- The Forest Service issues an operating permit to Mountain Capital Partners for Elk Ridge, Arizona, though reopening plans remain fluid.
- Sun Valley’s Cold Springs projects takes a major step forward with the removal of 50 year old lift towers.
- Tim Boyd, the visionary behind Peaks Resorts, earns NSAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will evaluate changing its name.
- Arctic Valley builds a public use cabin integrated into the top terminal of Chair 2.
- Solitude becomes the latest resort to abandon summer operations to focus on winter.
- President Trump signs an executive order banning many foreign workers until 2021, including J-1 visas used by many American ski resorts.
- Despite Coronavirus, Utah resorts enjoyed their fourth best season in history.
- For sale: a classic Hall T-Bar.
- Virus-related financial impacts may delay Sunlight’s proposed East Ridge project.
- Jackson Hole takes a hit but will consider replacing Sublette and/or Thunder as early as 2021.
- A Georgia community grapples with what to do about Stone Mountain, where an aerial tramway travels over the nation’s largest Confederate monument.
- Disney Skyliner cabins are spotted back out on all three lines.
News Roundup: Everybody’s Doing It
- Cockaigne, New York intends to reopen this winter after eight closed seasons.
- Red Mountain has a new lift, new trails and now a new trail map.
- A New Zealand bike park heads to court, accused of spreading flames by running its chairlift empty during a wildfire.
- Nearly a month after disaster struck, the Sea to Sky Gondola reopens its Basecamp Cafe, retail store and select hiking trails.
- A Peak Resorts investor sues to stop the sale of the company to Vail.
- Wisconsin lost ski area Deepwood may reopen as WoodWind Park.
- The chairlift at the Nebraska State Fair breaks down and gets evacuated.
- Steamboat’s new gondola will have Wi-Fi.
- Aspen Snowmass offers numbers on Ikon Pass lift line impacts.
- Highlander Lift Services & Construction partners with Timberline Helicopters to fly towers for two new Idaho lifts in two days.
- Alterra, Oz Real Estate, Pacific Group and Snow Operating have all reportedly been interested in Jay Peak.
- Jay celebrates the successful replacement of over 20,000 pieces of tram hardware.
- Treeline Cirque at Alpine Meadows is shaping up to be one cool lift but I don’t think it will have the first double grooved bullwheel angle station in the U.S.
- Green Mountain Valley School looks to replace its platter lift at Sugarbush with a $1.4 million T-Bar in an extended alignment.
Vail to Acquire Peak Resorts for $264 Million
Vail Resorts has agreed to purchase Peak Resorts, the publicly-traded parent company of 17 ski resorts in the northeast and midwest. The deal will more than double the number of mountains Vail operates and expand markets such as New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. for the Epic Pass. Mountains to be acquired include Mt. Snow in Vermont, Hunter Mountain in New York and Attitash in New Hampshire. Combined, Peak Resorts operates 109 aerial lifts in seven states. Vail will be up to 37 mountains in three countries with 437 lifts upon closing.
Peak itself closed on a $76 million purchase of Snow Time, Inc. less than eight months ago, yet the merger and acquisition action continues. “We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to add such a powerful network of ski areas to our Company,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts in an early morning announcement. “Peak Resorts’ ski areas in the Northeast are a perfect complement to our existing resorts and together will provide a very compelling offering to our guests in New York and Boston. With this acquisition, we are also able to make a much stronger connection to guests in critical cities in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest and build on the success we have already seen with our strategy in Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit.” The deal must still be approved by Peak’s shareholders, which are being offered $11.00 per share. When the deal closes, Epic Pass holders will receive unlimited, unrestricted access to all 17 resorts.
Vail plans to spend approximately $15 million for one-time capital improvements over the first two years and an ongoing $10 million per year to support the Peak properties. Vail’s EBITDA is expected to increase by $60 million annually with the new additions. The transaction is expected to close in the fall.
News Roundup: New Gondolas
- It looks like Snowbird has joined the Powdr family of adventure lifestyle brands.
- A batch of green gondolas arrives at Bretton Woods as towers go vertical.
- Another group of new Omega cabins is uncovered in Florida.
- Little Switzerland and The Rock Snowpark are upgrading chairs on multiple lifts and selling the old ones.
- The Lake Placid gondola cabins will be white and black.
- Top leadership positions at Doppelmayr will be filled by two longtime executives this fall.
- With no operations planned for this summer, Hermitage Club receiver Alan Tantleff updates the government on the status of the ski resort’s properties.
- Crested Butte receives approval for the Teocalli replacement project and plans to remove Twister as well.
- Killington says it’s considering upgrades for Superstar Express, Ramshead Express and Outpost at Pico next.
- Despite being partly flooded, the Grafton, Illinois gondola is on track to open later this spring.
- Tanzania might build a gondola on 19,341-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro.
- Peak Resorts reports double digit growth of season pass sales.
- West Mountain’s Thiokol is for sale along with some Poma lifts that were once planned to replace it.
News Roundup: Slow Boat
- After years of gondola negotiations with the Town of Jackson, a frustrated Snow King Mountain presses pause while it waits for the U.S. Forest Service to weigh in.
- Doppelmayr completes the final link in the world’s largest gondola chain. The stats: 10 lines, 21 miles, 34 stations and 1,324 cabins carrying 300,000 daily passengers.
- Crested Butte’s longest lift goes down for more than four days due to communication line damage.
- The announced sale of Montana’s Great Divide won’t happen.
- Peak Resorts posts a solid financial quarter with organic growth in revenue and earnings.
- The Whistler paper highlights what happens when the big Blackcomb Gondola goes down.
- SkyTrans Manufacturing says it’s not to blame for the Ohio State Fair’s delay in replacing potentially corroded chairs on its skyride. As a result of the chairlift situation, Ohio will require all ride operators to forward manufacturer directives to state inspectors going forward.
- After tons of hard work by its lift mechanics and contractors, Attitash concedes it won’t be able to fix Summit‘s gearbox this season. “We’ve heard your calls for a new lift to replace the Summit Triple, and while we appreciate all your feedback, this is not a project our parent company, Peak Resorts, is looking to do in the near future,” says GM John Lowell.
- Leaders of Alta, Aspen Snowmass, Big Sky and Jackson Hole all pen letters addressing the chorus of Ikon Pass crowding criticism.
- The Glenwood Caverns gondola takes flight tomorrow with 17 Sigma cabins. 27 more are on a delayed boat from France and will be put on line when they arrive.
News Roundup: Urban Momentum
- Plans for a 3S gondola servicing Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles move ahead.
- A new gondola system ridership record is set: 406,459 passengers in a single day.
- Killington joins the bubble club with Snowdon Six Express.
- Fatzer says it has donated more than 180 miles of wire rope leftover from ropeways to build 600 bridges in developing countries.
- Ramcharger 8 flies tomorrow at Big Sky Resort.
- Accidents knock two gondolas out of commission at the same Austrian ski resort in the span of a week. One due to a fire and the other a pileup of cabins. The latter one is already back in service.
- Doppelmayr USA taps former New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority head Ted Blazer to lead the company’s urban ropeway push.
- Copper Mountain hopes to have the new American Flyer bubble lift operational by Christmas.
- There might be some news regarding the shuttered Hermitage Club early next week.
- Big White’s Powder 2.0 opens today.
- So does the big Blackcomb Gondola.
- More than 150 guests are evacuated from the Blue chairlift at Mt. Hood Meadows after multiple systems fail.
- Peak Resorts releases quarterly financial results including strong season pass sales figures.
- Timerline Four Seasons Resort keeps pushing back its opening day, now scheduled for December 21st. Yesterday its managing partner was arrested and charged with failing to remit hotel taxes.
- Work carriers are spotted traversing Walt Disney World.
News Roundup: Heavy Snow
- The world’s largest vertical tramway is expected to reopen in time for Christmas, just three months after one of its cabins was destroyed in an unfortunate accident.
- Peak Resorts completes its acquisition of Liberty Mountain, Roundtop and Whitetail in Pennsylvania.
- There was a bit of a setback before American Eagle’s load test on Monday but repairs are complete and the first of two new lifts at Copper opens Saturday.
- A pulse gondola could join the skyline in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.
- Investors who helped the Hermitage Club buy its bubble lift file a lawsuit seeking $9.8 million.
- Did you know the Lone Peak Tram‘s bottom terminal is slowly moving downhill thanks to a rock glacier?
- The White River National Forest grants final approval for Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park expansion and preliminary approval of Aspen Mountain’s Pandora project.
- Plans for a new Oakland Athletics ballpark include a 6,000 passenger per hour gondola across Interstate 880.
- A proposed Portland Major League Baseball stadium also has a gondola component.
- As Utah weighs growth, Alta seeks to retain some of the land it owns in Grizzly Gulch, key to any future connection between the Cottonwood Canyons.
- Heavy snow delays completion of Ascutney Mountain’s T-Bar until next spring.
- Arapahoe Basin drops the ropes on 339 new lift-served acres.
News Roundup: More Maps
- As Aspen Mountain considers a Telemix combination lift, the Aspen Daily News looks back at other unique lifts in Pitkin County history.
- Purden Ski Village in BC is for sale at $1.7 million USD ($2.2 million CAD). The area operates two doubles and a T-Bar, all built by Mueller.
- Snowbird’s Chickadee has a new tower that hangs from a bridge.
- The final Disney Skyliner towers rise from a lake and one station gets a mural.
- Peak Pass sales are pacing ahead of last year by 19 percent in units and 22 percent in dollars despite increased northeast competition from Vail and Alterra.
- The shut down Hermitage Club expects to close on $25-30 million in financing around Thanksgiving. One potential reopening complication: the chairlifts haven’t been touched by mechanics since March.
- A new trail map shows the locations of Killington’s three new lifts.
- Beech Mountain is rocking two new quad chairs this winter and an all new trail map.
- Taos has an updated map to go along with its high speed quad.
News Roundup: Down to the Wire
- Beaver Creek renames the Buckaroo Express gondola Haymeadow Express, the name of the double chair which ran in the same alignment from 1980 to 2007.
- Whether the Hermitage Club closes a $30 million loan to catch up on lift maintenance and operate this winter is still an open question.
- Arapahoe Basin and Leitner-Poma fly steel for the Beavers project.
- As of yesterday, Vail Resorts officially operates Okemo, Mt. Sunapee and Crested Butte.
- Vail reports fiscal 2018 resort EBITDA was $616.6 million, an increase of 3.9 percent over the prior year. 2018-19 season pass sales are up 25 percent in units and 15 percent in dollars as of Sunday.
- West Mountain adds a million dollar chairlift and looks to build another.
- A New York-based developer receives one of many approvals for Mayflower Village at Deer Valley, which could eventually mean a slate of new lifts.
- Doppelmayr is named in connection with an urban gondola eyed for Long Beach, California.
- Watch a remarkable 3S gondola launch live from Zermatt at 9:15 Eastern tomorrow morning, 6:15 Pacific.
- The CFO and COO of Peak Resorts open up about their decision to buy Snow Time and note the three new mountains don’t immediately need much capital investment.
- The longtime owners of Great Divide, Montana plan to sell to another couple next year.
- Legendary ski resort builder Les Otten remains committed to The Balsams but laments, “time is killing this project.”
- Mountain Capital Partners releases more details on the Spider Mountain Bike Park project.
- The damaged Zugspitze cabin is successfully lowered to the valley for disassembly. The cable car’s operator says damage exceeds $1.2 million and the lift could reopen by year end.
- Boreal names its new quad California Cruiser.
- The latest Leitner-Poma six-pack at Hunter Mountain, seen below, will be called Northern Express.
News Roundup: Working Together
- It’s not looking good for Mt. Timothy, BC.
- Two Aspen developers amend their plans to accommodate the new Lift 1 alignment.
- Horseshoe Resort commits to replacing Chair 6 with a quad in 2019.
- The Hermitage Club is still trying to ink a reopening deal with members and Oz Real Estate.
- Powdr breaks ground on Woodward Park City, set to debut with a fixed-grip quad in November 2019. No word yet on the manufacturer.
- The Forest Service green lights Aspen Highlands’ Goldenhorn platter project.
- Peak Resorts posts quarterly results: an $11.8 million net loss on $7 million in revenue as the company worked to build Hunter North and the Carinthia Lodge at Mt. Snow. SKIS had $10.1 million in cash on hand as of July 31st with $180.6 million in debt. CEO Tim Boyd says he’s still open to acquiring more mountains.
- Disney will build and maintain a boat and dock specifically for Skyliner gondola evacuation purposes.
- Hall double area Navarino Hills, Wisconsin closes for good.
- With rumors swirling about its future, Black Mountain, NH clarifies it will open this winter.
- Snow King’s gondola/expansion scoping is extended for the third time to October 4th.
- A cabin is spotted in one of the Disney World gondola stations.
- $51 million in new lifts are on track to spin for American Thanksgiving at Whistler Blackcomb. Thanks Jordan N. for these photos.