- Wolf Creek opens tomorrow, Arapahoe Basin Sunday.
- Carrabassett Valley Academy looks to build a T-Bar at Sugarloaf next summer for race training.
- Powdr plans to operate Fast Tracks express lanes at 31 Copper Mountain, Killington, Mt. Bachelor and Snowbird lifts.
- Bogus Basin eyes an expansion to meet rising demand.
- A map shows Sunday River’s Merrill Hill may eventually include a second lift.
- Lots of new trail maps are out: Big White, Crested Butte, Devil’s Head, Keystone, Snow King front and back.
- Under construction Wasatch Peaks Ranch faces a legal challenge.
- The latest Mayflower schedule has the first lift in 2023 with more to follow in ’24.
- Bromley spends over a million dollars upgrading the Sun Mountain Express.
- After four months of work, the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram is back in action.
- Whitefish Mountain Resort previews next summer’s big six pack project.
- A sobering fire update from Sierra at Tahoe acknowledges big challenges and uncertainty surrounding this season.
- Massanutten will build its first detachable quad in 2023, replacing Lift 6.
- The Chamonix Grand Montets cable car, destroyed by fire in 2018, will be replaced with a €110 million 3S gondola featuring stations designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
- MMG Equity Partners takes full ownership of Tamarack Resort, buying out two other shareholders.
- Incoming Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch says lift capacity and speed are key to managing crowding.
- Sierra at Tahoe reports more fire damage than initially thought with a large amount of vegetation burned, six lifts damaged and a vehicle maintenance shop lost.
- A GoFundMe has been established to support Sierra at Tahoe employees who lost personal property in the Caldor Fire.
- Jay Peak is “actively engaged” with multiple potential buyers and reports improving finances, though both Jay and Burke Mountain both still operate in the red.
- Sunday River will spin the new Merrill Hill triple select days this season with a full opening pushed to winter 2022-23.
- With a new lift on the way, Kelly Canyon begins disassembling the Stony Mountain double.
- A vaccine requirement for indoor entertainment venues in British Columbia won’t apply to gondolas.
- Also in BC, the Zincton formal proposal is out and includes five chairlifts plus a gondola.
- The New York Times does a feature story on green urban transportation including gondolas.
- James Niehues announces his retirement from trail maps though he will continue painting.
- Catamount continues construction on two new quad chairs, one of which will start out as a triple.
- Skytrac flies towers at Howelsen Hill.
- Snow King Mountain enters the home stretch on a $20 million summer and looks for public help to name new lifts.
- Speaking of Snow King, towers went up last weekend for both lifts.
Doppelmayr will build the fastest eight place chairlift in North America for the 2022-23 season, a Sunday River Red bubble chair in Jordan Bowl. Dubbed Jordan 8, the lift will feature the world’s first red-colored bubbles along with heated seats, a loading conveyor and direct drive. Jordan 8 will spin a blazing 6 meters a second, shaving a minute off the ride time of the current Jordan Bowl Express and transporting 3,200 skiers per hour. “We are proud as a team and so excited to bring the latest Doppelmayr technology to Sunday River,” said Stephen Kircher, CEO of Boyne Resorts. “With each milestone in the Sunday River 2030 plan, Boyne Resorts is enhancing the experience across the board with major investments in infrastructure.”
The current Jordan high speed quad will be refurbished to replace the Barker Mountain Express for winter 2023-24. Some may wonder why Jordan for a D-Line lift rather than Sunday River’s original peak with an older detachable quad. The answer lies in Jordan Bowl’s popularity with guests, the amount of wind and snow it sees as well as the fact Sunday River owns thousands of acres next door. The Jordan/Oz peaks and future terrain beyond will be known henceforth as the Western Reserve. “The Jordan 8 is a significant jumping off point for the Western Reserve, creating a portal that could double our skiable terrain in the coming decades,” said Dana Bullen, President of Sunday River. “This lift also acts as an immediate catalyst for upcoming renovations to the Jordan Hotel, new activities and amenities.” Both Jordan 8 terminals will feature glass weather protection, allowing all 60 chairs to be parked without a separate storage building. Each chair weighs 2,262 pounds, making the lift wind resistant during storms.
Jordan 8 is the third major lift project announced by Boyne Resorts for 2022. Also in New England, the company is relocating the former Kancamagus detachable quad at Loon Mountain to replace Seven Brothers. Last week, Boyne Mountain unveiled plans for Disciples 8, the Midwest’s first eight passenger chairlift. When Disciples 8 and Jordan 8 open next winter, Boyne Resorts will operate eight seat chairlifts at four of its nine mountains and 80 percent of all the eight seaters in the United States.
- Fairfax County will host an open house tomorrow regarding the proposed Alpine-X indoor mountain resort.
- Attitash fully removes what remained of the Top Notch double
- The Icy Strait Point Mountain Top gondola is now scheduled to debut in May 2022.
- I’m thrilled to report the quad chairlift in Wears Valley, Tennessee is open for business, nine years after construction!
- Summit Ski Area officially merges into Timberline Lodge, which becomes the largest vertical ski area in America at 4,540 feet.
- The former Colby College ski area in Maine fundraises to resume downhill operations for the first time since the ’70s with a T-Bar planned for a future phase.
- Also in Maine, Sunday River and Doppelmayr near completion of the Merrill Hill project as survey markers appear under the Jordan Bowl Express.
- In Australia, Thredbo closes a week early due to lack of guests.
- The Forest Service signs off on Copper’s Lumberjack Express project, though the resort does not yet have a timeline for construction yet.
- In a lawsuit, Alterra says it’s owed more than $200 million for lost business during the pandemic which should have been covered by insurance.
- Vail Resorts plans to load lifts to full capacity this winter at all 34 of its North American resorts. No passholder reservations required, employees must be vaccinated by November 15th and guests must show proof of vaccination to dine at indoor cafeterias.
- Vail also reports strong full year financial results with lift revenue up 17.9 percent from a year ago and operating expenses down 5.4 percent.
- Sierra at Tahoe says both Nob Hill and Short Stuff were damaged by the Caldor Fire.
- Great Bear will unveil the naming rights partner for its new chairlift on October 16th.
- Searchmont gets a new trail map showing two new lifts. Also its Blue Mountain triple chair will be inoperable until early February.
- Purgatory says its six pack will be closed at least two more weeks, gives summer season passholders next summer for free due to continued lift problems.
- Bartholet announces a major five section gondola contract with Switzerland’s LAAX. The Ropetaxi system will feature cabins which move autonomously in stations and can be directed to a specific destination by passengers.
Despite an 18 month pandemic, supply chain challenges and continued uncertainty, a handful of US and Canadian ski resorts are putting finishing touches on expansion projects set to debut this winter. Two of these were delayed in 2020 and resumed construction this year while others were actually accelerated during Covid. Many of this year’s projects focus on learning terrain enhancements following the pandemic winter when new and lapsed skiers gravitated toward the mountains.
McCoy Park – Beaver Creek Mountain, Colorado
The lone expansion this year featuring two new chairlifts is Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park, encompassing 250 acres of new high alpine terrain. This beginner zone follows in the footsteps of Haymeadow Park and Red Buffalo Park, which both offer dedicated terrain for new skiers and snowboarders with detachable lifts. The new McCoy Park Express will service 17 trails and the Reunion Quad will provide easy exit from McCoy Park to the Upper Beaver Creek Mountain and Strawberry Park Express lifts.
Lower Juniper – Lake Louise, Alberta
Another beginner-focused expansion featuring a detachable quad is underway at Lake Louise. The new Lower Juniper Express is the second new chairlift here in two years. It will access four new low intermediate trails and provide an alternate out-of-base option to access the upper mountain.
Sunny Side – Snow King Mountain, Wyoming
Shadowed somewhat by construction of a new 8 passenger gondola on the front side of the mountain, Sunny Side at Snow King Mountain will also open this winter. This new backside bowl features extensive snowmaking and a Skytrac fixed grip quad.
Buzzsaw – Searchmont, Ontario
Searchmont hasn’t hosted a single day of skiing since March 2020, which makes its terrain expansion even more remarkable. New owner Wisconsin Resorts took delivery of two Skytrac triples last year, one of which replaced an existing Borvig double. The second lift sat in storage last winter and is now being installed to service two brand new beginner trails.
Merrill Hill – Sunday River, Maine
2021’s only New England expansion is a ninth peak at Sunday River. Merrill Hill features four ski trails and 23 new home sites near the South Ridge base area. This low angle zone will be serviced by a new Doppelmayr fixed grip triple, the mountain’s 15th chairlift.
- The new lift at Great Bear Ski Valley is eight weeks ahead of schedule with chairs on the line.
- Another lockdown hits Australian resorts, this time Perisher and Thredbo in New South Wales.
- New Zealand shuts down all ski resorts as part of a nationwide freeze.
- A man dies after a fall from the sky ride at Utah’s Lagoon amusement park.
- Cape Smokey expects Canada’s first new gondola since 2018 to open next week.
- Sunlight solicits a new trail map painted by Kevin Mastin.
- Brazil’s government will study the feasibility of restarting the world’s largest abandoned urban gondola.
- A gondola system is being considered for Tijuana, Mexico.
- The Arizona Gondola re-enters service after 18 days of lightning-related downtime.
- Doppelmayr will build Latin America’s first gondola with air conditioning.
- An extended interview with Poma Chairman Jean Souchal covers Covid recovery, urban growth and why Americans call surface lifts of all brands Pomas.
- Despite offering $10 million, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania receives no bids for reopening Denton Hill.
- California and Nevada resorts report an almost 22 percent increase in skier visits during the Covid season of 2020-21.
- Washington, DC budgets $10 million to purchase property needed for a possible future Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola.
- Steamboat confirms the first section of the Wild Blue Gondola project is a go for next summer.
- The Boat will also retire the Priest Creek double and sell its chairs.
- Ontario’s Beaver Valley Ski Club plans to replace the Avalanche double in 2022.
- Time to vote! Choices for renaming Squaw Valley’s Squaw Creek triple are Eagle Eye, Highline, Resort, Snow King, Storm Rider and Valley View.
- Welch Village updates guests on the Cannon Valley Quad project.
- After a year with no revenue, one Canadian resort resorts to GoFundMe to stay afloat.
- SE Group will study the viability of a proposed hiking/biking chairlift near Park City.
- 97 percent of Bryce Resort homeowners vote to fund $2.5 million replacement of Chair 2.
- Cape Smokey receives a CA$2.5 million construction loan from the Government of Canada, although travel restrictions may delay completion of a new gondola.
- Doppelmayr’s 2021 Yearbook is out along with a new Wir magazine.
- Poma’s latest Reference Book also drops.
- Trails and the new lift line have been cleared on Sunday River’s Merrill Hill.
- Skytrac is still recruiting construction employees in Crested Butte, Steamboat, Whiteface and Whitefish.
- The first-of-its-kind Leitner 2S in Germany is complete, though Covid prevents public operation and a noise issue hinders full speed operation for now.
- Doppelmayr and Sun Group mark 14 years of building record breaking ropeways in Vietnam.
- Great Bear to raffle off retired Borvig quad chairs.
- The story of how MND came to be through 15 acquisitions and a focus on emerging markets.
- MND reports half year results with revenue declining 5 percent but snowmaking and ropeway revenue increasing by 6 percent.
- Less than four years ago, new terminal equipment was shoehorned into the Steamboat Gondola building. Now it’s being used for fire training in advance of demolition.
- Big Sky launches a Swift Current 6 update site.
- Vidanta SkyDream claims to be the world’s first gondola transportation at a beach resort.
- The Epcot Disney Skyliner line will close for a six day maintenance window in January.
- For the second time in two months, a guest is injured falling from equipment at Camelback.
- Berkshire East and Catamount Jon Schaefer owner talks expansion, says he came close to buying the Hermitage Club’s six pack and tells the story of re-pouring foundations for Bousquet’s new triple chair in January.
- Montana’s shuttered Marshall Mountain sells to a new owner.
- The proposed Los Angeles urban 3S releases its preferred alignment and will host two public meetings in June.
- In an interview, Poma Chairman Jean Souchal laments losing 30 percent of business from Covid but he remains optimistic, especially about urban transport by rope.
- Copper’s proposed Lumberjack replacement would be a detachable quad following a modified alignment.
- One of the Jay Peak fraudsters faces three years in prison.
- Icy Strait Point, home to two new gondolas stalled by the pandemic, will open this summer after all.
Sunday River Resort’s 15th chairlift will be installed next summer, one year earlier than originally planned. The Doppelmayr fixed grip triple will service Merrill Hill, a community of 23 home sites located between South Ridge and Aurora Peak. The lift will load near the existing Dream Maker run and service three new trails. Nine of the lots surrounding the lift remain available for sale.
Merrill Hill will become the third lift addition in five years for Sunday River following construction of the Spruce Peak triple in 2017 and the Alera Group Competition T-Bar in 2019. Parent company Boyne Resorts also plans to add Doppelmayr lifts at Big Sky Resort and Loon Mountain in 2021.
- 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.
- A dozen years after closing, North Carolina’s Hawksnest lists two Hall doubles for sale.
- As it attempts to lower its tax bill, Jay Peak reveals it received several non-binding offers ranging from $38 million to $70 million.
- Burke Mountain argues it’s worth only $11.2 million, citing seven figure losses each of the last three years.
- Wachusett will sell four different sessions this winter rather than day and night tickets.
- Garibaldi at Squamish now plans to break ground in 2023 and spin lifts circa 2027.
- For the second time in a year, the tram in Juneau, Alaska has a new name: Goldbelt Tram.
- An American visitor caught riding the Banff Gondola faces a CA$750,000 fine.
- Not good: a paraglider gets tangled up in a chair.
- Sugarloaf reiterates its commitment to West Mountain, which will include a lengthy detachable lift.
- Holimont plans to eventually move Chipmunk, replace Sunset and build a new lift on WestMont Ridge.
- Maine’s closed Eaton Mountain becomes a non-profit and will aggressively seek funding for a new chairlift.
- Park City won’t be seeing gondola transit any time soon.
- Nitehawk’s only chairlift will remain out of service for the entire 2020-21 season following last spring’s landslide.
- Elk Mountain has not been sold.
- North America’s 2019-20 ski season will come to an end August 30th.
- Sunday River plans to build the Merrill Hill lift in 2022.
- Quebec-based Samson Industries, which built more than 100 ski lifts, calls it quits after 160 years.
- What was supposed to be New Zealand’s first 10 passenger Doppelmayr gondola will sit in shipping containers until tourism recovers.
- Big Sky and Doppelmayr get to work on Swift Current 6 (shown below.)