- The Forest Service sends a notice of noncompliance to Montana Snowbowl over the Snow Park lift incident and response.
- Crystal Mountain’s President departs and Alterra reevaluates the announced Reimagine Crystal plan.
- Lutsen Mountains to retire the 10th Mountain triple.
- Hoodoo reports a Riblet clip ejection of a misloaded chair on the Hodag quad with no injuries to the rider(s).
- Mad River Glen’s Sunnyside double may get a mid-station.
- Le Massif completes a four hour rope evacuation of the Massif Express gondola, now closed for the season due to a gearbox issue.
- Mont-Sainte-Anne’s gondola will reopen tomorrow, four months after a cabin fell off.
- Board members resign from the Antelope Butte board of directors citing lift safety concerns.
- The Balsams says now is not the time to go to market.
- Woods Valley eyes installation of two used CTEC quads over the next few years.
- Big Sky shares photos of new tram cabins being fabricated in Switzerland.
- Two studies see the ropeway market growing around 10 percent annually over the next decade with the North American share growing to near 20 percent of the global total.
- Belleayre announces replacement of Lift 7 with a Doppelmayr quad.
Mad River Glen
News Roundup: Merry Christmas
- Mad River Glen introduces a new James Niehues trail map.
- White Pass shareholders vote to sell Washington’s fifth largest ski area.
- Sun Peaks expects business to decline 50 percent this season due to extended road closures.
- Sierra at Tahoe tracks toward a limited reopening in Spring 2022.
- Magic Mountain apologizes to customers for not having a summit lift operational.
- Searchmont, Ontario reopens with a new chairlift after a 645 day Covid closure.
- It may be months before Kimberley’s main lift is operational; Revelstoke and Kicking Horse provide people-moving snowcats.
- Stevens Pass apologizes for severe staffing shortages resulting in only five open lifts.
- Deer Valley rope evacuates 167 people from the Carpenter Express.
News Roundup: Good Things
- A developer looks to build a new sightseeing/biking/hiking chairlift near Park City.
- Soldier Mountain, rebuilding from a summer wildfire, vows to open on time in December.
- The Sea to Sky Gondola turns its (re)construction fence into a fundraiser for local charities.
- More than 10,000 people weighed in on Burnaby Mountain Gondola routes.
- Here’s the latest on Aspen’s new Lift One in video form.
- Mad River Glen gets a James Niehues trail map. For a limited time a portion of all purchases on James’ website via this link will benefit Lift Blog.
- A landslide makes a mess of a chairlift in Italy.
- Check out progress on the Doppelmayr and Leitner sections of North America’s largest lift construction project.
- Bear’s Den Mountain, now Thrill Hills, hopes to reopen this winter after five years shuttered.
- Nordic Valley is a busy place with six pack construction underway.
- Home to Alaska’s first two gondolas, Icy Strait Point is Seatrade’s Global Cruise Port of the Year for 2020.
- Sky Tavern will replace its platter lifts with carpets.
- Arizona Snowbowl’s huge new Telemix will be called the Arizona Gondola.
- Alterra reorganizes with three divisions: Mountain, Hospitality and Real Estate.
- Big Sky aims to launch Swift Current 6 by Thanksgiving 2021 and now envisions three gondola sections rising from Mountain Village to the Tram.
- Fire crews work to contain a small blaze at Purgatory Resort.
- The Forest Service approves construction of a gondola and backside expansion at Snow King Mountain, subject to a customary objection period.
News Roundup: Perfect
- Squaw Valley President and COO Ron Cohen explains why the resort’s name is changing and gives an update on the Squaw-Alpine gondola.
- The other Squaw ski area will not be changing names.
- Whitefish cuts the line for its future Hellroaring lift.
- Icy Strait Point, home to two new Doppelmayr gondolas, is in the running for Global Cruise Port of the Year.
- Nitehawk commences fundraising to replace its destroyed chairlift, though the community ski area may only be able to afford a T-Bar.
- Jay Peak reopens its tram tomorrow with freshly-slipped track ropes.
- The public is asked to weigh in on three Burnaby Mountain Gondola alignments.
- Red Mountain becomes the eighth Ikon Pass destination in Canada.
- Big Snow’s reopening first chair goes up empty in honor of the more than 14,000 New Jerseyans who have died from Covid.
- The first lifts at Mayflower Mountain Resort are now set to open in 2023 instead of 2021. A new project video suggests it will be worth the wait.
- Mad River Glen will get a James Niehues trail map if fundraising efforts succeed.
- Granby Ranch gets a new owner and operator.
- The Perfect family has pumped more than $13 million into Timberline Mountain this offseason, including the two new chairlifts which are 75 percent complete.
News Roundup: Northward
- Sun Peaks considers four possible lift projects for summer 2018, most likely being a CAD$8 million replacement of Crystal with an extended detachable. The world’s longest fixed-grip chairlift, Burfield, could be shortened with a corresponding capacity increase or new lifts added to Orient Ridge or West Morrisey.
- Ski Magazine updates us on Big Sky 2025 and plans for a new tram or south side lift on Lone Peak.
- A power outage closes Lake Louise to the public on World Cup Saturday.
- Burke Mountain says goodbye to Willoughby, a 1988 CTEC quad.
- The Florida Department of Transportation studies possible gondola routes from Sarasota to nearby barrier islands.
- Mad River Glen launches $6.5 million Preserve our Paradise capital campaign which includes replacing the 1966 Mueller Birdland with a newer used chairlift.
- Upcoming Aspen Mountain master plan update likely to include new Pandora’s, Gent’s Ridge and Bell Mountain lifts.
- Ski Apache is replacing its 1981 Riblet Chair 6 with a brand new Doppelmayr.
- Less than two years after opening a $7.3 million chairlift, the Hermitage Club falls behind on water and sewer payments.
- Enjoy these sneak peak photos of two new quad chairs at Giants Ridge courtesy of Benjamin B.
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Rebuilding Mad River Glen’s Single Chair
The single chair at Mad River Glen in Vermont is not the only single chair around but it’s certainly the newest, nicest and most famous. Originally built in 1947-48 by American Steel & Wire Company, it has hauled skiers up Stark Mountain for the past 65 years. The chair at MRG was AS&W’s 15th and cost $75,000 not including installation. Originally powered by a diesel motor, it had no electrical circuit at all during the early years. Safety systems on towers and bullwheels were added later. In 1995, Mad River Glen became the first ski area member-owned co-operative in the United States and it still does not have any slopeside lodging nor does it allow snowboarding.
By 2005, the diesel-powered single chair had become too expensive to maintain. Chairs were failing NDT, the lift had no cable catchers or bullwheel retention and replacement parts were no longer available (except ones cannibalized from the AS&W single that had been replaced at nearby Stowe.) Doppelmayr CTEC was brought in by the co-operative’s Board of Directors and developed two proposals – a $1.54 million rebuild of the single chair or an all-new double chair for $300,000 less.
Oldest Operating Lifts in the US & Canada
1. Single Chair, Mad River Glen, VT – 1948 American Steel & Wire Single Chair
The single chair at MRG still has its original towers and terminal structures but everything else was replaced by Doppelmayr CTEC in 2007. As part of that project, towers were removed, sandblasted and repainted before being flown back to new foundations with new line gear. Doppelmayr also replaced the bullwheels, chairs, grips, drive and haul rope. This begs the question of ‘when is an old lift a new lift?’
Gatlinburg Sky Lift, Gatlinburg, TN – 1954 Riblet double
Everett Kircher of Boyne fame bought this chairlift from Sugar Bowl, CA for $3,000 in 1954. Originally it was a single chair built in 1939. Modified sheave assemblies were machined at the Kircher’s car dealership in Michigan when the lift went to Tennessee. At some point it appears to have gotten newer-style Riblet towers. Boyne Resorts still operates this lift 800 miles from their nearest ski resort. (edit: JP notes in the comments below that this version was replaced by a Riblet double in 1991. Thanks JP!)
3. Chair 1, White Pass, WA –
1955 1962 Riblet double
This lift only operates on busy weekends and holidays but it’s an old one and a good one . A classic Pacific Northwest center-pole double with very few modifications from its original design and no safety bars! (edit: Brian notes in the comments that this lift was actually installed as Chair 2 in 1962. The original chair 1 operated 1955-1994.)