Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
- Global ropeway market will grow to $4.6 billion by 2024, research firm says.
- Doppelmayr’s latest Wir Magazine features Big Sky, D-Line and the new Doppelmayr Connect control system.
- New Northwoods at Vail won’t have a loading carpet.
- Snowbasin traces Wilcat history from single to six-pack.
- Village removal is already underway at Sugarbush.
- Three years after commissioning, Rampart at Snoqualmie finally gets electric power.
- Hunter Mountain’s F Lift (1984 Poma) is apparently down for the season.
- FIS says Aspen likely won’t get another World Cup race until Lift 1A is replaced.
- Submit your name for Eldora’s new six-pack to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 9th.
- Big Sky experiments with season passes that exclude select lifts with prices ranging from $149 to $6,000.
- Austrian company Salzmann Formblechtechnik produces enclosures for up to five Doppelmayr Uni-G stations every week.
- Gatlinburg Sky Lift steel is up and boy is it orange.
- Utah Valley University students float gondola link over I-15 to the Orem FrontRunner station.
- Workers dig and dig some more to keep the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram above record snowpack.
- Forest Service sends a letter of noncompliance to Ski Apache resulting in the closure of a lift.
- Beloved lift maintenance team lead Mark McFadden dies in workplace incident at Kicking Horse. A Gofundme page has been setup to support his family.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com.
- 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.
There are 63 chairlifts in the US and Canada that stretch longer than 7,000 feet but only four over 10,000′. Six of the top ten are in the State of Colorado and all but two are detachable quads. Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, BC claims the title of the longest fixed-grip chairlift in the world and the only non-detachable among North America’s hundred longest lifts. A ride on the Burfield Quad takes a painful 21 minutes to go 9,510 feet (and that’s at full speed.) Below are the top ten longest chairlifts in the US and Canada.
1. Slide Brook Express, Sugarbush, Vermont – 11,012 feet
1995 Doppelmayr Detachable Quad
2. Chile Express, Angel Fire Resort, New Mexico – 10,992 feet
1996 Poma Detachable Quad
3. Sunshine Express, Telluride, Colorado – 10,732 feet
1986 Doppelmayr Detachable Quad
4. Village Express, Snowmass, Colorado – 10,074 feet
2005 Leitner-Poma Detachable Six
5. American Flyer, Copper Mountain, Colorado – 9,907 feet
1986 Poma Detachable Quad