News Roundup: Down But Not Out

  • 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.

Timberline Mountain Rebirth to Include a Six Place Detachable

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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.”

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The recently-removed Thunderstruck triple serviced the upper mountain for decades.

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.

News Roundup: In This Together

  • 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.

 

News Roundup: Viral

West Virginia’s Timberline to Relaunch as Timberline Mountain

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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.

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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.

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