detachable quad.
- The first Hermitage Club property auction yields a $1.2 million winning bid. “There will be more of these coming up,” says the Windham County Sheriff.
- A breakdown at the Jasper SkyTram leads to an 18 hour helicopter evacuation of 160 guests.
- Leitner-Poma, Georgetown University, ZGF Architects host urban gondola forum with speakers from the Portland Aerial Tram and Medellín Metrocable, among others.
- With one of three chairlifts out of commission, Big Tupper, NY is unlikely to open this winter.
- 14-year old boy falls from the Emerald Express at Whistler.
- Costa Rican officials and Doppelmayr Mexico sign letter of intent to build Central America’s first urban gondola.
- $15 million Arthurs Seat Eagle debuts in Australia.
- Brest Cable Car (shown above) shuts down after only two weeks of operation.
- Nakiska’s sole summit access lift has been down since November 27th.
- The latest D-Line chairlift installation Waidhofen is reportedly also the first in the world supplied with Doppelmayr Direct Drive (DDD.)
- Loon Mountain restores a 1966 Hall Skycruiser gondola with help from Lutsen.
- The Boston Globe Magazine explains how a non-skier in Fort Lauderdale came to run two of Vermont’s major ski resorts.
- Grand Canyon Escalade legislation heads to the second of four Navajo Nation committees on Tuesday.
- Granite Peak releases more details about its proposed lift and trail expansion.