- SkyTrans Manufacturing announces the passing of its founder and president, Jerry Pendleton, who began his career with O.D. Hopkins in 1960.
- John Dalton’s tale of how two brand new lifts survived the Category 5 hurricane in St. Maarten is a must read.
- A dangling Mammoth Mountain guest escapes a fall from a chair unharmed; lifty who caught her isn’t as lucky.
- Snowbird’s in-house magazine demystifies how detachable lifts work with a sweet diagram from Doppelmayr and copy from a guy you might have heard of.
- Hatcher Pass, Alaska moves toward building a SkyTrans triple chair ASAP.
- Video of a swinging Austrian bubble chair with two skiers struggling to hang on goes viral worldwide.
- The Hermitage Club comes within days of having its water and sewer services shut off and is still working through other payables.
- A gondola cabin blew off an outdoor parking rail at Sunday River during last week’s storm and a slew of other lifts suffered damage but are now back in action.
- 9-year old unharmed after falling 15 feet from a lift at Boyce Park, PA.
- A three-station gondola is one of ten finalists for a signature attraction in Edmonton, Alberta. You can vote for it in an online public advisory poll.
- Fernie’s White Pass lift will be closed for awhile while new bullwheel bearings are sourced and installed.
- Powerful storm snaps a 30 mm wire rope on Mont Blanc’s iconic panoramic cable car, which was not operating and typically only runs in the summer.
- Granite Gorge’s sole chairlift has yet to open this season, apparently due to gearbox issues.
A group planning to open a rare new American ski area just got a big boost, securing $500,000 towards building chairlift number one yesterday. Despite encompassing 425 million acres and with more residents than Vermont and Wyoming, the great state of Alaska includes just five lift-served public ski mountains, three of which are in close proximity to Anchorage. The proposed Hatcher Alpine Xperience sits in the Mat-Su Valley, well north of the Alyeska, Hilltop and Arctic Valley ski areas, where locals have been dreaming of their own mountain for decades.
Not satisfied with dreaming, citizens formed a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2015 and got to work. Already, they’ve completed a federal environmental impact statement, forged an agreement to operate within the Government Peak Recreation Area, cleared trails and built a maintenance facility. An access road, parking lot and utilities are also in place. This winter, trails will be groomed but without lift service. Hatcher Pass tentatively plans to acquire a used triple chair from SkyTrans next spring and install for a 2018-19 opening. Just today I learned Vail Resorts removed Chair 8 from Afton Alps, Minnesota over the summer – a 1969 Heron which was 1,280′ x 190′ – and might be the lift in question. It’s just a theory, but no other recently-removed triple chair matches the stats.
Waterville Valley will open new terrain for the first time in thirty years this winter, CEO Chris Sununu confirmed at a press conference this morning. With $2 million in financing clearing just recently, SkyTrans Manufacturing will relocate the World Cup Triple this fall to serve the ten new trails on Green Peak. The U.S. Forest Service approved the 45 acre expansion in 2013. In addition to managing Waterville Valley, Mr. Sununu is running for Governor of New Hampshire which could have something to do with the late-summer timing of the announcement. He frequently cites his leadership and job creation at Waterville Valley on the campaign trail.
The Green Peak triple chair will rise 1,011 vertical feet and move up to 1,800 skiers per hour over a slope length of 4,380′. SkyTrans, which specializes in refurbishing old lifts and relocating them to smaller ski resorts and amusement parks, has experience at Waterville. SkyTrans General Manager Rich Combs said in a press release, “this project builds on our history, starting when O.D. Hopkins Associates, the predecessor to SkyTrans, installed the very first lifts at Waterville Valley Resort.” Those lifts were all built by Stadeli and the mountain still operates six of them!
The 1985 triple formerly known as World Cup has numerous Doppelmayr components thanks to a June 2000 lightning strike and fire. The bottom station building burned to the ground and the haul rope separated due to the heat. Doppelmayr came in and replaced both stations and added a mid-station at the same time. After the installation of the parallel White Peaks Express in 1988, World Cup only ran weekends and holidays and was removed starting in June. The move to Green Peak comes sooner than many expected and the new lift and terrain will open sometime this winter.