News Roundup: Confirmed

  • $150 million Raymond James settlement includes $762,503 for Burke Mountain’s new Leitner-Poma T-Bar.
  • Power outage leads to rope evacuation of Loveland’s newest lift.
  • Steamboat gondola refurbishing begins  (I got to tour Northstar’s gondola this week which received a similar upgrade in 2015.)
  • Orlando Sentinel confirms Walt Disney World is building three Doppelmayr 10-passenger gondolas with six stations.
  • Crystal Mountain breaks away from Boyne Resorts, orders five additional gondola cabins and plans to build new Discovery and Gold Hills lifts in 2018.
  • Eldora is selling Hall and Heron chairs as six-pack construction begins.
  • Preview Oakland’s new $13 million restaurant accessible only by gondola.
  • Sunday River’s new owner commits to replacing Spruce Peak.
  • This week’s cities floating gondolas include Edmonton and Burlington, Vermont.
  • Fatzer delivers four 153-ton track ropes to Germany’s Zugspitze using two trucks linked together for the entire journey.
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Loveland Eyes Lift Upgrades Aimed at Maintaining Unique Character

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As one of America’s oldest resorts, Loveland Ski Area has welcomed skiers to the Continental Divide continuously since 1937.  Although now surrounded by the likes of Keystone, Breckenridge and Winter Park and with I-70 literally cutting through it, Loveland remains a local favorite with plentiful snowfall and varied terrain served by nine fixed-grip chairlifts.  The first double chair – a Heron – debuted at Loveland Basin in 1955.  A second ski area, Loveland Valley, opened in 1961.  A number of Heron, Heron-Poma and later Lift Engineering lifts were added through 1990.  The first modern Poma quad chair debuted in 1996, followed by a series of Leitner-Poma triple and quad chairs to modernize the fleet.  When Lift 9 opened in 1998, it became the highest-elevation chairlift in North America, a title Loveland held until Breckenridge opened the Imperial SuperChair in 2005.

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Loveland’s Lift 9 stretches well above the tree line to 12,763′.
Loveland now averages more than 300,000 skier visits annually and visitation increased by 45 percent between 2002 and 2010.  The ski area is now implementing projects from its 2013 master plan, a road map aimed at improving the guest experience while maintaining a laid-back vibe.  SE Group prepared the plan and notes, “Loveland has been known for its abundant, high quality snow; fun and diverse terrain; and uncrowded slopes.”  I visited on a bluebird Sunday in January and never once waited in a lift line.

Loveland generally builds lifts below maximum capacity and skier density is much lower than the industry average, with 1,800 acres of skiable terrain and an hourly lift capacity of over 14,000 skiers.  The development plan notes that Loveland’s lift network generally serves the terrain well, but some lifts are approaching the end of a typical 35-year lifespan and a few changes should be made.  Just last week, lifts 1 and 6 had to be closed for multi-day repairs but have since re-opened.

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The new Ptarmigan lift is the first at Loveland to carry a name rather than a number.  Like all lifts here, the chairs have no comfort bars or footrests.
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News Roundup: Huge

Loveland Closes Two Yan Lifts for Unspecified Repairs of Similar Issue

Loveland Ski Area has closed its two oldest chairlifts – Lifts 1 and 6 – following discovery of similar problems at each.  Lift 6 is a 1977 Lift Engineering double chair that closed in the middle of the day on Sunday, January 15th due to a problem at the top terminal.  Lift 1 is a 1981 Lift Engineering triple that operated until an inspection found the early stages of a similar issue today (interestingly, Lift 1 opened as a double chair before being upgraded with larger chairs a few years later.)

“We are dedicated to safe lift operations and have decided to close Lift 1 to immediately perform the necessary repairs,” Loveland said in a statement this evening.

While Loveland’s social media posts do not specify what is wrong, they say repairs to Chair 1 should take about two days with Lift 6 taking longer.  Both chairs are bottom drive/bottom tension, so the list of things that could go wrong up top is limited.  In the meantime, the mountain is offering $51 discounted tickets.

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Update 1/20/17:

News Roundup: Tower Time

Sugarloaf's oldest lift towers come down. Photo credit: Sugarloaf Mountain Resort
Sugarloaf’s oldest lift towers come down. Photo credit: Sugarloaf Mountain Resort
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Instagram Tuesday: Wheels

Leitner Poma HQ Manufacturing #leitnerpoma #bestweldersinthecountry

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Tower sheaves for @skipurg #leitnerpoma #skilifts #bestweldersinthecountry

A post shared by Leitner-Poma Of America (@leitnerpoma) on

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News Roundup: The Future in Ankara

  • Sugarloaf Mountain Resort announces a new director of lifts to oversee maintenance and operations after two high-profile lift accidents.  He’s not exactly a Boyne Resorts outsider.
  • Finally some news from Saddleback; the owners are in negotiations with four potential buyers and this season may or may not happen.  Talk about bad press.
  • Group hoping to reopen the Antelope Butte ski area near Sheridan, Wyoming will make a down payment to the Forest Service within two weeks.  The area has two Riblet double chairs that last operated in 2004.
  • Switzerland sets the maximum blood-alcohol content for a person operating a cable car at 0.05% (the same limit as for drunk driving there.)
  • A national park in South Korea may be getting a $39 million 10-passenger gondola, the country’s 155th ropeway.  South Korea will also be hosting the next Winter Olympics.
  • Parts for the new Ptarmigan lift are on site at Loveland, CO.
  • Mont Cascades in Quebec makes solid progress on replacing their TC double chair with a Doppelmayr quad.