News Roundup: Merry Christmas

News Roundup: Next Up

News Roundup: Dangling

News Roundup: Climbing

  • Suicide Six debuts new Leitner-Poma quad chair, Red River opens its new Doppelmayr quad.
  • Sundance employees rush a ladder to a chair, climb up and pull a hanging child back up in just minutes.  A man at Seven Springs fares worse.
  • Two of Canada’s richest families still plan to build $3.5 billion ski resort near Squamish.
  • Telluride Mountain Village Gondola turns 20.
  • Jay Peak’s tram is back in action.
  • The AP runs a story on future urban gondolas in the United States.
  • Cannon Mountain’s new LST T-Bar goes down ahead of dedication.
  • If you enjoy this blog, Ski Inc. is a must read.

Instagram Tuesday: Final Push

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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Instagram Tuesday: Election Day

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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Instagram Tuesday: Solo

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

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#cablecar #cableway #UK #city #world #peace #Мир

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At Sundance, Doppelmayr Races to Replace Arrowhead Lift in 95 Days

Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort faced a challenge last fall.  How could it find enough time to replace an aging lift that brings skiers to the mountain’s summit but also provides access to a hugely popular zip tour?  With ski resorts increasingly becoming hubs for summer recreation, this is becoming a more frequent problem.  Building a lift typically takes at least four months although there are exceptions.  In 2015, Snow King Mountain replaced the heavily-used in both summer and winter Rafferty lift with a Doppelmayr quad in record time – under three months – between closing day of ski season and Independence Day weekend.  This fall, Doppelmayr is making a similar push at Sundance to complete the new Arrowhead Quad.

Sundance’s other triple chair, Flathead, is actually ten years older than Arrowhead, which begs the question of why the latter will be modernized first.  Built by Lift Engineering in 1985, the old Arrowhead could only download 240 guests per hour which no longer worked for summer operations.  Furthermore, Yan used aluminum sheaves (with hubcaps!) on many of its later-model lifts which became prone to cracking.  You’ll notice many Yan lifts of Arrowhead’s vintage sport upgraded line gear from Doppelmayr or Poma.  Rather than upgrading piecemeal, Sundance announced last December it would replace the entire lift with a brand new quad chair.  “With the amount of use Arrowhead Lift sees year-round, this upgrade is exciting to the skiing, snowboarding, ZipTour and summer programs that our guests love so much at Sundance,” director of mountain operations Czar Johnson said in a release announcing the project.

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News Roundup: Downtime

  • Lift maintenance worker falls 25 feet at Black Mountain, NH.
  • Leitner Ropeways wins a $9.2 million contract to build an 8-passenger pulse gondola in the northern Mexican city of Torreon. Doppelmayr was the only other bidder.  Another Leitner project in Ecatepec, Mexico is more than 90% finished.
  • Purgatory and Leitner-Poma celebrate the opening of the Legends Express.
  • If you aren’t yet tired of seeing Park City’s new gondola, check out this incredible interactive video from Ski Utah.  You can pan 360-degrees using your smartphone or tablet with the YouTube app while taking a virtual ride.  It also works on a desktop but you have to pan manually using your mouse.

Skytrac Lifts

For most of the last 25 years, there has been no major American lift manufacturer.  Sure, Leitner-Poma and Doppelmayr/Garaventa have significant manufacturing here but they are indisputably European.  Before the early 1990’s, prolific American lift builders like Riblet and Hall built more than 500 lifts each.  Then Garaventa bought CTEC in 1992.  Riblet built its last lift at Cooper Spur in Oregon in 2002 and closed the next year. The last remaining US manufacturer, Partek, sold to Doppelmayr in 2005.  Ski Area Management’s headline at the time was “Then there were two.”

2011 SkyTrac Quad at Beaver Mountain, Utah.
2011 SkyTrac Quad at Beaver Mountain, Utah.

That all changed in 2010 when a group of CTEC veterans started Skytrac in Salt Lake City.  One of them was Jan Leonard, the former president of Doppelmayr CTEC who “retired” in 2007.  Skytrac’s first major project was a replacement drive terminal for a Hall double at Monarch Mountain in Colorado.  In tribute to their first customer, Skytrac named its drive terminal models the Monarch and Monarch XL.  Skytrac’s strategy seems to be to build simple and economical lifts that appeal to smaller resorts.  All of their lifts feature the Monarch drive/tension terminal with a fixed return.  One can’t help but notice the resemblance to CTEC’s lifts.

SkyTrac Controls.  They look like a CTEC!
SkyTrac Controls. They look like a CTEC!

I couldn’t talk about Skytrac without bringing up their chairs.  For some reason they abandoned the classic bail chair for a Euro-style chair.  I think they look strange.  As someone who operates lifts, I question the practicality of bumping a chair with no bail.

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