- Alterra’s David Perry says significant capital is likely be spent at Steamboat in 2018 and 2019 with phase two of the gondola rebuild and other big projects on the table.
- A Denver TV reporter heads to Texas for a two-part interview with the husband of Kelly Huber, the woman killed during a lift malfunction last year at Granby Ranch.
- Two loaded chairs collide at Owl’s Head, Quebec after the Green Chair was pressed into rare operation amid downtime on a neighboring high-speed quad. The 1972 Heron-Poma is the former Big Hitch lift from Stagecoach, Colorado.
- China Peak’s owner wishes he still had the $900,000 he spent to build a new lift last summer that can’t open with no snow.
- The new Peak triple was rope evac’d at Pats Peak last Monday, apparently due to a gearbox issue.
- Poma dedicates its newest factory in France.
- Disney Skyliner’s first tower is up and it’s tapered in the cool Wolfurt style.
- Ian Cumming, founder of Powdr and majority owner of Snowbird, dies at age 77.
- Granite Gorge’s chairlift opens for the season after a gearbox issue and other problems.
- Ariel Quiros officially settles with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $82 million, paving the way for the sale of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain.
- The world’s longest lift is open!
- Killington formally applies to replace the South Ridge triple with a quad chair, manufacturer unknown. The sample profile confusingly shows a Poma Alpha drive and Doppelmayr Eclipse return terminal.
- Teton Pass, Montana won’t reopen under current ownership and is up for sale.
- Skier visits have declined 30 percent in South Korea over the last five years and there are several lost ski resorts in the Olympic region.
- The Sawtooth National Forest tentatively approves Sun Valley’s project to replace the Cold Springs lift with a longer high-speed quad as soon as this summer.
- A chairlift will be studied studied for one of Alabama’s most popular state parks.
- Alterra names Mammoth veteran Rusty Gregory as the company’s first CEO.
Alterra Mountain Company dropped a bomb at the Outdoor Retailer/SIA show this morning, announcing the forthcoming Ikon Pass will bring together its dozen North American resorts along with eleven other major mountains. Aspen Skiing Company, Boyne Resorts, Powdr Co. and more have partnered with Alterra to add destinations such as Aspen Snowmass, Alta, Snowbird, Big Sky, Killington and Jackson Hole. “The Ikon Pass is a collaboration of like-minded mountain destinations across North America where incredible terrain, unique character and local traditions are celebrated,” said Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer for Alterra Mountain Company. “We’ve curated a community of iconic destinations. We believe this new pass offers tremendous opportunity and appeal to mountain enthusiasts who have a passion for outdoor adventure.”
Pass options will range from a set number of days at varying destinations to an ultimate, unlimited season pass. I can’t stress enough how much this changes big mountain skiing in North America. For years now, Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass has been the largest and most successful season pass product in the world, now offering access to 272 lifts and 44,000 acres at 15 mountains in North America and Australia to some 750,000 passholders. Ikon will one-up Vail’s terrain offering with access to 23 top-tier North American resorts, a ridiculous 363 lifts and 48,840 acres (for both passes, I am counting gondolas, chairlifts and surface lifts with towers. If carpets and rope tows are included, the Epic Pass offers 340 lifts while Ikon has 434.)
Ikon Pass resorts for 2018-19 will be:
- Alta, Utah
- Alpine Meadows, California
- Aspen Highlands, Colorado
- Aspen Mountain, Colorado
- Bear Mountain, California
- Blue Mountain, Ontario
- Big Sky, Montana
- Buttermilk, Colorado
- Copper Mountain, Colorado
- Deer Valley, Utah
- Eldora, Colorado
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- June Mountain, California
- Killington, Vermont
- Loon Mountain, New Hampshire
- Mammoth Mountain, California
- Snowbird, Utah
- Snowmass, Colorado
- Snowshoe, West Virginia
- Snow Summit, California
- Squaw Valley, California
- Steamboat, Colorado
- Stratton, Vermont
- Sugarloaf, Maine
- Sunday River, Maine
- Tremblant, Quebec
- Winter Park, Colorado
Ikon passholders will also receive discounts and special offers at CMH heli-skiing in British Columbia. Epic holders already enjoy limited access to 30 European resorts. The Liftopia-powered Mountain Collective Pass, which allows destination skiers to sample many large resorts, will remain an option in its current form and also go on sale in March. The M.A.X. Pass, founded by Intrawest, Powdr and Boyne, will sunset. Specific Ikon tiers and prices will be released in the coming weeks.
As an employee of one of the independent resorts on the MCP and now Ikon Pass, I watched first hand the worry of consolidation last spring turn to optimism in the fall. Now I know why.
Many people don’t realize Powdr Co., the privately-held firm behind Copper, Killington and Mt. Bachelor, still owns the Gorgoza Park tubing area along I-80 despite losing nearby Park City Mountain Resort to Vail in 2014. With unanimous approval Tuesday by the local planning commission, Powdr plans to break ground this summer on its sixth Woodward action sports park on the tubing site and build a chairlift in Park City for the first time since 3 Kings went up seven years ago.
This land hosted as a ski resort twice in the past. A 2,070′ Hall double stood from 1978 through the early 1980s before being removed. An even earlier iteration on Parley’s Summit featured a T-Bar and possibly another chairlift. Powdr acquired the property and built the current tube park in 2000.
A 400′ vertical fixed-grip quad along with a new and existing carpet lift will provide uplift for skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking. “Woodward provides aspiring athletes a place to safely progress their skills,” said John Cumming, Founder and CEO of Powdr in a press release announcing construction. “Having a Woodward in a venue that has hosted Olympic-level action sports competition, will, I believe, help to further inspire kids and enable them to develop. Park City is our home and we are extremely proud to be in a position to bring Woodward to our community and realize our initial vision for Gorgoza Park.” A plan before Powdr Co.’s legal spat with Vail Resorts would have placed the new Woodward in town at the base of the First Time lift.
The company’s Woodward brand also has outposts at Boreal and Copper Mountain along with non-ski ones in Southern California, Pennsylvania and Mexico. The Park City location will be the first with a dedicated chairlift and will open by the summer of 2019. While the manufacturer of the new quad is not yet known, Powdr has also announced a new fixed-grip lift for Killington next summer which could be lumped into a single contract.
Killington Resort and a local developer will invest $110 million to revitalize Bear Mountain over the next few years, including the addition of a fixed-grip quad chair at South Ridge next summer. Most of the plans involve base infrastructure and real estate but the lift news is exciting given the South Ridge area has been without direct service since its triple chair was removed in 2011. The $3 million quad chair will be the first new lift at the East’s most visited resort since the addition of the Skye Peak Express in 2008. “This Bear Mountain Revitalization Plan is especially exciting for me because I know that our core group of season pass holders has wanted a new South Ridge lift since the day we removed the old one,” says Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington Resort. “With the trail work our team has planned, this layout should greatly enhance the Killington experience by improving connectivity between the north and south sides of the resort.” The Bear Mountain Quad, a 1979 Yan will remain for now but is likely to be upgraded in the future with new development at its base.
Lift Engineering built the old South Ridge lift in the shape of a triangle, a wacky setup that will not be repeated. The new version will follow the path of the old light side from the bottom of Roundabout to an unload near the summit of Killington Peak. “From the top of the Bear Mountain Quad, the long-awaited replacement of the South Ridge lift will give skiers and snowboarders easy access the resort’s north side terrain including the Canyon and Snowdon areas, or easy access to the many trails in the sunny South Ridge area,” says Jeff Temple, director of mountain operations. Leitner-Poma is likely to build the fixed-grip quad as a longstanding supplier to Killington, but there’s also a chance it could go to Doppelmayr with Powdr Co.’s recent history. In further good news, The Beast also announced an agreement yesterday to host World Cup ski racing in both 2017 and 2018.
- The state of Utah hosted 4.5 million skier visits last season, a new record credited in part to the “Vail effect” and six new lifts.
- The Boston Globe autopsies New England’s nightmare season.
- Bloomberg Businessweek talks urban ropeway growth with Doppelmayr and Poma, so does The Wall Street Journal.
- Snowbird’s tram track cable replacement project is finished a week early.
- Disneyland will demolish historic VonRoll Skyway terminal to make way for Star Wars Land.
- Fatzer finishes six 27,000 foot ropes for the world’s longest 3S, set to open in 2017 in the Gulf of Thailand.
- Powdr buys Eldora.
- Jay Peak works on a plan to get its grounded tram running sometime this summer.