Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
- Sugarloaf’s Whiffletree high speed quad (shown above) will be down 1-2 weeks while its gearbox gets rebuilt in Michigan for the second time in six months. Cone Drive rebuilt the gearbox in question last Fall and it was back in action a mere two months before failing on Saturday. Whiffletree is a 1997 Garaventa CTEC Stealth detachable at a mountain that’s had more than its fair share of lift setbacks.
- Doppelmayr’s latest Wir magazine is online. Some article highlights: the Penkenbahn 3S gondola turns 6.5 degrees mid-line and Park City’s new gondola transitions between two different line gauges.
- Leitner Ropeways will break ground on a two-stage gondola in Berlin March 26th to serve guests of the city’s 2017 horticultural expo. Doppelmayr built temporary gondolas at similar expos in 2009 and 2011. Must be nice to spend millions on lifts for four months of temporary operation! To be fair, Whistler did something similar for the Olympics.
- Garaventa crews pulling rope 600 feet above Ha Long Bay but they took some time off to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The world’s largest aerial tramway opens next month.
- The Telluride-Mountain Village gondola transit system, built by CTEC in 1992, has clocked 100,000 hours and elected officials are trying to figure out how to modernize it.
Vail Resorts’ $50 million endeavor to connect Utah’s two largest resorts last summer was one of the biggest infrastructure investments at a U.S. resort since American Skiing Company created The Canyons in 1997. That summer twenty years ago, ASC bought so many lifts for The Canyons (8!) they had to split the order between three lift manufacturers to get them all done in time for the 1997-98 season. It’s hard to even imagine that happening today. Still, Vail did manage to build a two-stage gondola, add a six-pack, move a detachable quad, construct a mid-mountain lodge and re-brand an entire company over the last eight months. I got to check out the results this week.
Park City Mountain is now the undisputed largest ski resort in America with 37 lifts and 300+ trails spread across 7,300 acres (it’s worth noting that Big Sky Resort still owns, and seems to have no problem using, the Biggest Skiing in America® trademark.) The first thing I noticed is Vail did its best to remove all references to Powdr’s old Park City logo and the Canyons name, replacing them with the red infinity branding. Despite these efforts, everyone still seems to call the northern half of the complex Canyons, or perhaps worse, The Canyons. Thousands of signs were changed over the summer and every employee got a new uniform. Most of the lifts were painted red although a few remain in black and orange.
The flagship of “One Park City” is the Quicksilver Gondola and neighboring Miners Camp lodge. Vail Resorts took the design they used for the Tamarack Lodge at Heavenly and Zephyr Lodge at Northstar and brought it east, demonstrating how the company excels at standardizing everything across its resorts. (Pepsi, never Coke, and safety bars on every chair at every mountain are other examples.)
Doppelmayr is on a roll at Park City with haul ropes spliced and tensioned for the new King Con Express and Motherlode Express lifts. In case you’ve been living under a rock, King Con is a brand new Uni-G model six pack with a loading carpet while Motherlode is a recycled Garaventa CTEC detachable quad moved from the King Con line. Both are nearly finished 50 days before opening day.
Over at the Quicksilver Gondola, which connects Park City to the former Canyons Resort, the drive terminal is getting a loading platform and what looks like a small cabin maintenance building. A bunch more cabins have arrived from Switzerland; the highest number I saw on a gondola was 61. The angle station is going up now with a crane setting bullwheels today. This station is going to be massive and I imagine the large tire sections will follow this week.
In other news, Payday Express, the last of Park City’s detachables with white paint received its new red and silver paint job last week along with Flat Iron next to the new gondola. Just about every lift at the combined resort has been painted this summer with the exception of a few fixed-grip lifts on the Park City side. Check out more pictures of the construction after the jump.
The most anticipated new lift of the year is starting to look like the really big gondola that it is. The drive terminal for Park City’s Quicksilver Gondola is largely complete and all 27 towers were set last weekend. Doppelmayr opted to use the same K-Max heli they’ve been using for other projects even though gondola towers are huge. The biggest towers – 23 and 24 – were actually set by crane. In fact, a two-mile long road was built just to access T21-23 on the edge of Thaynes Canyon.
The towers that were flown were split into in as many as six pieces because of the limited capability of the K-Max at 9,000 feet. At least two towers have 16-sheave trains that must weigh a ton. Some towers were flown without catwalks and railings just to make weight. I was surprised Doppelmayr did not use a heavy-lift helicopter like the Chinook but I’m sure it all came down to price and what was available.