- Colorado posts its second best season with nearly 12 million skier days. Vermont was up 21 percent year-over-year and New Hampshire went +30 percent.
- Valemount opening pushes back to 2019-2020.
- Rumors swirl of possible lift surveys at Saddleback.
- Doppelmayr Cable Car and Transport for London extend operations & maintenance contract for the Emirates Air Line for another five years.
- The government of Venezuela owes Garaventa $14.5 million!
- Belleayre’s Catskill Thunder Gondola will be a Doppelmayr opening this December.
- Partek’s only 2017 project is underway at Mt. Peter.
- Peak Resorts plans to spend $9 million to expand Hunter Mountain and add a new high-speed chairlift in 2018.
- Arapahoe Basin and Sugarloaf prove even relatively small lift projects make for interesting off-season reading.
- Vermont’s defunct Maple Valley is for sale along with three Hall lifts for $950,000.
- Val Gardena, Italy is the launch customer for Sigma’s innovative Symphony 10 gondola cabin and the new Leitner station.
- Could North Korea’s ski resort with counterfeit and relocated Doppelmayr lifts host Olympic skiing?
- Doppelmayr removes Wildcat at Snowbasin to make way for Utah’s first six-pack outside of Park City. Thanks @ozskier for the photos!
- Global ropeway market will grow to $4.6 billion by 2024, research firm says.
- Doppelmayr’s latest Wir Magazine features Big Sky, D-Line and the new Doppelmayr Connect control system.
- New Northwoods at Vail won’t have a loading carpet.
- Snowbasin traces Wilcat history from single to six-pack.
- Village removal is already underway at Sugarbush.
- Three years after commissioning, Rampart at Snoqualmie finally gets electric power.
- Hunter Mountain’s F Lift (1984 Poma) is apparently down for the season.
- FIS says Aspen likely won’t get another World Cup race until Lift 1A is replaced.
- Submit your name for Eldora’s new six-pack to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 9th.
- Big Sky experiments with season passes that exclude select lifts with prices ranging from $149 to $6,000.
- Austrian company Salzmann Formblechtechnik produces enclosures for up to five Doppelmayr Uni-G stations every week.
- Gatlinburg Sky Lift steel is up and boy is it orange.
- Utah Valley University students float gondola link over I-15 to the Orem FrontRunner station.
- Workers dig and dig some more to keep the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram above record snowpack.
- Forest Service sends a letter of noncompliance to Ski Apache resulting in the closure of a lift.
- Beloved lift maintenance team lead Mark McFadden dies in workplace incident at Kicking Horse. A Gofundme page has been setup to support his family.
New lift week continues! Snowbasin’s oldest lift, Wildcat, will be replaced with a Doppelmayr six-place chairlift for next season. The resort’s first six-pack will rise 1,290 feet in just five minutes in place of the 1973 Thiokol and its ten minute ride. The new lift will have 17 towers and a capacity of 2,400 passengers per hour. 9-second chair spacing will make the lift more beginner-friendly than a high-speed quad.
“Snowbasin Resort is very excited to announce several improvements to the Wildcat area of the mountain that should greatly enhance the guest’s experience,” said John Loomis, General Manager at Snowbasin. “With the addition of a new Doppelmayr 6 passenger high speed chair lift, we will be able to better utilize this area of the Resort that was the original heart of the ski area. The new lift will service beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain and include new snowmaking on Wildcat Bowl, Blue Grouse, Herberts, Eas-A-Long, Wildcat Traverse and Stein’s. These improvements will improve access to this wonderful terrain with earlier access and better conditions when Mother Nature is not as cooperative as we would like.”
Snowbasin, owned by Sinclair Oil Corporation along with Sun Valley, will have just three fixed-grip chairlifts remaining next season. The Forest Service also recently approved a high-speed-quad for Strawberry Bowl that will be able to run in higher winds than the Strawberry Express Gondola. Snowbasin will hold a Wildcat last chair party and final ride at 4:00pm April 15th.
- An in-depth look at the history of urban gondolas and what comes next.
- Buttermilk will open with full skier services and groomed runs April 8-9 but with no lifts.
- Hesperus reopens following two week closure to address deferred lift maintenance.
- Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation proposes operating Howelsen Hill.
- Giants Ridge puts a Riblet up for sale in advance of new lift construction. Another will be scrapped. Buttercup at Mt. Hood Meadows is also for sale.
- Vail Resorts revenue up 27.5% year-over-year; no new lifts for Whistler-Blackcomb in 2017.
- New Stagecoach website says two Doppelmayr chairlifts now on track to open in late 2018.
- PCL Construction Services files notice of commencement for utility relocation and prep at six Walt Disney World sites widely believed to be gondola station locations with possible opening in 2019.
- Belleayre gondola likely a go for this summer.
- Wolf Ridge, NC closes for the season following lightning damage to 1988 Doppelmayr quad. The place has an interesting past; a 2006 Doppelmayr CTEC quad and 1980 Borvig were both abandoned after a 2014 fire and only two lifts remain.
- Mexico’s latest gondola gets cabins.
- Poma moving to new headquarters in France.
- Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest approves Alta Supreme and Snowbasin Strawberry/Wildcat high speed quads.
- Moose charges lifties and guests at Alyeska, gets killed.
- Mi Teleférico’s blue line broke its own record last weekend carrying 64,275 passengers over two days.
- First look at a burned-out Christchurch Adventure Park shows some quad chairs were saved, haul rope was not.
- Another urban 3S idea pops up in metro Vancouver.
- Latest Aspen Mountain Lift 1A replacement plan to go before the City Council this month.
- Taos will apparently build three new lifts over the next two years, including a pulse gondola and high speed quad.
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
This weekend I came to realize there is such a thing as too much snow at a ski resort… when there's over 100cm of fresh snow in 48 hours so anytime you fall over it takes a good 5 minutes to dig yourself out. It was hectic! 🌨 #snowsnowsnow #whiteout #madarao #nagano #skiresort #skilift #snowboarding #weekendtrip #igersjp #大雪 #斑尾高原スキー場 #長野県 #新潟県
- Doppelmayr isn’t the only one building in Bolivia. Poma is 55 percent complete with the city of Ororu’s new gondola.
- SkyTrac has a new website!
- RiverWalk at Loon Mountain will open a Doppelmayr pulse gondola crossing the Pemigewasset River in 2017.
- Lift ticket revenue was up 19 percent and skier visits +13 percent at Vail Resorts’ ten mountains in 2015-16.
- Snowbasin seeks approval to build two more high speed quads – one to replace Wildcat and the other to supplement the Strawberry Express Gondola.
- Garaventa splices and celebrates in Ha Long.
- New tram cabins arrive at Sandia Peak from CWA.
- Snowbasin will test solar-powered USB charging bars in five of its gondola cabins in partnership with Goal Zero.
- Mt. Waterman in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Mountains reopens this weekend with 3 Riblet doubles operating for the first time in five years. The mountain will honor all tickets and passes sold since 2011!
- Two years after his 6-year old daughter fell from a chair, a New Jersey man sues Campgaw Mountain and the town/county it’s located in for “careless and reckless” operation of a ski lift.
- Sugarloaf just can’t catch a break. A power failure shut down most of its lifts for hours on their first Saturday with snow.
- Did you know Doppelmayr operates a zoo with more than 400 animals at its headquarters in Wolfurt?
- Speaking of Doppelmayr, their interactive installation map now displays 24 world record-breaking ropeways (click the red button on the bottom left.)
- Somebody had to do it. Spirit Mountain, Minnesota becomes the first to offer lift-served, downhill fat biking starting Sunday.
- Whistler Village Gondola cabin #84 returns to its roots in the Alps as The Coffee Gondola.
- What appears to be a Doppelmayr quad chair rolls back in China, screaming ensues.
The average detachable chairlift has 108 carriers while the average fixed grip lift has 103. Most people would assume the longest lifts have the most carriers but that’s usually not the case. One of the reasons is longer spacing on detachable chairlifts and gondolas. Also many long fixed-grip lifts get designed with lower hourly capacities and bigger spacing to save money. In fact, only one of the top ten lifts with the most chairs is also among the ten longest. Each of the lifts below has more than 200 chairs and, not surprisingly, all but two are fixed-grips.
- Cyclone – Sunrise Park Resort, AZ – 352 Yan triple chairs
- West Mountain – Sugarloaf, ME – 280 Borvig double chairs
- edited to add later: Town – Park City, UT – 264 CTEC triple chairs
- Alpine – Copper Mountain, CA – 218 Yan double chairs
- Porcupine – Snowbasin, UT – 212 Stadeli triple chairs
- Summit – Attitash, NH – 207 CTEC triple chairs
- C-Chair – Breckenridge, CO – 206 Riblet triple chairs
- A-Chair – Breckenridge, CO – 206 Riblet triple chairs
- Snowflake – Breckenridge, CO – 205 Poma double chairs
- Northwest Express – Mt. Bachelor, OR – 204 Doppelmayr quad chairs
- American Flyer – Copper Mountain, CO – 203 Poma quad chairs
What about gondolas? There are a bunch of them that stretch two-plus miles. Even so, no gondolas come close to making this list. The Sunshine Village Gondola has the most cabins in North America with approximately 175 CWA Omegas and the Whistler Village Gondola comes in at number two with 160 Sigma Diamond cabins. The average North American gondola has just 74 cabins.
Now, who can guess which lift has the most towers?
I”ve written a few times about the longest lifts of different types but what about the shortest? The considerable expense of a detachable lift is usually justified for long profiles where speed makes sense. The average detachable lift in this part of the world is over 5,200 feet long while the average fixed grip lift is under 2,800 feet. However, the slow loading speed of a high-speed lift also make sense for beginners and foot passengers regardless of the length of the line. Hence there are plenty of very short detachable lifts that cost millions and take less than two minutes to ride. Below are the ten shortest ones in the US and Canada.
- Cabriolet – Mont Tremblant, QC – 1994 Doppelmayr detachable 6-passenger cabriolet
Slope length: 1,100 feet, ride time 1.4 minutes.
- Easy Rider Express – Sierra-at-Tahoe, CA – 1996 Doppelmayr detachable quad
Slope length: 1,165 feet, ride time 1.3 minutes
- Chair 3 – Horseshoe Resort, ON – 1989 Doppelmayr detachable quad
Slope length: 1,400 feet, ride time 1.6 minutes
- Super Glide – Alpine Valley Resort, WI – 2011 Leitner-Poma detachable quad
Slope length: 1,421 feet, ride time 1.4 minutes
- Valley Flyer – Alpine Valley Resort, WI – 1999 Poma detachable quad
Slope length: 1,426 feet, ride time 1.6 minutes
Below is a list of the top ten steepest lifts in the US and Canada. I calculated these using a ratio of slope length to vertical rise using data from the manufacturers. To give you some perspective, Snowbasin’s tram has the lowest ratio at 1.11 while Whistler’s Peak 2 Peak has the highest ratio at 120. The average lift is 4.65, meaning 4.65 feet of length to rise one vertical foot, on average. Only three of the top ten are chairlifts and only five serve ski-able terrain.
1. Mt. Allen Tram, Snowbasin, Utah – 1998 Doppelmayr 15-passenger tramway
1,165′ slope length x 1,047′ vertical rise = 1.11 length to vertical ratio
edit: Ski Area Management’s lift construction survey had the incorrect vertical for this lift. It is actually 510′ making the Mt. Allen Tram about half as steep as posted above.
2. Mt. Roberts Tram, Juneau, Alaska – 1996 Poma 60-passenger tramway
3,098′ slope length x 1,746′ vertical rise = 1.77 length to vertical ratio
3. Lone Peak Tram, Big Sky Resort, Montana – 1995 Doppelmayr 15-passenger tramway
2,828′ slope length x 1,450′ vertical rise = 1.95 length to vertical ratio
4. Sulphur Mountain Gondola, Banff, Alberta – 1959 Bell 4-passenger bi-cable gondola
4,498′ slope length x 2,292′ vertical rise = 1.96 length to vertical ratio
5. Honeycomb Return, Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah – 2002 Doppelmayr CTEC quad
1,300′ slope length x 655′ vertical rise = 1.98 length to vertical ratio