Two Big Gondolas Opening South of the Border

Sigma Diamond cabins in France waiting to be shipped across the pond.  Photo credit: Sigma Cabins

Park City and Lutsen Mountains in Minnesota won’t have the only new gondolas in this part of the world come December.  Leitner Ropeways is in the final stages of building a $72 million gondola system in Ecatepec near Mexico City.  Two connected gondola lines will include seven stations and 184 10-passenger cabins.  They will feature the first Leitner DirectDrives in North America.  DirectDrive technology eliminates the need for a gearbox and associated points of failure.

Map of the two lines and seven stations.
Map of the two lines and seven stations.

The longer of the two lines will have a slope length of 9,577 feet while rising 180 feet in 10.5 minutes.  It will have 20 towers and 108 Sigma Diamond 10-passenger cabins.  The second line will be 5,922 feet long with a slightly larger vertical of 203 feet and ride time of 7.5 minutes.  This one will have 76 cabins and 16 towers.  Both lines will travel at a max speed of 1,181 feet a minute and transport 3,000 riders an hour each way.  With five mid-stations, it would be difficult for cabins to be shared between the two haul ropes.  A fault or stop at any of the seven terminals would halt the entire system which is just one of the reasons it is being split up with cabins turning around in the middle.

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News Roundup: Small Mountains and Big Cities

Doppelmayr load tested Snow King Mountain’s new Rafferty Quad this week.
  • Construction on The Balsams Resort in New Hampshire may begin late this summer.  We could see new lifts there next summer.
  • A bit further south, Waterville Valley started cutting trees for its Green Peak Expansion.  Unfortunately they don’t have funding for a new lift or even a used one.
  • Also in New Hampshire, Tenney Mountain plans to reopen next season after being closed since 2010.  The mountain has a 1964 Stadeli double and 1987 Borvig triple
  • You can own one of Oregon’s ski areas for only $1.25 million.  Includes lifts with charming names like “Happy” and “Echo.”
  • The Harbour Skylink would be a four-stage gondola in one of the world’s great capitals.
  • Poma is currently building five gondolas in Latin America, two for the Metrocable system in Medellin, Colombia and one each in Bolivia, Chile and Mexico.  They recently received €1.3 million from the French government to lead a consortium promoting ropeway transportation in cities.
  • The world’s tallest observation tower is coming to Brighton, England, courtesy of Poma, who also brought us the London Eye and the High Roller in Las Vegas.
  • Sigma takes on CWA with 3S gondola cabins developed by Italian car designer Pininfarina, set to debut in 2018 on the world’s highest 3S in Zermatt.