- Australia’s Financial Review reports Vail Resorts will acquire Falls Creek and Mt. Hotham from Merlin Entertainments for about $85 million USD.
- With its purchase of Deer Valley, Alterra Mountain Company now owns about half the land under Park City’s Jupiter chair.
- Gore Mountain evacuates the Northwoods Gondola by rope.
- Salt Lake City is selected to bid for another Winter Olympics.
- Telluride CEO Bill Jensen joins CNBC’s Squawk Box to discuss the economics behind the Epic and Ikon passes.
- The top shack of Anthony Lakes’ only chairlift blows over just before planned opening day.
- The Adventure Group of Whistler proposes building a 9,000′ gondola on Oahu. Hawaii is one of only five U.S. states currently without an aerial lift.
- Mt. Spokane grows by 279 acres with seven new runs and a Skytrac named Northwood.
- Europe’s new highest ropeway is also the pinnacle of industrial design.
- The Hunter North expansion and shiny Northern Express six place chairlift launch Christmas Eve.
- Days before the second DirectDrive detachable is set to open at Copper, Jon Mauch of Leitner-Poma answers questions about the new lifts.
- In France, La Plagne announces an indefinite closure of the first French-manufactured LST detachable due to technical problems.
- Cherry Peak is set to open a third chairlift this season after three years of construction.
- Shuttered Mt. Timothy, BC is purchased by investors who plan to reopen it.
- Vail Resorts-operated Mt. Sunapee is approved to expand into West Bowl.
- The Zugspitze Cable Car reopens today with a new cabin exactly 100 days after this accident.
- Bromont inaugurates North America’s eighth combination chair/gondola lift, L’Express du Village, Sunday morning.
- Check out these photos of the Snowbowl Express build and sweet new color scheme at Stratton.
News Roundup: Heavy Snow
- The world’s largest vertical tramway is expected to reopen in time for Christmas, just three months after one of its cabins was destroyed in an unfortunate accident.
- Peak Resorts completes its acquisition of Liberty Mountain, Roundtop and Whitetail in Pennsylvania.
- There was a bit of a setback before American Eagle’s load test on Monday but repairs are complete and the first of two new lifts at Copper opens Saturday.
- A pulse gondola could join the skyline in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.
- Investors who helped the Hermitage Club buy its bubble lift file a lawsuit seeking $9.8 million.
- Did you know the Lone Peak Tram‘s bottom terminal is slowly moving downhill thanks to a rock glacier?
- The White River National Forest grants final approval for Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park expansion and preliminary approval of Aspen Mountain’s Pandora project.
- Plans for a new Oakland Athletics ballpark include a 6,000 passenger per hour gondola across Interstate 880.
- A proposed Portland Major League Baseball stadium also has a gondola component.
- As Utah weighs growth, Alta seeks to retain some of the land it owns in Grizzly Gulch, key to any future connection between the Cottonwood Canyons.
- Heavy snow delays completion of Ascutney Mountain’s T-Bar until next spring.
- Arapahoe Basin drops the ropes on 339 new lift-served acres.
News Roundup: Down to the Wire
- Beaver Creek renames the Buckaroo Express gondola Haymeadow Express, the name of the double chair which ran in the same alignment from 1980 to 2007.
- Whether the Hermitage Club closes a $30 million loan to catch up on lift maintenance and operate this winter is still an open question.
- Arapahoe Basin and Leitner-Poma fly steel for the Beavers project.
- As of yesterday, Vail Resorts officially operates Okemo, Mt. Sunapee and Crested Butte.
- Vail reports fiscal 2018 resort EBITDA was $616.6 million, an increase of 3.9 percent over the prior year. 2018-19 season pass sales are up 25 percent in units and 15 percent in dollars as of Sunday.
- West Mountain adds a million dollar chairlift and looks to build another.
- A New York-based developer receives one of many approvals for Mayflower Village at Deer Valley, which could eventually mean a slate of new lifts.
- Doppelmayr is named in connection with an urban gondola eyed for Long Beach, California.
- Watch a remarkable 3S gondola launch live from Zermatt at 9:15 Eastern tomorrow morning, 6:15 Pacific.
- The CFO and COO of Peak Resorts open up about their decision to buy Snow Time and note the three new mountains don’t immediately need much capital investment.
- The longtime owners of Great Divide, Montana plan to sell to another couple next year.
- Legendary ski resort builder Les Otten remains committed to The Balsams but laments, “time is killing this project.”
- Mountain Capital Partners releases more details on the Spider Mountain Bike Park project.
- The damaged Zugspitze cabin is successfully lowered to the valley for disassembly. The cable car’s operator says damage exceeds $1.2 million and the lift could reopen by year end.
- Boreal names its new quad California Cruiser.
- The latest Leitner-Poma six-pack at Hunter Mountain, seen below, will be called Northern Express.
Runaway Equipment Damages the Zugspitze Cable Car
This is not a good week for tramways in Europe. An incident last night on the highest mountain in Germany severely damaged one of two Eibsee Cable Car cabins during a practice exercise. Apparently a rescue carrier broke loose due to a broken chain hoist and crashed into the 120 passenger tramway cabin below at high speed. Like with the fire at a French tram on Tuesday, the lift was free of passengers and luckily no one was injured. A Zugspitze spokesperson says the Garaventa-built tram will be out of service until further notice.
The lift became the pinnacle of ropeway technology when it opened last December, breaking world records for the tallest lattice tower (416 feet), longest ropeway span (10,541 feet) and highest vertical rise (6,381 feet), making this a truly stunning setback. When a cabin on the Alyeska, Alaska tram hit a tower in 2013, technicians were able to replace it with a counterweight in just a few weeks until a new cabin could be manufactured. We’ll have to wait and see whether CWA can repair the Zugspitze cabin or must fabricate a whole new one.
Instagram Tuesday: Scenes
Every Tuesday, I feature my favorite Instagram photos from around the lift world.
Instagram Tuesday: Mystery
News Roundup: Economies of Scale
- Poma wins monster $47.1 million contract for five lifts from the company that operates Val d’Isère, Tignes, Meribel, La Plagne and Les Arcs in France. Last year’s three-lift, $29.4 million contract from the same group went to Doppelmayr.
- An Australian teenager is lucky to be alive after doing pull ups on a moving chairlift cable.
- The inaugural gondola featuring Sigma’s Symphony 10 cabins debuts in Italy.
- Canton, Ohio looks at gondolas, calling them “transportainment.”
- Props to Bear Valley for frequent Moke Express updates.
- A judge sides with Monarch in lift unloading injury lawsuit.
- Following a workplace death and news that a major lift is out of service, confusion surrounds Sunrise Park Resort’s season, though new management and lifts could be on the way.
- Record-shattering aerial tramway with 6,381 feet of vertical and a 10,541′ free span opens in Germany a week from today.
- Connecticut’s Woodbury Ski Area might be gone for good.
- George Kruger of Ski Lifts Unlimited, instrumental in rebuilding lifts at Magic Mountain and beyond, passes away.
- Leitner-Poma is completing final assembly of a cool 25-passenger tramway at the upcoming Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.
Instagram Tuesday: Lifted
Instagram Tuesday: At Sunset
Garaventa Building Record-Breaking Tram in Germany
Just weeks after opening two record-breaking aerial tramways on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group has begun construction on an even more remarkable tramway to Germany’s highest summit. Replacing a 1963 jig-back tram, the new 120-passenger Eibsee Cable Car on the Zugspitze will leave a base terminal at 3,337 feet and top out at 9,718 feet with only one tower in between. Two other aerial tramways that reach the same summit, the Tyrolean Zugspitzebahn and the Zugspitze Gletcherbahn, will remain unchanged.
The new cable car will maintain the old version’s record for the largest vertical rise of a single tramway span at 6,381 feet, down slightly from 6,398 feet. Its lone tower will be the tallest in the world at 416 feet – 43 feet taller than the current tallest on Austria’s Gletscherbahn Kaprun III. The new cableway will also have the longest unsupported span at 10,541 feet, breaking the current record of 9,941 feet on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola’s middle span.