Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
- Telluride weighs building at least one big detachable next summer as the Forest Service tentatively approves replacements for Plunge, Sunshine Express and Village Express.
- White Pass, WA retires its platter in favor of a 380’ carpet.
- LiftDigital goes live for testing at Winter Park.
- Taos says goodbye to two more chairlifts – that’s four in one summer!
- Song Mountain, NY is replacing its 1965 Thunderbird T-Bar with a chairlift.
Anyone know where it’s from?
- The Rainforest Adventures crew gets one Skytrac back in action and works to repair the other following Irma’s devastation of St. Maarten.
- Scroll through these photos of a new high-speed quad in Switzerland with four stations, three sections, two haul ropes and only one drive!
- Albany gondola group to be led by former chief executive of the New York State Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration Thomas Madison, Jr.
- Authorities briefly seize Granby Ranch, site of last season’s fatal lift incident, over delinquent taxes.
- Spout Springs in Oregon won’t open for a second year in a row and remains for sale.
- Mi Teleférico’s Orange Line did 93,847 riders its first weekend.
- Frank F. sent over these photos of the new Skytrac Buttercup Quad going in at Mt. Hood Meadows:
- Owing $3.8 million to creditors, Deer Mountain, SD to be sold to the highest bidder in a sheriff’s sale today. The mountain has two Riblet chairlifts.
- Curbed counts down 11 gondolas changing the way people move through cities.
- Steamboat sells off triple chairs from Four Points in 28 minutes (the lift got new Doppelmayr ones in 2012.)
- Taos offloads 200 chairs from lifts 5 and 6 for $200 each with proceeds going to hurricane relief. As of this writing, 37 remain.
- Leitner Ropeways’ new gondola at the world’s largest hotel transported 3.5 million passengers in its first eight months.
- Aspen Mountain installs Bluetooth speakers in Silver Queen Gondola cabins.
- China Peak completes its first quad chair, the old Elkhead from Steamboat.
- The Burnaby Mountain Gondola is back on the table.
- Leitner-Poma of America inks contract to build a US$7.1 million high-speed quad at Falls Creek in Australia.
- Vail Resorts launches interactive website with lift downtime and wait time data for last season at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Park City.
- Belleayre’s gondola cabins arrive from across the pond. Unfortunately, the name of the lift is spelled wrong on all of them.
- Ski Magazine predicts the KSL-Aspen duo will benefit skiers with a second Epic-style season pass and major resort upgrades.
- Skytrac and Timberline Helicopters fly towers for the new East Rim lift at Whitefish. Thanks Buzz D. for these cool photos.
- Belleayre’s new gondola may not have much vertical but will be more than 6,700 feet long.
- New photo tours of the upcoming Orange and White lines in La Paz show how gondolas can be adapted to the urban landscape with innovative station designs.
- Urban gondolas were profiled prominently in Sunday’s New York Times.
- Skytrac will finish the Stagecoach lift at Big Sky this fall, a project which Moonlight Basin began in 2008. In addition, Challenger and the Tram are getting new haul ropes and Powder Seeker a chair storage facility. Thanks William Bryan for the photos.
- At Spanish Peaks, the Flatiron lift will be next to go in.
- BMF drops one of the Brest Cable Car’s cabins from a crane while performing annual maintenance. One-cabin operation will continue while Gangloff builds a new one over the next six to nine months.
- Taos releases renderings of its re-imagined learning center featuring new Leitner-Poma and Skytrac lifts.
- Thank you Michael Weise for these sweet photos of Eldora’s six-pack progress:
In 2008, a 53-year old Taos Ski Valley welcomed snowboarders for the first time in a move that once seemed unthinkable. Then a game-changing new lift up 12,481’ Kachina Peak debuted in 2015, serving terrain accessible only by hiking for six prior decades. This season, the renaissance continued with the opening of the slopeside Blake Hotel and announcement that Taos would be the first ski resort in the world to become a B Corporation, joining the likes of Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s. Now we learn Taos will launch a re-imagined beginner facility with two new lifts next season and will finally join 167 of its North American counterparts with the opening of its first detachable quad in 2018. Talk about a transformation.
This off-season will see complete renewal of the beginner complex with the removal of two lifts and the addition of two new ones. Stadeli doubles Rueggli (1991, the old lift 2) and Strawberry Hill (1970) will be retired and the area around them re-contoured. A new Skytrac fixed-grip triple will better serve beginners and a six-passenger pulse gondola will link a remodeled children’s ski school to the Resort Center. “This gondola is going to be a huge improvement, connecting our newly designed Children’s Center with our new hotel and plaza base area,” Director of Operations John Kelly told me. “The terrain associated with these new lifts will be getting a full redesign and regrade to widen and enhance our beginner terrain.” The new lifts are in addition to the Pioneer lift, a triple chair that arrived from Deer Valley in 2012.
Rising to mid-mountain, a Leitner-Poma high-speed quad will replace lifts 1 and 5 in 2018. The 2010 Taos Master Plan envisioned a 7000′ detachable rising all the way to the summit and replacing Lift 6 as well, but that plan appears to have been modified. The long-awaited foray into detachable lifts follows construction of five new Poma and Skytrac fixed-grips at Taos since 1989. What may be called Al’s Express will most likely reach the summit of the existing lift 5, a 1973 Stadeli double chair that only operates on peak mornings. The new lift will also replace Lift 1, a 1989 Poma Alpha quad that ends 400 feet lower than 5 and serves as today’s primary out-of-base lift. After 2018, the remaining largest ski resorts in North America without a detachable lift will be Red Mountain, 49 Degrees North, Loveland and Bridger Bowl.
This will be the first joint project since Skytrac joined the Leitner-Poma Group last spring and plays to both companies’ strengths. Skytrac will supply the fixed-grip chair while Leitner-Poma will bring its expertise to build the gondola and detachable.
Even after these changes, Taos will retain three classic Stadeli lifts on the upper mountain. Lift 6 dates back to 1976 and 7A was installed in 1990 with used parts from 1 and 2. Maxi’s (lift 7) is a 1984 Stadeli triple. Both lifts 4 and 7 are identified for eventual replacement in the 2010 Taos Master Plan along with a second lift to the ridge. I think Taos skiers (and snowboarders) will find the new lifts a welcome change with friendlier beginner options and a 4.5 minute ride to the heart of the mountain. Welcome to the 21st century, Taos!
- An in-depth look at the history of urban gondolas and what comes next.
- Buttermilk will open with full skier services and groomed runs April 8-9 but with no lifts.
- Hesperus reopens following two week closure to address deferred lift maintenance.
- Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation proposes operating Howelsen Hill.
- Giants Ridge puts a Riblet up for sale in advance of new lift construction. Another will be scrapped. Buttercup at Mt. Hood Meadows is also for sale.
- Vail Resorts revenue up 27.5% year-over-year; no new lifts for Whistler-Blackcomb in 2017.
- New Stagecoach website says two Doppelmayr chairlifts now on track to open in late 2018.
- PCL Construction Services files notice of commencement for utility relocation and prep at six Walt Disney World sites widely believed to be gondola station locations with possible opening in 2019.
- Belleayre gondola likely a go for this summer.
- Wolf Ridge, NC closes for the season following lightning damage to 1988 Doppelmayr quad. The place has an interesting past; a 2006 Doppelmayr CTEC quad and 1980 Borvig were both abandoned after a 2014 fire and only two lifts remain.
- Mexico’s latest gondola gets cabins.
- Poma moving to new headquarters in France.
- Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest approves Alta Supreme and Snowbasin Strawberry/Wildcat high speed quads.
- Moose charges lifties and guests at Alyeska, gets killed.
- Mi Teleférico’s blue line broke its own record last weekend carrying 64,275 passengers over two days.
- First look at a burned-out Christchurch Adventure Park shows some quad chairs were saved, haul rope was not.
- Another urban 3S idea pops up in metro Vancouver.
- Latest Aspen Mountain Lift 1A replacement plan to go before the City Council this month.
- Taos will apparently build three new lifts over the next two years, including a pulse gondola and high speed quad.