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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A consortium led by Poma beats out Doppelmayr in the bidding to build a two-stage urban gondola over water in Guayaquil, Ecuador with a second line in the works.
South America now makes up 17 percent of Doppelmayr’s global revenue, approximately equal to North America.
Peru’s President recently visited the ancient fortress of Kuelap, where Poma is 90 percent finished with a new 8-passenger gondola. The only problem? The haul rope hasn’t been installed yet. So crews slung cabins from towers for the Presidential photo-op to make it look closer to being done!
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.
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.