News Roundup: Modernizing

Agreement Paves the Way for Squaw-Alpine Gondola Construction

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows today announced a comprehensive agreement with the Granite Chief Wilderness Protection League regarding the proposed California Express gondola.  The environmental advocacy group will drop its lawsuit contesting approval of the project in exchange for new conservation efforts by the ski resort.  The Forest Service issued its Final Record of Decision approving the gondola on January 31st.  With these developments, all major hurdles have been overcome.

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“We are very happy to have worked collaboratively with the League to address their concerns so that resources could be directed to environmentally beneficial purposes, rather than funding an extended lawsuit,” said Ron Cohen, president and chief operating officer of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.  “We are eager to get going on this game-changing transportation project.  We thank the League for its productive approach to resolving the dispute.”

The current Squaw-Alpine connection is a long and tedious shuttle ride. The bus stops are nice though!

Squaw Alpine will set aside approximately 27 acres of private property for conservation.  These lands, which include pristine wetlands and natural ponds, have the potential to serve as habitat for the endangered Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog.  Additionally, the resort agreed to provide funding to study recovery of this endangered species.  Squaw will also grant money for the Truckee Donner Land Trust to acquire parcels elsewhere in the vicinity of the Granite Chief Wilderness.

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News Roundup: Long Days

 

News Roundup: Big Picture

 

News Roundup: Everybody’s Doing It

News Roundup: Companies

  • All of a sudden, the Aspen Lift One project finds itself in jeopardy.
  • The City of Branson ends its exclusive agreement with a would-be gondola developer after years of false starts.
  • Two companies bid to replace the Barrows double at Howelsen Hill in 2020 or 2021.
  • Disney Skyliner attendants will start at $12 an hour.
  • Competing resorts comment on the New Hampshire Vail acquisitions as Attitash touts major lift maintenance investments.
  • A jury decides Wachusett Mountain should pay $3.3 million to the family of a child who was injured in a 30 foot fall from the Polar Express in 2015.
  • The Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approves the California Express gondola project.
  • Utah Olympic Park breaks ground on the first phase of its major expansion with a second new lift to follow in two to five years.
  • A study concludes Teton Pass, Montana would need to attract 15,000 visitors annually to reopen as a viable resort.
  • Big changes are coming to the EB-5 visa program, which some ski areas have used to pay for big ticket improvements in the past.
  • Timberline’s owners hire an investment bank to sell the ski area.
  • Berkshire Bank and others slam the latest Hermitage restructuring plan.
  • TransLink gets serious about building a 3S in metro Vancouver.

News Roundup: Norway

  • Arctaris Impact Fund still wants to buy Saddleback but no deal has been reached after more than a year.
  • The Banff-Norquay gondola project faces stiff headwinds from Parks Canada.
  • The latest podcast from Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz highlights how the company takes over operations at newly-acquired resorts.
  • A judge rejects the Hermitage Club’s proposed restructuring plan as members look to reopen under new management.
  • In other Hermitage news, a New Jersey bank seeks to repossess 46 snow guns.
  • Here is the complete incident narrative from the February SeaWorld gondola deropement.
  • Lift construction gets underway at Skeetawk, America’s first all-new ski area since Cherry Peak in 2015.
  • Village construction resumes at Tamarack with Wildwood Express installation to follow this fall.
  • A helicopter delivers most of the new Steamboat gondola towers.
  • Last week’s gondola incident at Vail was not a result of tampering or sabotage.
  • Medellín’s sixth urban gondola, Line P, is on track to open in December.
  • After 1,231 days as Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area, the Badger Pass name returns thanks to a $12 million settlement between the National Park Service and two competing concession companies.
  • I spoke too soon on Eaglecrest possibly building Alaska’s first gondola.  Icy Strait Point on Chichagof Island is planning a gondola project to open as soon as next summer.
  • The haul rope is spliced for a rare fixed grip chondola in Illinois.
  • Mi Teleférico in La Paz broke its own daily record again on Monday with 583,841 riders, more than average weekday ridership for Boston’s three subway lines combined.

  • Municipally-owned Great Bear resorts to private fundraising in hopes of replacing its Borvig chairlift.
  • Placer County leaders will vote Tuesday on the Squaw-Alpine gondola.
  • Simon Fraser University steps up its Burnaby Mountain gondola marketing.
  • The Los Angeles Griffith Park gondola study is underway.
  • Eagle’s Rest 2.0 nears completion at Jackson Hole.

News Roundup: Cirque

  • The Salesforce Transit Center tram opens Monday.
  • Volunteers are determined to complete the Ascutney Mountain T-Bar project in time for next winter.
  • Peak Resorts reports a great fourth quarter with $36.9 million in earnings on $85.5 million in revenue, up from a year ago 52.5 and 71.5 percent, respectively.
  • Mexico City awards the contract for the first Cablebús urban gondola line to Doppelmayr, which will utilize D-Line technology.

  • The reopening of Big Tupper, NY hits a snag.
  • Proposed changes to the NEPA process would streamline approval of projects on National Forest lands impacting less than 20 acres, such as chairlift replacements.
  • The Balsams goes up for sale.
  • At Squaw Alpine, the extended Hot Wheels replacement will be named Treeline Cirque.
  • Seattle’s ABC affiliate checks in on Stevens Pass’ trio of lift projects.
  • Five months before its grand opening, Woodward Park City is really coming along.  Bonus: it looks like Doppelmayr has a new, more modern lift operator shack option (also seen at Manning Park.)

News Roundup: Tallying

  • Just in time for summer, the Sea to Sky Gondola welcomes ten more cabins to the line, increasing capacity by 50 percent.
  • The Idaho Springs, Colorado city council may vote Monday on rezoning for a proposed 17 tower, 27 cabin gondola lift.
  • Hermitage Club founder Jim Barnes explains his reorganization plan but for now, a receiver remains in place.
  • Snowshoe is purportedly planning to replace Powder Monkey with a fixed grip quad next summer.
  • Although it doesn’t build lifts in the United States, Bartholet has built some very slick machines lately.
  • The Indy Pass grows to 28 resorts.
  • A rocket from Syria damages a ski lift at Israel’s Mt. Hermon, where a Leitner gondola is also currently under construction.
  • Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz launches a podcast with a great first episode about the Park City acquisition.
  • The City of Steamboat is still weighing options for bringing in a private operator and/or replacing Barrows at Howelsen Hill.
  • California Express notches another approval but litigation could be coming.
  • Vail Resorts reports a great quarter: skier visits up 14.3 percent and lift revenue up 16.4 percent with season pass sales for next year trending up 9 percent and 13 percent in units and dollars.  “We are still absolutely aggressive on looking for additional resorts that we think add to our network and make the experience that we provide our guests better,” says Rob Katz on the quarterly conference call.
  • Quebec tallied 4.6 million skier visits last winter, a ten year high for a province with three new chairlifts already under construction for next year.
  • New Hampshire resorts logged 100,000 more skier days than 2017-18.
  • Colorado is king with 13.1 million estimated skier visits, a new record.
  • This was supposed to be the summer the town of Grafton, Illinois celebrated a new gondola.  Instead, 2019 will be remembered for the flooding that has thrown a wrench in its construction.
  • Teo II is approved but has no timeline for construction yet.

News Roundup: Lots of Euros