- Both Mountain Capital Partners and the owners of Silverton Mountain are interested in turning Colorado’s Kendall Mountain into larger resort with more lifts.
- Ariel Quiros pleads guilty to three felonies related to his ownership of Burke Mountain and Jay Peak.
- Separately, an employee is accused of embezzling more than $125,000 from Jay.
- Sunlight pauses financial planning for the new East Ridge lift, which remains under Forest Service review.
- Another lost ski area gets on the road to reopening: Paul Bunyan near Lakewood, Wisconsin.
- There’s more trouble at Spirit Mountain as two top executives resign.
- Arctic Valley secures a new 20 year lease to operate in the mountains above Anchorage.
- The home of Big Snow remains in big financial trouble.
- One year since the Sea to Sky Gondola haul rope was brazenly cut, the culprit(s) still have not been caught.
- Aspen Skiing Company makes tough cuts to benefits and compensation for year round employees.
- It turns out Soldier Mountain sold to a new owner just one day before last week’s fire.
- You’ve heard of a chair sale but how about a T sale?
- Titans of industry Win Smith and Bill Jensen end their runs atop Sugarbush and Telluride, respectively.
- Glenwood Caverns temporarily closes to conduct fire mitigation.
News Roundup: Preparing
- Mont-Sainte-Anne is ordered not to operate its gondola until the lift is deemed safe.
- A New Brunswick resort will pay a fine for a lift employee’s on the job injury.
- All three Disney Skyliner gondolas are set to reopen July 15th.
- Liftopia fights to stay out of bankruptcy as more ski areas say the company owes them money.
- Silver Mountain celebrates the anniversary of a historic agreement to bring the world’s longest gondola to Kellogg, Idaho.
- With its first chairlift complete, Skeetawk sets its sights on a much longer detachable quad.
- Construction of the planned Valemount Glacier resort is delayed.
- Cape Smokey begins building foundations for Atlantic Canada’s only gondola.
- White Pass will switch rotation direction of the Basin quad, requiring a tower to be moved.
- Snowy Range removes the Chute double’s drive terminal in preparation for a Skytrac Monarch upgrade.
- Big Sky Resort launches first in North America self load, self unload bike carriers on Ramcharger 8.
- The Forest Service approves expanding Summit Ski Area’s footprint to connect with Timberline Lodge & Ski Area.
- The California zoo which debuted a detachable gondola three years ago finds itself on the brink of permanent closure.
- As the Forest Service continues its review, the Town of Jackson once again takes up the issue of a Snow King Mountain gondola.
- Mission Ridge will auction off chairs from the former Liberator Express.
- A coalition including Alta, Snowbird, Ski Utah and Powdr launches a website and media campaign advocating for a Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola.
- Last year’s addition of the Peak 1 quad allows Lookout Pass to launch summer operations for the first time.
- Remains of a very old tramway in Utah may be removed.
- Green Mountain Valley School celebrates groundbreaking for a state-of-the-art T-Bar at Sugarbush.
- It took five long weeks to get a European specialist into New Zealand and able to splice the country’s first D-Line lift.
- Hunter Mountain abruptly cancels its summer skyride opening and will share more information in the coming weeks.
News Roundup: Bidding War
- Public comment opens for the proposed East Ridge expansion at Sunlight, which would occupy both public and private land.
- Frank DeBerry, head of Crystal Mountain, provides context on the decision to limit weekend ticket sales.
- Tourist attractions in China shut down due to coronavirus, including the iconic Ngong Ping 360 gondola.
- At Sugarbush, Inverness will run in place of the Green Mountain Express some days as a result of a lightning strike and prolonged diesel operations.
- In New Zealand, volcanic mud flow risk may require towers to be reinforced on the new Whakapapa gondola.
- The City of Oakland says an A’s stadium gondola is far from a done deal.
- Baldy Mountain Resort closes Sugarlump for days following alleged sabotage by a former employee. It reopened yesterday.
- The State of Maine approves financing for the sale of Saddleback.
- A judge okays the sale of Hermitage Club assets, including its six pack. Two more bidders emerge, including a group of former members. If Boyne wins the lift, it would be relocated to a New England mountain.
- Homewood acknowledges multiple mechanical issues will prevent operation of its longest and tallest lift for the remainder of the season.
- Ikon Pass crowding concerns make the New York Times.
- Gondola transit in Pittsburgh?
- Promoters of a Staten Island gondola seek public support.
- In Steamboat, leaders talk about challenges facing the industry.
- A skier dies after colliding with lift-related infrastructure at Snow Summit.
- Valemount Glacier Resort is still a possibility.
- Forbes profiles recent developments in fast-growing Big Sky.
- Win Smith explains why Sugarbush doesn’t need any new lifts, what Les Otten got right and more.
- Towers and terminals are rising in Puerto Vallarta, where a five station gondola will service a new theme park.
News Roundup: Alterra
- Neighbors aren’t happy about light and noise from Woodward Park City, though the new area was able to turn down the start alarm on the Hot Laps chairlift.
- Mt. Baldy in Thunder Bay, Ontario plans to buy a new quad chair for next season.
- The City of Durango considers whether building a new chairlift at Chapman Hill makes sense at an increasingly marginal elevation for natural snow.
- Spout Springs will remain closed this season and is still for sale.
- Mexico City begins work on Cablebús Line 2, a Leitner system with 7 stations, 308 cabins and 59 towers. (Line 1 is Doppelmayr and already under construction.)
- Seven people are injured and a gas station destroyed when a gondola haul rope being installed in Medellín, Colombia lets loose.
- Alterra closes on Sugarbush and Win Smith transitions from owner to employee.
- A French paraglider is lucky to survive being caught in a platter lift‘s haul rope.
- To address crowding concerns, Crystal Mountain eliminates walk up lift ticket sales on weekends and holidays, effective immediately. The resort will also no longer offer group discounts, gift card ticket redemptions or rental/ticket packages on weekends and holidays.
- New York State opens its newest gondola in Lake Placid, called the SkyRide.
- Geyser Holdings offers $4 million for the Hermitage Club and Boyne Resorts separately bids $3.6 million for the Barnstormer lift. An auction could be held next month.
- Skytrac’s Hilltrac people movers now feature Sigma cabins.
- Montana Snowbowl opens its Snow Park expansion for the first time.
- The owners of Perfect North Slopes plan to build at least one new top-to-bottom lift at newly-acquired Timberline, West Virginia this summer.
- The State of Maine postpones a decision on a loan guarantee related to the sale of Saddleback Mountain.
- A creditor claiming to be owed $62 million files to foreclose on Granby Ranch.
- Edmonton urban gondola backers release robust ridership projections.
- A gondola from Boise to Bogus Basin would be too long and cost too much to be practical.
News Roundup: Glass Floors
- Mt. Snow ropes 190 people off Challenger on opening weekend.
- Doppelmayr introduces a new RPD system called Nexo.
- Cooper’s Tennessee Creek Basin expansion enters the final stretch.
- The only gondola in Illinois carried 6,000 riders in its first few weeks.
- The Epcot line of the Disney Skyliner experiences some downtime.
- Chair 4 at Cuchara is fired up as a test after almost 20 years idle.
- A two stage gondola is floated to connect Park City’s Kimball Junction commercial district to Utah Olympic Park.
- Aspen will look at building a gondola from airport to town.
- Completion of West Mountain’s new Partek triple caps the $17 million redevelopment of a place which was bankrupt seven years ago.
- Green Mountain Valley School receives approval for T-Bar construction next summer at Sugarbush.
- The State of New York plans to spend $2.4 million on new cabins and other upgrades to the Cloudsplitter Gondola at Whiteface.
- Boyne Resorts President and CEO Stephen Kircher discusses lots of exciting possibilities: a 9th peak at Sunday River, additional eight place chairlifts at key locations, more projects at Big Sky and a lift realignment at Sugarloaf.
- Vail Resorts sends layoff notices to numerous Peak Resorts staffers.
- Steamboat’s new and improved gondola opens tomorrow.
- Towers are up for the Hard Rock Stadium gondola, which will feature 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
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
- Cockaigne, New York intends to reopen this winter after eight closed seasons.
- Red Mountain has a new lift, new trails and now a new trail map.
- A New Zealand bike park heads to court, accused of spreading flames by running its chairlift empty during a wildfire.
- Nearly a month after disaster struck, the Sea to Sky Gondola reopens its Basecamp Cafe, retail store and select hiking trails.
- A Peak Resorts investor sues to stop the sale of the company to Vail.
- Wisconsin lost ski area Deepwood may reopen as WoodWind Park.
- The chairlift at the Nebraska State Fair breaks down and gets evacuated.
- Steamboat’s new gondola will have Wi-Fi.
- Aspen Snowmass offers numbers on Ikon Pass lift line impacts.
- Highlander Lift Services & Construction partners with Timberline Helicopters to fly towers for two new Idaho lifts in two days.
- Alterra, Oz Real Estate, Pacific Group and Snow Operating have all reportedly been interested in Jay Peak.
- Jay celebrates the successful replacement of over 20,000 pieces of tram hardware.
- Treeline Cirque at Alpine Meadows is shaping up to be one cool lift but I don’t think it will have the first double grooved bullwheel angle station in the U.S.
- Green Mountain Valley School looks to replace its platter lift at Sugarbush with a $1.4 million T-Bar in an extended alignment.
Instagram Tuesday: Projects
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
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: