News Roundup: New Owners

  • See how Sigma Composite builds gondola cabins in the French Alps.  The company also just delivered the first of two trains for Leitner-Poma’s automated people mover at Miami International Airport.
  • Aspen Skiing Co. submits a formal proposal with the Forest Service to replace Lift 1A on Aspen Mountain with a high speed quad, gondola or combination lift as early as next summer.  Meanwhile, this summer’s lift upgrade at Snowmass nears completion.
  • Another Doppelmayr Eco-drive quad going up.
  • Scott Shanaman, who founded Aerial NDT, becomes the proud new owner of Lost Valley near Lewiston, Maine.  The resort (if you can call it that) has two classic Hall double chairs and a T-Bar that hasn’t run in quite some time.  Congratulations, Scott and family!
  • Powdr Corp.’s Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort changes its name (back) to Lee Canyon.
  • Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. buys Mt. Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island, becoming the company’s fourth (and largest) mountain resort.  The Utah-based group bought Ragged Mountain in 2007, Wisp Resort in 2012, and Wintergreen earlier this year.  How’s that for some geographic diversity?
  • Some pics of a sharp-looking bubble six-pack being built by Leitner Ropeways in the Czech Republic.

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.