Leitner-Poma to Build New Snow King Lifts

Jackson Hole will soon be a three gondola valley with the addition of an enclosed lift on what locals affectionately call the Town Hill. Leitner-Poma will not only supply Snow King Mountain’s new 8 passenger gondola but also a Skytrac chairlift servicing new backside terrain. The projects were recently green lighted by both the Town of Jackson and United States Forest Service. The approval is still subject to a 45 day objection period, but the ski area wanted to get in line early with Leitner-Poma and Skytrac with the goal of completion for the 2021-22 season.

“We are extremely excited to take this leap forward for Snow King to ensure that the historic ski area can be economically viable and sustainable long into the future,” said Snow King Mountain President Ryan Stanley.  “We have gone through a very extensive review process with both the Town of Jackson and USFS over the past five years and are now looking forward to making some exceptional improvements to the Town Hill that the community will be able to enjoy for decades to come.” The gondola will be the first detachable lift for 82 year old Snow King and will replace a 1981 CTEC double. To make room for the bottom gondola terminal, the Cougar triple‘s drive station will be moved 250 feet uphill.

A ride on the gondola will end at a new summit lodge featuring panoramic views of the Town of Jackson and Teton Range. The gondola will operate year round for skiers, sightseers and mountain bikers. In winter, a mountaintop learning area will feature three new surface lifts in a scenic setting. More advanced riders can look forward to new trails and glades on the southern flank of Snow King.

The two lift order is one of the first major projects announced for 2021, which could be a busy one for lift companies. More than a dozen North American 2020 projects were delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and hopefully will be completed next year.

News Roundup: Good Things

News Roundup: Vail Numbers

  • Vail Resorts has sold 850,000 season passes as of September 18th, an 18 percent increase compared to last year at this time.
  • CEO Rob Katz assures skiers reservations should be widely available for most resorts on most days.
  • Vail lost $153.6 million in the quarter ended July 31st compared with an $89.5 million loss in the same period last year.
  • For the full fiscal year 2020, Vail reported a net income of $98.8 million, a decrease of 67.2 percent.
  • The company also recently cut 410 jobs.
  • Regarding capital projects and the seven lift projects Vail postponed this year, Katz said on the conference call:

“We are of course going to be monitoring the season closely before we come out with any plan for calendar year 2021. We’ll make sure we’re incorporating what happened this year. We will likely still be in a conservative approach though hopefully not as conservative as last year because the environment around Covid and travel has all improved. We will definitely be prioritizing projects that we think will have a significant impact on the guest experience and certainly some of the projects that we deferred from last year will be top of the list.”

News Roundup: California Dreaming

  • The Town of Jackson, Wyoming inches closer to approving the Snow King Gondola five years after it was first proposed.
  • Aspen Skiing Company eliminates nearly 50 positions citing the “ever shifting Covid landscape.”
  • The Miami Dolphins won’t operate their SkyView stadium gondola this NFL season.
  • In New Zealand, ski resorts say they are not the mask police.
  • Alps resorts prepare to reopen this month.
  • The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board grants a variance for a new Telemix on Aspen Mountain.
  • Ikon Pass holders will need a reservation to visit certain resorts this season while other mountains will not require reservations and more are still deciding.
  • Big Sky’s Lone Peak Tram will be open this winter but guests may be allowed to boot pack to the summit as an alternative.
  • A second indoor ski resort for the United States moves ahead near DC.
  • Aspen Snowmass and other creditors will appeal a judge’s decision to keep Liftopia out of bankruptcy.
  • Some Canadians aren’t happy with Vail’s pandemic-era customer service.
  • Magic Mountain, Idaho is threatened by a wildfire.
  • A study finds the proposed Oakland Athletics gondola would carry a million riders a year and generate $685 million in economic activity.
  • This summer’s construction projects are just the beginning for the new Saddleback Mountain.
  • A planned urban gondola in Los Angeles get a fresh name and website as it prepares for environmental review.
  • Leitner Ropeways will build New Zealand’s first eight passenger chairlift.
  • The Utah Department of Transportation continues to refine alternatives for Little Cottonwood Canyon and will release a report this fall.
  • Great Bear solicits bids for a new chairlift.

News Roundup: Master Planning

News Roundup: Preparing

News Roundup: Ripple Effect

  • Saddleback demolishes the Rangeley double to make room for its upcoming high speed quad.
  • Debt-laden Ski Granby Ranch lays off all its employees and won’t issue refunds to guests with canceled vacations.
  • The $2.2 trillion phase three stimulus package passed by Congress doesn’t include assistance specifically for ski areas but there is hope phase four might.
  • Vail Resorts borrows more than $500 million from existing lines of credit in order to increase its cash position and maintain financial flexibility during the outbreak.
  • While many Leitner-Poma staffers work from home, a skeleton crew continues production.
  • Even in hard-hit Italy, one major lift customer plans to commence construction as soon as the immediate health danger has passed.
  • Many Doppelmayr employees are also working from home and production continues in Wolfurt.
  • Aspen Snowmass intends to complete all capital projects as planned this summer including the $10.8 million Big Burn chairlift.
  • Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz personally donates $2.5 million to mountain community charities and an employee assistance fund.
  • Yet another lift project cancelled by Vail Resorts: replacement of Peachtree at Crested Butte this summer.
  • NSAA estimates costs from early closings and lost pass sales will exceed $2 billion in the United States and forecasts capital spending will plunge 50 percent this year.
  • Magic Mountain’s Geoff Hatheway offers a small ski area perspective on COVID-19.
  • Coronavirus may impact the review timeline for Snow King Mountain’s proposed expansion and other projects on Forest Service lands.
  • Katharina Schmitz officially takes the reigns of Doppelmayr USA from Mark Bee, who retired on March 31st.
  • Boyne Resorts estimates $22 million in lost revenue as a result of this winter’s abrupt end.
  • The Vietnamese developer behind both the world’s longest and tallest 3S gondolas plans another island-hopping 3S in the country’s north.

News Roundup: Big Game

News Roundup: Experimental

News Roundup: Powerhouse