- The Seattle Times runs a feature story on Vail Resorts’ operational challenges at Stevens Pass compared with Alterra at Crystal Mountain.
- Ridgeline Executive Group will continue running Granby Ranch following the sale to a new ownership group.
- The unique triangle gondola at Sterling Vineyards remains closed seven months after a wildfire with no estimate for reopening.
- Big Snow renames its quad chair in honor of General Manager Jim Haas and others who died of Covid-19.
- Two employees of the Georgian ski resort where a lift rolled back in 2018 have been charged criminally and face up to five years in prison.
- Visits to New York’s three state-owned ski areas were up 14 percent to 672,000 with revenue up 10 percent and expenses down 8 percent.
- Whiteface will replace the Bear and Mixing Bowl lifts with a $2.5 million Skytrac quad.
- Powder Mountain, Mt. Ashland and West Mountain join the Indy Pass, which topped 96,000 redemptions this season.
- Cherry Peak, Eagle Point, Red River and Snow Valley sign on to the Freedom Pass alliance, Toggenburg leaves.
- Another fire threatens Ski Apache, which is so far unscathed.
- We now know why the Mighty Argo Cable Car project is stalled. Owners have sued lenders, alleging breach of contract and a $4.5 million loss.
- The Routt National Forest approves Steamboat’s Wild Blue Gondola and Sundown Express replacement projects, subject to a customary objection period.
- Japan’s first urban gondola opens.
- Mi Teleferico celebrates seven years as La Paz’s urban gondola system, providing 328 million rides.
- Loon Mountain confirms the former Kancamagus detachable quad will replace Seven Brothers in 2022.
- Loveland closes Lift 8 for the season due to a mechanical issue.
- The only jigback tramway in Texas could make a return.
- Holiday Valley posts tons of photos of its latest lift replacement project.
- The first gondola components arrive in Squaw Valley.
From flying over bison to coasting through redwood forests, wine tasting and beach cruising, visitors to California can do it all by gondola even when far from ski country. In every major region of the vast California Republic, gondolas greet more than 250 million annual tourists, providing unique experiences and spectacular views in one of America’s most diverse states.
California Trail – Oakland Zoo
California’s newest gondola debuted at the Oakland Zoo in June, whisking guests on a three minute safari to an $80 million experience called California Trail, which features animals native to the Golden State. In some ways this is America’s first urban gondola with the top terminal located in the basement of a combination transit station, restaurant and visitor center. The Doppelmayr UNI-G system sports 17 cabins that can move 1,000 guests each hour between California Station and the new hub for wolves, bears and mountain lions. Even though the exhibits don’t open until next year, the gondola is already so popular that the zoo’s chairlift rarely runs anymore as guests binge-ride the California Trail lap after lap.
Skyfari – San Diego Zoo
The VonRoll-built Skyfari is a big reason why the San Diego Zoo grew to become the most-visited zoo in America. Since 1969, 42 four-passenger cabins have transported some 75 million riders from the east side of the park to the west. Today, the Skyfari operates more than 3,300 hours a year and an impressive 60 percent of zoo guests choose to take the ride, making it by far the most-ridden gondola in this most populous state. The lift’s four towers reach up to 89 feet, yielding zoogoers spectacular views of their surroundings and downtown San Diego. Now presented by Alaska Airlines, the ride is impeccably maintained and features updated Doppelmayr controls and automated cabin launching. Just based on ridership, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it replaced with a modern system with more capacity in the coming years.