- Sunday River explains why Jordan 8 came before Barker replacement.
- Brighton proposes swapping Crest Express for a six place D-Line.
- Snowbird looks to replace Wilbere.
- This document details Snowbird’s temporary one car tram operation.
- A hearing to consider the sale of Jay Peak is scheduled for August 26th.
- Eaglecrest and Mt. Spokane join the Freedom Pass alliance.
- Flash flood cleanup closes the Palm Springs Tram for the week.
- A power outage leaves guests waiting hours at the top of the Sandia Peak Tram.
- Eleven ski areas in the White River National Forest paid a record $24 million in profit sharing to the Forest Service last year.
- Steamboat and Doppelmayr fly towers for the Wild Blue Gondola.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers display a Sigma 3S gondola cabin which could provide future stadium transport.
- Mt. Shasta releases a preliminary map of the Grey Butte expansion.
- Bartholet begins construction of the first Ropetaxi with cabins that will move individually based on passenger demand and destination.
- The restoration plan approved for Keystone’s Bergman Bowl requires annual monitoring through 2033.
- Boston Mills/Brandywine will auction double and quad chairs next week.
Palm Springs Tramway
News Roundup: Funding Secured
- Les Otten remains “cautiously optimistic” The Balsams redevelopment will break ground this year.
- Big Snow looks to expand chairlift-served indoor skiing to more locations.
- Mountain Creek inches closer to replacing the Vernon Triple with a six or eight place detachable.
- With visitation up, Powderhorn would like to swap out the West End double in the “near future.”
- Indy Pass reaches 100 resorts with the additions of BigRock Mountain, Marquette Mountain, Mount Kato, Nub’s Nob and Treetops Resort.
- Arizona Snowbowl’s new master plan goes on hold while the Forest Service works to reach an agreement with indigenous groups.
- Amusement conglomerate Herschend Family Entertainment elects to stop operating the Stone Mountain tramway six years before its contract expires, citing “protests and division” at the Confederate monument. The sole bidder for a new operating contract with the State of Georgia will take over in August.
- A draft action letter outlines why the local planning commission prevented lift projects from moving forward at Park City Mountain.
- The same commission approves construction of Deer Valley’s Burns Express, which will be the nation’s shortest detachable at 999 feet.
- Alta, Sandy and Salt Lake County mayors rally against a Little Cottonwood Gondola.
- Panorama delays summer lift operations at least a week due to a gearbox issue on the Mile 1 Express.
- Steamboat shows off Greenhorn Ranch and gondola mid-station construction progress.
- Whitefish starts a blog dedicated to Snow Ghost Express construction updates.
- The Palm Springs Tramway closes for multiple days due to technical problems.
News Roundup: Best Ever
- The Bud Light Seltzer SkyView gondola at Hard Rock Stadium becomes the Heineken High Line for the Miami Grand Prix.
- A chairlift which rotates between two fairs in California and one in Arizona now also goes to Texas.
- Granite Gorge is scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure auction next month.
- A Swiss paper interviews Roland Bartholet about his company being acquired by HTI. The brand will remain separate from Leitner and Poma, will focus on new products and help the group compete with Doppelmayr Garaventa.
- Indy Pass signs six more resorts as affiliate partners; redemptions totaled 125,000 this season.
- Gore Mountain signs with Leitner-Poma for the North Creek Ski Bowl detachable.
- Doppelmayr proposes a $200 million urban gondola system in Auckland, New Zealand.
- Bottineau Winter Park fundraises for a new T-Bar.
- Friends of the Tulsa Skyride say the only lift in Oklahoma may be removed in the next few weeks.
- The United States sets an all-time skier visit record – 61 million – with 11 more ski areas operating than last season.
- NSAA says offseason capital improvements will also set a record this year at $728 million.
- A big urban 3S opens in France.
- Doppelmayr’s latest Bike Clip carriers will make their North American debut at Loon Mountain.
- Mt. Rose’s first high speed quad will be called the
Tahoe Express. Update: Lakeview Express
- A tram breakdown makes the news in Palm Springs.
News Roundup: First Load Test
- Vail-owned Wilmot Mountain takes down Lift 7 with no immediate replacement planned.
- A monument is unveiled honoring Byron Riblet, who founded Riblet Tramway Company in 1896.
- Kirkwood and Heavenly both utilize snowmaking systems for protection from the Caldor Fire.
- The Forest Service closes all National Forests in California due to the fire emergency, affecting summer operations at numerous resorts.
- The Palm Springs Tramway is set to close for a month of maintenance.
- Skytrac completes the first new lift of the year at Great Bear. Already in the Lift Blog database!
- Steamboat raises more than $200,000 for local nonprofits selling Priest Creek chairs.
- Alterra buys another heli ski operation, adds Dolomiti Superski and Kitzbühel as Ikon Pass international partners.
- Mexico City’s Cablebús Line 2 is certified by Guinness World Records as the longest urban gondola.
- The Storm Skiing Podcast features Charles Skinner, owner of Granite Peak and Lutsen Mountains, to talk lift upgrades and expansion plans at both resorts.
- Copper Mountain will host a State of the Resort presentation and capital plan update tomorrow.
News Roundup: October Turns
- Skiing is open this weekend in Alberta, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey Ontario and Wisconsin!
- Garibaldi at Squamish releases new renderings of what could be a $3.5 billion project.
- Searchmont holds off on making snow, offering lodging or selling passes and will only install one of the two Skytrac lifts it ordered due to Coronavirus.
- In a rare interview, John Cumming tells the story of Powdr.
- Big Snow and American Dream post promising attendance numbers after reopening.
- The latest capacity management video from SAM and Snow Operating focuses on lift capacity math in the Covid era.
- With two operating and five more under construction, Mexico’s capital region considers building even more urban gondolas.
- The gondola network in Puerto Vallarta appears complete but surrounding theme parks and hotels have a long way to go.
- Skeetawk has a trail map and will open for the very first time December 5th.
- Only one of Shanty Creek Resorts’ two Michigan ski areas will open this winter.
- Following the death of its owner, Granite Gorge does not plan to operate this year.
- Frustrated at lack of investment, local business owners look into buying Mont-Sainte-Anne from Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.
- A three gondola system connecting various points in Park City would cost an estimated $64 million to build with $3.5 million in annual operating costs.
- The Freedom Pass comes back but with fewer participating resorts than in years past.
- With revenue down eight figures, the Palm Springs Tramway takes out a $15 million loan.
- French President Emmanuel Macron orders the country’s ski resorts closed until at least December 1st due to rising coronavirus cases.
- Of 6,521 comments the Utah Department of Transportation received on Little Cottonwood Canyon options, 78 percent were pro-gondola.
- Granby Ranch will reopen under new management December 11th with more than $1 million invested in lift maintenance and snowmaking.
- Soldier Mountain gives another fire recovery update.
- Technical Safety BC releases an incident report and technical analysis from the latest Sea to Sky Gondola incident (both are heavily redacted so as not to impede the ongoing criminal investigation.)
- Camelback’s new Sunbowl Quad nears completion.
News Roundup: Construction, Construction, Construction
- Sun Peaks’ seventh quad chair is complete.
- Lake Louise previews Canada’s only expansion for 2020.
- Camelback announces the new Sunbowl Quad will extend higher than the lifts it replaces.
- Mission Ridge forges its own path erecting a used high speed quad in house with local contractors.
- Alterra’s Rusty Gregory talks about winter demand.
- Cannon Mountain’s tramway will likely start the season on indefinite hold due to public health concerns.
- Australian regulators conclude hand carrying bikes on chairlifts is not safe.
- After six months closed, the Palm Springs Tramway reopens at less than 25 percent capacity.
- Soldier Mountain reveals comm lines, chairs and haul ropes were all damaged in this summer’s fire.
- Another new resort will join the Indy Pass, to be announced Monday.
News Roundup: Big Picture
- Copper’s new lift up Tucker Mountain will be named Three Bears after three members of the Cumming family who founded Powdr Co.
- Parks Canada green lights Lake Louise’s new long range plan including nine new lifts.
- The Forest Service weighs environmental concerns about Breck’s planned Peak 7 infill lift.
- Proposed federal legislation would set aside large swaths of the Wasatch for conservation and limit ski terrain expansion options.
- The fixed grip chondola in Illinois still doesn’t have an opening date but progress is ongoing.
- Revelstoke Mountain Resort previews the Stellar expansion and introduces a new trail map.
- A local TV reporter learns how to operate the Portland Aerial Tram and a Discovery Channel personality plays tram mechanic in Palm Springs.
- Wooward Park City, the all-new actions sports park with a Doppelmayr quad chair, will launch November 27th.
- Charles Hlavac purchases Teton Pass and plans to reopen as soon as possible under a new name.
- Disney bloggers discover the Disney Skyliner cabins feature automated narration. T-minus 16 days!
- Stevens Pass will sell 216 chairs from Daisy and Brooks on Thursday, September 19th with proceeds benefiting the Epic Promise Foundation.
- Eaglecrest opens a public survey to gauge interest in its gondola proposal and other projects.
- Here’s a rundown from the Saddleback community meeting.
- Mt. St. Louis Moonstone invests over CAD$6 million on a Leitner-Poma detachable six place lift to replace the Louis Express.
- A new lawsuit seeks to block approval of the Squaw-Alpine gondola project.
News Roundup: Lots of Euros
- Caledon Ski Club is set to replace its Blue Mountain triple with a new Doppelmayr quad this summer.
- Showdown rope evacuates 87 riders from Payload on a busy Saturday.
- Lutsen ropes down 25 from the Caribou Express and has it back in action within hours.
- The New Hampshire Business Review profiles legendary resort developer Les Otten.
- The privately-held conglomerate behind Leitner Ropeways, Poma, Leitner-Poma of America and Skytrac announces the highest revenue in the company’s history for 2018: €1.02 billion. The group built approximately 100 ropeways around the world last year, up from 75 in 2017.
- The State of Washington is poised to grant $750,000 of public money to Mt. Spokane for the Northwood project.
- Edmonton is one step closer to building an urban gondola.
- The Nordic Valley expansion project is in limbo.
- Vail officially owns two more ski resorts.
- Palm Springs reopens its tramway after storms cause $4 million in damage and lost revenue.
- The Forest Service tentatively approves alternative 4 of the ambitious California Express gondola project.
News Roundup: Next Generation
- The above $52 million masterpiece and highest-ever 3S opens for business in the shadow of the Matterhorn.
- The Leitner-Poma Group’s sixth tricable gondola is set to carry commuters between three stations in Toulouse, France from 2020 and will cost $94.5 million to build.
- Alterra closes on its purchase of Crystal Mountain.
- A lift operator and his employer, Killingon/Pico, are sued following a loading mishap.
- An eighth urban gondola line opens in La Paz and carries 72,740 riders on its first day.
- CWA teases Omega V, the next evolution of the world’s best selling gondola cabin. While we wait to see what it looks like, check out hundreds of CWA designs from the past 75 years.
- The Palm Springs Tram gets a new 13,500′ x 45 mm upper haul rope from Fatzer. Thanks Kirk D. for the photos.
- Horseshoe Resort’s retired 1989 Doppelmayr detachable quad hits the used market.
- Whistler Blackcomb’s 2018-19 trail map shows what $52 million worth of new lifts looks like.
- Read up on Sun Peaks’ new Orient quad here.
- Lone Mountain Land Company eyes two more lifts on the Spanish Peaks side of Big Sky Resort and nine in Moonlight Basin.
- Revelstoke’s newspaper looks into rumors of a gondola project on Mt. Begbie.
- The City of Los Angeles will study two Hollywood gondola ideas.
- Another Disney Skyliner station is nearly finished with tons of windows.
- Windham names its new lift Westside Six. I stopped by last week to check out the progress.
A Giant Tramway from Desert to Mountain
I escaped Jackson Hole’s early snow this weekend and headed southwest, destination tramway number fourteen on my hit list. One I should have gotten to long ago, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the king of North American jig-backs with a ridiculous vertical rise of 5,873 feet. That’s second highest in the world, though the German number one was retired in April with a replacement not scheduled to open until December, giving SoCal’s tram the loftiest lift worldwide title for the moment. At 2.5 miles, it’s just 317 feet longer than Jackson’s Big Red but with almost 1,800 more vertical in Chino Canyon. A modest sign points to the tram from a traffic light 670 feet above sea level on the edge of Palm Springs and the access road (Tram Way) and the tramway combine to lift visitors to 8,516 feet on Mt. San Jacinto. Of all the lifts I have ridden, this one rivals the best, both in terms of the core machine and the impressive operation surrounding it.
Francis Crocker, an employee of the California Electric Power Company first envisioned the tram while on vacation to Palm Springs in 1935. It took almost thirty years and a war for his dream to come alive, beginning with the creation of the Mount San Jacinto Winter Park Authority by the California legislature in 1945. Construction began in 1960 and from the day California Governor Pat Brown cut the ribbon in September 1963, the tram was a hit. It would be the first of seven large aerial tramways for VonRoll in the United States.