- Mission Ridge proposes constructing a fifth chairlift in Bowl Four.
- Powder King, BC goes up for sale with an asking price of $8.25 million.
- Poley Mountain rope evacuates its triple chair.
- Sommet Olympia’s new lift coming next winter to be named Apollo.
- Steamboat’s forthcoming high speed quad will be called Mahogany Ridge.
- Leaders of Deer Valley, Park City and Ski Utah will host a community forum on Monday.
- Searchmont completes its fleet renewal with all lifts open for the first time in three years.
- The groundbreaking Matterhorn Alpine Crossing 3S linking Switzerland and Italy will open July 1st.
News Roundup: Thank You Firefighters
- Indy Pass signs two more ski areas – Chestnut Mountain, Illinois and Snowriver Mountain Resort, Michigan.
- Snowriver plans to replace multiple fixed grip lifts with one detachable at Jackson Creek Summit (formerly Indianhead)
- Searchmont takes delivery of a Skytrac drive terminal as a retrofit to a Blue Mountain triple chair and will complete another Skytrac triple in the beginner area.
- The Emirates Air Line in London will be named the IFS Cloud Cable Car from October as part of a two year sponsorship deal.
- A nonprofit takes over development of the Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium gondola.
- Ukraine-related sanctions halt a Poma 3S gondola project on the China-Russia border.
- Steamboat posts an update on the new longest gondola in North America.
- Vail Resorts will report earnings and possible new capital plans on September 28th.
- Gallix, Quebec seeks to raise $1.2 million to pay for ongoing chairlift repairs.
- Big Bear, Brundage and Nordic Valley all escape unscathed from wildfires this week.
- Mont Farlagne says goodbye to its T-Bar.
- The Heineken Highline gondola at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami will be open to all on game days this football season.
News Roundup: Merry Christmas
- Mad River Glen introduces a new James Niehues trail map.
- White Pass shareholders vote to sell Washington’s fifth largest ski area.
- Sun Peaks expects business to decline 50 percent this season due to extended road closures.
- Sierra at Tahoe tracks toward a limited reopening in Spring 2022.
- Magic Mountain apologizes to customers for not having a summit lift operational.
- Searchmont, Ontario reopens with a new chairlift after a 645 day Covid closure.
- It may be months before Kimberley’s main lift is operational; Revelstoke and Kicking Horse provide people-moving snowcats.
- Stevens Pass apologizes for severe staffing shortages resulting in only five open lifts.
- Deer Valley rope evacuates 167 people from the Carpenter Express.
News Roundup: A Long Time Coming
- Fairfax County will host an open house tomorrow regarding the proposed Alpine-X indoor mountain resort.
- Attitash fully removes what remained of the Top Notch double
- The Icy Strait Point Mountain Top gondola is now scheduled to debut in May 2022.
- I’m thrilled to report the quad chairlift in Wears Valley, Tennessee is open for business, nine years after construction!
- Summit Ski Area officially merges into Timberline Lodge, which becomes the largest vertical ski area in America at 4,540 feet.
- The former Colby College ski area in Maine fundraises to resume downhill operations for the first time since the ’70s with a T-Bar planned for a future phase.
- Also in Maine, Sunday River and Doppelmayr near completion of the Merrill Hill project as survey markers appear under the Jordan Bowl Express.
- In Australia, Thredbo closes a week early due to lack of guests.
- The Forest Service signs off on Copper’s Lumberjack Express project, though the resort does not yet have a timeline for construction yet.
- In a lawsuit, Alterra says it’s owed more than $200 million for lost business during the pandemic which should have been covered by insurance.
- Vail Resorts plans to load lifts to full capacity this winter at all 34 of its North American resorts. No passholder reservations required, employees must be vaccinated by November 15th and guests must show proof of vaccination to dine at indoor cafeterias.
- Vail also reports strong full year financial results with lift revenue up 17.9 percent from a year ago and operating expenses down 5.4 percent.
- Sierra at Tahoe says both Nob Hill and Short Stuff were damaged by the Caldor Fire.
- Great Bear will unveil the naming rights partner for its new chairlift on October 16th.
- Searchmont gets a new trail map showing two new lifts. Also its Blue Mountain triple chair will be inoperable until early February.
- Purgatory says its six pack will be closed at least two more weeks, gives summer season passholders next summer for free due to continued lift problems.
- Bartholet announces a major five section gondola contract with Switzerland’s LAAX. The Ropetaxi system will feature cabins which move autonomously in stations and can be directed to a specific destination by passengers.
Five Mountains Readying Terrain Expansions for 2021-22
Despite an 18 month pandemic, supply chain challenges and continued uncertainty, a handful of US and Canadian ski resorts are putting finishing touches on expansion projects set to debut this winter. Two of these were delayed in 2020 and resumed construction this year while others were actually accelerated during Covid. Many of this year’s projects focus on learning terrain enhancements following the pandemic winter when new and lapsed skiers gravitated toward the mountains.
McCoy Park – Beaver Creek Mountain, Colorado
The lone expansion this year featuring two new chairlifts is Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park, encompassing 250 acres of new high alpine terrain. This beginner zone follows in the footsteps of Haymeadow Park and Red Buffalo Park, which both offer dedicated terrain for new skiers and snowboarders with detachable lifts. The new McCoy Park Express will service 17 trails and the Reunion Quad will provide easy exit from McCoy Park to the Upper Beaver Creek Mountain and Strawberry Park Express lifts.
Lower Juniper – Lake Louise, Alberta
Another beginner-focused expansion featuring a detachable quad is underway at Lake Louise. The new Lower Juniper Express is the second new chairlift here in two years. It will access four new low intermediate trails and provide an alternate out-of-base option to access the upper mountain.
Sunny Side – Snow King Mountain, Wyoming
Shadowed somewhat by construction of a new 8 passenger gondola on the front side of the mountain, Sunny Side at Snow King Mountain will also open this winter. This new backside bowl features extensive snowmaking and a Skytrac fixed grip quad.
Buzzsaw – Searchmont, Ontario
Searchmont hasn’t hosted a single day of skiing since March 2020, which makes its terrain expansion even more remarkable. New owner Wisconsin Resorts took delivery of two Skytrac triples last year, one of which replaced an existing Borvig double. The second lift sat in storage last winter and is now being installed to service two brand new beginner trails.
Merrill Hill – Sunday River, Maine
2021’s only New England expansion is a ninth peak at Sunday River. Merrill Hill features four ski trails and 23 new home sites near the South Ridge base area. This low angle zone will be serviced by a new Doppelmayr fixed grip triple, the mountain’s 15th chairlift.
News Roundup: Firm Orders
- Mexico’s Grupo Vidanta will build a second SkyDream gondola system, this time at Vidanta Riviera Maya.
- Sundance auctions chairs from the former Arrowhead triple.
- The team at Craigleith, Ontario wins the inaugural Ski Area Management/Leitner-Poma Rise Up Challenge.
- Four Japanese resorts sign on to the Indy Pass.
- Arizona Snowbowl’s new gondola has been down for two weeks and the ski area moves its entire summer operation to a different base area and the Grand Canyon Express.
- Beaver Creek’s two new quads will be named McCoy Park Express and Reunion.
- The sale price for Blue Mountain, PA is revealed as $31.9 million.
- MND reports annual results with ropeway sales up 32 percent and a firm order backlog of €91.7 million.
- A group continues to push for a West Seattle gondola as a planned rail project gets delayed.
- Squaw Alpine and Leitner-Poma make great progress on the base to base gondola, though they aren’t publicly committing to a completion timeline.
- Citing staffing and fire danger, Mt. Shasta ends its summer season early.
- After missing a year, Searchmont plans to reopen this season with two new triple chairs.
- Manitoba’s Holiday Mountain announces it won’t open in 2021-22.
- Vail Resorts unveils a succession plan with CEO Rob Katz moving to an Executive Chairperson role and Chief Marketing Officer Kirsten Lynch becoming CEO November 1.
- Icy Strait Point and Norwegian Cruise Line cut the ribbon on the Transporter gondola with another 8 passenger system set to open later this summer.
- Jay Peak’s former President and CEO will plead guilty to a single charge of providing false statements and other charges are expected to be dropped.
- Keystone posts a big update on the Peru Express replacement project.
- Aspen Snowmass introduces a new brand and logo which is already on some gondola cabins.
- Snowbasin’s Middle Bowl replacement project gets off to the races.
News Roundup: So Close
- Soldier Mountain loses its only out of base lift for one weekend and possibly longer due to a mechanical issue.
- Grizzly at Montana Snowbowl gets rope evacuated following a power outage.
- Approaching a year without its gondola, Mont-Sainte-Anne says any new lift remains years away and the resort is not for sale.
- A unionization effort at Whistler Blackcomb suffers a setback.
- From Colorado to Ohio, Maine North Carolina and New Hampshire, skiing is booming.
- Green Mountain Valley School officially dedicates its new Leitner-Poma T-Bar.
- Most Ontario resorts are cleared to reopen.
- Searchmont won’t open this season but will complete an expansion for next winter.
- Italian ski resorts begin to reopen.
- With so many Colorado resort workers living in groups, communities consider whether to offer them vaccine priority.
- Showdown Montana passes from one generation to another.
- Yet another new haul rope arrives at the Sea to Sky Gondola.
- Tampa issues an RFP for a formal gondola study.
- A girl falls 20-25 feet from Snubber at Sugarloaf.
- Canada will invest billions per year on transit which could jump start the Burnaby Mountain 3S project.
- Steamboat announces what will replace the existing village gondola station.
- Chair 8 reopens at Dodge Ridge, one month after a crazy wind storm damaged it.
- The City of Edmonton recommends planning continues for a five station urban gondola.
- More than 50 entities formally oppose the Forest Service’s planned approval of the Snow King Mountain gondola and expansion.
- Arapahoe Basin looks to replace the Lenawee Mountain triple.
- Eaglecrest’s Ptarmigan chairlift is closed indefinitely after two chairs become caught in a tower on startup.
News Roundup: October Turns
- Skiing is open this weekend in Alberta, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey Ontario and Wisconsin!
- Garibaldi at Squamish releases new renderings of what could be a $3.5 billion project.
- Searchmont holds off on making snow, offering lodging or selling passes and will only install one of the two Skytrac lifts it ordered due to Coronavirus.
- In a rare interview, John Cumming tells the story of Powdr.
- Big Snow and American Dream post promising attendance numbers after reopening.
- The latest capacity management video from SAM and Snow Operating focuses on lift capacity math in the Covid era.
- With two operating and five more under construction, Mexico’s capital region considers building even more urban gondolas.
- The gondola network in Puerto Vallarta appears complete but surrounding theme parks and hotels have a long way to go.
- Skeetawk has a trail map and will open for the very first time December 5th.
- Only one of Shanty Creek Resorts’ two Michigan ski areas will open this winter.
- Following the death of its owner, Granite Gorge does not plan to operate this year.
- Frustrated at lack of investment, local business owners look into buying Mont-Sainte-Anne from Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.
- A three gondola system connecting various points in Park City would cost an estimated $64 million to build with $3.5 million in annual operating costs.
- The Freedom Pass comes back but with fewer participating resorts than in years past.
- With revenue down eight figures, the Palm Springs Tramway takes out a $15 million loan.
- French President Emmanuel Macron orders the country’s ski resorts closed until at least December 1st due to rising coronavirus cases.
- Of 6,521 comments the Utah Department of Transportation received on Little Cottonwood Canyon options, 78 percent were pro-gondola.
- Granby Ranch will reopen under new management December 11th with more than $1 million invested in lift maintenance and snowmaking.
- Soldier Mountain gives another fire recovery update.
- Technical Safety BC releases an incident report and technical analysis from the latest Sea to Sky Gondola incident (both are heavily redacted so as not to impede the ongoing criminal investigation.)
- Camelback’s new Sunbowl Quad nears completion.
News Roundup: Going Virtual
- Beaver Creek’s website is updated to show the McCoy Park expansion coming for the 2021-22 ski season.
- Doppelmayr will build a $9.3 million temporary gondola for a horticulture show in Germany.
- A developer in St. George, Utah looks to build a lift-served bike park.
- An unnamed ski area in New York hits the market with an asking price of $1.6 million.
- The pandemic may have actually helped Timberline Mountain rebuild faster this summer.
- Searchmont, located near the Ontario-Michigan border with two new lifts under construction, remains uncertain what this winter will look like.
- Jamie Storrs, Senior Manager of Communications for Vail Resorts in the east, answers questions about reservations and more on the Out of Bounds Podcast.
- Spirit Mountain receives a $300,000 cash infusion allowing it to open this winter.
- Solitude profiles a major maintenance project on the Eagle Express.
- The Park Record checks in on Mayflower Mountain Resort construction and The Wall Street Journal reports Extell would like to partner with an established ski operator like Vail or Alterra.
- Indy Pass sales are pacing six times higher than last year!
- New Alaska ski area Skeetawk plans a December 5th grand opening.
- Poma launches a fresh new website.
- Mt. Baldy, Ontario, which initially held off on construction of a new chairlift this summer, decides to proceed with a fall installation.
- A virtual open house is now open for Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit project scoping.
Searchmont to Install Two New Lifts
Ontario’s Searchmont Resort will add two Skytrac triple chairs this summer as part of a major modernization. US-based Wisconsin Resorts purchased Searchmont in 2018 from a public economic development agency and promised to make significant capital investments. The longer of the two lifts will replace the mountain’s original double chairlift, built in 1972. The double ran up the center of the mountain and was one of the last remaining Borvig lifts in Canada (only eight remain now.) Chairs from the lift are being sold tomorrow on a first come, first served basis for CA$200 apiece.
A second new triple chair will service a dedicated beginner area, which Searchmont lacks currently. This lift will be 2,000 feet long and open new terrain west of current trails. Combined, the lifts will cost US$2.6 million and will be installed by local contractors. An existing Doppelmayr quad chair and a Blue Mountain triple chair will remain in service as well.
Searchmont is one of four mid-sized ski areas in North America installing more than one new chairlift this summer. The others building two are Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, Gore Mountain, New York and Timberline Mountain, West Virginia.