News Roundup: Everybody’s Doing It


Instagram Tuesday: Projects

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

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Red Buffalo Express taking shape. #beavercreek

A post shared by Colin DeAeth (@d8thski) on

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News Roundup: Another LST

  • Mi Teleférico announces it will transport its hundred millionth commuter in early December, three and a half years after opening La Paz’s first urban gondola.  Eight gondolas now operate with two more forming the Orange Line set to debut September 29th. The White Line will follow in the first quarter of 2018 and the network will transport some 50 million passengers next year.
  • Waterville Valley receives approval to build a T-Bar this fall in place of the High Country double.  It’s the second North American project for LST Ropeways, the French company that collaborated with Skytrac to build the Valar T-Bar at nearby Cannon Mountain last year (an arrangement made before Leitner-Poma bought Skytrac.)
  • Saddleback begins removal of the Rangeley double in preparation for its replacement.  The Cupsuptic T-Bar will now be repaired rather than replaced, providing access to the Kennebago quad until Rangeley is complete.  “The scope of this project is partially what drove the decision to repair versus replace the T-Bar,” Saddleback says.  “If we had replaced both, there is a chance that there would not be any skiing this year if early snow arrived.”

  • LST’s first detachable lift, which opened on July 29th in La Plagne, closed August 17th, apparently so adjustments can be made before winter.
  • Gould Academy’s new T-Bar on Locke Mountain at Sunday River will cost an estimated $750,000 and serve up to 1,200 racers per hour, rising 815 vertical feet.
  • Sugarbush’s two new Alpen Stars are coming right along.
  • Jackson Hole’s Sweetwater Gondola cabins are going inside this winter. 



  • Could a gondola from Windsor, Ontario help Detroit land Amazon’s second HQ?
  • Now’s your chance to weigh in on New York’s proposed Capital District Gondola.
  • The latest from St. Maarten, where a chairlift-based adventure park was slated to open just days after Hurricane Irma hit:

Instagram Tuesday: Longest

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

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News Roundup: $4.6 Billion

Sugarbush to Swap Sunshine & Village Doubles for New Quad Chairs

A new quad chair will replace the Village double at Sugarbush for 2017-18.

Last week we learned Sugarbush Resort will join the Mountain Collective in 2017/18 and today Vermont’s second largest resort committed to upgrading two 50+ year-old chairlifts to modern fixed-grip quads.  Sunshine, also known as Sunny D, is a 1963 Stadeli at the base of Mt. Ellen that will be removed and replaced in the same alignment.  Village serves beginners on Lincoln Peak and was built by Carlevaro-Savio in 1964.  The new version of that lift will start higher and greatly improve the beginner experience at Sugarbush.

A second new chairlift will replace the Sunshine double on Mt. Ellen.

The nostalgic out there may miss these pieces of ancient history come spring but the Sugarbush lift maintenance team likely won’t.  “Our Director of Lift Maintenance, Jasen Bellomy, felt very strongly that we replace both lifts this year rather than over the next two years,” wrote Sugarbush President Win Smith. ” We took his advice, and fate proved him correct a few days later as the top sheave assembly on the Village Double failed. We would have had to ship the part out for repair which would have taken no less than two weeks, so we have officially retired what was once known as Lift 6.”  These aren’t big new lifts (both are around 2,000′ long with under 500′ of vertical) but it’s great to see another mountain investing in its aging infrastructure. Carlevaro-Savio and Stadeli are both long gone and Village/Sunshine are 53 and 54 years old, respectively.

This summer, Sugarbush will also replace the electric motor on North Ridge, a 1990 Poma. I have an email out about the manufacturer of the new lifts; Doppelmayr built the new Valley House here in 2015.  It may be a few days before Sugarbush replies, however with 18-24″ expected to bury the Green Mountains over the next 48 hours.

Sugarbush’s New Valley House Quad

Support structure for the Doppelmayr Tristar drive terminal.

New England ski areas are building three new lifts this summer and all of them happen to be in Vermont.  At Sugarbush, the Valley House double (a 1960 Carlevario-Savio) is out and a Doppelmayr fixed-grip quad is going in.  At some point the old lift got a new Poma Alpha drive terminal and Borvig chairs.  The perfectly good Poma terminal is off to West Mountain on the other side of Lake Champlain in New York.  Sugarbush’s new lift looks like it’s going to have the Tristar-model terminal like many other recent Doppelmayr lifts in New England.  The bottom terminal has been moved downhill to be much closer to the Super Bravo Express than the old lift.  This will be Sugarbush’s 8th quad chair between Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen.  Doppelmayr still has a ways to go on this project with just a couple towers and sections of both terminals standing but all the important concrete work is done.

Loading carpet and gates are already installed.

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Instagram Tuesday: Line Work

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Instagram Tuesday: Bubbles

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News Roundup: Hilltrac Funicular

Hilltrac funicular in The Colony at Park City Mountain Resort.
A Hilltrac funicular railway in The Colony at Park City Mountain Resort.
  • When I was hiking around Park City last week I discovered a large new funicular railway in The Colony development near the new gondola.  It was built by Hilltrac, sister company to lift-maker SkyTrac.  The funicular serves an entire neighborhood unlike others at Deer Valley that serve only one house.  One section is completed with the possibility to add another section later.
  • The City Council of Casper, Wyoming, which owns of Hogadon Ski Area, declares one of two Riblet doubles there as surplus property to be sold.  Apparently it has not spun in years and parts were cannibalized last season to keep the other lift running.
  • Chris Farmer, Saddleback’s Marketing Director says on Facebook that there is no news to announce re: new lift or closure.  In case you don’t have Facebook, here is the statement: “Saddleback friends: I know that everyone is eagerly awaiting an announcement on our situation and recognize we are beyond the initial deadline. We remain heads down on finding a solution. As soon as we have news we will announce it. Until then, our full attention is on solving the issue. You are all important and I recognize you all want answers. I fully expect decisions will be made some time this week. Thank you for your consideration and continued support. Please do not be offended by my inability to respond to each of you individually. I hope you understand.”
  • Aspen Skiing Company remains committed to building the new Burnt Mountain lift at Snowmass but still has no timeline for it.
  • Protesting lifties shut down Chile’s Cerro Catedral, demanding a 30% wage increase.  Meanwhile, most of Argentina and Chile’s ski resorts have been getting tons of snow.
  • Echo Mountain, the closest ski area to Denver, will reopen to the public  this season after failing to make it as a racer-only training mountain.  The area formerly known as Squaw Pass has just one lift currently, a Yan triple chair.
  • South America solidifies itself as the worldwide leader in urban ropeways with the capital of Peru getting not one but two gondolas by 2017.  There are already a dozen gondolas operating in Bolivian, Venezuelan, Colombian and Brazilian cities.
  • Vermont lift construction update, thanks to
  • Doppelmayr wins a $21 million contract to build two ropeways in Georgia (the country, not the state, although there is a large Doppelmayr tram in the State of Georgia too.)
  • The Teton quad at Jackson Hole is on schedule to be load tested by mid-October.  All the large components for the top terminal were installed earlier today by crane.