News Roundup: Glass Floors

News Roundup: A Late Addition

  • Big Sky’s two new lodging access lifts are on the map, bringing The Biggest Skiing in America to 37 lifts.
  • Sasquatch Mountain Resort needs help naming its shiny new Leitner-Poma quad chair.
  • Mont St. Mathieu will expand with a 3,100 foot Doppelmayr surface lift set for commissioning in January 2020.
  • The Sea to Sky Gondola confirms 9 cabins were undamaged in the August incident and will be used to shuttle workers this winter.  With 30 new cabins on the way from Europe, the company will be able to easily take the lift to final capacity (40 cabins) in the future.
  • Crested Butte’s new trail map shows the adjusted Teocalli alignment.
  • In Bolivia, the largest gondola operation in the world reopens following a week of shutdowns due to civil unrest and the resignation of President Evo Morales.  The general manager of the gondola company also resigned.
  • Win Smith of Sugarbush chats with Vermont Public Radio about why now was the right time to sell.
  • Mt. Timothy, BC is officially back in business.
  • On December 9th, Vail Resorts will report fiscal first quarter earnings, traditionally accompanied by guidance on capital investment plans for the year.
  • Thanks to Collin Parsons for these awesome photos of the gondola construction at the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex.

 

Alterra to Acquire Sugarbush Resort

sugarbush19-20

Vermont’s Sugarbush will join the Alterra Mountain Company family of resorts, bringing the two year-old group to 15 mountains.  Sugarbush encompasses Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen, which are connected by a two mile long detachable quad called the Slide Brook Express.  The resort operates a combined fleet of 13 chairlifts from both Doppelmayr and Poma.  “Sugarbush Resort is a premier East Coast mountain destination and we are excited to expand the Alterra Mountain Company family in the Northeast, with Sugarbush joining Stratton in Vermont,” said Rusty Gregory, Chief Executive Officer of Alterra. “Sugarbush has been a partner on the Ikon Pass since its inception and we look forward to the opportunities ahead.”

Win Smith, managing partner of the current ownership group, will stay on and become President and Chief Operating Officer of Sugarbush under Alterra.  “Having been a family-owned resort for nearly two decades, we were keen to find the right next owner of Sugarbush Resort,” said Smith.  “We are delighted that Sugarbush will join the Alterra Mountain Company family, knowing that Alterra Mountain Company will continue to maintain our culture, values and commitment to our community, while bringing additional capital and other resources to make Sugarbush even better in the years ahead.”  Since being acquired from American Skiing Company in 2001, Sugarbush has invested $74 million in mountain improvements including seven new lifts, significant upgrades to snowmaking, and the revitalization of the Lincoln Peak Base area.

Ikon Pass access to Sugarbush will remain limited to five or seven days for the 2019-20 season.  It is likely to become unlimited for 2020-21 like at most other Alterra-owned resorts.  Mountain Collective access will remain unchanged for this season.  The transaction is expected to close in the fist quarter of 2020.

News Roundup: Everybody’s Doing It

Instagram Tuesday: Projects

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

View this post on Instagram

Red Buffalo Express taking shape. #beavercreek

A post shared by Colin DeAeth (@d8thski) on

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

News Roundup: $4.6 Billion

Sugarbush to Swap Sunshine & Village Doubles for New Quad Chairs

SB_WINTERMAP2014_map_lores
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.

SB_WINTERMAP2014_map_lores
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

IMG_4883
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.

IMG_4886
Loading carpet and gates are already installed.

Continue reading