News Roundup: Quebec

  • Intrawest likely won’t buy any new lifts this year.
  • TV station in Maine highlights lift maintenance and oversight with visits to Sugarloaf and Camden Snow Bowl.
  • Denver7 lands the first interview with Larry Smith of the Colorado Passenger Tramway Board following Granby Ranch incident.
  • Sunshine Polishing moving gondola refurbishing operation to Grand Junction.
  • A $67 million, six-year old gondola in Rio sits abandoned.
  • Poma double rope evacuated at Mont Orford.
  • Heron-Poma double rope evac’d at Sleeping Giant before problem apparently fixed with a screwdriver.
  • French lift site reports on two brand new lifts in Quebec.
  • Waterville Valley’s new Green Peak triple will finally open Saturday.
  • “Mexicable is a great experience and it is something that you need to do should you ever visit Mexico City.”
  • Austrian rope manufacturer Teufelberger acquires Italian competitor Redaelli (Fatzer of Switzerland and ArcelorMittal of France are the other big two.)
  • See more photos of the mind-blowing Giggijochbahn gondola.
  • La Paz’s fourth gondola opens March 6th.
  • Leitner Ropeways will complete the new 8-passenger gondola in Torreón, Mexico in April.
  • British Columbia approves construction of Revelstoke Adventure Park with chairlift/gondola construction planned for 2017 and 2018 adjacent to Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
  • Seilbahn Blog has some awesome new photos of the first and only D-Line chairlift.
  • Seven year-old falls from chair at Thunder Ridge.
  • The New York Times checks in at Tamarack.
  • Arapahoe Basin formally unveils Beavers/Steep Gullies trail map & expansion plan with fixed-grip quad chairlift to debut in late 2018.
  • Doppelmayr to build 21,000′, $18 million gondola in Silao, Mexico.
  • Sugarloaf and Doppelmayr are doing a mid-season load test of Skyline on Thursday.
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Homeowners Buy Tamarack Resort, Pay Back Taxes to Save Lifts

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Credit Suisse and Replay Resorts are out at Idaho’s Tamarack Resort.  Today the Tamarack Municipal Association (TMA) announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase and operate the troubled resort that debuted in 2004 and filed for bankruptcy four years later.  TMA becomes the fifth operator of Tamarack in 12 years and the first unified owner-operator since 2008.  News of the sale and tax payment comes just four days before Tamarack’s two high speed quads were scheduled to be auctioned by Valley County.  A TMA subsidiary called Tamarack Homeowners Acquisition Company paid $269,075 in back taxes this week for land and assets needed for the ski operation.

The association of property owners previously operated Tamarack from 2012 to 2015 while it was owned by New Tamarack Acquisition Corporation, an entity led by Credit Suisse.  The Zurich-based bank loaned $250 million to the founders of Tamarack and gained control of the resort out of bankruptcy along with other creditors.  Eight years later, the homeowners likely paid pennies on the dollar for what was once worth hundreds of millions.

TMA already owned the Buttercup quad chair since purchasing it from Bank of America in 2012.  Tamarack at one point operated six lifts but lost its Wildwood Express chair in 2012 after years of failing to make payments to BofA.  That lift was sold at auction (reportedly back to Doppelmayr) and ended up at Brian Head in Utah.  Ironically, Wildwood now appears as a “Future Lift” on Tamarack’s trail map.

“Today marks the start of a new chapter for Tamarack where homeowners have secured the future ownership and operations of the resort,” TMA said in a release. “This ensures the long-term future of this incredible destination for guests, employees and homeowners as well as the wider community in Valley County and the State of Idaho.”  Tamarack plans to open for the season on December 9th and snowmaking is already underway.

News Roundup: Losses

  • Wire Austin gets some attention from folks who matter – the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
  • Peak Resorts loses $7.9 million in the first quarter (it owns Alpine Valley, Attitash, Big Boulder, Boston Mills, Brandywine, Crotched Mountain, Hidden Valley, Hunter Mountain, Jack Frost, Mad River Mountain, Mt. Snow, Paoli Peaks, Snow Creek and Wildcat.)
  • The deropement and evacuation of the pulse gondola between the Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Helbronner makes CNN.
  • Austria’s Foreign Minister meets with former London Mayor Boris Johnson to talk Brexit.  The mayor says the Doppelmayr cowbell that came with the Emirates Air Line is one of his most prized possessions.
  • Federal receiver hopes to sell Jay Peak in the spring, says resort President Bill Stenger was duped.
  • Laurel Mountain’s new Skytrac is complete.
  • Maine’s Attorney General sues the owner of Big Squaw Mountain for not operating the ski area as promised.
  • Tamarack Homeowners meet to discuss the future of Idaho’s newest ski resort ahead of an October lift auction. Owner Credit Suisse and its operator Replay Resorts appear to be on the way out.
  • The owner of Montana Snowbowl tells the Missoulian he started construction on a new TV Mountain lift a few weeks ago and there’s a chance it will be completed in time for the coming winter season.
  • Preservation group calls abandoned mines in American Fork Canyon a “ticking time bomb,” calls on Snowbird to turn private land over to the Forest Service where the resort plans to build two new lifts.

County Schedules October Auction of Tamarack High Speed Quads

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The Tamarack Express is a 2004 Leitner-Poma detachable quad 8,061′ long x 1,839′ vertical.
Valley County, Idaho has seized Tamarack’s two remaining high speed chairlifts and plans to auction them on October 17th over nonpayment of taxes.  Tamarack Resort owes the county $4.7 million in back taxes and the auction is for assets on which hundreds of thousands of dollars are more than three years past due.  The auction includes 24 lots that will be sold to the highest bidder including two Leitner-Poma high speed quads that are located on state land.  Other items include a zip line, mid-mountain lodge and assets related the Osprey Meadows golf course.

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The Summit Express is a 2004 Leitner-Poma high speed quad 3,694′ long x 996′ vertical.
Tamarack built six Leitner-Poma and Doppelmayr CTEC lifts in 2004 and 2005 before filing for bankruptcy in 2008.  Bank of America re-possessed two Doppelmayr lifts in 2011 after Tamarack missed numerous lease payments.  The Tamarack Municipal Association purchased the Buttercup quad from the bank for $400,000 but determined it could not afford to buy and maintain the Wildwood Express detachable quad.  Bank of America Leasing wanted more than $2 million for that lift and instead sold it to Brian Head where it debuted as the Giant Steps Express in 2014.

Remains of Tamarack's Wildwood Express.
Highlander Ski Lift Services of McCall removed the Wildwood Express in 2012 with fewer than 2,000 hours on it.  Bank of America later sold it to Brian Head.
Now Tamarack’s last two major lifts are facing a similar fate.  The Tamarack Homeowners’ Association and owner New Tamarack Acquisitions Corporation say they are working with the county to avoid the sales and open the ski resort seven days a week this winter.  General Manager Brad Larsen told KTVB, “I don’t think the owner’s association is going to let [the auction] happen. They’re going to work with the county to make sure that we’ve got all the assets to operate.”  A Doppelmayr CTEC beginner chairlift named Discovery and Leitner-Poma platter called Rock Creek don’t appear to be on the auction block.

The sale is scheduled for Monday, October 17th at 1:00 pm with no reserves for the items.  The two lifts cost nearly $6 million new from Leitner-Poma in 2004.

News Roundup: Closings and Openings

Another “Lost” Detachable lift?

This week, we learned Willamette Pass in Oregon has put their base-to-summit six-pack up for sale for $2.65 million.  The Eagle Peak Accelerator was built in 2002 by GaraventaCTEC for $3.5 million.  After three terrible seasons in a row, the ski area says it can no longer afford to operate such an expensive lift.  This winter, Willamette Pass got 7 percent of its normal snowfall and essentially didn’t operate.  The plan is to buy or trade the detachable for a fixed grip lift and reuse the existing tower tubes.  If this happens Willamette Pass will become the first resort in North America to remove a six-pack.  (Mount Washington on Vancouver Island might not be far behind – they have a similar lift and barely opened the last two winters.)

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The “biggest, fastest uphill transportation in Oregon” may go away.

The list of “lost” detachable lifts is short.  Ascutney Mountain in Vermont spent $2 million to build the North Peak Express in 2002 but went into foreclosure in 2010 and never reopened.  Creditors sold their flagship lift to Crotched Mountain, NH and SkyTrac moved it there in 2012.

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