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Jackson Hole to add second gondola by 2016-17 to help beginners/intermediates move from the base

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

The Sweetwater gondola announced by Jackson Hole in 2015 will be under construction this summer.  The plan is for the second gondola at JH to be ready for 2016-17.  The 8-passenger gondola will replace the Eagles's Rest and Sweetwater chairlifts and include a mid-station.  Beginners and intermediates will get easier access to mid-mountain terrain on Rendezvous mountain served by the Casper chairlift.  

 

An announcement was made on the JH website in Jan 2016.  A sign has been up at JH since January.

http://www.jacksonhole.com/latest-news-detail-2521.html

 

"The new gondola is being built by Doppelmayr Inc, with an 8-person cabin, the lift will have a capacity of 2,000 people per hour. The 1,276 foot vertical ride will take seven and one half minutes."

 

For more technical details about the new gondola:

https://liftblog.com/2016/01/17/jackson-hole-to-build-second-gondola/#more-12105

 

post #2 of 28

I'll ski in Jackson next winter, so it'll be good to have that lift to get some of our group up the mountain.

 

I lived there before the Casper quad was built.  We would occasionally go to the Nez Percé run where Casper is now located.  We were amazed that a 4 person chair could work!  Of course the Casper lift ruined our "secret" powder run, and man, that quad was slow. The mountain had only the old tram plus the 2 person chairs on Eagle's Rest, Teewinot, Apres Vous, and Thunder.  I made a lot of runs down Rendezvous and the Hobacks or Bivouac and Sublette Ridge.  The joy (?) of walking down the stairs of the tram tower 3 when the wind was too high to go to the top!  Time flies.

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

A link to pictures of early phases of the work required to take out the Sweetwater triple and install a new gondola.  Eagle's Rest was taken down in April.

 

https://liftblog.com/2016/05/08/out-with-the-old-at-grand-targhee-jackson-hole/#more-20203

post #4 of 28

I know my younger son will like the addition of the new gondola as he was a big fan of the Casper's Restaurant, but hated all the trouble it took to get there via Sweetwater.  Maybe JH should be visited next season (since we both have the MCP).

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

Pictures of progress being made in early June 2016 on the Sweetwater gondola.  Heli work has started.

 

https://liftblog.com/2016/06/05/sweetwater-gondola-june-update/

post #6 of 28

I've also heard of plans to completely remodel the casper restaurant after the new gondola is complete, I haven't seen any official announcement yet, they might have made some but I'm not sure.

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
 

I've also heard of plans to completely remodel the casper restaurant after the new gondola is complete, I haven't seen any official announcement yet, they might have made some but I'm not sure.


I remember reading something about the Casper restaurant too.  Certainly would need more seating with more beginners and their friends ending up there.

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 

Didn't realize how many changes have happen at JH in terms of new lifts in the last 20 years.  Looking at a trail map from 1991, I remember why I didn't think a trip to JH was worth the effort when I was an intermediate skiing blue groomers every few years when I was working.  Curbed will need to update their article from 2015 about the history of JH to include the Teton lift that opened for 2015-16, along with the second gondola being built this summer.

 

http://ski.curbed.com/2015/2/18/9990388/see-how-jackson-hole-has-changed-from-1969-to-today

 

In a June 2015 interview with the President of JH, it was mentioned that $150 million had been spent on improvements since the 1990s.  Also noted that summer activities are increasingly important to the business.

post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Pictures of progress being made in early June 2016 on the Sweetwater gondola.  Heli work has started.

 

https://liftblog.com/2016/06/05/sweetwater-gondola-june-update/

 

Interesting that Pine Creek bought the old Sweetwater lift.  They updated their old Alta single chair about 10 years ago with a decent fixed quad.  I don't see how their ski hill makes a dime, it's always so lonely and deserted.  Cokeville just doesn't have any population nearby, and they do zero advertising.  Even their website makes no mention of any new lifts.  Must be somebody out there with deep pockets???

post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post
 

Interesting that Pine Creek bought the old Sweetwater lift.  They updated their old Alta single chair about 10 years ago with a decent fixed quad.  I don't see how their ski hill makes a dime, it's always so lonely and deserted.  Cokeville just doesn't have any population nearby, and they do zero advertising.  Even their website makes no mention of any new lifts.  Must be somebody out there with deep pockets???

Guess you don't look on Facebook.  For small places with strong community support, that can be pretty effective free advertising.  The vibe that comes across is pretty good from the Pine Creek FB page from last season.

 

The Pine Creek FB Page started in 2009.   Apparently there is a ski bus that goes from Montpelier for people who don't want to drive, or perhaps older teens who don't have a car handy.  Pine Creek is only open Fri, Sat, Sun.  Can rent the entire place for a day on the other days.  I read that private rentals made a big difference for another small place that is only open long weekends.  But that certainly wouldn't bring in enough to pay for a new lift, even a used one.

post #11 of 28

Well, good point about FB.  I looked it up, and there seems to be more activity than their website at least.  It's been several years since I last skied there.  I was the only skier during the morning.  The ski patrolman rode up with me first chair, and greeted me with "Well, I guess I'll go up with you since you're the first skier all day."  I think they might have finished the day with ~25 skiers/boarders.  Certainly the powder lasts a long time at Pine Creek compared with, well, just about anywhere that's lift-served.

 

Back to the lift purchase, I just don't see the justification.  Maybe they'll use some parts off it??  

 

As far as the Sweetwater lift in it's old location, it was not very heavily traveled.  It's base was tucked away, and you could hit the whole mountain without riding it.  I skied JH for 21 years before actually riding for the first time with Phil and Trish at the 2015 JH Epic gathering.  I expect since the new godola base is going in right next to the Bridger gondie it'll get some heavy traffic.

post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post
 

[snip]

 

As far as the Sweetwater lift in it's old location, it was not very heavily traveled.  It's base was tucked away, and you could hit the whole mountain without riding it.  I skied JH for 21 years before actually riding for the first time with Phil and Trish at the 2015 JH Epic gathering.  I expect since the new godola base is going in right next to the Bridger gondie it'll get some heavy traffic.

From the trail map, it looks to me that you had to ride a lift in order to get to the old Sweetwater triple.  Right?

 

My ski buddies and I had three days at JH for our first trip a few years ago.  Agree that there wasn't any reason for an advanced skier to ride Sweetwater.  I would consider taking the new Sweetwater gondola up to Casper as a way to get over to the Teton lift on my first morning of a ski vacation, as opposed to Teewinot and Apres-Vous.  I'd rather warm up off Casper than Apres-Vous.

post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

In a June 2015 interview with the President of JH, it was mentioned that $150 million had been spent on improvements since the 1990s.  Also noted that summer activities are increasingly important to the business.

 

Interesting interview.

 

I met Jay Kemmerer in Aspen in 1992-3.  He was there to look at our gondola, primarily for summer use.

He told me then "if we can get just 10% of the summer visitors to Yellowstone to come to JHMR, I'll be happy." 

 

Jerry Blann was the ex President of the Aspen Ski company and instrumental in getting  direct flights into ASE.

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 

Looking at the new JH Bike Park map, perhaps taking out the old lifts and installing a new gondola serves a purpose for the summer as much as winter.

 

"The new Jackson Hole Bike Park located at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village offers the only lift serviced riding in the valley. The Park features six impeccably designed downhill trails with features to suit every level of courage and skill. Absent are jaw-jarring rocky trails, replaced with smooth trail beds, banked corners, and buffed take offs and transitions on terrain ranked green to black for every level of rider—including total beginners. After you have exhausted yourself on the many trails offered in the park – try a taco and a beer from the Tin Can Cantina or take the free Gondola ride up to the Couloir and the Deck restaurants to relax, refuel and enjoy the scenery."

http://www.jacksonhole.com/biking-in-jackson-hole.html

 

post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

In a June 2015 interview with the President of JH, it was mentioned that $150 million had been spent on improvements since the 1990s.  Also noted that summer activities are increasingly important to the business.

 

Interesting interview.

 

I met Jay Kemmerer in Aspen in 1992-3.  He was there to look at our gondola, primarily for summer use.

He told me then "if we can get just 10% of the summer visitors to Yellowstone to come to JHMR, I'll be happy." 

 

Jerry Blann was the ex President of the Aspen Ski company and instrumental in getting  direct flights into ASE.


Very interesting!  I would think that the people who can afford to fly directly to JH or ASE appreciate the lift upgrades made at JH in the last decade.  I noted that in the interview it was mentioned that 75% of the people at JH are destination guests.  I bet the majority of them aren't driving to get there.  Although with the MCP, adding JH to a trip that involves flying to SLC is pretty easy.

post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post
 

Well, good point about FB.  I looked it up, and there seems to be more activity than their website at least.  It's been several years since I last skied there.  I was the only skier during the morning.  The ski patrolman rode up with me first chair, and greeted me with "Well, I guess I'll go up with you since you're the first skier all day."  I think they might have finished the day with ~25 skiers/boarders.  Certainly the powder lasts a long time at Pine Creek compared with, well, just about anywhere that's lift-served.

 

Back to the lift purchase, I just don't see the justification.  Maybe they'll use some parts off it??  

 

[snip]

Came across a mention of Pine Creek looking for something else.  In a SAM article from 2015, learned that Pine Creek had to pay for fixes for a lift a few years ago.  So perhaps the idea of needing parts is on target.

"Otherwise, most upgrades involve technology and electronics. Pierpont notes that resorts are often replacing drives and upgrading terminals. Of course, refurbishing is Skytrac’s stock in trade. “Mostly, we’re solving issues by adding capacity, and updating older equipment that’s becoming unreliable,” says Carl Skylling. Pine Knob is a good example, he says. Skytrac just rebuilt a return terminal for a Riblet; it redid the drive terminal a few years ago.

Still, he reminds that at some point, updates become uneconomical. “The cost of continuing to run a 50-year-old lift is higher than for a 30-year-old lift,” he says."

EDIT: never mind, confused Pine Creek with Pine Knob

post #17 of 28

Pine Knob = Michigan

Pine Creek = Cokeville, WY

 

Whoever mentioned deep pockets is on the right track.  Pine Creek's last new lift was a new CTEC from the factory.  Old Sweetwater is for expansion, not parts.  Considering how much of it is still in the JH parking lots I imagine it will be a few years before it gets reinstalled.  This same lift sat for six years between its life at Winter Park and JH.

post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalmountainskier View Post
 

Pine Knob = Michigan

Pine Creek = Cokeville, WY

 

Whoever mentioned deep pockets is on the right track.  Pine Creek's last new lift was a new CTEC from the factory.  Old Sweetwater is for expansion, not parts.  Considering how much of it is still in the JH parking lots I imagine it will be a few years before it gets reinstalled.  This same lift sat for six years between its life at Winter Park and JH.


Oops . . . brain was not engaged. :o

post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 

Lots of pictures of the ongoing construction for the new gondola in the July update on Liftblog.  Sounds like towers will be flying in a few weeks.

 

https://liftblog.com/2016/07/14/sweetwater-gondola-july-update-from-jackson-hole/

post #20 of 28
post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 

More pics in an update about the Sweetwater gondola construction.  The size of mid-station building is becoming more obvious.

 

https://liftblog.com/2016/08/08/sweetwater-gondola-august-update-from-jackson-hole/

post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 

The folks in charge at JH are definitely pushing the idea that the new Sweetwater gondola is part of the continuing effort to make JH more friendly to beginners of all ages.

 

http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/sports/features/new-gondola-on-track/article_76e47a58-1145-5587-a344-36ba2fe98f73.html

 

* * *

And while the gondola will help move more people out of the base area faster — Eagle’s Rest moved fewer than 400 people an hour and the Sweetwater Gondola will move 1,600 people an hour — its terrain is mostly beginner-friendly.

“The new gondola is really ushering in the era of making Jackson Hole more family-friendly and beginner-friendly,” resort spokeswoman Anna Cole said.

The terrain around the mid-station has been graded and cleared, and some of it reconfigured. A warming yurt will be able to hold about 15 people during breaks from lessons, and a new covered beginner carpet is being installed near the area. The Eagle’s Rest terrain park area will be gone, and extra space for beginner and intermediate skiers will take its place.

“We have a lot of people coming out and learning how to ski,” Cole said. “It’s going to make a better environment for all types of beginner skiers.”

* * *

For more pics of the progress:

https://liftblog.com/2016/09/07/sweetwater-gondola-september-update-from-jackson-hole/

 

post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

The folks in charge at JH are definitely pushing the idea that the new Sweetwater gondola is part of the continuing effort to make JH more friendly to beginners of all ages.

 

That's definitely marketing spin, in my opinion.  There's no question that beginners can ride the first leg of the gondola, but that doesn't open up any new terrain, as those runs were previously accessed by the Eagle's Rest and Teewinot lifts.  Of course, the gondola will get you there faster, as the Eagle's Rest lift was truly the slowest lift I have ever been on.  Jackson Hole still has the same problem that it's had before...a HUGE gap between it's green terrain and blue terrain.  The green stuff is too flat and easy and the jump up to the easiest blue (Easy Does It off of the Casper chair) is significant.  I will say this: the new gondola is great for intermediates as it provides a much more efficient way of getting to the Casper pod, which would normally take a few lifts to get to or a long and not so easy traverse from either Bidger or Apres Vous.

post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

The folks in charge at JH are definitely pushing the idea that the new Sweetwater gondola is part of the continuing effort to make JH more friendly to beginners of all ages.

 

 

And while the gondola will help move more people out of the base area faster — Eagle’s Rest moved fewer than 400 people an hour and the Sweetwater Gondola will move 1,600 people an hour — its terrain is mostly beginner-friendly.

 

 

Boy, I don't know if I agree with this statement.  After a short flat section, the Sweetwater goes over some pretty burly terrain.  It's solid black diamond ungroomed stuff all the way over to Beaver Tooth.  I wonder if beginners are going to look out the gondie windows and start clenching?  Or perhaps they'll be looking at their smart phones and not even notice.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post
 

 

Boy, I don't know if I agree with this statement.  After a short flat section, the Sweetwater goes over some pretty burly terrain.  It's solid black diamond ungroomed stuff all the way over to Beaver Tooth.  I wonder if beginners are going to look out the gondie windows and start clenching?  Or perhaps they'll be looking at their smart phones and not even notice.

 

Exactly.  I don't think that's what the marketing is referring to though.  I think when they are talking about being friendly to beginners, they are still only referring to the stuff at the flat area at the bottom before the lift takes off up to Casper.

post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalmountainskier View Post
 

Pine Knob = Michigan

Pine Creek = Cokeville, WY

 

Whoever mentioned deep pockets is on the right track.  Pine Creek's last new lift was a new CTEC from the factory.  Old Sweetwater is for expansion, not parts.  Considering how much of it is still in the JH parking lots I imagine it will be a few years before it gets reinstalled.  This same lift sat for six years between its life at Winter Park and JH.

 

Thinking about this, I'm guessing the last name Kemmerer might be involved?

post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 

Plenty of work left to do to finish the Sweetwater gondola before the snow reaches the lower mountain.  Opening day scheduled for Dec. 17, 2016.

 

https://liftblog.com/2016/10/04/jackson-holes-sweetwater-gondola-enters-home-stretch/

post #28 of 28

One minor benefit of the new Sweetwater lift is that, at end of day, less skilled skiers can download. Getting to the base from the Casper to the Village via the most direct route required skiing in shadows, narrow gullies and hard snow. The easier route via Apre Vous takes local knowledge to manage the traverses and there can be some steep blue trails that can be hard snow due to facing south-east. Sweetwater should be great on new snow days for quick access to friendly Casper blue runs.

 

Thumbs Up Thumbs Up to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for continuing to expand the area.

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