- The 66th and final new lift of the season opens at Belle Neige, Quebec and is named for two Holocaust survivors who founded the ski area.
- Les Otten continues to pursue financing for The Balsams redevelopment.
- Wachusett will invest $1.3 million to overhaul the Minuteman Express this summer.
- A bill with $25 million for Cannon tram replacement advances in the New Hampshire Senate.
- Sun Peaks closes the Morrisey Express for three days and will close it again next week due to a power supply issue.
- Locals express frustration with Vail Resorts’ operation at Snow Creek.
- Mt. Abram’s Wayback Machine will be down all weekend due to an unspecified mechanical problem.
- Ditto for Snoqualmie’s Pacific Crest quad.
- Mt. Bachelor will operate a modified footprint in May due to construction of the new Skyliner six pack.
Summit at Snoqualmie
News Roundup: To the Polls
- Park City lift mechanics and electricians will vote whether to unionize early next week.
- Charges against four Marines are dropped after they pay more than $18,000 in restitution for allegedly causing a lift deropement at the San Diego Zoo.
- Alta modifies operations and offers passholders refunds due to the delayed Sunnyside lift project.
- Sierra at Tahoe will reopen December 3rd following 15 months of fire recovery efforts.
- A progress report on Copper Mountain’s Alpine terminal replacement project.
- Grand Targhee debuts a new VistaMap.
- Disciples 8 shows up on the Boyne Mountain trail map.
- Echo Mountain and Granby Ranch become the latest Colorado resorts to join the Indy Pass.
- Mammoth Mountain looks to replace the Panorama Gondola with a realigned 10 passenger version.
- Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch reflects on last season and details what the company is doing to make this season better.
- Northern Virginia Magazine profiles the successful rebirth of Timberline Mountain under the Perfect family.
- A new owner takes a majority stake in Massif du Sud, promising new investment.
- Resorts are still flying towers for new lifts including Red Dog at Palisades, Hidden Valley at Snoqualmie and La Laurentienne at Sommet Gabriel.
- Construction continues on two new lifts at Vail, with completion expected in December.
- Whistler Blackcomb and Doppelmayr expect the delayed Creekside Gondola haul rope to arrive today.
- Reflecting on the Lone Peak Tram as it enters its final season.
- Frost Fire, North Dakota won’t open this season.
- Closed Holiday Mountain, Manitoba plans to reopen under new ownership.
- Searchmont updates guests on numerous lift projects around the mountain.
- Redevelopment of Big Squaw is cancelled due to failed negotiations with the current owner and global financial conditions.
News Roundup: Long-Awaited
- Monarch Mountain purchases the nearby Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway.
- Sundance’s new quad is named Wildwood.
- Vancouver drops out of bidding for the 2030 Winter Olympics, increasing the likelihood the games will be held in Utah.
- Construction begins on the world’s longest gondola in the Caribbean.
- The Vail Daily reports on environmental deficiencies with Beaver Creek’s 2021 McCoy Park lift and terrain expansion.
- Alterra-owned Blue Mountain renames the Century Express to Valley Express with new controls, new tower heads/sheaves, new carriers, a new rope and several tower height adjustments.
- Vail continues its charity chair sale extravaganza with more from Jack Frost and Big Boulder.
- The Summit at Snoqualmie sells chairs from Hidden Valley.
- Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. closes on its acquisition of Jay Peak.
- Waterville Valley’s MND bubble lift will be called Tecumseh Express.
- The Forest Service approves Attitash’s Summit triple replacement project.
- Parts from Sunday River’s former Jordan Express are spotted at Boyne sister resort Pleasant Mountain.
- Doppelmayr reports a 16 percent increase in revenue with a particular surge in investment in North America.
- Purgatory sues the Forest Service over water rights for snowmaking.
- Cypress Mountain sues the Province of British Columbia over paid parking.
- Supply chain issues will delay the opening of Alta’s Sunnyside six pack.
News Roundup: Early August
- A Forest Service report details what Keystone did wrong in Bergman Bowl, the lift will not not be completed this season.
- One Gunstock Area Commissioner resigns, another is removed from office and another appointed. Staff reopened the resort yesterday.
- Forbes interviews Doppelmayr Managing Director Thomas Pichler.
- NSAA launches a lift service bulletin database for members.
- In Argentina, a mechanic dies after his legs become caught in chairlift machinery.
- Apex Mountain Resort is evacuated due to a nearby wildfire.
- Ex Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros reports to prison.
- Sommet Gabriel’s new Doppelmayr quad will be called La Laurentienne.
- The new triple at Dodge Ridge will be Triple Nugget.
- ORDA awards a $3.2 million contract to Skytrac for construction of the Bear Cub Quad at Gore Mountain.
- Snoqualmie and Doppelmayr conduct a heli mission to scope upcoming International triple construction.
- Vail Resorts completes its acquisition of a majority stake in Swiss ski resort Andermatt-Sedrun.
- Alta opts not to remove Albion until next year.
- Here are some pictures of an Epic Lift Upgrade project on track at Vail Mountain (thanks to reader Mark.)
Summit at Snoqualmie Unveils Big Plans
One of Washington’s most-visited resorts today announced Summit 2030, a multi-year capital improvement push to start this summer. Reimagining The Summit is just the latest initiative by Boyne Resorts to bring its ten ski resorts into the modern era. The vision for Snoqualmie includes eight new lifts across all four base areas, enhanced summer operations, expanded snowmaking, new lodges and more. The resort has a lot of work ahead just on lift renewal with 19 chairlifts averaging 35 years old.
To start, Doppelmayr will replace the Hidden Valley double with a triple chair, enhancing capacity on the backside of Hyak for next season. The new lift will feature conveyor loading and transport 1,800 skiers per hour. “Another milestone in our plan to modernize our lift network, the new Hidden Valley Triple provides more capacity, dependability, and greatly improves access to one of most unique areas at The Summit,” said Guy Lawrence, Summit President and General Manager. The mountain also plans to open a bike park at Silver Fir this summer, add more chairs to the Armstrong Express and implement RFID ticketing this offseason.
Many more lift upgrades will follow over the next decade. At Alpental, fixed grip triple chairs are planned to replace both Sessel and Edelweiss. Perhaps most exciting will be construction of the International lift, a project first conceived decades ago. “The long-awaited International Chair at Alpental will be a fixed-grip triple dropping skiers and riders in the best spot for accessing Lower International, Snake Dance, Felson & Back Bowls, providing a whole new way to access some of the most popular terrain at Alpental,” says The Summit. Another key focus at Alpental will be installation of remote-operated avalanche control systems to open terrain faster during storm cycles.
At Summit Central, Boyne plans to replace and realign the Central Express with a larger lift. Nearby, Triple 60 is earmarked for a detachable quad. A brand new lodge, snowmaking and alpine coaster will round out improvements at Central.
Learn to ski hotspot Summit West will see replacements for workhorse lifts like Wildside and Pacific Crest as part of Summit 2030. Wildside will likely be a fixed grip quad and Pacific Crest a detachable six place.
It’s no secret Snoqualmie and other Cascades ski areas attract throngs of skiers at peak times so it’s great to see Boyne committing to major improvements in the Northwest. Not far away, Alterra has announced a similar $100 million plan for Crystal Mountain and Vail Resorts has expansion opportunities at Stevens Pass. Higher capacity lifts and more terrain at Snoqualmie will surely help meet demand for skiing in a booming region with just three ski areas.
News Roundup: No Reservations
- The Forest Services releases its Environmental Assessment for a modified Purgatory Ice Creek expansion and seeks public comments.
- Bluewood closes for a weekend due to drive line issues with the Skyline Express triple (now back open).
- For the first time in 15 years, The Summit at Snoqualmie sends a cat to the top of Alpental to clear snow from the Edelweiss lift line and top terminal.
- A Canadian resort trains a very good dog to catch and hold Ts for skiers.
- One of only two chairlift operations in Kentucky goes up for sale (asking price $750,000).
- Aspen Snowmass visitation falls significantly.
- Another chairlift fall video, this time from China.
- Also in China, Poma nears completion of a world first: three interconnected 3S gondolas.
- There was a serious grip slip incident at Snowstar, Illinois a few weeks ago.
- A company called Towpro tries breaking into the surface lift business with a low cost rope tow.
- Ski Area Management and Leitner-Poma launch a contest to recognize top lift maintenance teams.
- Arapahoe Basin will continue limiting both season pass and day ticket sales next season.
- No reservations will be required for passholders across Vail Resorts next season.
- After a few weeks idled, Big Sky announces Dakota will remain closed for the remainder of the 20-21 season due to “mechanical challenges.”
- Warner Brothers abandons plans to build a Hollywood gondola, opting to focus on its core business.
- A wild Red Bull video features an athlete sliding down a six pack’s haul rope under a parachute.
- A maintenance worker is injured when the chair he was riding falls from a Bartholet lift in Luxembourg.
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.
- Jay Peak expects multiple parties to submit offers in a second round of bidding this spring.
- The Epic Pass franchise keeps growing with added Northeast options and a new rewards program.
- Wyoming’s Sleeping Giant changes its mind on closing after this season, citing an outpouring of community support.
- Whaleback is closing early due to a lift problem.
- Gatlinburg, Tennessee already has five scenic lift rides but an outfit called Pigeon Forge Snow plans to build a sixth.
- A U.S. Department of Labor inspector finds 14 and 15 year old ski instructors riding chairlifts and lowering restraint bars constitutes “operating heavy machinery.”
- Tremblant will announce its next major investments on March 10th, a day we may hear from other Alterra resorts as well.
- Guests are responding well to a slate of recent improvements at Catamount.
- Cuchara is on track to reopen one of three remaining chairlifts next winter.
Snoqualmie Announces Holiday Quad Project
The Summit at Snoqualmie, operated by Boyne Resorts, is getting in on the new lift action. One of eleven Riblets still operating at Washington’s most-visited resort will be replaced with a fixed grip quad over the summer. The Holiday Quad will feature a height adjustable loading carpet and more than double hourly capacity on this section of Summit Central, which caters to beginners. The 1,380 foot lift will rise 260 feet at a maximum speed of 450 feet per minute. The most recent Summit master plan contemplated removing the Gallery lift alongside this project.
Notably, of the more than 35 chairlifts built at Snoqualmie over the decades, Holiday will be the first supplied by Doppelmayr. “Going from a two-person to four-person chair and adding the easy loading conveyor will be a true game changer for Summit Central, particularly for our first-timers and kids,” stated Guy Lawrence, President & General Manager at The Summit in an online announcement. Construction will begin in June and wrap up prior to the 2019-20 season.
Instagram Tuesday: Mystery
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
News Roundup: $4.6 Billion
- Global ropeway market will grow to $4.6 billion by 2024, research firm says.
- Doppelmayr’s latest Wir Magazine features Big Sky, D-Line and the new Doppelmayr Connect control system.
- New Northwoods at Vail won’t have a loading carpet.
- Snowbasin traces Wilcat history from single to six-pack.
- Village removal is already underway at Sugarbush.
- Three years after commissioning, Rampart at Snoqualmie finally gets electric power.
- Hunter Mountain’s F Lift (1984 Poma) is apparently down for the season.
- FIS says Aspen likely won’t get another World Cup race until Lift 1A is replaced.
- Submit your name for Eldora’s new six-pack to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 9th.
- Big Sky experiments with season passes that exclude select lifts with prices ranging from $149 to $6,000.
- Austrian company Salzmann Formblechtechnik produces enclosures for up to five Doppelmayr Uni-G stations every week.
- Gatlinburg Sky Lift steel is up and boy is it orange.
- Utah Valley University students float gondola link over I-15 to the Orem FrontRunner station.
- Workers dig and dig some more to keep the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram above record snowpack.
- Forest Service sends a letter of noncompliance to Ski Apache resulting in the closure of a lift.
- Beloved lift maintenance team lead Mark McFadden dies in workplace incident at Kicking Horse. A Gofundme page has been setup to support his family.