News Roundup: Base-to-Base

  • Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows CEO Andy Wirth and landowner Troy Caldwell held a Base-to-Base Gondola open house and Q&A last week presenting lots of new details. The Red Dog replacement project won’t happen until the gondola alignment is finalized.
  • The Balsams files site plans for construction of a gondola and more beginning as soon as this fall.
  • Subaru Skyride debuts at the Indiana State Fair.  Can anyone identify the manufacturer?
  • Owners of Lutsen say $40 million expansion will compel more skiers to stay in the Midwest instead of trekking to Colorado.
  • Still no sign of lift construction at Saddleback.
  • Two people apparently were injured riding a lift at Montage Mountain last weekend.
  • Following the successful launch of a Poma gondola to the Kuelap fortress, Peru’s government to study building a cable car to Machu Picchu.
  • Snowbasin is adding a tower to the currently towerless Allen Peak Tram to increase clearance and reduce closures during storm cycles.
  • Keystone drops Making Montezuma episode 2.
  • Disney Skyliner gondola construction prep continues.
  • Sunshine Village reopens its gondola tomorrow after an 11-day fire closure.
  • First pictures emerge of Steamboat’s gondola rebuild.  Notice downloading capacity is now only six per cabin.
  • The City of Elko will take over Elko Snobowl.
  • Steamboat City Council reviews vision for Howelsen Hill which includes $1.54 million for a new, realigned Barrows chairlift.
  • An Eldo Express update from Eldora.
  • Ditto from Stoneham.
Advertisements

News Roundup: Turnover

  • Squaw seeks extension for permit to replace Red Dog lift.
  • MND Group turnover increases 15.1 percent year-over-year.  The company aims to double sales by 2020 partially through LST Ropeways subsidiary.  Referencing the new Cannon Mountain T-Bar in the latest magazine, MND notes “success has enabled LST to penetrate the US market, paving the way for other promising opportunities.”
  • Doppelmayr will begin building its next tri-cable gondola in December.  Who would have guessed Kenya would get a 3S before the United States!
  • Forest Service gives final green light for Breckenridge and Keystone six-place upgrades.
  • A slow landslide continues to move tower 6 of the Barrows lift at Howelsen Hill.
  • SE Group will study placement of Aspen Mountain’s future Lift 1A.
  • Denver Post publishes two part interview with Larry Smith of the CPTSB re: Granby Ranch.
  • The LiftDigital safety bar display system with integrated Wi-Fi will launch in Colorado for 2017-18.
  • New PomaLink newsletter features the Grand Canyon Express and a six-station gondola at a zoo in China.
  • Poma’s 2016 Reference Book includes LPOA installations but not Skytrac ones.
  • Mountain Creek files for bankruptcy protection with debts totaling $40+ million including $500,000 balance on 2012 Partek chairlift loan.
  • One of Heavenly’s original 1962 tram cars is for sale.  Email me if you’re interested.
  • heavenlytramcar
  • Artur Doppelmayr died Friday at age 95.  May he rest in peace.

If Aspen & KSL Go Lift Shopping, What Will They Buy?

IMG_8106
Although both KSL and Aspen have bought lots of new lifts lately, aging machines at many of their new and existing properties could be replaced over the next few years, including this 1989 Poma at Squaw Valley.

It’s been two weeks since the bombshell news that Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital Partners are joining forces to bring twelve ski resorts under a new entity rivaling Vail Resorts.  While the deals won’t close for months, the new partners already say they plan to invest heavily in the guest experience.  “We have earmarked a lot of capital for improvements to be able to continue to reinvest significantly in the communities and the mountains,” KSL CEO Eric Resnick told the Denver Post.  “What’s exciting is being able to bring new opportunities with these communities and with these mountains to those customers who are already so passionate.”  This could come in the form of new lifts ahead of the 2018-19 season and beyond.  Below is a summary of announced plans and my speculation of what might be in store for KSL and Aspen’s upcoming resorts.

  • Alpine Meadows, CA:
    • Alpine Meadows applied for and received approval to replace the Hot Wheels chairlift in a new, longer alignment back in 2012.  A mid-station offload would allow beginner and intermediate skiers to access the lower mountain while others could continue to an unload near the top of Sherwood, providing direct access to Sherwood and Lakeview.  Approval for this lift likely expired in September 2015 but there’s no reason to believe Placer County would not approve it again.

      IMG_8922
      The top station of Hot Wheels at Alpine could one day be home to a mid-station with a new high-speed quad continuing to Sherwood Ridge, where this photo was taken from.
    • Speaking of Lakeview, it is arguably the largest remaining pod at Alpine Meadows without detachable access.  This 1984 CTEC is older than Sherwood and with approximately the same vertical rise.  A high-speed quad is likely to replace it eventually.
    • Doppelmayr and CTEC have both built lifts at Alpine Meadows while Leitner-Poma has not.  That could change with the unification of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
    • I’ve written before about the Base-to-Base Gondola which is still on the table but still requires multiple government approvals.  It would traverse the White Wolf property between Squaw and Alpine with two angle stations along the way.

      IMG_8885
      Uncompleted lift towers on Troy Caldwell’s White Wolf property between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows could become home to a public gondola between the two mountains.

Continue reading

News Roundup: Setbacks

snow-king-master-plan-jackson-wy
Snow King’s latest master plan concept abandons a lift east of Rafferty in favor of a south-facing lift.  The Summit double would be replaced with an 8-passenger gondola.

Instagram Tuesday: 3S

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

Skis on. Get out. Freak out. | #TheGoodsReport #InTheNameOfWinter #exploreBC | Photo: @wintonphotos – @coastmtnphoto taken Jan 27

A post shared by Whistler Blackcomb (@whistlerblackcomb) on

#snow #ischgl #ski #österreich #mountains #picsoftheday #3s #autriche #alpes #tirol #doppelmayr

A post shared by Rémi' Bras (@remsbras) on

Continue reading

News Roundup: Into the Mountain

  • Doppelmayr’s latest Wir Magazine has lots on D-Line.
  • Vail Resorts looks far and wide for its next acquisition with eyes towards Canada and Japan.
  • Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows enters strategic alliance with Genting Secret Garden, one of China’s newest ski resorts with a 6/8 chondola and two bubble high speed quads.
  • Great Divide, Montana is buying a new drive terminal for its Good Luck double.
  • Jay Peak receiver calls the resort’s financial situation “dire” as he reveals the resort lost $6.2 million last winter and looks for cost savings.
  • Queenstown’s Skyline Gondola will be replaced with a $60 million 10-passemger version in 2018.  The current 4-place Doppelmayr  gondola debuted in 1987.
  • The game-changing Leitner 3S gondola to the Stubai Glacier will open July 9th.

Instagram Tuesday: Starry Nights

Star trails on a clear night over the gondi. #aspenmountain (📷: Dan Bayer )

A post shared by Aspen Snowmass (@aspensnowmass) on

Continue reading

Instagram Tuesday: Rising

#skiweltwilderkaiser #skiwelt #skiweltbrixental #skiweltwilderkaiserbrixental #hopfgarten #soll #itter #ellmau #brixen

A post shared by SkiWeltWilderkaiserBrixental (@skiwelt_wilderkaiser_brixental) on

Continue reading

Instagram Tuesday: Rime

A stunning capture of sunrise at the top of the Sunburst Chair by @feliciafox #SunPeaks360 #ExploreBC

A post shared by Sun Peaks Resort (@sunpeaksresort) on

Continue reading

Squaw-Alpine Applies to Build Base-to-Base Gondola(s)

ImageUploadedByTGR Forums1450406020.299083
8-Passenger Sigma Diamond demo cabin in Squaw Valley’s shop.  Source

Earlier this fall, Squaw Valley Ski Holdings submitted its formal application to the Placer County Planning Department to build the three-stage gondola connecting Squaw Valley with Alpine Meadows that was first announced last spring.  Leitner-Poma will design the system on the heels of completing Squaw’s Big Blue and Siberia six-packs.  LPOA has lots of experience building detachable lifts with angle stations including similar three-section gondolas at Breckenridge and Sunshine Village.

The Squaw-Alpine gondola will be around 13,000 feet long with 37 towers and two ridge-top angle stations.  The unique system will have three haul ropes but only two drives located at the end stations (Breck and Sunshine’s gondolas have just one rope & drive each.)  In this sense, the base-to-base gondola is really two gondolas similar to Whistler Village and Revelstoke. What’s different at Squaw is the center section will operate with the Alpine drive by sharing a common bullwheel where the sections meet.  As such, the Squaw section could be run independently but the other two spans must operate together.  Regardless, cabins will normally make the entire trip from Squaw to Alpine.  The gondola’s hourly capacity will be 1,400 passengers per direction with 8-passenger cabins and a line speed of 1,000 fpm.  Squaw also plans full-speed operations during a power outage with generators at each drive station.

gondolamap
Updated map with some changes from the original alignment.

The north mid-station on the Squaw side will be sited on private lands near the summit of the KT-22 detachable quad while the south mid-station will be in the Tahoe National Forest within Alpine’s existing permit boundary.  Skiers will be able to access some pretty awesome terrain from both mid-stations when conditions allow.  The Squaw Village terminal will sit between KT-22 and the Squaw One Express while the Alpine terminal will be between the Roundhouse Express and Hot Wheels. The gondola will actually fly over Alpine’s base lodge and under Squaw’s Funitel.  One interesting point from the application is that the Alpine mid-station at just over 7,700 feet in elevation will have no permanent road access or power line to it, which is part of why the central section has no drive motor of its own.  The terminal control systems, lights, etc. will run off a line generator and diesel genset.

Continue reading