Instagram Tuesday: Metropolitan

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

Sunday Line work. #portland #portlandaerialtram #liftmaintenance #pnw #linework

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Instagram Tuesday: Night Moves

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

Lined up and ready to launch!

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News Roundup: A Million

  • Foundation work is starting for Disney gondolas.
  • Partek will build a fixed-grip quad at Mt. Peter, NY this summer.
  • East River Skyway proposal expanded to five phases with more possible stations.
  • Belleayre bid documents suggest December 2017 completion and a name for gondola: Catskill Thunder.  Funding was approved Monday though I’m told a manufacturer has not yet been awarded the contract.
  • NY State Fair gondola is also funded, separate from a chairlift to be built there by SkyTrans Manufacturing this summer.
  • Lee Canyon seeks approval to build two new quad chairs in new places.
  • Work to resume on Poma gondola in Zacatecas, Mexico with commissioning scheduled for September.
  • Gould Academy may build a T-Bar up Monday Mourning at Sunday River.
  • Intrawest stock hits record high amid acquisition rumblings.
  • A Yan detachable still operates with original grips in Spain.
  • Quebec announces $70 million in subsidies to support infrastructure investments at ski resorts in the province, including lift upgrades.
  • SEC filing shows exactly how much CNL Lifestyle Properties paid for each of the 16 ski resorts it owns.  The most valuable was Northstar at $80.1 million with Loon Mountain selling for just $15.5 million. The Gatlinburg Sky Lift operation went for a whopping $19.9 million!
  • Bridger Bowl to sell chairs from Virginia City if buyer falls through.
  • Interalpin, the every-other-year mountain technology nerd fest is April 26-28.
  • If rent payments to the federal government are any indication, Colorado is booming.
  • Flying demo tent gets hung up on Stowe gondola.
  • Staff at Barcelona’s urban gondola will strike.
  • In addition to completing the Green Lift, Magic Mountain will install a new motor and drive for the Black Lift and return capacity to three per chair.
  • Lift Blog reaches 1,000 Instagram followers, 700 Facebook fans and 1,000,000 page views.  Thank you to everyone who has supported me with this project over the last two years.

Instagram Tuesday: Spring

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


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News Roundup: Huge

News Roundup: 360

Instagram Tuesday: Stars

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Instagram Tuesday: Bubbles

Commuting in style, summertime edition. Photo by @stephkiiing #ohsu #portlandtram

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Lift Profile: Portland Aerial Tram


The Portland Aerial Tram, opened in January 2007, is one of only a handful of urban commuter lifts in the United States.  It connects the campus of the Oregon Health & Science University with Portland’s up-and-coming South Waterfront neighborhood.  The tram was built for $57 million during Doppelmayr-Garaventa’s North American golden years when they completed three projects worth $150 million in less than two years (the others being Jackson Hole’s new tram and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola.)  The Portland tram now carries more than 3,300 passengers a day, far exceeding initial projections.

Leaving the bottom terminal on Portland's South Waterfront.
Leaving the bottom terminal on Portland’s South Waterfront.

The tram only rises 496 feet but it crosses a light rail line, eight lanes of Interstate 5 and eleven other roads.  The bottom terminal houses the 600 HP drive motor and tram offices while the 80,000 lb. counterweight sits underneath the top station.  Slope length is only 3,437 feet, allowing quick three-minute trips at 2000 feet per minute or 7 m/s.  This achieves a capacity of 1,014 passengers per hour, per direction.

A tram cabin approaches the top dock.
A tram cabin approaches the top dock.

Why did a tram one quarter of the size of Jackson Hole’s cost $25 million more?  Two words: politics and aesthetics.  Designers wanted the system to be unique to Portland and aesthetically pleasing.  The city held an international design competition and selected AGPS Architecture of Zurich to design the terminals, tower and cabins.  The 197-foot tower is entirely covered in steel panels and lit up in colors at night.  Gangloff custom-designed the tram’s two 78-passenger cabins to look like flying reflective bubbles.  The top station is perhaps the most complex piece of the project, sitting 140-feet above ground and supported by angled columns.

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