- Vail Resorts officially takes ownership of Seven Springs, Laurel Mountain and Hidden Valley.
- Vail faces a mountain of criticism for operational struggles from Colorado to Washington, Ohio, New Hampshire and beyond.
- Vail slashes operating days and/or hours at Crotched Mountain, Hidden Valley, Snow Creek, Boston Mills/Brandywine/Alpine Valley and Mad River Mountain due to employee shortages.
- Stevens Pass rope evacuates two chairlifts in one day citing power outages.
- Park City Chief Operating Officer Mike Goar sits down for an extended interview to explain some of the issues facing Vail.
- The Park City ski patrol union rejects Vail Resorts’ latest contract offer, fundraises for a possible work stoppage.
- Beaver Creek will open the McCoy Park expansion Monday.
- Vail applies with the Forest Service to replace the Summit Triple at Attitash with a four or six passenger detachable.
- Waterville Valley proposes building an MND T-Bar in the former World Cup Triple alignment.
- Monarch Mountain advances the No Name Basin expansion.
- No link but I’m told Montana Snowbowl is moving forward with building a lift from the base area up TV Mountain.
- Ditto for Windham Mountain replacing the Whiteway triple with a Doppelmayr D-Line detachable.
- Sandia Peak management says tram icing which led to a 14 hour evacuation was unprecedented.
- Crystal Mountain announces a lift reservation system, quickly changes course to parking reservations instead.
- Another of Iowa’s ski areas transitions from private to public ownership.
- Some 80 containers arrive from Europe for the Caribbean’s next big urban gondola.
- Sunshine Express at Steamboat is closed all week for a motor repair.
- Magic Mountain’s Red lift passes another inspection and load test, will reopen Saturday.
- Charles Skinner takes full ownership of Lutsen Mountains.
The new year started with a long, cold night for a group of Sandia Peak employees. Late on New Year’s Eve, the resort’s aerial tramway stopped midway through a trip due to icing of cables from precipitation and high winds. Twenty passengers in cabin 2 and an attendant in cabin 1 were stuck until early this afternoon. The tram cars are not heated but rescuers were able to climb tower 2 and provide one of the cabins with food, water and emergency blankets. By 2:00 pm, a number of passengers had been lowered down from that cabin and taken off the mountain by helicopter.
The other cabin was not at a tower and the lone occupant took longer to rescue. “We are happy to report that at this time all people needing rescue from the Tram cars have been rescued and are safely at base,” the Bernalillo County Fire Department tweeted just before 4:00 pm. “We still have rescue personnel on the mountain who are hiking out due to difficulty in making access with the helicopter.” Much of the rescue operation was broadcast live on Facebook by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.
The tram was built by Bell in 1965 and is the fourth longest ropeway in North America. It travels over extremely rugged terrain with no road access for most of its length. The system also stranded riders for a number of hours in August 2020 and dozens of people spent more than 24 hours on the tram in a 1973 mishap.
The ski area, tramway and restaurant announced will remain closed at least until Monday.
- Construction will begin early next year on a new point of interest chairlift in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
- Amazon files a patent for a skier-pulling drone.
- Mission Ridge provides another fantastic construction update.
- 2020-21 is the final season the largest ski resort in California will be known by the name Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
- The Forest Service seeks public comments on eight lift projects and more included in the Grand Targhee master plan.
- Big Snow American Dream reopens Tuesday after nearly six months closed. The snow never melted!
- Utah Olympic Park expects to add a fourth chairlift and new terrain next summer.
- After years focusing on snowmaking, Telluride’s owner considers lift upgrades.
- Ski Santa Fe fires up snow guns to help protect lifts from wildfire.
- Glenwood Caverns reopens today following a 16 day fire closure.
- Riders get stuck on the Sandia Peak Tramway for hours.
- Vermont may provide direct payments to ski resorts.
- Harry’s Dream at Beaver Mountain gets a new Skytrac return terminal.
- Vail Resorts won’t sell day tickets early season and will require passholders to make reservations at all 34 of its North American mountains for 2020-21.
- The Denver Post catches up with Colorado mountain leaders to talk winter plans.
- The Lower T-Bar at Pass Powderkeg, AB is being extended.
- Doppelmayr begins testing its D-Line gondola to the beach in Mexico.
- The City of Los Angeles releases four gondola alignment alternatives it’s studying for Griffith Park and the Hollywood sign.
- The Grand Canyon Express is a huge development for Arizona Snowbowl and the entire Flagstaff region.
- New York State Fairgrounds to build a gondola, though details are scarce.
- Mi Teleférico hits 75 million riders, will surpass 100 million in April.
- Searchmont finally reopens its quad chair after a six-year repair.
- The Portland Aerial Tram transported a record 2.1 million riders last year. In ten years, it has indirectly contributed $1 billion to the Portland economy while creating 4,000 jobs.
- This forum thread is an interesting read on how guests can perceive lifts.
- The Denver Post reports Fortress Investment Group is considering selling Intrawest, operator of Blue Mountain, Snowshoe, Steamboat, Stratton, Tremblant and Winter Park.
- Editorial in the Summit Daily hates on Vail Resorts’ six-pack push with a jab at Leitner-Poma (though the lift pictured is actually a Doppelmayr.)
- Ray’s lift at Sundance is rope evacuated, remains out of service three days later.
- Bearing issues apparently caused the closures of lifts 1 and 6 at Loveland.
- Waterville Valley’s only summit access lift rope evacuated for the third time in three weeks, now closed until further notice.
- Poma’s new eeZii terminal offering in Europe features a footprint 20-30 percent smaller than its predecessor.
- Power outage leads to partial rope evacuation at Sandia Peak.
- Two men want to build an iconic gondola called Skyline along the Chicago Riverfront.
- Sandia Peak unveils new tram cabins for its 50th anniversary.
- Sugarloaf updates the public on its summer lift maintenance projects.
- BMF wins contract for its first 10-passenger gondola to be built next year in Switzerland.
- The owner of Gletscherjet 3+4 built last summer in Austria say it has already carried 3 million passengers, believed to be a record for a winter lift. The system is an 8/10 combination lift interlining with a 10-passenger gondola.
- Poma’s 2015 Reference Book is now online highlighting last year’s projects from around the world.
- Are Vail Resorts and Powdr Corp. bidding on Eldora?
- A New Zealand developer will test whether a Whistler-style bike park with its own high speed quad can stand alone without skiing.
- Doppelmayr and its contractors take responsibility for a construction accident at one of the terminals under construction in La Paz that injured ten people on Saturday.
- Doppelmayr isn’t the only one building in Bolivia. Poma is 55 percent complete with the city of Ororu’s new gondola.
- SkyTrac has a new website!
- RiverWalk at Loon Mountain will open a Doppelmayr pulse gondola crossing the Pemigewasset River in 2017.
- Lift ticket revenue was up 19 percent and skier visits +13 percent at Vail Resorts’ ten mountains in 2015-16.
- Snowbasin seeks approval to build two more high speed quads – one to replace Wildcat and the other to supplement the Strawberry Express Gondola.
- Garaventa splices and celebrates in Ha Long.
- New tram cabins arrive at Sandia Peak from CWA.
The average lift ride in the United States and Canada takes just under five minutes. In fact, only about four percent of lifts (fewer than a hundred) take more than ten minutes to ride. You wouldn’t know it hearing the average skier complaining about long and slow lifts at just about any ski area. Below are the ten longest lifts by actual ride time at design speed. Of course lifts do not always run at their design speed but this gives a pretty good idea of the longest rides. Two of the top ten are detachable lifts that are so long that they take more than 15 minutes.
1. Burfield Quad – Sun Peaks Resort, BC – 1997 Doppelmayr Fixed-grip quad
9,510 feet at 453 fpm = 21 minutes
2. Cyclone – Sunrise Park Resort, AZ – 1983 Yan Fixed-grip triple
7,982 feet at 450 fpm = 17.7 minutes
3. Gondola – Silver Mountain, ID – 1990 VonRoll 8-passenger gondola
16,350 feet at 1,000 fpm = 16.4 minutes
4. Castlerock – Sugarbush Resort, VT – 2001 Poma fixed-grip double
4,707 feet at 300 fpm = 15.7 minutes
5. Wallowa Lake Tramway, OR – 1968 Hall 4-passenger gondola
9.650 feet at 650 fpm = 14.9 minutes
North America’s top ten longest lifts are all gondolas or aerial tramways and only half of them are directly used for skiing. Silver Mountain’s Gondola is number one although it is no longer the world’s longest. Since 2014, that title has belonged to the Bursa Uludag Gondola in Turkey which is a ridiculous 28,871 feet. This list does not include systems which have multiple haul ropes, such as Blackcomb’s Excalibur, which I consider to be two separate gondolas.
1. Silver Mountain Gondola, Silver Mountain, Idaho – 1990 VonRoll 8-passenger gondola
16,350′ ride time 16.4 minutes
2. Sunshine Village Gondola, Sunshine Village, Alberta – 2001 Poma 8-passenger gondola
14,894′ ride time 12.4 minutes
3. Peak 2 Peak Gondola, Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia – 2008 Doppelmayr 3S tri-cable gondola
14,497′ ride time 9.8 minutes
4. Sandia Peak Tramway, Albuquerque, New Mexico – 1965 Bell 50-passenger tramway
5. Silver Queen Gondola, Aspen Mountain, Colorado – 1986 Poma 6-passenger gondola
13,216′ ride time 13.2 minutes