- MND raises more money to continue growth plans.
- Palisades Tahoe opens Red Dog, Mount Baldy, Ontario opens the chairlift it worked years to build.
- Vail aims to open Sun Down Express this weekend.
- Sunnyside at Alta will open tomorrow, two months late.
- Cascade Mountain’s delayed lift also spins tomorrow.
- Granite Gorge, New Hampshire reopens after a multi-year closure.
- Loup Loup temporarily closes its lone chairlift to remove hazard trees identified by the Forest Service.
- Children are injured falling from lifts at Boyne Mountain, Bristol Mountain and Mt. Snow.
- Vail Resorts reports a 12.5 percent increase in skier visits but cautions extreme weather and airline disruptions hurt holiday performance.
- Unionized lift mechanics at Park City prepare to negotiate their first contract with Vail Resorts.
- Whitewater’s Silver King lift will be down for up to a month.
- Crystal Mountain, Michigan’s main lift to be down all weekend.
- The owners of Mountain High and Dodge Ridge purchase China Peak.
- Vail Resorts reports 2.3 million pass products sold, though full Epic and Epic Local sales are down 12 percent.
- From the classifieds: a Poma gondola for sale in Australia and a Poma six pack for sale in Ontario.
- Kelly Canyon renames all its chairlifts.
- An updated trail map shows where Bittersweet’s new chairlifts run.
- Mt. La Crosse changes hands.
- Carriers are on both Big Red and Creekside at Whistler Blackcomb.
- A Park City reporter discovers more than 20 percent of the Red Pine Gondola‘s cabins are out of service.
- Attitash asks for votes on four name options for next year’s high speed quad.
- Storms slow progress on Red Dog at Palisades Tahoe and Far East Express can’t open until the new lift is complete.
- KT-22 is currently operating as a triple chair.
- European multi-resort operator Compagnie des Alpes signs a four year lift deal with Poma worth €200 million at list prices.
- MND’s first chairlift in the USA goes live tomorrow morning.
- The nonprofit which runs Big Squaw signs a new five year contract.
- Deer Valley will host open houses this week regarding future plans.
- Thanks to Dave Amirault for these progress photos of Burns Express at Deer Valley.
Despite the recent postponement of two major lift projects, Vail Resorts will press ahead with another major upgrade at Park City next summer. Leitner-Poma of America has been contracted to supply all-new cabins for the Red Pine Gondola, the out-of-base workhorse in Canyons Village. The eight passenger lift dates back to 1997 and currently features 58 CWA Omega cabins with two spares. All 60 cars will be swapped for 55 Sigma Diamond C8S155 cabins manufactured in France. The project is similar to the 2018 upgrade of Killington’s K-1 Gondola, a sister ship to Red Pine built by Poma the same year for American Skiing Company.
“Some incremental re-engineering of towers and terminal rails will be completed to support the change,” said a Park City representative by email. The mountain’s other major lift project, replacement of Silverlode and Eagle, remains in legal limbo and will proceed if and when it gains approval. In the meantime, Vail Resorts and Doppelmayr are working to install equipment originally ordered for Park City at Whistler Blackcomb. In addition to the Whistler and Red Pine projects, Vail Resorts also plans to install new lifts at Attitash, Breckenridge, Keystone and Stevens Pass next year.
America’s most-visited ski resort would get better but not bigger under a new master plan filed with the Forest Service. Breckenridge and Vail Resorts envision eight major lift projects under the plan, the first for the resort in 15 years. Over that time, Breckenridge has grown to include new terrain on Peak 6 and half a dozen new lifts. For the next few decades, Breckenridge plans to focus on upgrading infrastructure and reducing congestion in base areas rather than adding major new terrain.
The first lift project in the 2022 master plan has already been completed. The new Rip’s Ride detachable quad opened November 11th and is likely to be the first of six projects replacing Riblet lifts with new equipment. Next summer, Vail Resorts plans to retire 5-Chair for another detachable quad, featuring a capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour and a non-detachable mid-station for summer alpine slide access. “The existing lift is 50 years old, prone to misloads by beginner and novice using the lift and contributes to congestion at the base of Peak 8,” notes the plan.
In future seasons, 6-Chair will also be replaced by a detachable quad, marking the end of the Riblet era on Peak 8. This project has already been approved by the Forest Service and is a common wish list item for advanced skiers. One or two additional chairlifts may eventually be added to Peak 8 near the top of Rip’s Ride. “These two lifts would create a small amount of additional novice and beginner capacity on the mountain while providing an opportunity for new skiers and riders to experience purpose-built beginner terrain that allows for progression in a separate pod from the congested Peak 8 base area,” notes the document. Finally at the base of Peak 8, a new gondola is planned to connect the current Gold Rush parking lot with the BreckConnect Gondola. This extremely short lift would be built in partnership with timeshare company Breckenridge Grand Vacations as part of a planned real estate development.
More than 40 percent of Breckenridge skiers arrive at Peak 9 and the 2022 master plan includes multiple projects to improve skier circulation. A new 4,800 foot gondola code named Frontier would load at the base of Peak 9 and cross over the Quicksilver Super6, terminating at a new mid-mountain ski school facility. This 8 or 10 passenger gondola could move 2,200 skiers per hour both uphill and downhill along a 4,800 foot slope length. The Frontier teaching area would feature two new conveyor lifts away from the congested Peak 9 base. The concept is similar to other recent mid-mountain learning centers at Steamboat, Jackson Hole and Big Sky.
A second beginner-focused project on Peak 9 would see A-Chair replaced by a shorter, re-aligned quad chair. This lift would better serve novice skiers with a throughput of 2,000 skiers per hour. C-Chair, another Riblet, is also earmarked for replacement. A six person detachable would both load and unload slightly higher than the existing lift and span 5,862 feet. A 3,000 passenger hour capacity would help spread guests out and keep them on the mountain rather than returning to base areas. Higher on Peak 9, E-Chair is also slated for replacement with a detachable quad in the existing alignment. Quicksilver may also be upgraded in during the plan period as it is nearing the end of its useful life.
As always, Forest Service acceptance of a master plan does not constitute approval of specific projects. Rather, the 2022 plan offers a road map for possible future improvements at Breckenridge. By 2023, the resort will have completed seven major lift projects in 11 years. With that track record and a menu of future projects, Vail Resorts is likely to continue investing in lifts at Breck in seasons to come.
The results are in. Park City Mountain’s lift mechanics and electricians voted by an 85 percent margin to form a union. Nearly every eligible employee cast a ballot over the past two days with 35 choosing yes and 6 voting no. The Park City Lift Maintenance Professional Union will be part of the Communications Workers of America, the same union which represents ski patrollers at Park City, Crested Butte, Stevens Pass and other mountains. “Hard work pays off!” read a social media post from the union. “We would like to thank the community at large for their continued support, and we’re extremely excited for a phenomenal winter season and some productive bargaining sessions,” the post continued.
Park City parent company Vail Resorts had advocated for a continued direct relationship with employees who maintain the largest lift fleet on the continent. “We care deeply about all of our employees, and we are going to do what’s right for our team members regardless of today’s outcome,” said Deirdra Walsh, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Park City Mountain. “While we are disappointed with the result, we are grateful to those who took the time to vote. As we have shared both publicly and to our team throughout this process, we sincerely believe that direct communication works best to build strong relationships, ensure a safe working environment, and allow every employee’s voice to be heard through direct and open dialogue,” Walsh continued. “We respect the decision of those who chose to pay to have a union speak for them with regard to their wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment.”
Assuming the election results are certified by the National Labor Relations Board, Park City will become the first ski lift maintenance union in the United States. The union plans to elect leaders soon and work toward its first contract with Vail Resorts.
- Park City lift mechanics and electricians will vote whether to unionize early next week.
- Charges against four Marines are dropped after they pay more than $18,000 in restitution for allegedly causing a lift deropement at the San Diego Zoo.
- Alta modifies operations and offers passholders refunds due to the delayed Sunnyside lift project.
- Sierra at Tahoe will reopen December 3rd following 15 months of fire recovery efforts.
- A progress report on Copper Mountain’s Alpine terminal replacement project.
- Grand Targhee debuts a new VistaMap.
- Disciples 8 shows up on the Boyne Mountain trail map.
- Echo Mountain and Granby Ranch become the latest Colorado resorts to join the Indy Pass.
- Mammoth Mountain looks to replace the Panorama Gondola with a realigned 10 passenger version.
- Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch reflects on last season and details what the company is doing to make this season better.
- Northern Virginia Magazine profiles the successful rebirth of Timberline Mountain under the Perfect family.
- A new owner takes a majority stake in Massif du Sud, promising new investment.
- Resorts are still flying towers for new lifts including Red Dog at Palisades, Hidden Valley at Snoqualmie and La Laurentienne at Sommet Gabriel.
- Construction continues on two new lifts at Vail, with completion expected in December.
- Whistler Blackcomb and Doppelmayr expect the delayed Creekside Gondola haul rope to arrive today.
- Reflecting on the Lone Peak Tram as it enters its final season.
- Frost Fire, North Dakota won’t open this season.
- Closed Holiday Mountain, Manitoba plans to reopen under new ownership.
- Searchmont updates guests on numerous lift projects around the mountain.
- Redevelopment of Big Squaw is cancelled due to failed negotiations with the current owner and global financial conditions.
- Sun Peaks joins the Ikon Pass.
- Alterra settles multiple class action lawsuits over 2020 Covid closures, offering credits toward future purchases.
- Vail Resorts and Telluride renew their multi-year Epic Pass partnership.
- Telluride aims to send a gondola replacement proposal to voters in 2024 and begin construction in 2028.
- Snowbird’s new red tram ships again from Switzerland.
- A group continues efforts to save the Tulsa State Fair Skyride.
- Cuchara remains on track to reopen one of its Riblet chairlifts this winter and is still seeking donations.
- An awesome one hour documentary chronicles the history of Riblet Tramway Company.
- There’s also a new book about Byron Riblet.
- The Salt Lake County Council narrowly passes a non-binding resolution against a Little Cottonwood gondola.
- A Hall double goes up for sale in Connecticut, likely from the closed Woodbury Ski Area.
- Analysis is complete on Lutsen Mountains’ expansion proposal and a new Forest Supervisor expects to make his decision public around the beginning of ski season.
- The head of Whistler Blackcomb offers more details on the decision to move forward Fitzsimmons and Jersey Cream projects with lifts from Park City.
- Cascade Mountain names its new quad chair in memory of two locals who died in a 2014 avalanche.
- The Sugarloaf 2030 timeline is updated to reflect Double Runner being replaced in 2023 or 2024.
In its earnings report today, Vail Resorts announced new six and eight passenger lifts will be built at Whistler Blackcomb in 2023, replacing the aging Jersey Cream and Fitzsimmons high speed quads. The project will utilize Doppelmayr equipment originally purchased for Park City Mountain but not installed due to a successful permit appeal by four local residents. On Blackcomb Mountain, Jersey Cream will become a six passenger detachable and on Whistler Mountain, Vail Resorts’ first eight place D-Line will replace the Fitzsimmons Express. Jersey Cream services the heart of Blackcomb’s mid mountain and Fitzsimmons provides out-of-base capacity to Whistler Mountain along with servicing the world’s largest bike park. Jersey Cream capacity will increase 29 percent and Fitzsimmons capacity will jump 73 percent. Fitz will also become the first eight place and first D-Line in Canada.
The two lifts were originally slated to become Eagle and Silverlode, respectively, at Park City. Vail said it remains “committed to resolving our permit” for the new Park City lifts in the future. “When that happens, we plan to purchase the lifts and equipment needed,” the company said. Vail Resorts appealed the permit revocation in July but no resolution has been reached. Due to continued uncertainty, lift equipment was placed in storage in Utah over the summer and will be re-engineered and modified for Whistler Blackcomb. An intermediate unloading station built for Eagle likely won’t be utilized in Whistler. Despite the Park City situation, 18 other lifts that are part of the 2022 Epic Lift Upgrade are proceeding on schedule, including two at Whistler Blackcomb.
“We are excited to continue investing in the guest experience here at Whistler Blackcomb, and the opportunity to upgrade the Fitzsimmons Express and Jersey Cream chairlifts reinforces our commitment to excellence, especially as a world-class destination resort,” said Geoff Buchheister, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Whistler Blackcomb. “Following approvals and installation, these upgrades will reduce lift line wait times and create easier access and flow for all who visit our beautiful mountains,” he continued.
The Whistler Blackcomb projects bring Vail Resorts to at least six new lifts for 2023, including three previously announced investments and the delayed Keystone Bergman Bowl expansion. In July, Vail unveiled plans to replace Summit at Attitash, 5-Chair at Breckenridge and Kehr’s Chair at Stevens Pass for 2023. The Attitash and Breckenridge projects will be detachable quads while Stevens Pass will see a fixed grip quad. Manufacturer(s) for those lifts have not been announced. At Keystone, Bergman Bowl will feature a six passenger Leitner-Poma detachable.
Vail also reported season pass sales increased approximately 6 percent in units and 7 percent in sales dollars through September 24th as compared to a year ago. However, full Epic and Epic Local unlimited season pass sales declined roughly 10 percent. The company’s total 2023 capital plan is expected to total $191 million to $196 million, significantly less than this year’s $323 to $333 million. Those numbers reflect approximately $10 million in capital deferred from 2022 to 2023 as a result of the Park City and Keystone lift delays.
In addition to the six 2023 lift projects, Vail also plans to debut new technology allowing guests to use phones as lift passes via Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity next season.
- Indy Pass signs two more ski areas – Chestnut Mountain, Illinois and Snowriver Mountain Resort, Michigan.
- Snowriver plans to replace multiple fixed grip lifts with one detachable at Jackson Creek Summit (formerly Indianhead)
- Searchmont takes delivery of a Skytrac drive terminal as a retrofit to a Blue Mountain triple chair and will complete another Skytrac triple in the beginner area.
- The Emirates Air Line in London will be named the IFS Cloud Cable Car from October as part of a two year sponsorship deal.
- A nonprofit takes over development of the Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium gondola.
- Ukraine-related sanctions halt a Poma 3S gondola project on the China-Russia border.
- Steamboat posts an update on the new longest gondola in North America.
- Vail Resorts will report earnings and possible new capital plans on September 28th.
- Gallix, Quebec seeks to raise $1.2 million to pay for ongoing chairlift repairs.
- Big Bear, Brundage and Nordic Valley all escape unscathed from wildfires this week.
- Mont Farlagne says goodbye to its T-Bar.
- The Heineken Highline gondola at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami will be open to all on game days this football season.
- Co-owned Dodge Ridge and Mountain High are the latest resorts to join the Indy Pass.
- The Jay Peak sale hearing is delayed until September in hopes more parties will bid.
- Vail Resorts will cap day ticket sales at every mountain every day this season.
- Vail settles one class action labor lawsuit for $13 million.
- Alta’s former Sunnyside detachable triple will keep its name at Red Lodge Mountain.
- A grand opening celebration for the Palisades Tahoe Base to Base Gondola is scheduled for December 17th.
- Grouse Mountain will break ground on its Leitner-Poma gondola next month.
- Loon Mountain’s former Seven Brothers triple will live on as an adventure park access lift in Quebec.
- Also in Quebec, closed Mont Glen plans a 2023 reboot with a new poma lift.
- Doppelmayr will supply the world’s longest single stage monocable gondola in the Caribbean.
- Lift repairs remain on track at Kimberley.
- Sunrise Park will replace what was once the longest triple chair in the world with a rope tow.
- Waterville Valley and MND fly towers for the first Bartholet detachable in North America.
- Cypress Mountain auctions chairs from the retired Sky double.
- Wildcat will sell retired Doppelmayr quad chairs next month.