- 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:
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
- Portland’s next Transit on Tap talk on Jan. 24th features the story of the Portland Aerial Tram. The lift turns ten with a celebration planned for Jan. 28th.
- A veteran mechanic dies after falling from a catwalk at Killington’s Skyeship Gondola.
- Yesterday’s New York Times daily 360 video comes from the world’s largest urban gondola system.
- This is what happens when Toblerone sponsors a mid-station.
- Telluride extends gondola hours to 17.5 per day.
- 2016 New England lift projects stretch into 2017.
- LST launches an all-new website.
- Spotlight stays on urban gondolas.
- Squaw lifts got buried by 14 feet in 11 days.
- Grand Canyon Escalade bill tabled for a future meeting.
- 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.
Telluride Ski Resort, which crested 500,000 skier visits for the first time last season and operates 14 chairlifts, released a new master development plan this month aimed at upgrading key lifts and adding a few new ones over the next decade. At opening in 1972, Telluride had just five double chairlifts but now, together with the town of Mountain Village, is home to North America’s largest gondola transit system and one of the most successful destination resorts.
Telski’s last MDP from 1999 included several lift projects that are still approved but not yet completed. Most notably, the Palmyra Basin lift would rise 1,165 vertical feet lift to serve intermediate terrain above the Prospect Express, which itself was built as part of a four-lift expansion in 2001. Also in this area, a new 1,500′ surface lift is approved to serve the Gold Hill chutes above the Revelation lift, which debuted in 2008 as Telluride’s only Leitner-Poma lift.
More lift upgrades are added in the latest master plan. The first is bringing Gold Hill Express capacity from its 1,500 pph to 2,200 by adding more chairs. This lift was initially approved as two separate lifts with 1,200-1,500 pph each, but was combined into one lift with a higher design capacity. Gold Hill is a 2001 Doppelmayr, one of four Telluride built in one very busy summer.
Another planned project that will surprise no one is a Plunge lift replacement. The existing 1985 CTEC triple has had a reduced hourly capacity of 1,042 pph ever since safety bars were installed, due to their added weight. At 6,260 feet slope length, a ride takes nearly 13 minutes. A 1,000 f.p.m. detachable quad is proposed to replace Plunge with an initial capacity of 1,800 pph and designed to reach 2,400.
- The weather mostly cooperates with Waterville Valley’s ambitious late-fall expansion.
- Suicide Six is also building this November.
- Jay Peak misses tax payment ahead of winter season. So does Burke Mountain.
- Urban gondola ideas emerge in Branson, MO, Greenville, SC, Montreal and San Antonio.
- Another Bolivian city – Sucre – to get cable car network.
- Zacatecas, Mexico stops work on its new gondola, much of which Leitner has already delivered, due to environmental and cultural concerns.
- BC Safety Authority reminds skiers that rider (mis)behavior causes most lift accidents.
- Telluride wants to replace lifts 7, 9, 10 and 14.
- Saddleback Mountain Foundation raises $750,000 towards the purchase of Maine’s second largest ski area which closed in 2015. The group plans to replace the Rangeley double and Cupsuptic T-Bar with new lifts and eventually expand with a new Magalloway lift.
Twenty one years ago this December, a first-of-its kind gondola system opened between Telluride and Mountain Village in one of the world’s great mountain towns. The 3-stage Garaventa CTEC gondola cost $16 million to build but is completely free to ride. Thirty-nine million passengers later, this unique system operates 275 days each year and 19 hours per day. The lift features three haul ropes and cabins interline between sections 1 and 2, from Oak Street to Station St. Sophia and Mountain Village. Section 3 further connects Mountain Village Center to Station Village Parking. The Town of Mountain Village owns and operates the gondola (at a cost of $4 million a year) with funding from Telluride Ski & Golf, the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association and San Miguel County. The parties in 1999 agreed to fund the gondola through 2027, but with over 100,000 operating hours the existing machine may not last until then.
To give you an idea how critical this transportation link has become to people who live, work and visit Telluride, dates of operation are announced three years in advance and a fleet of buses replaces gondola service whenever down time reaches 30 minutes or more. Custom lightning protection on towers maximizes up-time year round. The gondola’s aggressive operating schedule makes upgrading an aging system challenging. A $6 million overhaul completed in 2007 and 2008 replaced many of the systems moving parts in phases.
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation agreed to fund an engineering study of the gondola due to its crucial role in public transportation. Not surprisingly, Doppelmayr submitted the winning bid to perform the study and released their findings last fall. The 239-page report looked at adding system capacity, transitioning to level walk-in boarding, replacing major components and/or rebuilding the entire system. Russ Oberlander of Doppelmayr concluded ultimately that, “past and continued maintenance, along with the capital replacements and upgrades of the Mountain Village Gondola system could allow the system to run indefinitely.”
- Mt. Snow becomes the latest mountain to replace a chairlift with a beginner-friendly carpet lift.
- New construction webcams are live at the Leitner 3S Matterhorn Glacier Paradise project.
- Skier visits in Colorado were up 13.9 percent last season, Vermont was down 32 percent.
- County approves The Balsams redevelopment.
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana is still eyeing gondolas.
- Stunning photos from inside the new Eisgratbahn 3S stations.
- Sipapu is upping the power on its new quad chair.
- Leitner-Poma will build three new lifts in Ontario this summer including a six-pack at Horseshoe Resort.
- Telluride’s Mountain Village Gondola turns 20 this year with celebrations planned. The gondola has over 100,000 hours and provides 2.5 million rides each year!
There are 63 chairlifts in the US and Canada that stretch longer than 7,000 feet but only four over 10,000′. Six of the top ten are in the State of Colorado and all but two are detachable quads. Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, BC claims the title of the longest fixed-grip chairlift in the world and the only non-detachable among North America’s hundred longest lifts. A ride on the Burfield Quad takes a painful 21 minutes to go 9,510 feet (and that’s at full speed.) Below are the top ten longest chairlifts in the US and Canada.
1. Slide Brook Express, Sugarbush, Vermont – 11,012 feet
1995 Doppelmayr Detachable Quad
2. Chile Express, Angel Fire Resort, New Mexico – 10,992 feet
1996 Poma Detachable Quad
3. Sunshine Express, Telluride, Colorado – 10,732 feet
1986 Doppelmayr Detachable Quad
4. Village Express, Snowmass, Colorado – 10,074 feet
2005 Leitner-Poma Detachable Six
5. American Flyer, Copper Mountain, Colorado – 9,907 feet
1986 Poma Detachable Quad