News Roundup: Climbing

  • Suicide Six debuts new Leitner-Poma quad chair, Red River opens its new Doppelmayr quad.
  • Sundance employees rush a ladder to a chair, climb up and pull a hanging child back up in just minutes.  A man at Seven Springs fares worse.
  • Two of Canada’s richest families still plan to build $3.5 billion ski resort near Squamish.
  • Telluride Mountain Village Gondola turns 20.
  • Jay Peak’s tram is back in action.
  • The AP runs a story on future urban gondolas in the United States.
  • Cannon Mountain’s new LST T-Bar goes down ahead of dedication.
  • If you enjoy this blog, Ski Inc. is a must read.
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News Roundup: One Third

  • Alpine Mountain says goodbye to skiing.  The Pennsylvania ski area once operated three Borvig fixed-grips chairlifts.
  • Nearing December, Suicide Six and Waterville Valley are still building their respective new lifts.
  • Skytrac talks ANSI and more with Ross Stevens of Stevens Engineering.
  • East River Skyway gains more backers.
  • City of Branson to vote on American Gondola agreement Dec. 13th.
  • One summer is down, two more to go building the world’s highest 3S.
  • Chile’s President inaugurates new Poma gondola in Santiago.
  • Saddleback Mountain Foundation raises one third of the millions needed to reopen Maine’s third largest resort as a co-operative.
  • Parks Canada is not on board with gondola transit for Banff.
  • Ski racer gets $750,000 after being left on a gondola at Killington for five hours in October 2011.

News Roundup: Multiplying

News Roundup: Happenings

New England Gets a Lift: Suicide Six to Build New Quad Chair

Vermont’s Woodstock Inn & Resort unveiled plans Thursday for a new quad chairlift at its Suicide Six Ski Area.  Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but it marks the first (and possibly only) major lift project in the Northeast United States for 2016.  Over the last ten seasons, Northeastern ski resorts have built an average of ten new lifts each year, testament to this year’s huge departure from normal in the wake of a rough winter.

Suicide 6 Trail Map 2016.jpg
Suicide Six is replacing the longer of its two chairlifts.

The new Lift #1 will replace a 1975 Borvig double and be built by Leitner-Poma of America.  The Laurance S. Rockefeller Fund will foot the bill for the $1.5 million project.  The Rockefeller Family’s RockResorts once owned Suicide Six and the Woodstock Inn and spun them off as the nonprofit Woodstock Foundation in the 1980s.  Vail Resorts bought RockResorts in 2001.

The 2000′ Borvig double chair being replaced closed in February after the ski area found tower cracks following the Timberline, WV crossarm failure.  Although the two lifts’ towers were of different design, the State of Vermont ordered inspections of all Borvig-brand lifts.  The new quad will be Suicide Six’s first new lift since Poma built the 1,600′ chairlift way back in 1978.  The mountain first opened for skiing in 1936 and currently has two double chairs, a J-Bar and 24 trails.

Woodstock President and General Manager Gary Thulander said in a news release, “We recognized the need to upgrade this chairlift as part of the long-term support of the regional ski community including local schools, season pass holders, the Woodstock Ski Runners program, and visiting skiers.  Increased chair capacity means a dramatic upgrade to the overall experience of the mountain by all levels of skiers, racers and snowboarders.” Removal of the old chair is already underway.

Out with the old.  Photo credit: Green Mountain Control Systems.
Out with the old Borvig. Photo credit: Green Mountain Control Systems.

This is Leitner-Poma’s eighth new lift project for 2016, up from seven last year.  With this news from Suicide Six and other recent announcements, the total new lift count for North America stands at 39, up 11 percent from last summer’s 35.

Fallout from Timberline

Timberline Four Seasons Resort plans to have the Thunderstruck lift re-opened Saturday after last weekend’s incident with help from Partek, Aerial NDT and Ropeway Construction.  A new crossarm will be installed to replace the one that fell from tower 12 and the lift will be load tested before it re-opens.  “We have assembled a world-class team of manufacturers, engineers, and safety inspectors who have been working diligently since the event took place to assess and repair the lift, with multiple levels of oversight at every step in the process,” the resort said in a statement posted to Facebook.

Sugarloaf temporarily closed its Snubber lift (a 1985 Borvig triple) for inspections Monday after news of the incident at Timberline.  Sugarloaf notes it completed Borvig’s recommended reinforcement of towers on affected lifts in the late 1980s, as did Sunday River.

IMG_8547
In this photo from Sunday River, you can see the U bolts that were added in the late 1980s as a second connection between crossarm and tower tube on this 1986 Borvig triple (the same year and make as Thunderstruck at Timberline.)  Borvig issued a bulletin in 1987 calling for this modification on certain lifts.

The State of Vermont ordered the closure of the 2,000 foot double chair at Suicide Six after cracks were found on two of its towers.  This lift was manufactured by Borvig in 1975 and has a different tower design than the ones at Timberline with no lifting frame. Because this particular lift provides the only access to the majority of the mountain’s terrain, the resort is closed until the towers can be repaired.

By my count there are 176 Borvig lifts remaining in operation in 26 states and 3 Canadian provinces.  The company built 260 lifts from 1962 to 1991.

Added 2/25/2016: Sugarloaf announced today they performed non-destructive testing on the Skidway double’s towers this week in addition to inspecting Snubber.  Skidway is a 1988 Borvig double.  While the NDT found no problems, Sugarloaf will voluntarily install U-bolts connecting Skidway’s tower tubes and crossarms this week out of an abundance of caution.