- SAM reports almost all of North America’s ski industry had a difficult Christmas but things are improving.
- Pictures of a severed gondola cable from a Chamonix storm are incredible (reminder: the lift was not operating.)
- Through January 8th, Vail Resorts skier visits are pacing 10.8 percent below last season and non-Vail-owned Colorado resorts are down 13 percent.
- Gunstock rope evacuates 27 guests from the Silver Medal lift.
- A federal judge dismisses a lawsuit filed by a woman who broke her femur unloading the Discovery lift at Keystone.
- Colorado sides with Winter Park and rules that service dogs don’t necessarily belong on chairlifts.
- SAM‘s inaugural Summit Series piece brings together industry heavy-hitters and future leaders and not surprisingly, the first two stories quoted involve lifts!
- USFS and Doppelmayr veteran Michael Lane will succeed Sid Roslund as NSAA’s Director of Technical Services.
- Electrical fire damages Oakland Zoo’s skyride.
- A wall of mud partially buries the new Lightning Express at Marble Mountain.
- The Forest Service accepts Aspen Mountain’s master plan update including the construction of a Pandora detachble quad, removal of Gent’s Ridge and shortening of Bell Mountain. 1A study continues.
- The end is in sight for a significant midwinter repair to Fernie’s White Pass quad.
- Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board releases its investigation report on the carpet entanglement death of Loveland mechanic Adam Lee.
- Winter Park calls response to digital restraining bar displays “amazingly positive” and they may be deployed on other lifts and at more Alterra resorts.
- Mt. Spokane wisely opts to use the Riblet it purchased from Bridger Bowl for spare parts and is now soliciting bids for a brand new triple chair for this summer’s expansion.
America’s third largest ski resort remaining without a detachable lift will take the plunge next year. The Clear Creek Courant reports Loveland will remove and replace Lift 1 with a detachable quad chair in 2018. An eight minute ride on the current 1981 Yan will drop to just three minutes, Chief Operating Officer Rob Goodell told the Clear Creek County Commission on November 14th. “One of the driving forces was the next generation of the Loveland family, the kids and the grand kids,” he said. “We’re very much looking toward the future because this lift is going to be there for 40 years.” No word yet on a manufacturer but Leitner-Poma has built every new lift at Loveland since 1996.
- $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.
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.
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.
- The Grand Canyon Express is a huge development for Arizona Snowbowl and the entire Flagstaff region.
- New York State Fairgrounds to build a gondola, though details are scarce.
- Mi Teleférico hits 75 million riders, will surpass 100 million in April.
- Searchmont finally reopens its quad chair after a six-year repair.
- The Portland Aerial Tram transported a record 2.1 million riders last year. In ten years, it has indirectly contributed $1 billion to the Portland economy while creating 4,000 jobs.
- This forum thread is an interesting read on how guests can perceive lifts.
- The Denver Post reports Fortress Investment Group is considering selling Intrawest, operator of Blue Mountain, Snowshoe, Steamboat, Stratton, Tremblant and Winter Park.
- Editorial in the Summit Daily hates on Vail Resorts’ six-pack push with a jab at Leitner-Poma (though the lift pictured is actually a Doppelmayr.)
- Ray’s lift at Sundance is rope evacuated, remains out of service three days later.
- Bearing issues apparently caused the closures of lifts 1 and 6 at Loveland.
- Waterville Valley’s only summit access lift rope evacuated for the third time in three weeks, now closed until further notice.
- Poma’s new eeZii terminal offering in Europe features a footprint 20-30 percent smaller than its predecessor.
- Power outage leads to partial rope evacuation at Sandia Peak.
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.
- The East’s next big resort at The Balsams still hopes to break ground before the snow flies and open in late 2016. Still no word on who will supply the lifts.
- Leitner-Poma flies towers at Loveland, Snowmass and Sipapu. Brian from Timberline Helicopters has flown every tower in the west so far this summer with his K-Max. At Sipapu it reportedly only took him 37 minutes!
- Meanwhile, Doppelmayr puts up some big terminals.
- SkyTrans Manufacturing helps crews from Sugarloaf take down the Bucksaw double. Probably means it’s coming soon to a zoo near you.
- 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.