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Looking back as Blackcomb turns 40. As Chair 1 reopens, 49 Degrees North provides a thorough update regarding what happened last weekend and the steps it’s taking to avoid future issues. Liftopia’s assets are acquired by a European firm. Arizona Snowbowl quietly opens the Arizona Gondola. More on the Eiger Express: Not only does it feature the first automated cargo loading on a passenger ropeway, but also a VIP cabin with boarding from a dedicated lounge (cost: $13,500 per year.) This interview with Hermitage Club manager Bill Benneyan includes tons of historical facts about Haystack and also Mountain Creek. The Club opens tomorrow for the first time in two and a half years. Mission Ridge works hard to complete the lift it brought over from Europe but cannot estimate a completion date. Residents seek to stop construction of Wasatch Peaks Ranch, a 3,000 acre private ski resort near Snowbasin. Leitner-Poma of America introduces Freedom Control, a wireless remote control for lifts. Public comments are being solicited for Big White’s new master plan, which includes a staggering amount of new terrain. Ski Magazine ranks top lift systems in the East. California effectively shuts down lodging in some ski regions. The new Broadway quad will carry its first passengers this weekend at Sun Valley. Zermatt and Doppelmayr prepare to launch the first unstaffed lift in Switzerland, a 10 passenger gondola. French ski resorts sue the government over closures. Holiday Valley pursues a tax break for its $4 million Yodeler Express project. A lawsuit seeking class action status alleges lift operators and other employees at Vail Resorts were not paid for use of personal equipment and time spent getting to and from work stations. Timberline Mountain relaunches tomorrow with both new chairlifts in operation. British Columbia’s Zincton Mountain Village releases new maps of its proposed layout. Les Otten courts environmental, social and governance investors as he tries to revive the northernmost ski area in New Hampshire. When asked about acquisitions on last night’s earnings call, Rob Katz said Vail is focused on positioning the company to be able to make the most of whatever opportunities may come over the next 12 months. Vail is forced to cancel some guest reservations and black out employee skiing in Colorado this weekend due to limited snow and terrain.
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.
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.
Mountain Collective adds four awesome resorts for 2020-21: Chamonix, Grand Targhee, Panorama and Sugarloaf. Kicking Horse
celebrates 20 years of operation on the site of the former Whitetooth Ski Area. Sun Valley’s
Cold Springs double is about to end a 50 year run but will live on at a resort in California. Arizona Snowbowl’s
Agassiz reopens for one last hurrah after being down since January 18th with a gear issue. Hundreds of ski resorts in Austria, Italy and Switzerland are
forced to close for the season due to coronavirus.
Berkshire East, Catamount, Middlebury Snow Bowl and Mt. Abram become the first US ski resorts to shut down due to the virus.
Belleayre, Gore, Whiteface and the Lake Placid Olympic Complex close gondolas for the season for the same reason. Snowbird’s tram is shut down until further notice. Aspen Snowmass will no longer load unrelated parties in the same gondola cabins. Indiana Beach, one of only four venues with an aerial lift in the Hoosier State,
closes permanently. The two year old LST Ropeways detachable in France
shuts down indefinitely again. Instead of the LST design, MND America will offer Bartholet detachables in the United States. Vail Resorts reports
financial results: skier visits are down 5.3 percent percent this season through March 1st but lift revenue is up 0.8 percent. On a conference call, CEO Rob Katz addresses coronavirus, lift lines at Vail and possible future acquisitions. Timberline Mountain promises to make multiple big announcements at a
media event Tuesday. All three existing lifts are in poor condition and being dismantled. Arctaris Impact Fund doesn’t expect to realize a profit on its
Saddleback investment until it sells the resort in 7-10 years. An enterprising family is
building the first Australian-designed and manufactured chairlift in 30 years for private use only. Alterra Mountain Company CEO Rusty Gregory will deliver
a keynote address on Monday in Park City covering the rise of Alterra, industry consolidation and multi-resort pass products. For the second time in three weeks, a sudden stop on the Mont-Sainte-Anne
gondola elicits an emergency response and the lift is once again closed indefinitely.
Gould Academy sells
the naming rights to its T-Bar at Sunday River to Alera Group, an employee benefits firm. Ski Bluewood’s former platter lift
can be yours for $19,000. To celebrate new carpool and transit initiatives, Crystal Mountain debuts a
green gondola cabin. Does the public have the right to know what individual ski resorts pay the federal government for use of public lands? Vail Resorts and the National Ski Areas Association
argue no. The
New York Times visits Woodward Park City in its first week of operation. Sun Valley and Snowbasin
prepare for their first peak period after switching from Mountain Collective to Epic. The Saddleback deal
won’t close on Monday as scheduled but hopefully sometime in January. A religious group wants
to relaunch the long-abandoned Moab Scenic Tram. The Meier family
assumes full ownership of Greek Peak and Toggenburg Mountain in New York. Colorado Ski Country USA launches a chairlift safety
video series. The
latest Wir Magazine highlights Bromont’s big combination lift, the history of Doppelmayr in Canada and new scale models from Jägerndorfer.