- The Pandora’s high speed quad is a go for next summer on Aspen Mountain.
- Construction of a T-Bar on Golden Peak should begin even sooner at Vail.
- Prying doors open and jumping out of a gondola at Steamboat is not a good idea.
- Nor is bailing from a chairlift at Crested Butte.
- The owner of closed Timberline Resort writes an op-ed about the situation.
- Remember the avalanche that took out a six pack tower in New Zealand last winter? The lift is back together again.
- One of the last remaining Yan detachable lifts, out of service for much of this season, will be torn down this summer.
- Vail CEO Rob Katz says his company will continue to invest in infrastructure such as lifts and steer customers towards season pass products.
- The names for Schweitzer’s upcoming new lifts are Cedar Park Express and Colburn.
- Deer Valley-turned-Alterra executive Bob Wheaton discusses the benefits of being part of a conglomerate.
- Winter Park’s C.A. Lane explains Alterra’s capital allocation is based on resort wish lists.
- Hogadon considers putting $250,000 toward the purchase of a quad chairlift.
- Fernie announces the Timber Bowl Express will close this summer for a bunch of upgrades.
- Sugarloaf uses the backup to the backup on a busy Saturday at Skyline.
- The Austrian resort whose 1980s bubble detachable is apparently destined for Mission Ridge is building two D-Line Omega V 10/bubble 8 combination lifts worth $35 million.
- The first D-Line half station is coming to Sölden.
- There could be another gondola in Banff.
- The BreckConnect won’t spin for much of Breckenridge’s extended winter season out of concern for wildlife.
- A full complement of cabins is spotted on a second Disney Skyliner line.
- The owner of 49 Degrees North says he plans to build a detachable summit lift within three years.
- A Balsams update.
- Mountain Capital Partners will modify the Nordic Valley expansion proposal to address Forest Service concerns.
Leitner-Poma & Skytrac to Build New Lifts in Outback Bowl at Schweitzer
The beloved Snow Ghost double will be retired from Schweitzer Mountain Resort next spring after 47 winter seasons, the mountain confirmed today. In its place, two new chairlifts will service Outback Bowl in improved alignments. A Leitner-Poma high speed quad will climb through the Kaniksu Woods area with a Skytrac fixed-grip triple servicing the Lakeside Chutes vicinity above. “Overall, we expect the two chair arrangement to complement our existing lift system and provide better access to some of the most popular terrain at Schweitzer,” says Tom Chasse, CEO of the north Idaho mountain. Schweitzer completed a similar project on the front side in 2007, replacing 5,500 foot Chair 1 with the Basin Express and Lakeview lifts.
The detachable quad chair will offer a capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour and rise 1,447 feet in just over five minutes. The triple chair capacity will be 1,800 per hour with a vertical of 1,360 feet and an 8 minute ride time. “We’ve seen over the years how a similar two lift system in the South Bowl has been beneficial when we have weather challenges,” said Chasse. “By having the two lifts serving different aspects of the North Bowl, our hope is to combat similar challenges on the backside of the mountain.” As part of the project, Schweitzer will add gladed terrain and four new runs surrounding the new lifts, which have yet to be named.
News Roundup: Not Cheap
- Above: lots more Ramcharger 8 parts arrive in Big Sky.
- Schweitzer weighs alignment options and manufacturers for two new backside lifts scheduled for construction in 2019.
- The only aerial tramway in Texas closes after nearly six decades. “Replacement of the Wyler Aerial Tramway is estimated to cost millions of dollars. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department does not have the financial resources to execute a capital construction project of this size at this time.”
- Disney gives an Orlando TV station a rare official peak into Skyliner construction.
- Following last week’s mishap, the operator of the Zugspitze Cable Car orders a new 120 passenger cabin, hanger and carriage.
- Beaver Creek’s big McCoy Park expansion should be official in November and is planned to open in late 2020.
- The Lewis & Clark bubble high-speed quad at Big Sky will finally see some action in 2021 when a $400 million Montage hotel opens at its base.
- Ascutney Outdoors is on track to install a T-Bar this fall, anchoring a scaled down version of what was once a five chairlift area.
- LST builds a T-Bar atop a waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen for residents to ski on year round.
- Vail looks to Asia for growth.
- Michael Doppelmayr is profiled for his 60th birthday. Some interesting facts: his company’s gross margin was 12.1 percent last year and his father Artur vehemently opposed Doppelmayr’s merger with Garaventa.
- New York’s high court clears the way for Belleayre to expand into the former Highmount Ski Center.
- Bretton Woods and Doppelmayr make great progress on New Hampshire’s first 8 passenger gondola.
- The leaders of North and South Korea ride a pulse gondola during their three day summit.
- The State of New Hampshire will hold a public meeting about transferring the Mt. Sunapee lease to Vail Resorts on September 26th.
- As it tries to secure a $30 million loan to open this winter, the Hermitage Club lawsuits keep coming.
- Two major lifts are getting closer to reality at Copper Mountain.
News Roundup: Ahead
- Doppelmayr and CWA unveil world’s most luxurious gondola cabin with air conditioning, a fridge and more powered by carriage wheel generators.
- The five chairlift Hermitage Club lays off 50 to 80 employees and cuts ski operations to weekends only, a result of significant financial challenges.
- Children fall from lifts at West Mountain and Windham Mountain.
- 2022 Winter Olympics host China is up to an impressive 236 ski areas with at least one chairlift.
- Woodward Park City remains in limbo pending the outcome of three appeals.
- Theme park projects such as the Doppelmayr-supplied Hogwarts Express and Disney Skyliner drive record revenue for PCL Construction of Edmonton.
- There was a deropement followed by partial rope evac of the triple chair at Red Lodge Mountain over Presidents’ weekend.
- Apres Vous at Jackson Hole was evacuated yesterday following a gearbox issue.
- Sunday River reveals why it takes 3.5 hours to put cabins back on the Chondola after a windstorm.
- Here’s more construction eye candy from Disney World.
- Stella, the only six-pack in Idaho, was named and themed by a former Disney imagineer.
- Catch up on the upcoming season pass battle and what else lies ahead for Alterra with company President Dave Perry.
- Speaking of the Ikon Pass, it now includes 400 lifts with new partners Revelstoke, Sugarbush, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay for $899.
Schweitzer Commits to Two New Lifts in 2019
Pacific Northwest favorite Schweitzer Mountain Resort will replace one long double with two new chairlifts in 2019, says CEO Tom Chasse. The first lift will service the lower two thirds of the current Snow Ghost double, a 1971 Riblet with a 13-minute ride time. The second one will replace Snow Ghost’s upper segment, servicing the Lakeside Chutes in a new alignment topping out near the new Sky House restaurant. “We don’t have enough lift capacity right now,” Chasse told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “We think it’s going to be a draw and will bring in more people.” The Bonner County Daily reported Schweitzer wanted to replace the nearly 2,000′ vertical lift a year ago but the $6-8 million project depended on financing becoming available. Schweitzer completed a project very similar to this one in 2007, replacing the lower section of Chair 1 with a high-speed quad and the upper section with a realigned Doppelmayr CTEC triple.
Outback Bowl has a cool lift history. The current Snow Ghost lift used to be called Chair 6 and went from the very bottom of the bowl to the Siberia Runout. You can still see the old lift line in person and on the trail map. In 1987, the entire machine was moved to start and end higher with a mid-station added, leaving the lower part of Outback serviced only by Chair 5. That lift was replaced by a uniquely-themed six-pack called Stella in 2000. Schweitzer skiers can enjoy another season and a half of Snow Ghost but 2019 can’t come soon enough! No word yet on specific models or a manufacturer for the new lifts.
News Roundup: Replacements
- Suit filed against Ski Liberty by family of boy who dangled from a chair for seven minutes after mis-loading.
- Mi Teleférico’s four gondola lines transported 194,971 passengers last Wednesday, an impressive single day record.
- Squaw|Alpine now wants an extension of permit for replacing Hot Wheels.
- Doppelmayr remembers past CEO Artur Doppelmayr, who died May 12th.
- Apparently the Utah Olympic Park is adding two new chairlifts this summer, although I am still trying to confirm.
- Steamboat’s gondola rebuild is taking longer than expected and reopening has been pushed back two weeks to July 15th.
- Vail Resorts will re-use chairs and towers from Keystone’s Montezuma Express in building the new Red Buffalo Express at Beaver Creek.
- Saddleback Mountain Foundation needs $11.2 million to purchase Maine’s third largest ski area, including $3.2 million to replace the Rangeley lift with a fixed-grip quad. So far, the group has only raised a fraction of that amount.
- Sunday River’s new Spruce Peak triple will be a Doppelmayr Tristar, Boyne Resorts’ fourth.
- Schweitzer works toward $6-8 million Snow Ghost replacement.
- “It is not rocket science about lift geometry,” Aspen Council member says in frustration re: Lift 1A. “There is enough expertise in this community to know where a lift goes.”
- Mont Ripley offers $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of arsonist(s) who damaged lift.
- Longtime Whistler Blackcomb COO and Peak 2 Peak visionary Dave Brownlie is leaving to pursue new opportunities just seven months into Vail ownership.
Instagram Tuesday: Red
Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
Yan High Speed Quad Retrofits 20 Years Later
Twenty years ago this spring, 15 resorts faced near-disaster when the high-speed lifts they spent more than $50 million to build proved to be of faulty design and had to be retrofitted or replaced just a few years later. Lift Engineering, the company founded in 1965 by Yanek Kunczynski and more commonly called Yan, entered the detachable lift market in 1986 at June Mountain, CA reportedly after just one year of development. Yan built a total of 31 detachable quads in the US and Canada between 1986 and 1994. The majority of Yan’s customers were repeat clients such as Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation, which bought three high speed quads and the Sun Valley Company, which purchased seven. Whistler’s general manager would later write to Lift Engineering describing his team as the “unwitting recipients of a research and development project.”
Three incidents in two years sealed the fate of Yan detachables and eventually forced Lift Engineering to liquidate. On April 4, 1993, a 9-year old boy was killed and another child injured when loose bolts and a subsequent derailment caused two chairs to stack up on Sierra Ski Ranch’s Slingshot lift. The same lift had sent an empty chair to the ground two months prior when a grip failed. Lift Engineering settled a wrongful-death suit after the accident for $1.9 million. Sierra Ski Ranch’s marketing director would later state, “we found they just didn’t withstand the test of time” when the company committed $6 million to replace its three Yan detachables in 1996.
On December 23rd, 1995, a routine emergency stop on the Quicksilver high speed quad at Whistler Mountain initiated a chain reaction crash of four down-bound chairs, plunging skiers 75 feet onto the Dave Murray Downhill course below. 25-year old Trevor MacDonald died at the scene, nine people were seriously injured, 200 had to be evacuated and a second guest died 12 days later. The coroner’s investigation revealed Yan’s design failed to maintain the required 15-degree lateral swing clearance over towers, causing damage to grips over time. The type-11 grips could not maintain adequate clamping force for the maximum 38-degree rope angle on Quicksilver between towers 20-21 (Quicksilver was the only lift built with Yan’s type-11 grip owing to its heavier chairs with bubbles, the rest had the type-7 grip.) On two prior occasions, empty chairs had fallen from Quicksilver’s line, including one time three weeks prior to the deadly accident and in the same location. Leading up to December 23rd, mechanics were getting grip force faults 20+ times a day and had reportedly stuffed paper into the corresponding alarm. At the time, detachable lifts were relatively new and not required to stop automatically as a result of a grip force fault.