News Roundup: Fly Day

  • Firm pitches gondola to link South Station to the Seaport district in Boston.
  • The United Nations Human Settlements Programme and Doppelmayr publish a 12-page summary of their first Academy of Sustainable Urban Mobility conference held in Austria last April.
  • LST Ropeways will build its second North American lift at Waterville Valley, though Skytrac will no longer provide controls, operator houses and installation for the French company.
  • A new Doppelmayr gondola, bubble high speed quad and triple chair will debut in December on Eglise Mountain at the Yellowstone Club, by far the biggest lift project in North American skiing for 2017.  Thanks to Everett K. for these cool photos of the progress.
  • Y.C. has also listed for sale the 160-acre Cedar View Ranch, offering someone the opportunity to build a private lift to the bottom of the Lake lift.
  • Anakeesta opens tomorrow.
  • Eldora flies towers and ditches the announced Eldo Express name in favor of Alpenglow.  Photos credit Michael Weise.
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Yellowstone Club to Expand with Gondola & More on Eglise Mountain

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View of Eglise Mountain earlier this season with new trails cut over the past two summers.  The expansion will include at least three new lifts.
The Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana will likely build not one, but three new lifts this summer as it adds Eglise Mountain to its expansive roster of ski terrain.  The second section of a future two-stage gondola, along with a detachable bubble quad chair and new beginner triple chair are all slated to debut in time for the Club’s 17th winter season next year.

eglisetrailmap

Doppelmayr USA will build the new lifts and already poured many of the tower and terminal footings last summer.  The upper section of the 8-passenger Eglise Gondola will debut first, with the lower stage to be added when the 550,000 square-foot Village Core is substantially completed.  That project, located adjacent to the Warren Miller Lodge, is also underway and currently the biggest construction project in Montana.  A dedicated building in the village will eventually house the new gondola’s base terminal, not far from the Lodge lift.

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Instagram Tuesday: Cabins

Every Tuesday, we feature our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

The Peak 2 Peak Gondola, against the epic backdrop of Garibaldi Provincial Park.

A post shared by Nathaniel Sisco (@nathanielsisco) on

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Instagram Tuesday: Doing Work

Every Tuesday, we pick our favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.

#heliatwork #helicopter #skilift #chopok #mountains #Tatry #nizketatry #tatramountains

A post shared by Jadzia StachoŇĄ (@hedvig92) on

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News Roundup: Villages

Top Ten Longest Chairlifts in North America

Lodge lift at The Yellowstone Club is among the world's longest chairlifts.
The Lodge lift at The Yellowstone Club is the 6th longest chairlift in North America at 9,847 feet.

There are 63 chairlifts in the US and Canada that stretch longer than¬†7,000 feet but only four over 10,000′. ¬†Six of the top ten are in the State of Colorado and all but two¬†are detachable quads. ¬†Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, BC claims the title of the longest fixed-grip chairlift in the world and the only non-detachable among¬†North America’s¬†hundred longest lifts. ¬†A ride on the Burfield Quad takes a painful 21 minutes to go 9,510 feet (and that’s at full speed.) ¬†Below are the top ten longest chairlifts in the US and Canada.

1. Slide Brook Express, Sugarbush, Vermont – 11,012 feet

1995 Doppelmayr Detachable Quad

2. Chile Express, Angel Fire Resort, New Mexico – 10,992 feet

1996 Poma Detachable Quad

3. Sunshine Express, Telluride, Colorado – 10,732 feet

1986 Doppelmayr Detachable Quad

4. Village Express, Snowmass, Colorado – 10,074 feet

2005 Leitner-Poma Detachable Six

5. American Flyer, Copper Mountain, Colorado – 9,907 feet

1986 Poma Detachable Quad

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Pulse Lifts

These days building a detachable lift means a capital investment of at least $3 million plus around $100,000 in annual maintenance.¬† A so-called ‚Äėpulse‚Äô lift offers the speed of a detachable system with similar infrastructure to a traditional fixed-grip lift.¬† Chairs or cabins are grouped together into ‘pulses’ and the entire lift slows down for loading and unloading.¬† When comparing types of aerial lifts there are always trade-offs; here they include low capacity and long headways.¬† Most pulse lifts can only move 300-600 passengers per hour and headway ‚Äď the time a passenger has to wait for a carrier to show up ‚Äď can be minutes instead of as low as six seconds. ¬†Perfect for certain applications but unsuitable in most.

Pine Ridge lift at the Yellowstone Club, Montana.
Pine Ridge lift at the Yellowstone Club, Montana.

There are currently 17 pulse lifts operating in the US, Canada and Mexico; all but three are gondolas.  Nearly all were built in the last 15 years.  Panorama Mountain Village, Northstar California, Steamboat, Snowmass, Canyons Resort, and Le Massif all use pulse gondolas to connect village areas.  These lifts are usually less than 3,000 feet long and convenient for skiers and non-skiers alike.  Other pulse gondolas are attractions in their own right such the Iron Mountain Tramway at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, SkyTrail at Trees of Mystery, the Gondola at Royal Gorge Bridge Bridge & Park and the Riverfront Park SkyRide in Spokane.  There is also a new Leitner-Poma pulse gondola in Orizaba, Mexico with tripod towers that are hundreds of feet tall.

Spokane Falls SkyRide, built by Doppelmayr.
Riverfront Park SkyRide, built by Doppelmayr.

Snow Valley in Edmonton, Alberta has a very unique pulse chairlift built by Doppelmayr in 2008.  Instead of having groups of 3-5 chairs, it has just two groups of 20 closely-spaced quad chairs.  Because it is only 850 feet long, the lift can move 1,378 skiers per hour at up to 5 m/s, the same speed as most detachable lifts.  In fact the ride is only about a minute.  The lift slows to a beginner-friendly 0.8 m/s for loading and unloading.  Because of the low speed, skiers ride around the bullwheel at the top and unload facing down the hill.  It’s the only lift I know of with 180-degree unloading.

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Bubble Chairs: Making a Comeback?

Orange Bubble Express at Canyons Resort.
Orange Bubble Express at Canyons Resort.

Growing up in the rainy Pacific Northwest, I happen to love chairs with bubbles.  I can get the comfort of a gondola without taking my skis off or enjoy fresh air like on any other chairlift.  Lifts with bubbles are technically very cool too.  Electronic eyes in the lift terminals know when chairs are empty and the bubbles lower automatically.  Chairs stay dry and lifties don’t have to sweep them or flip chairs at night.

Bubbles everywhere at the Yellowstone Club.
Bubbles everywhere at the Yellowstone Club.

Despite their added comfort, bubbles haven’t really caught on in North America.  Europe is a different story where 30+ lifts are built with them every year.  In the US and Canada, Doppelmayr has built 16 lifts with bubbles since 1985.  You can find them at Whistler-Blackcomb, Sun Peaks, Mont-Saint-Anne, Big Sky, Canyons and Stoneham.  The Yellowstone Club also has bubbles on all six of their quad chairs.

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