News Roundup: Rope Evac at Big Sky

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Ski patrollers lower guests from the Challenger double at Big Sky Resort on February 5, 2016.
  • 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.
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News Roundup: Panoramabahn

  • 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?
Creeping on North Korea’s ski lift construction in Google Earth yields a new building at the summit of Masik Pass.  It looks to house a detachable lift terminal with a lift line stretching all the way to the base area with towers and gondola cabins also visible.   The existing summit double is on the lower right.
  • In British Columbia, first Crystal Mountain and now Mt. Baldy will not open this season. Baldy has a T-Bar, Mueller double, and 2007 Leitner-Poma quad that last operated in 2013.
  • SkyTrac load tests at Pomerelle.  One more to go at Arizona Snowbowl.

Counterfeit Lifts in North Korea

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.

Masik Pass Trail Map
Masik Pass Trail Map.  All Photos from Uri Tours on Flickr.

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.

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