Snow King Mountain’s expansion officially enters the National Environmental Policy Act pipeline. Proposed lifts are a 1,500 pph gondola with cabin storage, a 3,015′ backside fixed-grip quad, one 679′ T-Bar or platter and two new carpets.
Denver Post alum Jason Blevins, now writing for the Colorado Sun, traces the remarkable ski industry journey of the Mueller family from Vermont to Colorado. Insights from his must read piece: Tim and Diane Mueller took out a second mortgage on their home to buy Okemo, invested in Catamount before it failed, nearly bought Steamboat and once bid to operate Winter Park.
Jackson, Wyoming stakeholders mostly agree to site a new gondola in a public park at the base of Snow King Mountain.
Loveland will hold a lottery for season passholders to win purchase rights for Lift 1 chairs.
The final last chair for the Norway lift at A-Basin is Sunday.
We're sad to say goodbye to this legendary lift that's been sending us to the summit since 1978. Alas, it's time for Norway Lift to retire on Sun., May 13. Celebrate her final day of operation with one last ride up, and share your favorite Norway Lift stories with us! #ABasinpic.twitter.com/5oagNspkhU
Mi Teleférico breaks ground today for its 13th and 14th gondolas. The four station, 159 cabin Sky Blue line will join the Red, Yellow, Green and Blue lines already operating and the Orange, White and Purple lines under construction.
Liberty Mountain delays J-Bar replacement project, saying in a statement, “We had hoped to put the triple chair in this summer but unfortunately it will not be happening…We are still planning on making this change in the future.” Liberty acquired one of Ascutney’s CTEC triples in 2013.
There aren’t many ski resorts that lose $200,000 in a good winter. That’s the loss Snow King Mountain projects for the next four months as it struggles to find a sustainable operating model in downtown Jackson, Wyoming. The ski area opened in 1939, decades before its more famous neighbors even existed. Snow King’s alpine slide, opened in 1978, sees many times more riders in the summer than the entire mountain attracts each winter. Beginner and intermediate destination visitors simply don’t choose to ski the rugged, north-facing mountain with a 12-minute double chair ride to the top.
Last year, an investment banker with local ties named Max Chapman, Jr. led a group of investors in purchasing Snow King Holdings from the ownership group that struggled with the ski area since 1992. This past summer, Chapman and company spent a crazy $14 million to build an alpine coaster, base lodge, retail store, ski school building, quad chair and fully-automated TechnoAlpin snowmaking system. General Manager Ryan Stanley overhauled ticketing systems, bought new uniforms and even commissioned a brand new trail map and website. This week, the King held a community open house at Snow King Hotel to outline a vision for phase 2 expansion and begin a multi-year public process in hopes of pushing Snow King to consistent profitability. SKMR operates on a mix of private, federal and town land so Chapman knows he needs the community’s support.
The anchor of the project is a base-to-summit gondola to an all-new complex that will serve a variety of visitors year-round. The facility up top would include a movie theatre, planetarium, cafeteria and fine dining overlooking the town of Jackson and Teton Range. As of now the building would also include gondola cabin storage/maintenance and takeoff for a quad zipline plunging into town below at speeds up to 75 mph. Chapman noted, “we want everything we build to be the best.”
Snow King Mountain and Doppelmayr load tested the new Rafferty quad chairlift last week. It will open along with a revamped alpine slide this weekend. The opening is about 15 days behind schedule – not bad considering the scope of Snow King’s transformation. This marks the debut of Doppelmayr’s new Alpen Star drive-tension terminal and their new, simplified control system. The lift has mid-station unloading and will operate year-round. A mountain coaster and treetop adventure park will follow in August with a new base lodge debuting this winter. Meanwhile, the Doppelmayr crew has moved across the valley to build the new Teton Lift.