News Roundup: Across Canada

News Roundup: Alterra

  • Neighbors aren’t happy about light and noise from Woodward Park City, though the new area was able to turn down the start alarm on the Hot Laps chairlift.
  • Mt. Baldy in Thunder Bay, Ontario plans to buy a new quad chair for next season.
  • The City of Durango considers whether building a new chairlift at Chapman Hill makes sense at an increasingly marginal elevation for natural snow.
  • Spout Springs will remain closed this season and is still for sale.
  • Mexico City begins work on Cablebús Line 2, a Leitner system with 7 stations, 308 cabins and 59 towers.  (Line 1 is Doppelmayr and already under construction.)
  • Seven people are injured and a gas station destroyed when a gondola haul rope being installed in Medellín, Colombia lets loose.
  • Alterra closes on Sugarbush and Win Smith transitions from owner to employee.
  • A French paraglider is lucky to survive being caught in a platter lift‘s haul rope.
  • To address crowding concerns, Crystal Mountain eliminates walk up lift ticket sales on weekends and holidays, effective immediately.  The resort will also no longer offer group discounts, gift card ticket redemptions or rental/ticket packages on weekends and holidays.
  • New York State opens its newest gondola in Lake Placid, called the SkyRide.
  • Geyser Holdings offers $4 million for the Hermitage Club and Boyne Resorts separately bids $3.6 million for the Barnstormer lift.  An auction could be held next month.
  • Skytrac’s Hilltrac people movers now feature Sigma cabins.
  • Montana Snowbowl opens its Snow Park expansion for the first time.
  • The owners of Perfect North Slopes plan to build at least one new top-to-bottom lift at newly-acquired Timberline, West Virginia this summer.
  • The State of Maine postpones a decision on a loan guarantee related to the sale of Saddleback Mountain.
  • A creditor claiming to be owed $62 million files to foreclose on Granby Ranch.
  • Edmonton urban gondola backers release robust ridership projections.
  • A gondola from Boise to Bogus Basin would be too long and cost too much to be practical.

 

Fallen Chair Forces an Evacuation at Montana Snowbowl

5e0d032b147b8.image
Photo credit: David Erickson via Missoulian

A chair got caught in a terminal guide and fell from the LaValle Creek lift at Montana Snowbowl on New Year’s Day.  The haul rope was damaged enough that dozens of other riders were roped down from the lift.  No one was injured.  The lift remains closed and Snowbowl owner Andy Morris says repairs may take a week or more.

IMG_4926
The station where the incident occurred as seen in 2016.

The 1984 Riblet is the only lift servicing Montana Snowbowl’s 7,560 foot summit.  Riblet lifts do not utilize traditional grips but rather clips that are inserted into the haul rope.  Clips coming loose are rare but not unheard of occurrences.  In 2011, the same lift lost a chair in the loading area.

Lift ticket prices have been reduced as a result of the summit closure.  Snowbowl’s long-awaited Snow Park Expansion may debut before LaValle reopens, giving guests more intermediate options.  The expansion has been under construction for three years and includes a used Riblet double from Snowmass.

TrailmapWebLarge

News Roundup: Wish Lists

News Roundup: Following

  • Mt. Hood Meadows, Skytrac and Timberline Helicopters fly Buttercup towers in just 45 minutes.
  • Vail Resorts schedules annual meeting for Wednesday, December 6th, where multiple new lift projects are likely to be revealed.
  • Aspen Skiing Company, the City of Aspen, private landowners and the public collaborate towards building a long-sought detachable Lift 1.
  • Latest LST detach update: chairs are back at the factory being reworked and the Envers lift is expected to be up and running around Christmas.
  • Revelstoke adds 24 new gondola cabins, Crystal Mountain gets five more.
  • Navajo Nation leadership soundly rejects Grand Canyon Escalade gondola in 16-2 vote.
  • SkiCo and the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club plan to build a platter surface lift on the skier’s right side of Golden Horn at Aspen Highlands next summer.
  • There’s an unconfirmed rumor that the Cyclone at Sunrise Park, AZ won’t operate this winter.  The 1983 Yan is North America’s longest triple chair at 7,982′ with 32 towers and 352 chairs.  I’ve reached out to Sunrise for comment and will update if I hear anything.
  • Montana Snowbowl’s TV Mountain expansion won’t open this season.
  • After building three new lifts in a row, the Hermitage Club finds itself in a cash flow crunch.

Montana Snowbowl Readies TV Mountain Expansion

IMG_1743
A 1,088-acre expansion onto TV Mountain will include six new ski runs and a used double chairlift at Montana Snowbowl for 2017-18.

If all goes according to plan, Montana Snowbowl will add up to 1,088 acres of ski terrain next winter in a homecoming of sorts.  Expanding onto neighboring TV Mountain, Snowbowl will nearly double in size, going from a modest two Riblet doubles and a Doppelmayr T-Bar to a major Montana player with seven lifts and 2,243 acres.  Construction is underway and legendary artist James Niehues is currently painting the trail map for North America’s biggest expansion of the year.

The Forest Service finally approved Snowbowl’s TV Mountain expansion in May 2014 after ten years studying a connection to the long-lost Snow Park Ski Area.  Owner Brad Morris acquired the Burlingame and High Alpine doubles from Snowmass (for free) in 2015 and the first of four new lifts will open this season.  Work started last fall, but early storms forced crews to pause over the winter.

Montana Snowbowl does not have a true beginner or low-intermediate lift, in part because most Missoulians learned to ski at Marshall Mountain until 2003.  Facing a need to broaden its appeal beyond advanced skiers, Morris worked with the Forest Service on the expansion plan which he submitted for approval in 2004.  Thirteen years later, the beginnings of a new lift dubbed ‘B’ stretch 4,900 feet from the original Snow Park base area to the summit of TV Mountain with 23 towers under construction.  In contrast with the Grizzly chair that rises steeply from the current base area, the new lift will ascend a modest 1,440′ vertical west of TV Mountain’s namesake towers.  Ride time will be 11 minutes with a capacity of 1,200 skiers per hour.  Burlingame’s tension-return station is already standing while the drive station up top will likely be High Alpine’s.

Continue reading

News Roundup: The People

News Roundup: Losses

  • Wire Austin gets some attention from folks who matter – the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
  • Peak Resorts loses $7.9 million in the first quarter (it owns Alpine Valley, Attitash, Big Boulder, Boston Mills, Brandywine, Crotched Mountain, Hidden Valley, Hunter Mountain, Jack Frost, Mad River Mountain, Mt. Snow, Paoli Peaks, Snow Creek and Wildcat.)
  • The deropement and evacuation of the pulse gondola between the Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Helbronner makes CNN.
  • Austria’s Foreign Minister meets with former London Mayor Boris Johnson to talk Brexit.  The mayor says the Doppelmayr cowbell that came with the Emirates Air Line is one of his most prized possessions.
  • Federal receiver hopes to sell Jay Peak in the spring, says resort President Bill Stenger was duped.
  • Laurel Mountain’s new Skytrac is complete.
  • Maine’s Attorney General sues the owner of Big Squaw Mountain for not operating the ski area as promised.
  • Tamarack Homeowners meet to discuss the future of Idaho’s newest ski resort ahead of an October lift auction. Owner Credit Suisse and its operator Replay Resorts appear to be on the way out.
  • The owner of Montana Snowbowl tells the Missoulian he started construction on a new TV Mountain lift a few weeks ago and there’s a chance it will be completed in time for the coming winter season.
  • Preservation group calls abandoned mines in American Fork Canyon a “ticking time bomb,” calls on Snowbird to turn private land over to the Forest Service where the resort plans to build two new lifts.

News Roundup: South America

This is an open thread.  Feel free to leave a comment on anything lift-related.

News Roundup: Downtime

  • Lift maintenance worker falls 25 feet at Black Mountain, NH.
  • Leitner Ropeways wins a $9.2 million contract to build an 8-passenger pulse gondola in the northern Mexican city of Torreon. Doppelmayr was the only other bidder.  Another Leitner project in Ecatepec, Mexico is more than 90% finished.
  • Purgatory and Leitner-Poma celebrate the opening of the Legends Express.
  • If you aren’t yet tired of seeing Park City’s new gondola, check out this incredible interactive video from Ski Utah.  You can pan 360-degrees using your smartphone or tablet with the YouTube app while taking a virtual ride.  It also works on a desktop but you have to pan manually using your mouse.