- The Forest Service issues an operating permit to Mountain Capital Partners for Elk Ridge, Arizona, though reopening plans remain fluid.
- Sun Valley’s Cold Springs projects takes a major step forward with the removal of 50 year old lift towers.
- Tim Boyd, the visionary behind Peaks Resorts, earns NSAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will evaluate changing its name.
- Arctic Valley builds a public use cabin integrated into the top terminal of Chair 2.
- Solitude becomes the latest resort to abandon summer operations to focus on winter.
- President Trump signs an executive order banning many foreign workers until 2021, including J-1 visas used by many American ski resorts.
- Despite Coronavirus, Utah resorts enjoyed their fourth best season in history.
- For sale: a classic Hall T-Bar.
- Virus-related financial impacts may delay Sunlight’s proposed East Ridge project.
- Jackson Hole takes a hit but will consider replacing Sublette and/or Thunder as early as 2021.
- A Georgia community grapples with what to do about Stone Mountain, where an aerial tramway travels over the nation’s largest Confederate monument.
- Disney Skyliner cabins are spotted back out on all three lines.
- Public comment opens for the proposed East Ridge expansion at Sunlight, which would occupy both public and private land.
- Frank DeBerry, head of Crystal Mountain, provides context on the decision to limit weekend ticket sales.
- Tourist attractions in China shut down due to coronavirus, including the iconic Ngong Ping 360 gondola.
- At Sugarbush, Inverness will run in place of the Green Mountain Express some days as a result of a lightning strike and prolonged diesel operations.
- In New Zealand, volcanic mud flow risk may require towers to be reinforced on the new Whakapapa gondola.
- The City of Oakland says an A’s stadium gondola is far from a done deal.
- Baldy Mountain Resort closes Sugarlump for days following alleged sabotage by a former employee. It reopened yesterday.
- The State of Maine approves financing for the sale of Saddleback.
- A judge okays the sale of Hermitage Club assets, including its six pack. Two more bidders emerge, including a group of former members. If Boyne wins the lift, it would be relocated to a New England mountain.
- Homewood acknowledges multiple mechanical issues will prevent operation of its longest and tallest lift for the remainder of the season.
- Ikon Pass crowding concerns make the New York Times.
- Gondola transit in Pittsburgh?
- Promoters of a Staten Island gondola seek public support.
- In Steamboat, leaders talk about challenges facing the industry.
- A skier dies after colliding with lift-related infrastructure at Snow Summit.
- Valemount Glacier Resort is still a possibility.
- Forbes profiles recent developments in fast-growing Big Sky.
- Win Smith explains why Sugarbush doesn’t need any new lifts, what Les Otten got right and more.
- Towers and terminals are rising in Puerto Vallarta, where a five station gondola will service a new theme park.
- A power outage leaves guests stuck on the Skyeship Gondola at Killington for more than an hour.
- A broken bolt leads to a similar situation at Mt. St. Louis Moonstone.
- Teton Pass, Montana reopens after a few years shuttered.
- A second American Dream location with an indoor ski slope may break ground in 2021 near Miami.
- Travis Seeholzer, owner of Beaver Mountain, talks about running one of Utah’s oldest resorts.
- Former members look to save Hermitage Club assets from a stalking horse reportedly prepared to bid $3.6 million for the Barnstormer six pack.
- Vail’s new lift opens but not to the public. It will be available to all on select Tuesdays at noon.
- Marquette Mountain evacuates a lift during the busy holiday week.
- A man falls from Steamboat’s Sunshine Express due to a medical issue.
- Windham’s former Wonderama triple turns up in the Ski Butternut parking lot.
- Staff from the downed Sea to Sky Gondola will present what they learned about crisis management on January 30th.
- Juneau weighs partnering with the cruise industry to fund a proposed adventure park and gondola at Eaglecrest.
- The new Steamboat Gondola delivers fast ride times and short lift lines during its first Christmas break.
- The Forest Service expects to weigh in on the Sunlight East Ridge project in May.
- Mt. Abram becomes Indy Pass resort number 47.
It may take a few years, but Sunlight Mountain Resort intends to add 100 acres along its eastern boundary serviced by a fourth fixed grip chairlift. Glading work has already begun and will continue into next summer. “This is a multi-year effort,” General Manager Tom Hays recently told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. “We are in the very early stages of a process that includes building a capital fund, negotiating additional financing, permitting processes with the county and Forest Service, mapping, planning, and shopping for lifts.” The project is estimated to cost $4 million and is dependent on another season or two as successful as 2018-19.
New runs will be cut on private land below the Midland Traverse and will remain hike-out until the lift is installed. The chair will load just above Four Mile Creek and unload above the Beaujolais and Rebel trails. “We’re excited to expand skiing and riding on the already legendary East Ridge,” said Marketing and Sales Director Troy Hawks. “These new runs mean our local skiers and riders will have even more powder to explore and exploit.” If all goes well, the new lift could spin in 2021.
- Doppelmayr will bring D-Line to France for the first time this fall.
- A child is okay after falling from a Big White chairlift onto a busy road.
- Ski California to host its first Lift Maintenance and Operations Education Conference June 5-7 at Squaw Valley.
- After weathering a challenging season with a narrow profit, Sunlight considers building a truly new lift for the first time in half a century.
- An empty cabin falls from an early model Poma gondola in France, leading to a rope evacuation and significant media attention.
- Fatzer produces a 6.5 mile long, 60 mm wide rope for what may be the new longest monocable gondola, location unknown.
- Mt. Timothy, BC is “flat broke” and will likely close without public funding.
- Leitner delivers the first Symphony cabin for the world’s highest 3S by helicopter.
- The financially-challenged Hermitage Club closes for the season.
- Garaventa names a new CEO.
- A state economic development authority delays consideration of a $28 million loan guarantee for The Balsams.
- Watch LST Ropeways build its first detachable lift in three minutes.
- A Swedish company has developed a new, more comfortable T-Bar carrier called Boardie.
- Doppelmayr moves into new $62 million Wolfurt headquarters.
- Grand Targhee, Jackson Hole, Brundage, Sun Valley, Mt. Hood Meadows and Tamarack are operating a total of 13 lifts on August 21st for the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since 1979.
- Sunlight’s end-of-season survey includes some insightful tidbits:
- “Sunlight is evaluating the addition of a high-speed detachable lift.”
- “Understanding that lift ticket and season pass prices would likely increase with the addition of a high-speed lift, please rank how favorable this would be.”
- Vail and Replay Resorts break ground on LIFT development set to anchor future detachable Sunrise lift at Park City’s Canyons Village.
- Preliminary gondola tree cutting and construction work spotted at Walt Disney World.
- Waterville Valley secures $7.5 million for future projects including multiple unspecified lift upgrades. “To answer one burning question, we do have multiple options in development regarding the High Country lift,” the resort says on Facebook.
- Utah sets another all-time record for skier visits.
- Two new Skytracs in St. Maarten won’t open until late summer but are already getting rave reviews.
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.
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