News Roundup: Wrapping Up

  • Winter Park’s Gondola becomes the third direct drive lift to open in as many weeks in the United States.  As of October, there were zero!
  • Pico is added to Ikon, bringing the pass to 40 mountains with a combined 474 lifts in the the US and Canada.
  • The Hermitage Club won’t reopen until January at the earliest.
  • The last of British Columbia’s seven new lifts debuts at Sun Peaks.
  • I did a double take on this lift: a D-Line gondola with Carvatech cabins.
  • The new American Flyer is very close to becoming the world’s longest bubble chair.
  • Stratton’s new high speed quad is now set to open early in the new year.
  • Skeetawk remains on track to become Alaska’s eleventh lift-served ski area next winter with a SkyTrans triple chair.
  • An 8 year-old boy sustains only minor injuries falling 33 feet off a lift at Nordic Valley.
  • The Colombian capital of Bogotá launches a $73 million urban gondola called TransMiCable.
  • Frost Fire says it cannot open yet due to “contractual obligations with our chairlift,” a brand new Skytrac quad.
  • Big Sky brings high speed access to the southern flank of Lone Peak with Shedhorn 4.
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News Roundup: Worth the Wait

Sun Peaks to Build New East Village Lift

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Canada’s second largest ski resort near Kamloops, British Columbia today unveiled plans for its tenth lift, a $3.1 million fixed-grip quad chair above the East Village.  The new lift will complement Sun Peaks’ existing Morrisey Express with its bottom terminal located nearby.  It will then cross the Sun Peaks road and climb over existing ski terrain with a top terminal above the East Village Ski Way.  “This lift project is especially rewarding to announce today. Better access from the East Village is vital to our overall experience and future success,” said Darcy Alexander, Vice President and General Manager of Sun Peaks in an early morning press release.  “The new lift is something we are really pleased to add to the mix for next winter and it will greatly enhance our industry leading ski-in ski-out design”

The specific run layout is currently in development but will see a green trail option to the village from the top of the lift consistent with all other resort lifts and a well-known element of the Sun Peaks ski experience.  Additionally, the lift will provide improved access to some of the most underrated and underutilized ski terrain with family-friendly blue runs and pockets of glade skiing.  New chairs will also be added this summer to the Sundance Express for a 30 percent increase in capacity as part of an overall $47 million capital plan for 2018.  No manufacturer was named for the new quad but Sun Peaks is currently an all-Doppelmayr mountain and a wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Cable, Doppelmayr’s longtime partner in Japan.

News Roundup: Northward

  • Sun Peaks considers four possible lift projects for summer 2018, most likely being a CAD$8 million replacement of Crystal with an extended detachable.  The world’s longest fixed-grip chairlift, Burfield, could be shortened with a corresponding capacity increase or new lifts added to Orient Ridge or West Morrisey.
  • Ski Magazine updates us on Big Sky 2025 and plans for a new tram or south side lift on Lone Peak.
  • A power outage closes Lake Louise to the public on World Cup Saturday.
  • Burke Mountain says goodbye to Willoughby, a 1988 CTEC quad.
  • The Florida Department of Transportation studies possible gondola routes from Sarasota to nearby barrier islands.
  • Mad River Glen launches $6.5 million Preserve our Paradise capital campaign which includes replacing the 1966 Mueller Birdland with a newer used chairlift.
  • Upcoming Aspen Mountain master plan update likely to include new Pandora’s, Gent’s Ridge and Bell Mountain lifts.
  • Ski Apache is replacing its 1981 Riblet Chair 6 with a brand new Doppelmayr.
  • Less than two years after opening a $7.3 million chairlift, the Hermitage Club falls behind on water and sewer payments.
  • Enjoy these sneak peak photos of two new quad chairs at Giants Ridge courtesy of Benjamin B.

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Instagram Tuesday: Sun

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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No caption needed. P: @jresnick215 #beavercreek

A post shared by Beaver Creek (@beavercreek) on

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Instagram Tuesday: Heights

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Instagram Tuesday: Carriage Ride

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Instagram Tuesday: Rime

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Sun Peaks Plans to Double in Size Again

Sun Peaks is Canada’s second largest mountain resort with 4,270 acres and 360-degrees of ski terrain spread over three mountains.  The biggest of those is Tod Mountain, which was also the original name of the ski area in 1961.  Nippon Cable of Japan purchased the resort in 1992 and doubled its size, adding eight new lifts in nine years and expanding onto Sundance and Morrisey mountains.  Nippon Cable should be a familiar name; the company licenses and sells Doppelmayr technology throughout Japan. Thus Sun Peaks is North America’s largest 100% Doppelmayr mountain.

2015-16-Alpine-Map
Today Sun Peaks operates 9 lifts, all but one of which were built since 1993.

Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners updated the master plan for Sun Peaks Resort in 2013 that aims to expand lift service into new areas and make significant changes to the current lift system.  Many of the proposed changes center around the Top of the World, the ski area’s 6,824-foot summit.  The two lifts that currently end here will be shortened or removed and three new ones added.  The Burfield quad (the world’s longest fixed-grip lift) will be shortened to just above its current mid-station. Primary access to Top of the World will become the Crystal Express, a six-pack replacement of the Crystal triple chair in a new and extended alignment.  A 30-passenger aerial tram is proposed from the top of the Sunburst Express to Top of the World for sightseeing.  A new high speed quad called Sunnyside Express would come from the west and top out near the two other summit lifts.

The West Bowl T-Bar would be replaced with a new, longer version while two of Sun Peaks’ three detachable quads – Sunburst and Sundance – would be replaced with six packs.  The missing link between the village and Mt. Morrisey would finally be added with a new West Morrisey quad chair.

2013masterplanmap

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The Ten Longest Lift Rides in North America

The average lift ride in the United States and Canada takes just under five minutes.  In fact, only about four percent of lifts (fewer than a hundred) take more than ten minutes to ride. You wouldn’t know it hearing the average skier complaining about long and slow lifts at just about any ski area.  Below are the ten longest lifts by actual ride time at design speed.  Of course lifts do not always run at their design speed but this gives a pretty good idea of the longest rides.  Two of the top ten are detachable lifts that are so long that they take more than 15 minutes.

Silver Mountain's Gondola is one of only three lifts on the continent that takes more than 15 minutes to ride at design speed.
Silver Mountain’s Gondola is one of only four lifts on the continent that takes more than 15 minutes to ride at design speed.

1. Burfield Quad – Sun Peaks Resort, BC – 1997 Doppelmayr Fixed-grip quad

9,510 feet at 453 fpm = 21 minutes

2. Cyclone – Sunrise Park Resort, AZ – 1983 Yan Fixed-grip triple

7,982 feet at 450 fpm = 17.7 minutes

3. Gondola – Silver Mountain, ID – 1990 VonRoll 8-passenger gondola

16,350 feet at 1,000 fpm = 16.4 minutes

4. Castlerock – Sugarbush Resort, VT – 2001 Poma fixed-grip double

4,707 feet at 300 fpm = 15.7 minutes

5. Wallowa Lake Tramway, OR – 1968 Hall 4-passenger gondola

9.650 feet at 650 fpm = 14.9 minutes

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