- Saddleback demolishes the Rangeley double to make room for its upcoming high speed quad.
- Debt-laden Ski Granby Ranch lays off all its employees and won’t issue refunds to guests with canceled vacations.
- The $2.2 trillion phase three stimulus package passed by Congress doesn’t include assistance specifically for ski areas but there is hope phase four might.
- Vail Resorts borrows more than $500 million from existing lines of credit in order to increase its cash position and maintain financial flexibility during the outbreak.
- While many Leitner-Poma staffers work from home, a skeleton crew continues production.
- Even in hard-hit Italy, one major lift customer plans to commence construction as soon as the immediate health danger has passed.
- Many Doppelmayr employees are also working from home and production continues in Wolfurt.
- Aspen Snowmass intends to complete all capital projects as planned this summer including the $10.8 million Big Burn chairlift.
- Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz personally donates $2.5 million to mountain community charities and an employee assistance fund.
- Yet another lift project cancelled by Vail Resorts: replacement of Peachtree at Crested Butte this summer.
- NSAA estimates costs from early closings and lost pass sales will exceed $2 billion in the United States and forecasts capital spending will plunge 50 percent this year.
- Magic Mountain’s Geoff Hatheway offers a small ski area perspective on COVID-19.
- Coronavirus may impact the review timeline for Snow King Mountain’s proposed expansion and other projects on Forest Service lands.
- Katharina Schmitz officially takes the reigns of Doppelmayr USA from Mark Bee, who retired on March 31st.
- Boyne Resorts estimates $22 million in lost revenue as a result of this winter’s abrupt end.
- The Vietnamese developer behind both the world’s longest and tallest 3S gondolas plans another island-hopping 3S in the country’s north.
It’s finished! The new longest lift in the world, spanning a ridiculous 26,000 linear feet with just six intermediate towers, is undergoing testing and will open soon off the southern tip of Vietnam. With this latest achievement, the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group breaks its own record held since February 2, 2016 by the Fansipan Legend, a 20,755-foot 3S gondola to the highest summit in Southeast Asia. Before these two 3S lifts launched, the lift length record belonged to the Ba Na Cable Car, a monocable gondola stretching 19,032 feet that opened on March 29, 2013 in, you guessed it, Vietnam. With completion of the Hon Thom-Phu Quoc 3S, Da Nang-based Sun Group now operates the three longest gondolas in the world as well as the planet’s largest aerial tramway with the tallest ropeway towers. Silver Mountain’s gondola, the world’s longest when it opened in June 1990, is now fourth at 16,350′. The lengthiest gondola in multiple sections remains the Bursa-Uludag three stage system built by Leitner in 2014 at almost 29,000 feet.
The new record-breaking gondola hopscotches from the large Phu Quoc Island over two smaller ones to an emerald isle called Hon Thom (Pineapple Island), previously undeveloped and encircled by white sand beaches. $458 million of development is planned for the area which currently is a small fishing community with a state-of-the-art gondola station.
Setting aside its length, the rest of the gondola’s stats are also remarkable. Hon Thom-Phu Quoc is the world’s fastest gondola, with cabins transiting at 8.5 m/s or 1,673 feet a minute (another Doppelmayr 3S built for the Sochi Olympics can also go 8.5.) Sun Group’s latest system has more cabins than any other 3S – 70 CWA Taris models for 30 passengers each. At 3,500 passengers per hour per direction, it would be the fourth highest capacity gondola in North America (Peak 2 Peak, the only 3S in the Americas, moves 2,050 an hour.) A ride will take only 15.6 minutes at full speed and the lift’s six towers reach up to 525 feet above the Gulf of Thailand. Four track ropes supplied by Fatzer are a crazy 58.5 mm thick with a 52 mm diameter haul rope. The haul rope loop is so long that it had to be manufactured in two sections totaling 54,212 feet. The new gondola will open to the public sometime this spring and we’ll see what Sun Group and Doppelmayr come up with next as they push the boundaries of ropeway technology in Vietnam.
Vietnam doesn’t have skiing. That fact makes it an unlikely candidate for the title of world ropeway capital. With multiple record-breaking gondolas operating and more under construction, that may soon change. In 2007, Poma built a spectacular installation over two miles of ocean called the Vinpearl Cable Car. The Hanoi-based Sun Group is behind many of Vietnam’s lift projects and is perhaps the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group’s best customer. Sun Group operates the second longest mono-cable gondola, just commissioned the world’s longest 3S gondola and is currently building another 3S that’s a mile longer than the first one. Now they are building a huge aerial tramway and at least two more gondola lifts.
Vietnam’s first reversible aerial tramway under construction in Ha Long Bay will break two world records. The
Mystic Mountain Skyway Ha Long Queen Cable Car will link a new amusement park called Ha Long Ocean Park with one of the world’s largest observation wheels on a neighboring mountain across the bay. The $282 million project is a perfect site for an aerial tramway with two points needing to be connected but with natural obstacles in between. At the same time, the alignment is relatively short with moderate capacity needs.