Instagram Tuesday: 3S

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

Skis on. Get out. Freak out. | #TheGoodsReport #InTheNameOfWinter #exploreBC | Photo: @wintonphotos – @coastmtnphoto taken Jan 27

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#snow #ischgl #ski #österreich #mountains #picsoftheday #3s #autriche #alpes #tirol #doppelmayr

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Instagram Tuesday: Cabins

Every Tuesday, we feature our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

The Peak 2 Peak Gondola, against the epic backdrop of Garibaldi Provincial Park.

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Instagram Tuesday: Blue

Every Tuesday, we feature our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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Instagram Tuesday: Builders

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

#jasna #jasnanizketatry #chopok #new #ropeway #doppelmayr #winter #nizketatry

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Will North America Build a New Tram Ever Again?

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Car 1 of the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram approaches its dock at 10,450′ in June 2016.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort stunned the ski world June 24, 2005 announcing the iconic aerial tramway up Rendezvous Mountain would carry its final riders in 2006. The Kemmerer Family, owners of the resort since 1992, decided to retire the 40-year old jig-back at the first concerns about safety.  “This decision has been extremely difficult and quite honestly a very sad one,” Jay Kemmerer lamented at the announcement.  “We know this may impact our business, business to Jackson Hole and the State, but we must move on.”

JHMR did move on but not in the way many feared.  After two years of study, the Kemmerers opted to build a new 100-passenger Garaventa tramway at a cost of $31 million.  A bi-cable gondola was cheaper and seriously considered but failed to uphold the tradition set by the original tram in 1966.  National Ski Areas Association President Michael Berry said of the 2006 deal with Garaventa, “This huge investment by JHMR ownership to build a new tram stands alone in our industry.  The tram at Jackson Hole is recognized around the world as a lift that access some of the most spectacular terrain in North America.”  Big Red, as it quickly became known, was the first new tramway built at a U.S. or Canadian ski resort since the Alyeska Tramway in 1992.  The next newest tram was Cannon Mountain’s, dating back to 1979. Almost a decade later, only Jackson Hole and Alyeska have built large new aerial tramways in the last 37 years (for this post I’m talking about multi-cable tramways carrying 25+ passengers.  Arguably the “beer can” trams at Big Sky and Snowbasin are really reversible gondolas.)

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Poma of America built the Mt. Roberts Tramway in 1996 not for skiers, but for cruise ship passengers.

Switzerland is home to 97 large aerial tramways.  Italy has 59, Austria 40, France 35 and Germany 18 for a total of 249 in the Alps.  Compare that with 21 tramways operating in all of North America: 14 in the United States, 4 in Canada and 3 in Mexico.  Only a third of those are directly used for skiing with the rest dedicated to sightseeing or public transportation. More than half the trams operating in North America were built in the 1960s and 1970s with varying degrees of upgrades along the way.  As the chart below shows, the aerial tramway staged a slight comeback in the last decade but aside from Jackson Hole and Alyeska, the trend has nothing to do with skiing.

NA Tram Timeline
Aerial Tram openings in North America over the last 50 years.

The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in Colorado hinted at the future of tramways in 2013 when it lost its tram to a wildfire.  Instead of rebuilding, the park contracted with Leitner-Poma to build a reversible gondola at a fraction of the cost of a new aerial tramway.  Even with just six 8-passenger gondola cabins, the new system can move more passengers than the old tram.

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Instagram Tuesday: Airborne

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

#london #cablecar

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Bossman, @kanzlerdad lands the splice with @mfm518, #buildmorelifts #steelisreal. @bassettscott @ol_kev

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News Roundup: New in New Zealand

Instagram Tuesday: Summer Nights

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

#steamboatsprings sunset Trailhead Lodge Gondolas @wyndhamvacationrentals #steamboatresort #snapsteamboat

A post shared by Nick Esares (@nickesares) on

Late night for #pieinthesky sunset from the windows #wbworklove #liftmaintenance #sunset #alpenglow @whistlerblackcomb

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Instagram Tuesday: Wild

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

Beauty & The Beast. (📷 @lizchaffey) || #sunshinevillage #bear136 #grizzlybear #canadianrockies #mybanff #sunshinemeadows

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西峰索道 #mounthua #cablecar

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Instagram Tuesday: Springtime

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