News Roundup: Sunshine

  • The Summit at Snoqualmie shuts Hidden Valley for the season due to an “unusual mechanical problem.”
  • Sugarloaf closes King Pine due to a sheave assembly issue.
  • Dave Brownlie, former head of Whistler Blackcomb and current Revelstoke President, weighs in on the state of the British Columbia ski industry and his company’s plans for Grouse Mountain.
  • The Colorado Sun interviews three Colorado resort pioneers about industry trends and challenges.
  • As the gondola at Mont-Sainte-Anne reopens, the resort says an external power issue caused last month’s sudden stop.  A lawsuit has been filed and the power company denies responsibility.
  • Just the Leitner portion of Mexico City’s new urban gondola network will feature seven stations and 300 cabins.
  • Experienced resort executives Andy and Jace Wirth may take over operations at Granby Ranch.
  • Limited Ikon/Mountain Collective visits to Arapahoe Basin are 69 percent lower than unlimited Epic visits last year and the “experience is way up,” says Al Henceroth.
  • Another informative podcast from Stuart Winchester features an executive from Mountain Creek and Big Snow talking about the next new lift and a possible Big Snow Miami.
  • Smugglers’ Notch has no intentions of losing its independence or ditching its fleet of fixed grip double chairs.
  • Whitefish will begin work in Hellroaring Basin this summer and move the current Hellroaring triple to a new alignment in 2021.

News Roundup: Season Pass Season

Sugarloaf Outlines West Mountain Expansion & Future Lift Upgrades

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Boyne Resorts will embark on a major investment campaign at Sugarloaf in the coming years called Sugarloaf 2030, similar to plans revealed recently for Big Sky, Loon Mountain and Sunday River.  The central Maine resort will begin work this summer on a 450 acre expansion of West Mountain with a variety of new trails.  The area will eventually feature a big new lift.  As part of the expansion, the current West Mountain double will be shortened to about half its current length.  The expansion includes a modest new base area with expanded parking, tubing and a small lodge.

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“This development will expand Sugarloaf’s beginner and intermediate terrain, and will greatly alleviate traffic congestion at the SuperQuad by shifting significant numbers of riders to this new area,” says the Sugarloaf 2030 website. “Several options are being considered for size and type of lift for this location, with lift construction expected to begin in the summer of 2021.”  The lift will be designed with foot passengers in mind as Bullwinkle’s will see expanded use for weddings and conferences.  West Mountain will also be home to a future lift-served mountain bike park.  “This will be the most significant project at Sugarloaf since the SuperQuad was built in the mid 1990s,” noted Sugarloaf General Manager Karl Strand. “We’re thankful for leadership of Boyne Resorts, which, over the past 13 years, has helped us get Sugarloaf to a position of growth that allows for development projects like this.”

Lifts across the mountain will be replaced over the next decade.  Timberline, a Borvig quad serving the summit will be replaced with another new lift supporting varied year round experiences.  A third near term priority is the Double Runner double-double, which is approaching 50 years of age.  A new quad would better serve ski school programs and increase out-of-base capacity.  Carrabassett Valley Academy also plans to partner with Sugarloaf on a new alpine training surface lift servicing race trails above Double Runner.

Further out, Boyne plans to replace two more aging quads.  A new King Pine would run in a modified alignment with better wind resistance and improved reliability.  A future SuperQuad replacement is more about increasing capacity with state-of-the-art equipment.

Between this new plan, Sunday River’s vision announced two weeks ago and the rebirth of Saddleback, the 2020s are already proving to be an exciting time in Maine.  The Pine Tree State is well positioned to be a great place to ski in a changing climate and companies are responding with big investment plans.

News Roundup: Wish Lists

News Roundup: Heating Up

News Roundup: Outage

  • Aspen Mountain 1A stakeholders narrow replacement options to a few alignments with a two-stage lift or pulse gondola still in the mix.
  • Crystal Mountain, WA retires its hand-painted trail map for a computer-rendered VistaMap.
  • Antelope Butte, Wyoming inches closer to reopening with its two existing Riblet chairlifts.
  • Local paper tells the story of how Borvig’s owner came to own Berthoud Pass.
  • Breckenridge and Vail debut new Leitner-Poma six-place lifts.
  • A power outage closes Sugarloaf on the always-busy day after Christmas.
  • Two different New Hampshire ski areas remain closed due to problems with lifts.
  • LST detachable lift number one is still undergoing testing in France with opening now planned for January.
  • Bromley’s Sun Mountain Express is back in action today following Monday’s incident.  Ironically, it’s currently on wind hold.

News Roundup: Dire

  • Hemlock Mountain, BC re-brands as Sasquatch Mountain and eyes a high-speed quad to replace Skyline.
  • Vail Resorts’ fiscal 2017 net income rose 40.6 percent and skier visits 20.1 percent over 2016 with Epic Pass pass sales trending 17 percent higher for 2017-18.
  • Och-Ziff sells Mountain High back to previous ownership group.
  • Frost Fire, ND won’t open this winter, citing the “dire” condition of its triple chairlift.  The nonprofit mountain estimates $1.35 million is needed to buy a replacement.  The statement makes no mention of the mountain’s other lift, a double chair with Poma components.
  • Sugarloaf’s five year plan would turn the SuperQuad into a SuperSix in 2019, move the CTEC Stealth to Timberline and add a T-Bar to Brackett Basin in 2021.
  • Kevin Mastin paints a new trail map for Whiteface.
  • Belleayre’s gondola will feature a new rack design for snowboards and skis of different sizes.
  • Steamboat Resort won’t operate Howelsen Hill.
  • Resorts grapple with whether service dogs should ride chairlifts.
  • Allen Peak Tram’s new tower is in at Snowbasin.
  • Doppelmayr’s latest Wir magazine features Oakland’s new gondola and more.

News Roundup: New York

  • Colorado posts its second best season with nearly 12 million skier days. Vermont was up 21 percent year-over-year and New Hampshire went +30 percent.
  • Valemount opening pushes back to 2019-2020.
  • Rumors swirl of possible lift surveys at Saddleback.
  • Doppelmayr Cable Car and Transport for London extend operations & maintenance contract for the Emirates Air Line for another five years.
  • The government of Venezuela owes Garaventa $14.5 million!
  • Belleayre’s Catskill Thunder Gondola will be a Doppelmayr opening this December.
  • Partek’s only 2017 project is underway at Mt. Peter.
  • Peak Resorts plans to spend $9 million to expand Hunter Mountain and add a new high-speed chairlift in 2018.
  • Arapahoe Basin and Sugarloaf prove even relatively small lift projects make for interesting off-season reading.
  • Vermont’s defunct Maple Valley is for sale along with three Hall lifts for $950,000.
  • Val Gardena, Italy is the launch customer for Sigma’s innovative Symphony 10 gondola cabin and the new Leitner station.
  • Could North Korea’s ski resort with counterfeit and relocated Doppelmayr lifts host Olympic skiing?
  • Doppelmayr removes Wildcat at Snowbasin to make way for Utah’s first six-pack outside of Park City.  Thanks @ozskier for the photos!

News Roundup: Skyline

  • Two men want to build an iconic gondola called Skyline along the Chicago Riverfront.
  • Sandia Peak unveils new tram cabins for its 50th anniversary.
  • Sugarloaf updates the public on its summer lift maintenance projects.
  • BMF wins contract for its first 10-passenger gondola to be built next year in Switzerland.
  • The owner of Gletscherjet 3+4 built last summer in Austria say it has already carried 3 million passengers, believed to be a record for a winter lift.  The system is an 8/10 combination lift interlining with a 10-passenger gondola.
  • Poma’s 2015 Reference Book is now online highlighting last year’s projects from around the world.
  • Are Vail Resorts and Powdr Corp. bidding on Eldora?
  • A New Zealand developer will test whether a Whistler-style bike park with its own high speed quad can stand alone without skiing.
  • Doppelmayr and its contractors take responsibility for a construction accident at one of the terminals under construction in La Paz that injured ten people on Saturday.

News Roundup: Gearbox Trouble at Sugarloaf

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  • Sugarloaf’s Whiffletree high speed quad (shown above) will be down 1-2 weeks while its gearbox gets rebuilt in Michigan for the second time in six months.  Cone Drive rebuilt the gearbox in question last Fall and it was back in action a mere two months before failing on Saturday.  Whiffletree is a 1997 Garaventa CTEC Stealth detachable at a mountain that’s had more than its fair share of lift setbacks.
  • Doppelmayr’s latest Wir magazine is online.  Some article highlights: the Penkenbahn 3S gondola turns 6.5 degrees mid-line and Park City’s new gondola transitions between two different line gauges.
  • Leitner Ropeways will break ground on a two-stage gondola in Berlin March 26th to serve guests of the city’s 2017 horticultural expo.  Doppelmayr built temporary gondolas at similar expos in 2009 and 2011.  Must be nice to spend millions on lifts for four months of temporary operation!  To be fair, Whistler did something similar for the Olympics.
  • Garaventa crews pulling rope 600 feet above Ha Long Bay but they took some time off to celebrate the Lunar New Year.  The world’s largest aerial tramway opens next month.
  • The Telluride-Mountain Village gondola transit system, built by CTEC in 1992, has clocked 100,000 hours and elected officials are trying to figure out how to modernize it.