News Roundup: $4.6 Billion

Sugarbush to Swap Sunshine & Village Doubles for New Quad Chairs

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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.

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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

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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.

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Loading carpet and gates are already installed.

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Instagram Tuesday: Line Work

These guys. Riblet built in 1970. #liftmaintenance #onetowerout #wecarrytheload #weareliftmaintenance #linework #riblet

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#Minuteman from tower 2. #WachusettMountain #liftmaintenance #wawsummer #linework

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Good morning from ch 14 @mammothmountain #mammoth #liftmaintenance

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Instagram Tuesday: Bubbles

Commuting in style, summertime edition. Photo by @stephkiiing #ohsu #portlandtram

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Collins Angle terminal showing off her unique lines. #liftmaintenance #collinslift #anglestation #doppelmayr

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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 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.

Top Ten Longest Chairlifts in North America

Lodge lift at The Yellowstone Club is among the world's longest chairlifts.
The Lodge lift at The Yellowstone Club is the 6th longest chairlift in North America at 9,847 feet.

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

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