News Roundup: Retirements

  • 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 chairliftAnyone 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:
Advertisements

Instagram Tuesday: Stars

Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

Continue reading

News Roundup: 360

News Roundup: Climbing

  • 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 Looks to Add New Lifts, Upgrade Others in New Master Plan

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.

tellurideexistingmap
Existing conditions, including the relatively new Revelation Bowl and Prospect Bowl expansions.

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.

Continue reading

News Roundup: Multiplying

Telluride Weighs Future of Mountain Village Gondola

telluride-gondola
A gondola cabin rises from Mountain Village towards the Town of Telluride.  The transit system now operates into the fall each year in addition to winter and summer. Photo credit: Telluride Ski Resort

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.

telluride-trail-map

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.”

Continue reading

News Roundup: Six-Packs

IMG_20160607_121048078
Into the air at Caberfae Peaks, Michigan. Thanks to Lawrence W. for the photo.

Instagram Tuesday: Springtime

Continue reading

Top Ten Longest Chairlifts in North America

Lodge lift at The Yellowstone Club is among the world's longest chairlifts.
The Lodge lift at The Yellowstone Club is the 6th longest chairlift in North America at 9,847 feet.

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

Continue reading