Sun Valley Plans New Warm Springs Lifts

The Sun Valley Company and US Forest Service are soliciting public comments on an ambitious plan to redesign lift service on the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain. First, a new Challenger six place chairlift is proposed to replace the aging Challenger and Greyhawk detachable quads. Challenger is no ordinary chairlift – it services more vertical than any other chair in North America – 3,142 vertical feet in nine minutes. Greyhawk runs parallel to Challenger for its first 1,488 feet of vertical. Both Lift Engineering-turned-Doppelmayr detachables date back to 1988. The wider gauge Challenger would feature a mid-unloading station at the top of the Upper Greyhawk and move 2,400 skiers per hour.

The project also includes a new Flying Squirrel/Lift A detachable quad. The original Flying Squirrel opened in 1972 and operated until February 1st, 2014, when it was destroyed by a drive terminal fire. The lift was removed the following offseason but never replaced. The A quad would follow a modified alignment, loading at the base of Warm Springs and terminating near the top of Picabo’s Street and Flying Squirrel. It would move up to 1,800 skiers per hour and provide key redundancy out of the base area. The Flying Squirrel run would be extended downhill to the bottom of Warm Springs and the new lift’s load point. New snowmaking would also be included.

If approved, both new lifts would be constructed in 2023 and open for the 2023-24 ski season. A manufacturer has not been announced. Sun Valley currently operates an all Doppelmayr fleet but the resort’s parent company recently partnered with Leitner-Poma for a new six passenger lift at Snowbasin.

Update: Both lifts will be built by Doppelmayr.

News Roundup: Three Continents

News Roundup: Skytrac Upgrades

  • New Zealand and Victoria, Australia resorts reopen after extended Covid closures (New South Wales remains locked down.)
  • Mt. Spokane will replace the drive terminal of Chair 2 with a new one from Skytrac.
  • Skytrac is completing similar mods to Tumbelina at Monarch Mountain.
  • The fate of the Pandora’s expansion on Aspen Mountain will be decided October 13th.
  • Sierra at Tahoe still doesn’t know the full extent of lift damage from the Caldor Fire but remains optimistic.
  • Users get stuck on one of Mexico City’s new gondola lines following an earthquake.
  • The Holding family agrees to sell most of Sinclair Oil Corporation’s assets, though Sun Valley and Snowbasin aren’t included.
  • The Forest Service issues a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Lutsen Mountains’ proposed expansion with public comments being solicited through October 25th. A new alternative would see the addition of five new chairlifts on Moose and Eagle Mountains rather than the initially planned seven.
  • The only lift in Oklahoma won’t open for the second year in a row and is in danger of removal.
  • Schweitzer adds 14 chairs to Stella.
  • A quick update from Snow King Mountain:

News Roundup: Next Up

News Roundup: Key Weekend

News Roundup: Olympics

News Roundup: Cold Front

  • Sunday River releases maps of the upcoming Merrill Hill project.
  • Updated stats from NSAA show how many ski areas operated in each state last winter.
  • Las Vegas’ decision to go with Teslas in a tunnel rather than a Doppelmayr automated people mover may have been short sighted.
  • Jay Peak President Steve Wright discusses joining the Indy Pass, limited winter tram operations and potential future lift upgrades.
  • Mission Ridge begins erecting terminals for the new Liberator Express, which load and unload inside buildings.
  • Whiteface’s new beginner quad will be called Owl Express.
  • A new lift at Sun Valley will also get a fresh name, to be announced soon.
  • Gunstock burns down an old T-Bar station for firefighter training.
  • An Ontario ski area worries about lift safety following a rash of vandalism.
  • With the launch of a gondola up Hoonah Mountain next year, an Alaska Native corporation sees new opportunities for development.
  • Despite a 30 percent drop in business last winter, at least two New Zealand resorts plan to build new lifts this offseason.
  • As Smartwool moves headquarters from Steamboat to Denver, the company gifts $1.5 million to Howelsen Hill for a new Barrows chairlift, to be built by Skytrac.
  • A Michigan ski area with 12 lifts won’t make snow and will operate weekends only due to Coronavirus.
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne is no longer certain its base-to-summit gondola will be functional by December.
  • Big Sky wraps up a busy season of preparation for the Swift Current 6 top terminal and carrier storage facility.

News Roundup: Investments

News Roundup: Mask Up

News Roundup: Adventure Assurance

  • Highland readies for mountain bike season with new chairs acquired from Nashoba Valley.
  • Alterra makes modest changes to Ikon in light of recent events: delaying price increases by a month and increasing renewal discounts.  Late today, the company added Adventure Assurance, permitting purchasers to defer their 2020-21 Ikon value to a 2021-22 pass if desired.
  • The Forest Service expects to have a decision on Keystone’s Bergman Bowl expansion by December.
  • Residents in opposition to Mexico City’s Cablebús Line 1 win an injunction stopping some construction.
  • The Colorado Sun goes inside the decision to close Colorado’s ski industry five Saturdays ago.
  • Saddleback decides to decommission Sandy alongside Rangeley and Cupsuptic.  Old chairs are for sale at $2,000 apiece.
  • A class action lawsuit is filed against Vail Resorts alleging fraud, misrepresentation and false advertising for this spring’s early closures.
  • Sinclair Oil Company may be exploring a sale although the firm’s two ski resorts (Snowbasin and Sun Valley) would not be included.
  • Doppelmayr may build a unique triangle shaped gondola in Australia.