- Demolition begins on the only lift in Oklahoma.
- Utah’s new Wasatch Peaks Ranch now includes five lifts but will remain private and members only.
- Skeetawk, Alaska looks at used lifts in Europe for expansion.
- The project to bring a used gondola to Eaglecrest, Alaska is delayed until the 2025-2028 timeframe.
- Ikon Pass profiles a lift operator who has spent 20 years sleeping at the top of Mammoth’s Panorama Gondola.
- Mt. Shasta joins the Powder Alliance.
- Alta Sierra, California struggles to stay in business due to storms and road closures this season.
- Vail promotes the General Manager of Perisher to lead Whistler Blackcomb.
- Alterra names a new President and COO of Crystal Mountain, teases “new and upgraded ski lift infrastructure” and “the potential for expanded terrain.”
- Schweitzer lists Musical Chairs for sale.
- Two new investors take ownership stakes in Windham Mountain, promising new investment.
- An April update on Loon Mountain’s South Peak expansion.
News Roundup: Interconnect
- Eaglecrest secures a $10 million investment to install a used pulse gondola.
- Ex-Netflix CEO Reed Hastings acquires a minority stake in Powder Mountain, looks to fund lift improvements.
- Whistler Blackcomb will auction quad chairs from Big Red and Fitzsimmons.
- The Forest Service lists a new proposal by Alterra to connect Big Bear and Snow Summit with two new lifts.
- Vail Resorts reports successful season results with skier visits up 6.1 percent with ski school, dining and retail/rental revenue all up as well.
- Doppelmayr’s 2023 yearbook is out. Poma’s too.
News Roundup: Apology
- Montana Snowbowl apologizes for the lift incident earlier this month and notes the lift remains closed pending modification of tower 1.
- Big Sky’s new 75 passenger tram will charge by the ride next winter.
- Snowbird says a gondola could help during future interlodge snow closures.
- The parent company of the Banff Gondola wants to build a similar attraction in Northwest Montana but gets a chilly reception from the Forest Service.
- Doppelmayr Canada is hiring lift installers for projects across the country.
- Construction begins on the new Fitzsimmons 8 at Whistler as well as Superbowl at Boyne Mountain.
- Revelstoke holds a public information session and identifies its top 3 lift priorities.
- Buck Hill announces its oldest lift will be replaced with a Doppelmayr quad this summer.
- The Forest Service approves Copper Mountain’s planned replacement of Timberline Express with a six person chairlift.
- Les Otten says the first phase of The Balsams would be four lifts including a gondola and bubble chair.
Whistler Blackcomb Postpones Jersey Cream Replacement
As part of its quarterly earnings report, Vail Resorts today announced one of its big ticket capital projects will be delayed due to lift manufacturer installation capacity. While work will begin this month on the planned Fitzsimmons 8 project, the Jersey Cream six passenger lift installation has been postponed to 2024. Both new lifts were slated to replace aging high speed quads. “Doppelmayr Canada has informed Vail Resorts that they cannot install both lifts this summer due to their labor and resource constraints,” said Vail in a statement. While equipment for both Fitzsimmons and Jersey Cream is coming largely from two postponed projects in Park City, the biggest constraint manufacturers face right now is installation capacity. Capital saved from the Jersey Cream postponement will instead be allocated toward accelerating Vail Resorts’ investment in its gear rental business.
The Fitzsimmons 8 project proceeding this summer will become the first eight seat chairlift in Canada along with the recently announced Adventure 8 at Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Ontario. “We are committed to working closely with Doppelmayr to ensure that the construction, installation, and testing of Fitz moves ahead safely as planned,” said Whistler Blackcomb, noting that preliminary work for Jersey Cream would also proceed this year. Vail is also adding new lifts at Attitash, Breckenridge, Keystone and Stevens Pass this offseason.
News Roundup: More Than a Mechanic
- More huge lift openings this weekend: Creekside Gondola at Whistler Blackcomb, Disciples 8 at Boyne Mountain, Jordan 8 at Sunday River, Sunrise at Stowe, Wild Blue and Greenhorn Ranch Express at Steamboat and maybe Game Creek at Vail.
- Wildwood at Sundance will hopefully spin again Saturday after opening then closing due to a motor failure.
- Palisades Tahoe expects to reopen the Base to Base Gondola early next week as one continuous lift. Red Dog is delayed until January.
- The Colorado Sun looks at lift supply chain challenges.
- Cascade Mountain issues a letter to guests about delays with its lift project.
- Closed Mont-Sainte-Anne offers passholders a Stoneham season pass, a full refund, or a 15% refund and pass for once the mountain reopens.
- Jackson Hole’s owner wants to replace Sublette next.
- Mt. Shasta looks for creative solutions to uphill ingress to and egress from the new Gray Butte lift.
- Locals weigh the future of Silverton’s Kendall Mountain Ski Area.
- A child falls 20 feet from a lift at Brian Head.
- As snow and ice cripple Portland, the city’s Aerial Tram ramps up with 24 hour operations.
- Breckenridge reopens the Peak 8 SuperConnect after yesterday’s incident. Updated statement from the resort copied below.
Breckenridge Ski Resort confirms at approximately 10:35 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22, a chair dislodged from the haul rope of the Peak 8 SuperConnect as it was reaching the top terminal. One guest was on the chair at the time and fell approximately 13 feet. Ski patrol responded immediately. No injuries were reported and the guest declined further care.
The Peak 8 SuperConnect was closed for the remainder of the day on Thursday. The resort’s lift maintenance team was on site at the time of the incident and worked with the Colorado Tramway Safety Board to report the incident.
At the time of this event, the resort was following all standard operating procedures. The wind direction was predominantly favorable for operation of the Peak 8 SuperConnect when it opened for the day at 10 a.m., however an abnormal wind gust across the top terminal, in addition to the chair coming into contact with components of the upper terminal, created the circumstances of this event.
Since the event, the resort’s lift maintenance team has conducted a thorough inspection of the Peak 8 SuperConnect and consulted with the Colorado Tramway Safety Board. The lift resumed operations at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23.
News Roundup: Doubles Save the Day
- Many big openings this weekend including Lenawee Express at Arapahoe Basin, Big Red at Whistler, Seven Brothers at Loon Mountain, North Bowl Express at Heavenly, Eagle Peak at Lookout Pass and Black Bear 6 at Camelback.
- Palisades Tahoe launches the Base to Base Gondola tomorrow but it will operate as two separate lifts and close Sunday for more work.
- Vail waits for a weather window to fly the pilot line for Sun Down Express, nears the finish line on Game Creek Express.
- Doppelmayr and Steamboat unwrap Wild Blue cabins.
- Kimberley load tests the Northstar Express following a year of repairs.
- New Sunnyside at Alta won’t be finished by Christmas; the Albion double will spin until it opens.
- The new high speed quad at Telluride won’t open until late January due to labor challenges.
- FourRunner goes down at Stowe and the nearby Sunrise Six isn’t finished yet. Lookout saves the week.
- A “series of setbacks to electrical infrastructure” delays opening of new lifts and the entire Big Boulder ski area.
- Cuchara won’t reopen lift-served skiing this year after all.
- Giants Ridge debuts a new VistaMap.
- Sun Valley launches a website dedicated to next summer’s lift projects.
- As the investigation continues into the Mont-Sainte-Anne gondola incident and the mountain remains closed this weekend, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies seeks a public-private partnership to renew its Quebec infrastructure. Quebec’s Premier isn’t sold on giving public money to RCR.
- The Governor of New Hampshire wants replacement of the Cannon Tram to be voted on by the legislature, a funding mechanism could be selected this year with the earliest possible opening in late 2024.
- Ski Utah previews the upcoming Burns Express at Deer Valley.
- Wisconsin approves a pared down master plan for Granite Peak with two expansion lifts, one on each side of existing terrain.
- Homewood forges ahead with plans to go private for homeowners only.
- The sightseeing gondola proposal in Vernon, British Columbia moves forward.
- An idea to connect Detroit with Windsor, Ontario by 3S gondola is back.
- Construction begins on the new D-Line gondola at a California vineyard.
News Roundup: California Republic
- 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.
News Roundup: Gondola Party
- The reopening of Mont Glen, Quebec falls through due to financing.
- Big Squaw owner James Confalone says a developer canceled plans to rebuild the resort because lenders abandoned the project.
- The nonprofit which operates the lower mountain at Big Squaw will sell double chairs from the former summit lift as a fundraiser.
- Jordan 8 and Merrill Hill debut on the Sunday River trail map.
- Sundance’s new map shows the Wildwood expansion.
- Loveland’s 22/23 map is out.
- Northstar too.
- Seven Springs launches an all new map under Vail Resorts.
- Snowriver renames nearly all its lifts and retires the Voyager Quad.
- Whistler hopes to open the new Creekside Gondola by Christmas with Big Red likely earlier.
- Waterville Valley pushes back opening by a week to focus on completing the Tecumseh Express.
- Palisades Tahoe flies towers for Red Dog, plans a huge party for the Base to Base Gondola opening.
- Thunder nears completion at Jackson Hole despite some delays.
- Magic Mountain further delays the Black Line Quad because the used lift needs a new haul rope.
- The new red tram car begins carrying skiers at Snowbird.
- Wachusett looks to replace the Polar Express in 2024.
- Marmot Basin seeks to swap the Knob double for a longer quad chair come 2023.
- Big openings: East Peak at Caberfae, Colter at Grand Targhee, Comstock Express at Northstar and Lakeview Express at Mt. Rose all carry their first skiers today.
- Tulsa seeks a new operator for Oklahoma’s only lift.
News Roundup: To the Polls
- 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.
New Whistler Lifts Delayed due to Supply Chain and Labor Challenges
The top executive at Doppelmayr Canada apologized Friday for delays in completing the new Big Red Express and Creekside Gondola on Whistler Mountain. While both new lifts were originally scheduled to be commissioned before the resort’s November 24th opening day, Big Red is now expected to open in early December with Creekside’s timing to be determined. The new 10 passenger gondola’s 13,000 foot haul rope has not yet arrived in Whistler.
Doppelmayr agreed to build the new six passenger chairlift and 10 passenger gondola at Whistler in November 2021. The ambitious project is the largest in the Epic Lift Upgrade initiative to build new lifts across a dozen Vail Resorts. Contracts for all 18 lifts were split roughly evenly between the two largest manufacturers, both of which face supply challenges amid high demand. “We would like to apologize to all who plan to visit Whistler Blackcomb and the impact they may experience as the result of the delayed opening of both Big Red and the Creekside Gondola,” said Luc Guy, CEO of Doppelmayr Canada. “We experienced significant global supply chain and shipping challenges, and did not anticipate delays to this degree. We understand the importance of these projects, and how this delay will impact uphill access and the overall guest experience out of Creekside. We are doing everything we can in partnership with the Whistler Blackcomb team to complete the gondola as safely and quickly as possible. We will move with urgency and align to all safety protocols once the haul rope arrives, and we are confident that the new Creekside Gondola will truly provide an improved experience for visitors to these beautiful mountains.”
In addition to supply chain delays, Doppelmayr also faces a labor shortage. Whistler Blackcomb employees have been providing extra support to the installation team and Vail Resorts is bringing in additional lift mechanics from its recently-closed Australian mountains to assist. “We appreciate Doppelmayr’s commitment to this project and their partnership,” said Whistler Blackcomb Chief Operating Officer Geoff Buchheister. “We are disappointed that these projects are delayed and I want to reiterate my gratitude for the incredible Whistler Blackcomb team and all they have done – and continue to do – in service of these projects and the guest experience. We are focused on what we can control and remain resolute on finishing these projects as quickly as possible, while still providing a great start to the season for everyone who joins us.”
Whistler Blackcomb will modify its opening strategy with a focus on offering as much terrain as possible, particularly on Blackcomb Mountain where all lifts are operable. The resort will also offer free and frequent bus service from Creekside to Whistler Village until the new lifts open. Guests arriving from Creekside will be offered priority access to both the Whistler Village and Blackcomb Gondolas. Base area lifts will also open 15 minutes early – at 8:15 am – conditions permitting until Big Red and Creekside are completed.