- Doppelmayr USA’s Katharina Schmitz joins the Ski Utah podcast to talk lift technology, next year’s projects and more.
- According to Forest Service documents, Alta plans to replace Sunnyside and Albion this summer with a single six place chairlift.
- Sierra at Tahoe President John Rice takes SAM podcast listeners through the harrowing Caldor Fire disaster and recovery effort.
- White Pine, Wyoming is sold to new owners.
- Kimberley announces the Northstar Express will be inoperable for the entire season following last month’s fire.
- Vail Resorts says Stevens Pass faces its most acute staffing problems, replaces the General Manager the same day as a Seattle Times front page story comes out.
- Nine people successfully catch a child who fell from a chair at Mt. Washington.
- Big White seeks more parking at the Black Forest base in advance of two planned lift installations.
- Steamboat repairs the Sunshine Express; Storm Peak Express lives up to its name.
- Mt. Bachelor will be without the Skyliner Express for an indefinite period.
- Keystone closes the River Run Gondola for three days of maintenance (now back open).
- Redevelopment of the Meadows parking lot at Steamboat could include replacing the Wildhorse Gondola with a higher capacity detachable.
- BigRock Mountain’s quad chair fundraising gets off to a strong start.
- Vail Resorts and Park City ski patrollers reach a tentative contract agreement, likely avoiding a strike.
- Despite the headlines, Vail Resorts’ skier visits are actually down from the last two seasons as of January 2nd. Ski school, dining and retail/rental revenue are all up from last year but still down significantly from pre-Covid 2019-20.
Instagram Tuesday: Blue
Every Tuesday, we feature our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
News Roundup: New Owners
- See how Sigma Composite builds gondola cabins in the French Alps. The company also just delivered the first of two trains for Leitner-Poma’s automated people mover at Miami International Airport.
- Aspen Skiing Co. submits a formal proposal with the Forest Service to replace Lift 1A on Aspen Mountain with a high speed quad, gondola or combination lift as early as next summer. Meanwhile, this summer’s lift upgrade at Snowmass nears completion.
- Another Doppelmayr Eco-drive quad going up.
- Scott Shanaman, who founded Aerial NDT, becomes the proud new owner of Lost Valley near Lewiston, Maine. The resort (if you can call it that) has two classic Hall double chairs and a T-Bar that hasn’t run in quite some time. Congratulations, Scott and family!
- Powdr Corp.’s Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort changes its name (back) to Lee Canyon.
- Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. buys Mt. Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island, becoming the company’s fourth (and largest) mountain resort. The Utah-based group bought Ragged Mountain in 2007, Wisp Resort in 2012, and Wintergreen earlier this year. How’s that for some geographic diversity?
- Some pics of a sharp-looking bubble six-pack being built by Leitner Ropeways in the Czech Republic.
Up and Over Lifts
What if you could build two lifts for the price of one longer lift? A handful of ski areas have done it with “up and over” lifts. With this setup, riders load at each end and unload at a ridgetop mid-station. There are obvious cost advantages but also limited locations where such a lift makes sense. Due to multiple load/unload areas more stops and slows can occur. Another disadvantage is that the entire system has to run even if only one side is open. Most up and over lifts are located in the Pacific Northwest.
Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort built a CTEC up and over quad in 1995 to replace two lifts. Skiers who load Ray’s Lift in the main village can unload at the Mont Mountain summit or continue down the other side to the base of the Arrowhead lift. Guests can also load at this end to ride back up to the mid-station. Ray’s lift is a beast – depending on the season it has eight different load/unload points, five lift shacks with controls and 33 towers.
Stevens Pass considers its Double Diamond/Southern Cross system as two separate lifts. Skiers load at both ends and unload on two ramps at the summit which are monitored by one operator. The front side portion, called Double Diamond, is short and steep while the rest of the lift is on the Mill Valley side and dubbed Southern Cross. This system was also built by CTEC in 1987. The combined lift is 5,700 feet long and moves 1,200 people per hour up each side.
Perhaps the most famous of the up and over lifts is the Dinosaur at Snoqualmie’s Hyak. It was built by Murray-Latta in 1965. Over 5,000 feet long, it started at the base of Hyak, crossed the summit and continued down into Hidden Valley. This one lift accessed 100% of the resort’s terrain on both sides of Mt. Hyak. The lift had a rollback in 1971 that injured dozens of skiers. The Dinosaur continued to run until 1988. When it closed, large portions of Hyak became abandoned. The Dinosaur sat idle until was removed in 2009 and replaced with two used Riblet lifts, a triple on the front side and a double in Hidden Valley.