News Roundup: October Turns

  • Skiing is open this weekend in Alberta, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey Ontario and Wisconsin!
  • Garibaldi at Squamish releases new renderings of what could be a $3.5 billion project.
  • Searchmont holds off on making snow, offering lodging or selling passes and will only install one of the two Skytrac lifts it ordered due to Coronavirus.
  • In a rare interview, John Cumming tells the story of Powdr.
  • Big Snow and American Dream post promising attendance numbers after reopening.
  • The latest capacity management video from SAM and Snow Operating focuses on lift capacity math in the Covid era.
  • With two operating and five more under construction, Mexico’s capital region considers building even more urban gondolas.
  • The gondola network in Puerto Vallarta appears complete but surrounding theme parks and hotels have a long way to go.
  • Skeetawk has a trail map and will open for the very first time December 5th.
  • Only one of Shanty Creek Resorts’ two Michigan ski areas will open this winter.
  • Following the death of its owner, Granite Gorge does not plan to operate this year.
  • Frustrated at lack of investment, local business owners look into buying Mont-Sainte-Anne from Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.
  • A three gondola system connecting various points in Park City would cost an estimated $64 million to build with $3.5 million in annual operating costs.
  • The Freedom Pass comes back but with fewer participating resorts than in years past.
  • With revenue down eight figures, the Palm Springs Tramway takes out a $15 million loan.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron orders the country’s ski resorts closed until at least December 1st due to rising coronavirus cases.
  • Of 6,521 comments the Utah Department of Transportation received on Little Cottonwood Canyon options, 78 percent were pro-gondola.
  • Granby Ranch will reopen under new management December 11th with more than $1 million invested in lift maintenance and snowmaking.
  • Soldier Mountain gives another fire recovery update.
  • Technical Safety BC releases an incident report and technical analysis from the latest Sea to Sky Gondola incident (both are heavily redacted so as not to impede the ongoing criminal investigation.)
  • Camelback’s new Sunbowl Quad nears completion.

News Roundup: Construction, Construction, Construction

News Roundup: Good Things

Wildfire Hits Soldier Mountain

Instead of celebrating the grand opening of its new bike park this weekend, Idaho’s Soldier Mountain is assessing damage from a wildland fire which tore through the area. An August 5th lightning strike ignited the Phillips Fire, which has burned 1,600 acres as of this morning with only 5 percent containment. “We are heartbroken to inform you that the Phillips Fire passed directly through the heart of our beautiful mountain,” the ski area posted on its social media accounts this afternoon. “The lodge and lifts are still intact, but the bridge that gives access to the resort was destroyed. Since the fire is still an active threat, we will have to wait to further assess the extent of the damage.”

Soldier Mountain operates within the Sawtooth National Forest near Fairfield, not far from the more widely-known Sun Valley Resort. The mountain operates two 1970s Stadeli doubles in addition to a carpet lift and cat skiing operation. Soldier has been for sale since early last year.

News Roundup: Affirmation

News Roundup: Bahn

  • Bretton Woods’ upcoming gondola gets a great name: Presidential Bahn.
  • Copper updates the public on its big new American Eagle and American Flyer lifts.
  • For the third time in six years, Soldier Mountain, Idaho hits the market.  “The current owners have experienced the typical start up challenges that come with operating a ski area that has been under capitalized, under managed and under marketed for many years,” writes Mike Krongel of Mirus Resort Advisors.
  • The BC Supreme Court orders the province to reconsider its 2015 decision to pull  Jumbo Glacier Resort’s construction permit over lack of progress.
  • Mont Cascades scores a $1.2 million grant from the Government of Quebec to help build the resort’s longest chairlift yet.
  • The criminal case of a former employee who may or may not have been stuck on a Gore Mountain chairlift overnight last winter heads to trial.
  • Snow King’s possible gondola gains two new alignment options.  GM Ryan Stanley tells the Jackson Hole community “After struggling for so many years to keep the lifts spinning, it is sad to see the negativity associated with proposed improvements to the mountain.”
  • The 380 acre Cold Springs Canyon expansion and detachable quad are officially a go for next summer at Sun Valley.
  • Doppelmayr nears commissioning of a very cool gondola with spherical cabins, loopy towers and whimsical stations in Moscow.
  • Stratton says goodbye to the SMS Poma, leaving just seven detachable surface lifts in the country by my count.
  • 36 days before opening, go inside the eye-catching Matterhorn 3S gondola by Leitner Ropeways.
  • Thanks to Everett and Will for these shots of Big Sky’s trailblazing Ramcharger 8 project.

 

News Roundup: London’s Gondola

  • The non-profit organization that bought Soldier Mountain in Idaho from Bruce Willis wants out after three years.  Now the entire ski area is for sale for just $149,000 (that’s the amount the organization owes its bank.)  Included are two Stadeli double chairs built in 1970 and 1974.  I’ve also heard Soldier has at least one lift from nearby Sun Valley in storage for expansion.  The ski area’s master plan includes four new lifts that we may never see.
  • Doppelmayr and Skidata think they have perfected gondola loading with the “easy boarding gate.”  The system uses multiple ‘pods’ with turnstiles to enter.  Flat screen monitors display how many spaces remain in each pod and guests self-select where to go. As gondola cabins enter the loading area, full pods are assigned to cabins with LED lights directing riders.  I’m sure it works but why would a ski area want to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to do what a $9 an hour lift operator can do?
  • 22 towers fly at the Hermitage Club, soon to be home to the only 6-person Doppelmayr bubble lift in North America.  Ironically the same helicopter flew towers from the Hermitage Club’s old triple the very next day at West Mountain in New York.
  • Lots of new pictures of Sipapu’s new quad chair and an update on their blog.
  • Drone footage of Crystal Mountain, Michigan’s “Backyard” expansion with eight new runs served by a used CTEC triple chair.
  • Leitner-Poma takes the Facebook plunge.  Their counterparts in Europe also have a pretty cool page!
  • Peak Resorts, the fourth largest operator of lifts in North America, secures a $15 million line of credit for “resort development and acquisitions.”  Might we see a new lift at one of their 13 resorts next summer?

Lift towers and terminals have arrived for Solitude's Summit Express. Towers were flown up the hill last Saturday.
Lift tower and terminal components for Solitude’s Summit Express as seen last week.  Towers were flown up the hill on Saturday.