News Roundup: Visit Numbers

Whitefish Orders a Sizable Six Pack

With strong visitation and record season pass sales, Whitefish Mountain Resort today announced major lift projects for each of the next two summers. The big news is a deal with Leitner-Poma for a six place lift replacing Chair 4. The 1978 Stadeli triple had a great run but boosting out-of-base capacity and relieving pressure from the Big Mountain Express became top priorities for the resort. The new flagship will lift guests from the base lodge to Inspiration Ridge along a 5,700 foot alignment. Rising 2,200 vertical feet in less than seven minutes, it will be the largest lift investment in resort history and the first Leitner-Poma installation in the state of Montana. Preliminary work will begin this summer with completion scheduled for late 2022.

This summer, Leitner-Poma subsidiary Skytrac will complete the planned move of Chair 8 to higher elevation terrain in Hellroaring Basin. This will allow the basin to open earlier in the season and create a new pod of defined runs.

Another planned project already approved by the Forest Service is a third new lift to Hellroaring Peak. The timeline for that one has not yet been determined.

“I think it is important for passholders to know that the resort continues to reinvest into its infrastructure each year providing more value to the season pass,” said Dan Graves, Chief Executive Officer for Whitefish. “These are truly exciting times at Whitefish Mountain Resort.”

News Roundup: Perfect

News Roundup: Sunshine

  • The Summit at Snoqualmie shuts Hidden Valley for the season due to an “unusual mechanical problem.”
  • Sugarloaf closes King Pine due to a sheave assembly issue.
  • Dave Brownlie, former head of Whistler Blackcomb and current Revelstoke President, weighs in on the state of the British Columbia ski industry and his company’s plans for Grouse Mountain.
  • The Colorado Sun interviews three Colorado resort pioneers about industry trends and challenges.
  • As the gondola at Mont-Sainte-Anne reopens, the resort says an external power issue caused last month’s sudden stop.  A lawsuit has been filed and the power company denies responsibility.
  • Just the Leitner portion of Mexico City’s new urban gondola network will feature seven stations and 300 cabins.
  • Experienced resort executives Andy and Jace Wirth may take over operations at Granby Ranch.
  • Limited Ikon/Mountain Collective visits to Arapahoe Basin are 69 percent lower than unlimited Epic visits last year and the “experience is way up,” says Al Henceroth.
  • Another informative podcast from Stuart Winchester features an executive from Mountain Creek and Big Snow talking about the next new lift and a possible Big Snow Miami.
  • Smugglers’ Notch has no intentions of losing its independence or ditching its fleet of fixed grip double chairs.
  • Whitefish will begin work in Hellroaring Basin this summer and move the current Hellroaring triple to a new alignment in 2021.

News Roundup: SkyDream

Whitefish Plans a Fourth Detachable

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A new detachable quad will soon join the lift fleet at Whitefish Mountain Resort, although the exact timeline is uncertain.  The Chair 4 Express (name TBD) will be the first detachable lift servicing the mountain’s new day lodge, where nearly 70 percent of Whitefish skiers now start their day.  The big lift will replace Great Northern, a Stadeli triple which opened in 1978 but loads higher than the replacement.  The top terminal will be very close to where the old Chair 5 unloaded.

The new lift will open a half hour earlier than the workhorse Big Mountain Express and relieve pressure from the Base Lodge and Bad Rock beginner lifts.  Hourly capacity will be 2,200 skiers, more than double Chair 4 on the rare occasions it is open.  A number of trails will be re-graded to converge at the new load point.  “When people stand at the current carpet lift and look up the mountain when this project is done it will look very different from how it looks today,” says Whitefish.

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The new Chair 4 will be approximately 7,000 feet long with 2,200 feet of rise, even more than the current triple.

The resort did not release a timeline or manufacturer although planning is well underway.  Whitefish is already seeking Forest Service approval for its Hellroaring Basin improvement project, which includes two new lifts.  If approved, all three new lifts will be well worth the wait on an already great Big Mountain.

News Roundup: Master Plans

News Roundup: Shutdown

News Roundup: Tough Week

News Roundup: Rope Time

  • Searchmont, Ontario sells to Wisconsin Resorts, the firm behind Pine Knob, Mt. Holly and Ski Bittersweet in Michigan as well as Alpine Valley, Wisconsin.
  • Mike Solimano of Killington reveals what three lifts he would upgrade if given $100 million to spend at The Beast.
  • The new Winter Park gondola is creatively named Gondola.
  • Grand Junction’s NBC affiliate takes viewers inside the factory where Leitner-Poma lifts are created.
  • The two stage Blackcomb Gondola is almost finished; thanks Max for these pictures.

  • Next up for Ramcharger 8 at Big Sky: installation of an in-terminal video wall and the haul rope, which is going up right now.
  • Beech Mountain commissions its twin fixed grip quads.
  • Freeskier looks at Alterra’s whirlwind growth and future trajectory.
  • Rope pulling commences tonight at Walt Disney World, 24 years to the day since the Disneyland Skyway cable was taken down for good.
  • This week’s new trail map comes from Hunter Mountain.
  • In an act of sabotage, someone cuts into three haul ropes at a Pyrenees ski resort.