- I’ve ridden lifts thousands of times and last Friday at Big Sky was the first time I never made it to the top of one. A part in the gearbox on Challenger failed around noon with myself among 120 or so riders on line. Big Sky Ski Patrol did an awesome job getting everybody down safely in about an hour. Challenger is a reconditioned Riblet double built for Big Sky by Superior Tramway in 1988. Three days after this incident, it’s still down. This particular lift saw significant downtime last season due to a broken bearing.
- The Forest Service seeks comments on Arapahoe Basin’s latest master plan. It includes a fixed-grip triple or quad chair serving the Beavers expansion, a Zuma access surface lift, replacements for Pallavicini/Molly Hogan and removal of Norway.
- The Gondola Project asserts that cities now account for one in five gondolas and tramways built worldwide.
- The first new lift for the 2018 Winter Olympics, an 8-passenger gondola, opens in South Korea after months of delays. Two more detachable quads will be added this summer at the Jeongseon Alpine Center, which is hosting the Downhill and Super-G.
- The New York Times confirms North Korea’s Masik Pass ski resort got a Doppelmayr 4-passenger gondola this summer. It’s not new; according to Doppelmayr it came from Ischgl, Austria via a broker called Pro-Alpin who sold it to the Chinese. The gondola is in addition to the four counterfeit Doppelmayr lifts that appeared to be brand new in 2014.
- I passed a Doppelmayr drive terminal on I-80 last week. Now I know where it was going: Sugarloaf.
- More pictures from Lutsen Mountains of their new gondola. The old Hall Skycruiser is still standing parallel to her replacement.
- Haul rope and commline go up at Okemo.
- North Korea’s Masik Pass ski resort looks to have gotten a base-to-summit gondola this summer based on recent satellite imagery. Perhaps another counterfeit Doppelmayr?
In July 2011, South Korea won the 2018 Winter Olympics, beating out cities in France and Germany. Almost immediately, North Korea announced plans to build its own ski resort called Masik Pass. The plan required at least five lifts despite the lack of any lift manufacturers in Asia.
Kim Jong Un’s government turned to the usual players, Doppelmayr and Poma. Both refused to build the lifts, citing the international ban on selling luxury goods to the North. Switzerland’s BMF agreed to a $7.7 million order but the Swiss government killed the deal. Ironically, Switzerland is where Kim Jong Un went to private school in the early 1990s and where he learned to ski.