- MND Group secures $6.7 million private investment to support future growth.
- Whitewater’s new Leitner-Poma quad chair project update.
- Sunday River blasts some rock to make way for Spruce Peak 2.0.
- Timberline Helicopters, the company that flies the majority of lift towers in the West, plans to build a new $3 million home on 93 acres in Northern Idaho.
- SeaWorld San Diego commemorates 50 years of operation of its VonRoll Skyride, one of only 11 remaining in the U.S.
- Tragedy in Gulmarg, India as seven die following tree strike on the world’s second highest gondola. The accident was blamed on an ‘act of god’ and the gondola deemed mechanically fine. More trees will be cut before reopening.
- Human error caused 14-year old girl’s fall from a chairlift at Six Flags Great Escape. After video gets millions of views, editorial in the local paper calls for locking restraint bars.
- Colorado tram board votes against disciplinary action in Granby Ranch case.
- A Walt Disney World gondola update.
- Much-maligned New York State Fair gondola project is dead.
- Anakeesta load tests new Chondola.
- Peak Resorts’ financial footing reportedly worsens amid staff layoffs, reduced operations and spending cuts. The company owns 14 resorts across the Eastern U.S.
- Leitner Ropeways celebrates 15 years of DirectDrive with 55 installations to date.
- Poma has already delivered components for Zacatecas, Mexico’s new gondola but construction that was supposed to start in January has been delayed.
- The 2002 Garaventa CTEC Chondola at Willamette Pass is still for sale along with the mountain’s Midway triple. WP apparently can’t afford to maintain its only detachable lift and listed it for sale a year ago.
- Le Relais also has 2 lifts newly listed (these are being removed to make way for a new six pack.)
- LST signs La Plagne to launch the company’s first detachable lift next winter. MND Group CEO Xavier Gallot-Lavallee commented, “We are delighted to announce the initial commercial success of our brand new range of detachable chairlifts. The new contract signed with SAP, a subsidiary of leading ski resort operator Compagnie des Alpes, confirms the benefits of the innovative technology that we have developed and positions MND as a leading market player.”
The MND Group announced yesterday it will begin selling detachable chairlifts and gondolas from 2016 through its LST Ropeways subsidiary, becoming the first new entrant to the detachable lift market since CTEC in 1990. Based in France, LST has built more than 550 lifts to date including a handful of detachable chairlifts utilizing grips from the defunct German company Wopfner. Yesterday’s announcement outlines LST’s all-new detachable product for both mountain and urban applications. The combined market, estimated by MND at $865 million over the next 25 years, has been a duopoly since Leitner and Poma joined in 2002. Hence new competition is big news.
LST has spent more than $2.7 million to develop detachable technology that doesn’t require licensing from others. The most important component of any detachable lift is the grip; LST chose a double-position grip that opens and closes only once at each terminal, reducing the number of cycles by half compared with a single-position grip (keep in mind a grip that stays open through terminals presents its own challenges.) LST says its patented grip requires less force to open and close than competing models, reducing wear while allowing speeds of up to 6 m/s (1,181 ft/min) and requiring 15 percent less energy. LST detachable terminals will be 70 feet long with 75 percent fewer tires compared with competing terminals. While LST says its stations will be shorter than its competitors’, I believe the shortest LPA terminal is ~67 feet. LST’s all-new carriers (both chairs and gondolas) “designed for comfort and safety” are forthcoming.