- 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.
The once sleepy ski area in Eden, Utah will grow dramatically this winter with the addition of a high speed lift and new terrain. Leitner-Poma of America will supply the yet-to-be-named six place chair, which will move 2,500 skiers per hour and service approximately 50 acres of terrain the first season. When completed, the expansion will more than triple skiable terrain with 300 new acres. “The pioneers who started Nordic Valley dreamed of sharing this amazing terrain,” said Brandon Fessler, Nordic Valley general manager. “Our team has worked hard to realize that dream, and we cannot wait to share it with our guests, our friends and our neighbors this winter.” The lift will rise 1,400 vertical feet in just 4.2 minutes with a slope length of 4,213 feet. It will become the first six passenger lift built by Leitner-Poma in Utah.
Fast-growing Mountain Capital Partners took over operations of Nordic Valley in 2018. This expansion project will be located entirely on private property, though more lifts could eventually be added on Forest Service land at higher elevation.
MCP is also partnering with Leitner-Poma to add a base-to-summit Telemix at Arizona Snowbowl this summer. The two projects combine to form the largest lift investment in North American skiing for the 2020/21 season. While some resort groups have paused expansion capital due to the pandemic, Mountain Capital Partners and select others continue to forge ahead.
Nordic Valley expects to open the new six passenger lift early this winter, increasing its vertical drop by 65 percent.
- Alterra, Aspen, Arapahoe Basin and Boyne file a petition to force Liftopia into bankruptcy, claiming the company owes them a combined $3 million.
- The only North American ski resort accessible exclusively by aerial tramway will reopen at 30 percent capacity.
- Leitner-Poma is seeking installation labor for a major project at Nordic Valley, Utah.
- The Mont-Sainte-Anne gondola, which suffered two separate incidents before the Covid shutdown last winter, won’t operate this summer.
- High Country News profiles one group of workers’ quest to unionize at a Vail resort.
- The first concrete is poured for Arizona Snowbowl’s big new Telemix.
- Granby Ranch goes dark.
- The developer of American Dream, home to Big Snow, may be in trouble.
- An old Yan heads from Idaho to Mt. Baldy, California.
- The Indy Pass generated close to 9,000 skier visits last year.
- As Florida theme park Busch Gardens reopens, its gondola won’t be spinning. No word yet on the Disney Skyliner.
- Newly-purchased Bousquet Mountain will add a used Poma triple to replace its Summit Double this summer.
- Poma wins the contract to build $75 million urban gondola system in Grenoble, France.
- Hermitage Club founder Jim Barnes is still trying to appeal the sale of club assets to a member group.
- Leitner Ropeways releases its 2019 Annual Report.
Mountain Capital Partners no longer plans to build nine new chairlifts and one of the world’s longest gondolas in Northern Utah but a scaled back expansion of Nordic Valley is moving forward. The previous vision hinged on use of Forest Service lands and received chilly public reception.
The resort recently applied for a conditional use permit to add a new lift on 347 acres of entirely private land south of the current ski area. The updated project includes 50 acres of new snowmaking coverage and an approximately 4,400 foot chairlift dubbed Lift 5. Photos included with the application depict Skytrac lifts, indicating the new lift would be fixed-grip.
Back in 2018, Mountain Capital Partners forged an agreement to operate Nordic Valley, becoming the firm’s first property in Utah. MCP specializes in modernizing historically under-capitalized resorts across the Southwest. “The proposed project will allow for an improved guest experience for the surrounding communities and will compliment and improve the existing ski operations at Nordic Valley,” said the Colorado-based company. “With the addition of snowmaking, Nordic Valley will be able to minimize the impact of low natural snowfalls and offer a more consistent product to its customers.”
- The Pandora’s high speed quad is a go for next summer on Aspen Mountain.
- Construction of a T-Bar on Golden Peak should begin even sooner at Vail.
- Prying doors open and jumping out of a gondola at Steamboat is not a good idea.
- Nor is bailing from a chairlift at Crested Butte.
- The owner of closed Timberline Resort writes an op-ed about the situation.
- Remember the avalanche that took out a six pack tower in New Zealand last winter? The lift is back together again.
- One of the last remaining Yan detachable lifts, out of service for much of this season, will be torn down this summer.
- Vail CEO Rob Katz says his company will continue to invest in infrastructure such as lifts and steer customers towards season pass products.
- The names for Schweitzer’s upcoming new lifts are Cedar Park Express and Colburn.
- Deer Valley-turned-Alterra executive Bob Wheaton discusses the benefits of being part of a conglomerate.
- Winter Park’s C.A. Lane explains Alterra’s capital allocation is based on resort wish lists.
- Hogadon considers putting $250,000 toward the purchase of a quad chairlift.
- Fernie announces the Timber Bowl Express will close this summer for a bunch of upgrades.
- Sugarloaf uses the backup to the backup on a busy Saturday at Skyline.
- The Austrian resort whose 1980s bubble detachable is apparently destined for Mission Ridge is building two D-Line Omega V 10/bubble 8 combination lifts worth $35 million.
- The first D-Line half station is coming to Sölden.
- There could be another gondola in Banff.
- The BreckConnect won’t spin for much of Breckenridge’s extended winter season out of concern for wildlife.
- A full complement of cabins is spotted on a second Disney Skyliner line.
- The owner of 49 Degrees North says he plans to build a detachable summit lift within three years.
- A Balsams update.
- Mountain Capital Partners will modify the Nordic Valley expansion proposal to address Forest Service concerns.
- The Adirondack Park Agency approves construction of a new chairlift at the Lake Placid Olympic ski jumping facility.
- Ascutney seeks permission to build a 1,760′ T-Bar with 11 towers.
- As Oz Real Estate weighs investing more than $50 million, the Hermitage Club receiver reports the resort’s lifts need $86,000 in maintenance that neither the bank nor members have agreed to fund.
- Mountain Capital Partners hosts a packed public meeting regarding its Nordic Valley expansion. “I’ve never had a project not be successful and I’m not going to start with this one,” James Coleman tells the crowd.
- Days before the deadline for public comments, Sunshine Village CEO Ralph Scurfield pens an op-ed criticizing Parks Canada’s proposed site guidelines that would eliminate three future lifts from consideration.
- Leitner-Poma looks to immediately hire installation team members for the big Winter Park gondola project.
- Thanks to Rob and Max for these awesome shots of the Whistler Blackcomb megaproject.
- Some Alta land is withdrawn from a proposed land swap, maintaining the possibility of future expansion in Grizzly Gulch.
- Killington goes blue with its bubbles.
- Vail Resorts officially takes over Stevens Pass.
- Massachusetts awards the current operators of Blue Hills a new three year contract.
- Fatzer begins production of the first Compacta rope for the US lift market. At 54 mm, any guesses where it’s headed?
- The Jackson/Teton County Parks & Recreation Board unanimously says no to a Snow King Gondola alignment as the Forest Service extends public comment until September 13th.
- The Capital Gondola project moves along in Albany.
- Anyone can rent the six lifts at Pico Mountain for $6,500 on Tuesdays or Wednesdays this winter.
- The Jay Peak receiver plans to sell the resort by next summer while an offering of Burke Mountain is indefinitely on hold.
- Copper Mountain appears to abandon dark green lifts for more sophisticated copper-colored terminals.
- Snow King Mountain formally requests approval for a new $8 million gondola which would load along Snow King Avenue in the Town of Jackson, part of a $26 million improvement plan.
- The new Oakland Zoo gondola went down for a bit on Friday and just about every major news outlet in the Bay Area covered it.
- The SilverStar Gondola wasn’t the only new lift to open in Canada last week.
- Sadly, the gondola emoji has been the single least used on Twitter for 76 days.
- Elk Ridge, Arizona is back on the market, indicating the announced sale to Mountain Capital Partners may have fallen through.
- La Paz opens its seventh urban gondola just 366 days after groundbreaking. The Mi Teleférico system has now carried 135 million commuters since the first lines opened in 2014.
- Timberline Lodge confirms it’s eyeing a gondola or chairlift connection from Summit Ski Area, which it bought last week.
- Winter Park is getting the most money for improvements of all the Alterra mountains this year – $26.2 million. More than half of it is going to Leitner-Poma for the big Zephyr Gondola.
- James Coleman explains his ambitious dream to create another Snowbasin out of Nordic Valley.
- Episode 5 of Ski Area Management’s podcast, focusing on risk management, covers lots of lift ground: the Squaw Valley tram accident, a grip slip incident, and challenges Pats Peak faced after buying the Lake Compounce Skyride.
- One Hermitage Club lawsuit yields a $1.5 million judgement against the ski area and another one is filed.
- For the second time in recent memory, a falling cigarette is believed to have started a fire under a lift at Heavenly.
- The State of Massachusetts seeks a new operator for Blue Hills Ski Area.
- A private management company passes on operating Ski Cape Smokey, a nonprofit mountain in Nova Scotia with a broken main chairlift.
- Hunter Mountain is making quick work of the Hunter North expansion.
- Is Peak Resorts spending too much money on capital improvements such as new lifts?
“Ever since the company went public in 2014 it has taken advantage of its improved access to capital to finance large infrastructure projects that may have led to growth in visitation and revenues, but haven’t resulted in better earnings or cash flows.”
The new operator of Utah’s Nordic Valley, Mountain Capital Partners, has high hopes for what is currently the littlest ski resort in Utah. MCP is the fast-growing Durango, Colorado-based outfit led by James Coleman that now operates six ski resorts in the four corners region. Less than three years after acquiring Purgatory and Arizona Snowbowl, Mr. Coleman entered into an operating agreement with Nordic Valley’s owners in April. Now we know one of the reasons why he went to Utah.
The centerpiece of master plan released this month is a 4.3 mile gondola stretching from North Ogden to a summit elevation of 8,100′ before descending into Nordic Valley’s base area near Eden. It would be the third longest gondola system in the world and some 6,000 feet longer than anything in the United States today. “In addition to offering direct-to-resort access in a scenic 12-minute ride, the gondola will also help cut down on canyon traffic and vehicle emissions,” notes the recently-launched nordicvalleyproject.com website. A similar gondola was once eyed to connect Ogden to Snowbasin and the proposal reminds me in some ways of the successful Silver Mountain Gondola project which transformed Kellogg, Idaho.
Nordic Valley has attempted to expand upward and outward multiple times over its 50 year history but never before had access to the kind of capital needed to undertake what is now mapped. The plan includes nine new chairlifts surrounding the new gondola, which would likely be built in two sections. “We’re passionate about the ski industry, and about giving families and individuals the freedom and opportunity to experience the outdoors,” MCP notes. “With an improved guest experience, the new Nordic Valley will be better positioned to grow the ski industry, compete with other area resorts, and bolster Ogden’s status as a first-rate recreation destination.”
- The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation secures $212,000 to study the feasibility of a gondola connection to Bayonne, New Jersey.
- The Forest Service green lights Alta’s big plans for a new Baldy tram, Flora lift, Wildcat detachable and replacement for Sunnyside.
- The Colony’s master plan now includes two new lifts along Pinecone Ridge at the center of Park City Mountain.
- Copper is selling parts from the Flyer and the Eagle detachables. Must act fast!
- Crested Butte says the three lift Teo 2 expansion, if approved, would likely be built over approximately five years.
- Snow King’s gondola and terrain expansion public process moves along at a glacial pace.
- Mountain Capital Partners, the company behind Arizona Snowbowl, Hesperus Pajarito, Purgatory and Sipapu, will operate Nordic Valley and add it to the Power Pass.
- Doppelmayr breaks ground for its eleventh cable-propelled automated people mover, set to open in 2021.
- Spokane’s paper traces the history of three lifts that have graced Riverfront Park, including a new gondola.
- The Forest Service seeks feedback on Arizona Snowbowl’s chondola proposal.
- An ice storm apparently causes a track rope to jump out of a saddle at Jay Peak, closing the tram and nearby lifts indefinitely.
- As legal wrangling continues, nothing seems out of the ordinary this week at the Hermitage Club except for notices on the clubhouse doors.