- The last North American ski area still operating, Lookout Pass, closes for the season.
- Leitner-Poma is hiring installers for projects at Arapahoe Basin, Arizona Snowbowl, Aspen Snowmass, Breckenridge, Keystone and Okemo.
- A group of 150 former members buys the Hermitage Club and its five chairlifts for the bargain price of $8.06 million.
- Arapahoe Basin lays off 430 seasonal employees and cuts the hours of year round staff.
- Children of the man who died on a Vail chairlift earlier this season retain a Denver law firm for possible litigation.
- In addition to virtually all ski resorts worldwide, coronavirus shuts down urban gondolas including La Paz’s Mi Teleférico, Medellín’s Metrocable, Santo Domingo’s Teleférico and London’s Emirates Air Line.
- New owners take over Great Divide and will reevaluate proposed lift additions through a master planning process.
- The newest gondola operation in Australia becomes insolvent and enters administration, partly a result of COVID-19.
- SAM gathers leaders from Alterra, Boyne, Vail and more to talk about the crisis. A common theme: capital budgets being reexamined.
- A Vancouver developer thinks about a gondola as part of a hillside housing development near Cypress Mountain.
- Lift construction grinds to a halt in New Zealand but carries on in Alaska.
- Ski Inc. and Ski Inc. 2020 author Chris Diamond shares an optimistic view of the crisis under the assumption it won’t last into next winter.
West Virginia’s first six passenger chairlift is coming to Timberline Mountain. Despite the coronavirus situation and surrounding uncertainty, Chip Perfect and his team today announced a $10+ million commitment to reopen the mountain by the end of this year. Timberline closed in the middle of the the 2018-19 season following years of financial challenges. Perfect purchased Timberline out of bankruptcy last November and his ownership group brings four decades of experience running Perfect North Slopes, Indiana. The West Virginia mountain is a hidden gem, featuring one of the highest natural snow totals and largest vertical rises in the mid-Atlantic.
The thousand vertical foot six pack will travel from base-to-summit with a ride time under six minutes. A Doppelmayr fixed grip quad will service lower mountain beginner runs, a terrain park and slopeside lodging. Other improvements will include a re-graded learning area with a conveyor carpet lift, extensive upgrades to the snowmaking system, a fully remodeled rental shop, consolidated food service facilities and an updated outdoor arrival area. “We look forward to participating in the economic development of Tucker County and we’re excited to announce the significant investment in Timberline Mountain’s infrastructure that will take place this summer,” said Perfect, who is both President of Perfect North Slopes and CEO of Timberline Mountain. “I believe skiers and snowboarders next season are going to really enjoy the new experience on this very special mountain.”
One positive of the mid-Atlantic’s low-snow winter was the ability for Perfect’s team to get to work quickly. The mountain’s three Borvig and Heron-Poma lifts are already gone with many of the chairs in the hands of loyal Timberline guests. All three new lifts are expected to be complete in time for the mountain’s grand re-opening.
- Citing the pandemic, Hermitage Club founder Jim Barnes seeks to delay today’s auction of resort assets. A judge orders the auction to proceed at 10:00 am via telephone.
- A group intends to sue to stop the State of Alaska from awarding a new lease of public land to Arctic Valley Ski Area.
- For the first time since it opened, the Disney Skyliner gondola lines are completely devoid of cabins.
- Vail Resorts reveals Coronavirus will cost at least $180 million and the company is reviewing preciously announced capital expenditures including six planned lifts.
- The Indy Pass will include at least 47 resorts for 2020-21.
- Though the Alaska cruise ship season is delayed until at least July 1st, Icy Strait Point still plans to welcome passengers aboard its new gondola system.
- The website is live for Saddleback 2.0.
- Timberline Mountain now plans to unveil its reopening lift plans early next week.
- Construction continues on New Zealand’s first D-Line and a three station gondola at Thredbo, Australia.
- One of Colorado’s Senators asks the Forest Service to waive remaining 2020 rent payments for 122 ski areas located on National Forest lands.
- Skyline Investments, owner of two ski resorts and many other hospitality businesses, reports record revenue but warns Coronavirus will have significant impacts including the possible closure of resorts through summer.
- Skytrac is the low bidder for all three quads proposed for Gore and Whiteface Mountains.
- The Mountain Collective adds four awesome resorts for 2020-21: Chamonix, Grand Targhee, Panorama and Sugarloaf.
- Kicking Horse celebrates 20 years of operation on the site of the former Whitetooth Ski Area.
- Sun Valley’s Cold Springs double is about to end a 50 year run but will live on at a resort in California.
- Arizona Snowbowl’s Agassiz reopens for one last hurrah after being down since January 18th with a gear issue.
- Hundreds of ski resorts in Austria, Italy and Switzerland are forced to close for the season due to coronavirus.
- Berkshire East, Catamount, Middlebury Snow Bowl and Mt. Abram become the first US ski resorts to shut down due to the virus.
- Belleayre, Gore, Whiteface and the Lake Placid Olympic Complex close gondolas for the season for the same reason. Snowbird’s tram is shut down until further notice. Aspen Snowmass will no longer load unrelated parties in the same gondola cabins.
- Indiana Beach, one of only four venues with an aerial lift in the Hoosier State, closes permanently.
- The two year old LST Ropeways detachable in France shuts down indefinitely again. Instead of the LST design, MND America will offer Bartholet detachables in the United States.
- Vail Resorts reports financial results: skier visits are down 5.3 percent percent this season through March 1st but lift revenue is up 0.8 percent. On a conference call, CEO Rob Katz addresses coronavirus, lift lines at Vail and possible future acquisitions.
- Timberline Mountain promises to make multiple big announcements at a media event Tuesday. All three existing lifts are in poor condition and being dismantled.
- Arctaris Impact Fund doesn’t expect to realize a profit on its Saddleback investment until it sells the resort in 7-10 years.
- An enterprising family is building the first Australian-designed and manufactured chairlift in 30 years for private use only.
- Alterra Mountain Company CEO Rusty Gregory will deliver a keynote address on Monday in Park City covering the rise of Alterra, industry consolidation and multi-resort pass products.
- For the second time in three weeks, a sudden stop on the Mont-Sainte-Anne gondola elicits an emergency response and the lift is once again closed indefinitely.
When the State of West Virginia regains a fifth ski area next season, a lot will be new. The folks behind Perfect North Slopes in Indiana acquired the resort formerly known as Timberline Four Seasons in November and are already busy preparing for a 2020-21 rebirth under the name Timberline Mountain. Being closed this season has a silver lining: there’s been little natural snow to speak of in the mid-Atlantic, allowing work to begin. This week, a crew started removing the Thunderstruck triple, one of two Borvig lifts on the mountain. The retirement is significant as this key lift suffered a major structural failure near the end of the prior owners’ run.
A new logo, new signage and new website all debuted recently. The resort announced a partnership with Doppelmayr to bring a brand new, top-to-bottom lift to Timberline Mountain this summer. The lift will traverse more than 4,000 feet with a thousand foot vertical rise. “Details of the size and scope of the new lift are still developing,” a posting reads. “We will be excited to share updates on this new addition to the West Virginia ski and snowboarding community as they become available!”
Thunderstruck’s 165-plus Leitner triple chairs will be sold to the public at the price of $250 (or $200 apiece for multiple) in the coming weeks. The mountain’s two other chairlifts will remain in place for now.