Sipapu Looks to Add Lifts & Terrain

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Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort has submitted a master plan amendment to the Forest Service seeking to expand by 924 acres while adding 51 new trails, four new lifts, a mountain coaster and more.  This should come as no surprise given the resort’s history, current layout and owner – the collective of southwestern ski resorts known as Mountain Capital Partners.  Like with the resort’s accepted 2012 master plan, Sipapu continues to envision two new base-to-summit lifts.  Today, it takes two fixed-grip lift rides to reach 9,295′, well below the actual summit of the mountain.

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Overview of the new winter upgrade plan.

A mile-plus long Sipapu Express would rise from the current base area to a new beginner learning zone at nearly 9,700 feet with a second chairlift and two carpets.  Because it would operate in both winter and summer for a variety of guests, the Sipapu Express is proposed as a chair/gondola combination lift.  Mountain Capital Partners and its managing partner, James Coleman, plan to build a similar lift at Arizona Snowbowl as soon as next summer.  A second detachable lift at Sipapu, the Westside Express, would service intermediate terrain in an entirely new pod beyond the current permit area. “This lift will provide access to the abundant intermediate fall line skiing terrain that has been identified to address the deficiency of intermediate terrain within the existing SUP Area,” the plan notes.  This one would be around 4,400 feet long with a capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour.  The plan would also see Lift 1 realigned and replaced with a ift capable of moving 2,400 skiers per hour.  Lift 3, one of the last remaining high-speed Pomas in the country, is unfortunately slated for removal without replacement.

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The 2012 plan excluded the summit beginner area and had the Sipapu Express further southeast.

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News Roundup: Six-Packs

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Into the air at Caberfae Peaks, Michigan. Thanks to Lawrence W. for the photo.

News Roundup: First Chairs

  • Hanging carriers at PowderhornSnowmass, Sipapu and Lutsen.
  • Leitner-Poma Alpha motor room arrives at Okemo.
  • No lift inspections, no updates and no comment from Maine’s third largest ski resort. The last post on their Facebook page was Oct. 17th.
  • The Balsams will not break ground this year as originally planned but still hopes for a 2016-17 opening with a mix of new and existing lifts.
  • Leitner-Poma would supply a gondola proposed to run from Queenstown to The Remarkables on the South Island of New Zealand.  L-P built The Remarkables’ flagship six-pack “Curvy Basin Express” in 2014.  The new gondola system would span 6.1 miles in two sections and take 27 minutes to ride with a potential opening in 2018.  It would feature an impressive 4,200 foot vertical rise and 140 8-passenger cabins from Sigma.
  • Sunshine Village cuts the ribbon on Canada’s first new bubble chair since 1999.  Tee Pee Town LX (Luxury eXpress) also has the first seat heating in Canada.  Congratulations to Sunshine on completing one of the most modern lift fleets on the continent while others curate lift museums.

News Roundup: Tower Time

Sugarloaf's oldest lift towers come down. Photo credit: Sugarloaf Mountain Resort
Sugarloaf’s oldest lift towers come down. Photo credit: Sugarloaf Mountain Resort
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News Roundup: Fire Season

The Pine Fire near Wrightwood, CA narrowly missed Mountain High Resort earlier this week.
The Pine Fire near Wrightwood, California skirted Mountain High Resort earlier this week.  Photo credit: Stuart Palley.
  • The North Resort at Mountain High narrowly escapes one of California’s many wildfires burning out of control.
  • Leitner-Poma is about to start 3 1/2 months of construction at Sipapu, New Mexico.
  • Next season will not happen at Saddleback, Maine unless the resort can secure $3 million for a new quad lift in the next two weeks.  Or so they say.
  • In central New Hampshire, Waterville Valley continues clearing for the Green Peak expansion while Tenney Mountain prepares to reopen after a decade being closed.
  • Sugarloaf launches their lift safety website that appears it took an intern half an hour to make.
  • Leitner gets into the surfing business with DirectDrive.
  • Poma’s 2014 Reference Book is now online.  Better late than never!
  • Snow King Mountain’s very wealthy investors announce phase 2 expansion with a base-to-summit gondola and major skiing expansion.
Snow King's Rafferty lift opened on July 12th.
Snow King’s new Rafferty lift and alpine slide finally opened on July 12th, about a month behind schedule.