Utah ski resorts will debut three new chairlifts for the 2018-19 season and although none of them service new terrain, each will make lives better for skiers and snowboarders. One of my stops this weekend was Park City Mountain, where Vail Resorts announced the creation of a reimagined High Meadow Family Fun Zone back in December. A new Doppelmayr detachable quad, opened up runs, upgraded snowmaking and candy cabin are coming together above the Red Pine Gondola. The new lift will have 8 towers, down from 11 on the old CTEC quad, which is sitting under the Cabriolet for now.
Across old town Park City at Deer Valley, another Doppelmayr detachable quad is replacing another CTEC fixed-grip quad. Highlander Lift Services & Construction is assembling Homestake Express in the existing alignment but again with fewer towers. I think the new number is eight, down from a dozen in this high traffic area above Silver Lake Lodge. For its second winter under Alterra, Deer Valley will operate an impressive 13 high speed quads this season. The 1999 version of Homestake is bound for Utah Olympic Park.
Purgatory Resort closes indefinitely and is under a mandatory evacuation order due to the nearby 416 Fire.
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz tells analysts in a conference call there are still select acquisition opportunities in North America (with more elsewhere) and that there are no specific plans yet for the $35 million in capital earmarked for Okemo, Mt. Sunapee, Crested Butte and Stevens Pass.
Swiss manufacturer BMF and French competitor LST team up to sell urban ropeways in France.
The Forest Service tentatively approves Steamboat’s Pioneer Ridge expansion, Bashor Gondola and other new lifts.
A plan for the complete rebuild and reopening of Denton Hill, Pennsylvania is now online.
Less than a month after opening its first two urban gondolas, the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo unveils plans for a massive 6.8 mile, six station 3S gondola line.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and the Sierra Club sign an agreement for the resort to abandon California Express Alternative 2 in exchange for the group withholding legal action against alternatives 3 and 4.
The Seattle suburb of Kirkland looks to a possible aerial lift to connect its city center with an upcoming bus rapid transit station.
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and Whistler Blackcomb COO Pete Sonntag do a wide ranging interview with the local newspaper after a challenging year and a half.
The largest publicly-traded ski resort company in the world today simultaneously unveiled two major transactions to buy ski resorts in four different states for more than $300 million. Vail Resorts will acquire Triple Peaks, LLC for $82 million and Stevens Pass, Washington for $67 million, subject to regulatory approval. The former, founded and owned by Tim and Dianne Mueller, operates Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado and Mt. Sunapee in New Hampshire, hence the name Triple Peaks. Broomfield, Colorado-based Vail will buy out the three resorts’ long term leases from Oz Real Estate upon closing for an additional $155 million. Okemo, Mt. Sunapee and Crested Butte signed onto the industry-pioneering Epic Pass back in March and will now offer unlimited, unrestricted access for Epic passholders.
Another Oz-owned resort, Stevens Pass, will be sold to Vail for $67 million in a separate deal subject to regulatory approval. Stevens Pass is currently operated by Karl Kapuscinski along with Mountain High, California. The SoCal resort is not included in Vail’s purchase. Stevens Pass will join the Epic Pass for the first time, making it an even more compelling product for Pacific Northwest skiers who frequent Whistler Blackcomb. Stevens will also be included in the Edge Card, a product that predated Vail and is offered exclusively to residents of British Columbia and Washington. Notably, Stevens Pass has major lift expansions on both flanks of the current trail system in its approved master plan.
With today’s news and other deals including the sale of six resorts to Boyne Resorts, the Oz Real Estate Ski Resort Holdings portfolio now includes just Jiminy Peak and Sierra at Tahoe, down from 15 resorts at its peak under CNL Lifestyle Properties. Northstar California, Mountain High and Bretton Woods were also sold off over the last few years.
When Vail Resorts unveiled its $150 million 2018 spending plan in December, it included seven new lifts in Australia, British Columbia, Nevada and Utah. Notably, none were earmarked for Colorado, where the company operates four of the largest resorts in the state with nearly 80 lifts between them. We learned on Thursday Vail Resorts’ North American skier visits were down 1.9 percent this season through April 15th but lift ticket revenue increased 3.7 percent, keeping MTN on solid financial footing. Commenting on the season, CEO Rob Katz told investors, “We are pleased with our results as the 2017/2018 ski season concludes, particularly considering the historically low snowfall across our western U.S. resorts for much of the ski season. Our results throughout the 2017/2018 ski season highlight the stability provided by our season pass, the benefit of our geographic diversification and the success of our sophisticated, data-driven marketing efforts.”
Now the mothership – Vail Mountain – could be getting in on the new lift action as neighbors Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Loveland and Winter Park do the same this summer. A Vail Resort Summer 2018 Construction project page posted Thursday on the White River National Forest website notes that Game Creek #7 is proposed to be upgraded. While there are no supporting documents yet and the project is listed as “developing proposal,” recent history would indicate the 1985 high-speed quad will be replaced with a new detachable quad or six place chairlift. Vail has already added ten new lifts in the past eleven years and three of the most recent were of the six variety from both Doppelmayr and Leitner-Poma. Vail has made no formal announcement but the Forest Service expects to conduct public scoping in May followed by a decision in June.
The Trump Administration’s proposed tariffs target goods from China including “teleferics, chair lifts, ski draglines; and traction mechanisms for funiculars.” Outside contacted both Doppelmayr and Leitner-Poma for comment with interesting results.
More contractors and employees say the Hermitage Club didn’t fully pay them and the Town of Wilmington may hold a tax sale in June.
A man claims he was left to spend a cold night on one of Gore Mountain’s chairlifts and wasn’t found until the next morning, April Fool’s Day.
A bullwheel bearing issue on Nob Hill at Sugar Bowl throws a major wrench in the end of the season.
We regret to inform you, Nob Hill lift is closed for the remainder of the season. The repairs will take several days to accomplish & cannot begin until after the upcoming storm. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Tomorrow all resort services via Judah portal only.
I started this blog three years ago this week as an off season project. It now sees 215,000 page views each month from 40,000+ unique visitors. Thanks to everyone who has helped to make Lift Blog a success!
Boyne Resorts acquires six mountain resorts plus the Gatlinburg Sky Lift it leased from CNL Lifestyle Properties and later Och-Ziff Capital Management. “This opportunity will enable us to accelerate and fine tune the execution of our reinvestment plans for these spectacular properties, which will boost our competitive advantages and support our focus on continuous enhancement of the guest experience,” says Boyne President Stephen Kircher.
The Australian man who was supposed to buy Maine’s third largest ski resort is caught on tape saying, “We’re not going to deliver on Saddleback,” “Opening the mountain is not a primary concern for us,” and “We’re not going to lose any sleep with regards to it,” acknowledging it was mostly about cashing in on the EB-5 immigrant investor program.
Triple Peaks’ Okemo, Crested Butte and Mt. Sunapee join the Epic Pass through a long-term alliance with Vail Resorts.
Anti Edmonton gondola editorial argues “challenges to a gondola could include its operational reliability in a harsh winter climate.” Guess again.
The latest battle in the 2018-19 season pass war is being waged to the north. Vail Resorts today announced the Epic Pass will now include up to seven days at six mountains owned by Resorts of The Canadian Rockies – Fernie, Kicking Horse, Nakiska, Kimberley, Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham. The addition of these MAX Pass refugees follows Alterra’s recent announcement that Revelstoke, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay and Sugarbush will join the new Ikon Pass. In addition, Telluride has defected from the MCP to join Epic and Ikon partner Big Sky Resort will also join the Mountain Collective.
The 10th anniversary Epic Pass will go on sale tomorrow with access to 21 North American destinations with 284 lifts. It will offer unlimited skiing with no blackout dates at Vail Resorts owned mountains and a limited number of days at partner properties like Telluride. Epic Passes will also offer access to international resorts including Hakuba Valley, Japan; Perisher, Australia; and Val d’Isère, France. In theory, you could hit a crazy 61 resorts on this pass. Pricing is still pending.
The 2018-19 Mountain Collective Pass is on sale now for $409 and includes up to 33 days at 16 destinations, most of which are unchanged from last year (Telluride is out, Big Sky in.) The MCP includes access to 19 separate mountains in North America with 231 lifts and 50 percent off days after the first two. Most Mountain Collective destinations are also on the new Ikon Pass for those seeking more days.
The Ikon Pass offers unlimited access to most of Alterra Mountain Co.’s resorts with limited access to Deer Valley and numerous partner resorts. The flagship pass will cost $899 with a blackout date version for only $599. Ikon includes the most North American options by far with 32 mountains and 400 lifts. It’s not quite as many as the defunct MAX Pass (45 mountains, 435 lifts) but Ikon offers many more days at higher-caliber places. The Ikon also goes on sale tomorrow.