News Roundup: Possible

  • Vail Resorts net income rises 41.5% over last year’s third quarter with Epic season pass sales up 12 percent in units and 19 percent in dollars through May 29th.
  • The new Lift One will likely be put to Aspen voters in a winter 2019 special election rather than the November general election.
  • The Western Idaho State Fair plans to debut a chairlift for the first time in August – apparently a used Riblet of unknown origin.
  • An urban gondola proposal in Ogden, Utah is back.
  • A great writeup about Heron’s early days answers why Aspen Skiing Company switched from Colorado’s homegrown lift company to Riblet.
  • Now’s your chance to enter to win one of Arapahoe Basin’s retired Norway chairs.
  • Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and the Sierra Club sign an agreement for the resort to abandon California Express Alternative 2 in exchange for the group withholding legal action against alternatives 3 and 4.
  • The Seattle suburb of Kirkland looks to a possible aerial lift to connect its city center with an upcoming bus rapid transit station.
  • Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and Whistler Blackcomb COO Pete Sonntag do a wide ranging interview with the local newspaper after a challenging year and a half.
  • Tower 6 of Howelsen Hill’s chairlift  is on the move for at least the third time as city leaders grapple with whether to fix it.
  • Beartooth Basin, the only summer ski resort in the United States, opens for the season as everyone else closes.  An experiment is also underway to run the lifts with biodiesel.
  • The Olympic Regional Development Authority proposes a new chairlift for its Lake Placid ski jumping venue.
  • Another Borvig surface lift bites the dust in favor of carpets.
  • Berkshire Bank says the Hermitage Club no longer has the right to restructure and argues receivership should proceed.  One Hermitage property is scheduled to be auctioned on June 25th.
  • A decision not to create an opportunity zone in Rangeley, Maine becomes yet another reason Saddleback is going nowhere fast.
  • The man accused of lying about spending a night on a Gore Mountain chairlift says he is innocent and may sue the State of New York.
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News Roundup: Eruption

  • Move over Epic Pass, Alterra is launching the Ikon Pass.
  • Granby Ranch is officially listed for sale.
  • Aspen CEO Mike Kaplan says snow challenges bring out the best in people.
  • Think your area is busy on a Saturday?  The urban gondola network in La Paz sets a new one day record: 278,621 riders!
  • New York Governor calls previously announced state fair gondola “an exciting idea” but withholds funding for now.
  • More stories surface of the Hermitage Club owing people money.
  • Skier records volcano erupting from a Doppelmayr detachable in Japan. One person was killed and a gondola damaged by rockfall.
  • ORDA, the state owner of Belleayre, Gore Mountain and Whiteface, lost $20.8  million last year.
  • Powder catches up with Alterra President and COO David Perry, who stresses the company will do things differently than Vail.
  • Public comment period opens for Mt. Rose’s Atoma expansion, which would include construction of one or two new chairlifts as early as 2019.
  • The draft environmental impact statement is also out for Steamboat’s expansion, to include a second gondola, Rough Rider chairlift, new Bashor lift and Pioneer Ridge pod with groundbreaking possible by May.
  • Lake Louise and Nakiska are probable venues for a possible 2026 Calgary Olympics. Denver, Reno-Tahoe and Salt Lake also weigh bids.
  • Just upgrading electric infrastructure for Disney’s Skyliner gondola system will cost $3.8 million, around the total price tag of a typical ski lift project!
  • For the first time since I started keeping track, 2018 new lifts are pacing behind 2017.

Gore & Whiteface Propose Ten New Lifts

Whiteface is the largest resort in the East by vertical and played host to the 1980 Olympic Downhill.  The New York State-owned Olympic Regional Development Authority continues to operate Whiteface along with nearby Gore Mountain and Belleayre in the Catskills.  This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed an impressive $62.5 million for capital improvements at ORDA facilities for 2018-19.  While the budget proposal is not yet law and does not identify specific items, it is likely to fund projects from Whiteface and Gore‘s management plans which, probably not coincidentally, were updated this month to include up to ten new lifts.

whitefaceplan

The biggest project in Whiteface’s future is the replacement of the Freeway double (a 1978 Hall) in a completely new and much longer alignment.  A new high-speed quad would start at in the base area and cross over the Little Whiteface double-double, topping out on the Upper Mackenzie trail.  Two new trails would be cut from the top, making this lift ideal for intermediate skiers and riders.  A second project would replace the 1984 VonRoll double named Bear with a fixed-grip quad.  An offload opportunity would be included near the current top terminal and the new lift would continue to the Mid-station lodge area parallel with the Face Lift detachable quad.

whiteface_trail_map_1718
Current Whiteface trail map for reference.

Significant improvements are planned for the Bear Den beginner complex.  A relocated Riblet double-turned-triple currently services this zone and would be replaced with a fixed-grip quad.  “The new quad and magic carpet at Bear Den will serve the extensive trail work we are planning in that area,” Whiteface General Manager Aaron Kellett tells NY Ski Blog.  “We want to extend the lift top terminal higher to create better flow in and out of the area.”  Last year, Whiteface proposed a new lift from Bear Den all the way to the Mid-station but that plan has morphed into a conceptual transfer lift between the two base areas.  A second transfer lift (think gondola, pulse gondola or cabriolet) could link the main parking lot to the base lodge.

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