- Colorado reports an estimated 12 million skier visits, slightly below the recent average.
- Yellowstone Club founder Tim Blixseth will seek millions in damages from the State of Montana related to the Club’s bankruptcy a decade ago.
- Indy Pass signs Eagle Point, Utah and Sundown Mountain, Iowa.
- Arizona Snowbowl pauses summer operations due to fire danger.
- Alterra looks to build a village surrounding Mammoth’s Main Lodge, which would include two pulse gondolas and two new chairlifts.
- Vail Resorts indefinitely postpones summer ops at Attitash and Wildcat, citing maintenance on three different lifts.
- A citizen group forms to advocate for the Pandora’s expansion on Aspen Mountain.
- The Utah Department of Transportation selects enhanced bus service and a gondola with La Caille base station as the two preferred alternatives for Little Cottonwood Canyon.
News Roundup: Reports
- Now open: Nordic Valley’s flagship six pack, dubbed the Nordic Express.
- The Yellowstone Club trail map is updated to show two new additions for a total of 23 lifts.
- Still without access to the summit, Mission Ridge provides expanded updates on the Wenatchee Express project including another video.
- Grand Targhee modifies its proposed expansion, pushing potential approval out to March 2022.
- A local newspaper obtains inspection reports from 49 Degrees North showing no red flags prior to last month’s accident.
- Doppelmayr showcases AURO, an autonomous lift which can be run by one person in a ropeway operations center.
- A storm packing 150 mph winds shutters Dodge Ridge for eight days. Eight towers de-roped on Chair 8 with 1,000 feet of comm line needing to be replaced.
- A child is seriously injured in a fall from the lone chairlift at Blue Hills, Massachusetts. The ski area said no mechanical issues caused or contributed to the unfortunate event.
- Three days later, the very same lift strands riders for hours.
- Gearing up for a busy summer, Skytrac is hiring lift construction project managers.
- ORDA will spend $2.2 million for electrical upgrades to Whiteface’s Cloudsplitter Gondola and Face Lift.
- Two more resorts are set to join the Indy Pass on February 2nd.
- Re: Indianhead, an incident report notes the chair hit a halo on tower 4, causing its clip to be ejected from the haul rope. A follow up inspection found no mechanical or structural deficiencies with the lift.
- Steamboat plans to move the bottom terminal of the new Steamboat Gondola outdoors and 300 feet east this summer to make room for the future Wild Blue Gondola.
News Roundup: Working Capital
- Boyne Resorts raises an additional $120 million through the sale of bonds to cover general expenses during the downturn.
- An Australian ski resort burned in last summer’s bush fires will be rebuilt over the next year.
- On the latest SAM podcast, Mountain Capital Partners says it’s moving forward with two new lift projects this summer.
- Indy Pass adds some big names: Cannon Mountain, China Peak, Crystal Mountain (Michigan), Granite Peak, Lutsen Mountains, Sasquatch and Tamarack.
- Aspen Skiing Company raises $10,000 for charity through the sale of Big Burn chairs.
- A structure fire briefly stops service on an urban gondola in the Dominican Republic.
- In a letter to employees, CEO Rob Katz says he hopes to reopen all the company’s resorts by late June or early July.
- A very large natural avalanche crosses the alignments of two different Yellowstone Club lifts.
- Zincton Mountain Village submits an expression of interest to develop a hybrid lift/backcountry resort in British Columbia’s Goat Range.
News Roundup: More Skiing?
- Mt. Baldy runs out of snow, ending North American lift served skiing for now.
- Aspen Skiing Company expresses frustration with the Colorado governor’s order for ski resorts to remain closed until at least May 23rd.
- Arapahoe Basin still wants to reopen.
- Oregon may beat Colorado to the punch.
- Eaglecrest, Alaska joins the Powder Alliance.
- Alterra CEO Rusty Gregory says his company is well-capitalized and delayed projects should be completed next year (plus he’s still looking to buy more resorts!)
- Skeetawk completes its chairlift, becoming the first new ski area in Alaska since 1983.
- Mountain planner Paul Mathews of Ecosign talks about the development of Sun Peaks and future plans in the West Bowl and the Gil’s areas.
- Norwegian Cruise Line reiterates its commitment to Alaska including the funding of two gondolas currently under construction in Hoonah.
- As part of a land swap, the Yellowstone Club seeks to gain 500 acres of expert terrain.
- Cuchara remains on track to reopen next year with one lift.
- The Utah Department of Transportation will evaluate gondolas from the Salt Lake Valley and Park City as two possible options to improve mobility in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- Doppelmayr’s first Wir magazine of 2020 highlights new installations from around the world.
News Roundup: Interviews
- The 117 year old Poconos hotel which just announced plans to build a chairlift burned down last Friday.
- Yellowstone Club adds Silver Tip, its 18th major lift, giving YC the 13th highest lift count in the nation!
- More awesome podcasts: Jeremy Davis of the New England Lost Ski Areas Project, Rob Katz on snowmaking across Vail Resorts, Geoff Hathaway on rebuilding Magic Mountain and the staff of Eldora on what it takes to open weeks ahead of normal.
- Two new quads and a lift shortening are all now reflected on the Stevens Pass trail map.
- Vandals slash upholstered seats on an Austrian gondola, cause $28,000 in damage.
- Okemo receives a 24 month extension to its permit for building a beginner fixed grip quad at Jackson Gore.
- Loveland gains approval to replace Lift 6 with either a fixed grip triple or detachable quad in 2021.
- New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu tours the gorgeous new summit lodge and gondola at Bretton Woods.
- Alterra CEO Rusty Gregory joins Bloomberg TV and Yahoo Finance to chat about opportunities he sees in the ski business.
- The head of MND Group says financial struggles are history as the company ramps up to deliver $200 million worth of orders for lifts, Gazex and snowmaking.
- The Forest Service plans to approve two new fixed grip quad lifts at Lee Canyon.
- Big Sky looks for 30 more chairs for Six Shooter.
- A Wyoming ranch with snow cat skiing considers adding lift service.
- Chris Diamond’s new book, Ski Inc. 2020, was released last week and is a must read for those who follow North American skiing.
- Simon Fraser University includes a 3S gondola as a core component of its new campus master plan.
Instagram Tuesday: Panoramic
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
As The Hermitage Faces Foreclosure, What About the Lifts?
Berkshire Bank of Massachusetts initiated foreclosure proceedings on the Hermitage Club and related properties last Friday, claiming three loans worth $17 million are in default with $16.3 million in principal still outstanding. The private club, located next to and once part of Mt. Snow, is open and spinning lifts this weekend but it’s not clear how long that will continue. While the marketing department feverishly posts pictures of fresh snow and smiling children on social media, what happens next will probably be decided in a court room. No one knows the eventual outcome but recent ski resort foreclosures and bankruptcies offer some insights.
News Roundup: Storied
- The Eglise expansion at the Yellowstone Club looks like something straight out of Europe! Thanks Everett K. for the photos.
- The Alameda County Fair will debut a Skytrac skyride next year, the fourth such lift in California.
- Disney teases more Skyliner renderings and the first tower footings going in the ground are massive.
- Gearbox problem turns into a rope evac at Windham Mountain.
- Power surge blamed for a three hour evacuation at Sasquatch Mountain.
- Belleayre’s gondola proves itself from day one in subzero temperatures.
- If it can raise enough money, Frost Fire, North Dakota plans to build a Skytrac fixed-grip chairlift next summer to replace two broken lifts.
- A clearance issue needs to be resolved before Bear Valley can launch the Mokelumne Express.
- A mechanic dies while working on a carpet lift at Loveland and a GoFundMe page has been set up to support his widow and three children.
- With a “full pipeline,” Skytrac is hiring for construction positions.
- North Korea’s second ski resort reportedly includes lifts manufactured locally, a result of UN sanctions prohibiting the import of luxury goods.
- Silver Mountain celebrates a storied 50 years with a look back to construction of the world’s longest gondola, uniquely funded by federal, state and local governments along with VonRoll Tramways.
- As we enter prime time for lift construction announcements, keep track of the 2018 roster here.
Instagram Tuesday: Bluebird
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
News Roundup: Resources
- Amid zip line dispute, Peak Resorts threatens to close Hidden Valley, remove five chairlifts and sell the land to a residential developer.
- “I’m very confident we’re going to have new resources we haven’t had in previous years,” Steamboat COO says of Crown/KSL ownership. Deer Valley President and COO Bob Wheaton makes similar comments in Park City.
- Saddleback sale to Australian firm still hasn’t closed.
- Bear Valley’s six-pack looks great in green and now has a name: Mokelumne Express.
- Who says detachable terminals must be symmetrical? Leitner experiments in Europe.
- T-Bar area in Edmonton, Alberta shuts down.
- At the end of a tough year, Granby Ranch goes up for sale.
- New Heavenly trail map confirms Galaxy won’t spin again this season, leaving a big hole in Nevada.
- Epic Passes account for 43 percent of Vail Resorts revenue.
- New lifts at the Yellowstone Club get names: Eglise, Great Bear and Little Dipper. A few hundred families now enjoy the 14th largest lift fleet in the country.