Snowbasin to Build Base Village, Hotel and New Lifts

Upcoming commercial developments will bring multiple new and upgraded lifts to Snowbasin Resort. Today the mountain announced partnerships with East West Partners and Club Med to transform the resort’s base area over the next several years.

By late 2024, the first all inclusive hotel at a United States ski resort by Club Med will be complete, connected to the base village by an upgraded Little Cat Express. This signature lift will be a multi-use, serving skiers and foot passengers in both directions. As part of the hotel project, a beginner expansion dubbed Ridgeline will open with a new chairlift and conveyor.

Future phases will see the construction of two additional village area chairlifts, a platter lift and more conveyors. “We’re thrilled to announce this extensive list of improvements for both our local guests and travelers that will now have the opportunity to stay at Snowbasin,” said Davy Ratchford, Snowbasin General Manager. “These new developments put us on track to become the world-class resort destination envisioned for Snowbasin.”

Snowbasin is owned by Grand America Hotels & Resorts, which also owns Sun Valley, Idaho and is controlled by the Holding Family. “East West Partners and Club Med will bring distinctive, high-quality development to Snowbasin; building on a superlative ski experience and decades of careful stewardship and investment into Snowbasin from our owners,” said Bruce Fery, CEO of Grand America. “Our local guests will continue to be a priority, with a plan that increases parking and out-of-base lift capacity.  Club Med will showcase the beauty and excellence of Snowbasin to a largely international clientele, which will benefit the entire region,” added Fery.

Snowbasin will host two public events to detail resort expansion plans later this month. Each event will be open to the first 100 guests that register at snowbasin.com/openhouse.

News Roundup: Government Proceedings

News Roundup: Skytrac Upgrades

  • New Zealand and Victoria, Australia resorts reopen after extended Covid closures (New South Wales remains locked down.)
  • Mt. Spokane will replace the drive terminal of Chair 2 with a new one from Skytrac.
  • Skytrac is completing similar mods to Tumbelina at Monarch Mountain.
  • The fate of the Pandora’s expansion on Aspen Mountain will be decided October 13th.
  • Sierra at Tahoe still doesn’t know the full extent of lift damage from the Caldor Fire but remains optimistic.
  • Users get stuck on one of Mexico City’s new gondola lines following an earthquake.
  • The Holding family agrees to sell most of Sinclair Oil Corporation’s assets, though Sun Valley and Snowbasin aren’t included.
  • The Forest Service issues a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Lutsen Mountains’ proposed expansion with public comments being solicited through October 25th. A new alternative would see the addition of five new chairlifts on Moose and Eagle Mountains rather than the initially planned seven.
  • The only lift in Oklahoma won’t open for the second year in a row and is in danger of removal.
  • Schweitzer adds 14 chairs to Stella.
  • A quick update from Snow King Mountain:

News Roundup: Firm Orders

Another Six Pack for Snowbasin

Utah’s Snowbasin Resort has partnered with Leitner-Poma of America for its next big project, a six place chair in Middle Bowl. The lift will replace Snowbasin’s oldest fixed grip, a 1979 CTEC triple. Together with the recently-built Wildcat Express, the new six pack will offer an attractive alternate route up the mountain to the Needles Gondola. Middle Bowl Express will be the first Leitner-Poma lift for Sinclair Oil Corporation, the parent of Snowbasin and Sun Valley.

“Middle Bowl is a legendary lift that runs through the heart of Snowbasin,” said Davy Ratchford, General Manager of Snowbasin Resort. “We are committed to our guest experience and advanced lift infrastructure, so we’re thrilled to provide this upgrade to improve our guests’ access to upper mountain skiing.”

According to planning documents submitted to Weber County, the new Middle Bowl will load to the north of the current base station and terminate above Needles Lodge, allowing more room for egress. It will rise 1,190 vertical feet over 4,803 feet of slope length and 18 towers. Initial capacity is planned at 1,800 passengers per hour with 51 chairs on the line. In the future, 17 carriers could be added to reach 2,400 skiers per hour. A ride up Middle Bowl will last just 4.9 minutes compared with 9.2 minutes on the old lift at full speed.

Leitner-Poma is currently looking for employees to help build the six pack beginning in mid-July through November.

News Roundup: Adventure Assurance

  • Highland readies for mountain bike season with new chairs acquired from Nashoba Valley.
  • Alterra makes modest changes to Ikon in light of recent events: delaying price increases by a month and increasing renewal discounts.  Late today, the company added Adventure Assurance, permitting purchasers to defer their 2020-21 Ikon value to a 2021-22 pass if desired.
  • The Forest Service expects to have a decision on Keystone’s Bergman Bowl expansion by December.
  • Residents in opposition to Mexico City’s Cablebús Line 1 win an injunction stopping some construction.
  • The Colorado Sun goes inside the decision to close Colorado’s ski industry five Saturdays ago.
  • Saddleback decides to decommission Sandy alongside Rangeley and Cupsuptic.  Old chairs are for sale at $2,000 apiece.
  • A class action lawsuit is filed against Vail Resorts alleging fraud, misrepresentation and false advertising for this spring’s early closures.
  • Sinclair Oil Company may be exploring a sale although the firm’s two ski resorts (Snowbasin and Sun Valley) would not be included.
  • Doppelmayr may build a unique triangle shaped gondola in Australia.

News Roundup: Beyond Skiing

  • According to the New York State contracting website, the Gore Mountain Sunway, High Peaks, Hudson and Whiteface Bear Den lift replacement projects that went out to bid last fall are all on hold.  Two bids were received for the Olympic Jumping Complex gondola in Lake Placid but no builder has been selected as of January 18th.
  • A chair falls off a 1993 Yan detachable quad in Spain, closing an entire ski resort indefinitely.
  • Lift service returns to Killington’s South Ridge for the first time in a decade as of yesterday.
  • Bartholet completes its first 10 passenger gondola lift in Norway.
  • Les Otten lobbies for a new bill that would permit public financing for The Balsams redevelopment.
  • The proposed gondola in Idaho Springs, Colorado would be modeled after the Sea to Sky Gondola, which now carries more than 400,000 riders a year in British Culumbia.  The 1.2 mile Colorado version would rise 1,100 feet above Interstate 70.
  • The largest lost ski resort in Canada, Fortress Mountain, could reopen with a mix of new and refurbished lifts in 2020.
  • Sun Valley and Snowbasin ditch the Mountain Collective Pass for a partnership with Vail Resorts and the Epic Pass starting next winter.
  • The Laconia Daily Sun explains how Highland Mountain Bike Park finds success on the grounds of a long lost New Hampshire ski area.
  • The former longtime operator of Timberline Four Seasons Resort is indicted, accused of illegally prescribing pain drugs.  The ski area suffered a major lift accident in 2016 and has operated only sporadically this winter.

Instagram Tuesday: Night Shift

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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Instagram Tuesday: Stealth

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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News Roundup: Dire

  • Hemlock Mountain, BC re-brands as Sasquatch Mountain and eyes a high-speed quad to replace Skyline.
  • Vail Resorts’ fiscal 2017 net income rose 40.6 percent and skier visits 20.1 percent over 2016 with Epic Pass pass sales trending 17 percent higher for 2017-18.
  • Och-Ziff sells Mountain High back to previous ownership group.
  • Frost Fire, ND won’t open this winter, citing the “dire” condition of its triple chairlift.  The nonprofit mountain estimates $1.35 million is needed to buy a replacement.  The statement makes no mention of the mountain’s other lift, a double chair with Poma components.
  • Sugarloaf’s five year plan would turn the SuperQuad into a SuperSix in 2019, move the CTEC Stealth to Timberline and add a T-Bar to Brackett Basin in 2021.
  • Kevin Mastin paints a new trail map for Whiteface.
  • Belleayre’s gondola will feature a new rack design for snowboards and skis of different sizes.
  • Steamboat Resort won’t operate Howelsen Hill.
  • Resorts grapple with whether service dogs should ride chairlifts.
  • Allen Peak Tram’s new tower is in at Snowbasin.
  • Doppelmayr’s latest Wir magazine features Oakland’s new gondola and more.