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Jackson Hole Tram: 1966-2006... Rest in Peace

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Yesterday was the last day for the Jackson Hole aerial tram to carry skiers during the official ski season. It's a really sad thing to see those little boxes, which have meant so much to me and literally millions of other skiers, be retired. Some sort of replacement should be announced within the next few months, but for right now the tram is dead. Long live the tram.

Here's the tram rising above Laramie Bowl cliffs:





Here's a shot of my favorite ski run at JH. This is Insomnia, one of the Expert Chutes, looking down as we cross it in the tram. I like this shot because the shadow in the lower right of this photo is our tram car:




Here's a shot near the top station. The Grand Teton is in the background:






And here's the LAST tram car to carry lift-ticketed skiers pulling away from the base. It's been a tradition for years to pelt the last car with snowballs and this year it got absolutely plastered.




A very fun day but also a sad one.
post #2 of 28

Thanks, Bob

Wow, we were fortunate to be at Jackson Hole this year for the first time and made it a point to ride the Tram because we knew we'd never get the chance again. I took some pictures, but I like yours alot better. It is sad, but I would be satisfied just to be able to go to Jackson Hole again next year. We loved the town, the ski resort, and the mountains!
post #3 of 28
Very evocative photos, Bob. Thank you very much for sharing that sad news.

I never made it there, but fellow British ski writers rate Jackson Hole very highly.

When you say it's the last day the tram runs in the official ski season, do you mean a few other skiers may sneak a ride in retirement?

How come the resort is closing so early in April? Is Easter not big for trade over there? In Europe the higher resorts will do boom business over the 15/16 April weekend - and the weeks surrounding it.
post #4 of 28
So Bob,

The rumor going around the Wasatch recently was that the Tram would still be open for the patrol to do their control work next year, making 1 or 2 runs a day, as necessary. Can you confirm or deny that rumor?

L
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Goldsmith
...

When you say it's the last day the tram runs in the official ski season, do you mean a few other skiers may sneak a ride in retirement?

...
It's a little complicated. The "official" closing date is the end of this September, so they will be running the tram for summer sightseeing from Memorial Day through the end of September. It is "legal" during the summer to bring skis up the tram as long as you do your skiing outside the resort boundaries. That's not lift-ticketed skiing however. Yesterday was the end of the 05/06 ski season and so that photo shows the final trip of the tram to carry skiers with lift tickets during a ski season.

Just to confuse it further, the ski area runs an "employee appreciation day" on the day after the area closes. Ski area employees are allowed to ski that day. I am, in fact, on my way out the door right now to go take advantage of that little perc.

More later.
post #6 of 28
I love the pic with the tram getting pelted with snow!!! That must have been a fun day!

why does JH close so early?
post #7 of 28
Bob, why is the resort closing so soon. I imagine you still have lots of snow there.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mances00
Bob, why is the resort closing so soon. I imagine you still have lots of snow there.
I was wondering the same thing. Closing down? Wow...

We are in the middle of a 60 inch dump and closing day is now pegged for sometime in July.

I Hope you get a new tram soon and some later closing dates.
post #9 of 28
JH closes because of federal regulations

its in Grand Teton NATIONAL park, so the govt really regulates when its open and when its not

mostly due to elk migrations to be more specific
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
The answer on the closing date is a little misleading. stonedhero's answer is close, although the ski area itself is not located inside Grand Teton National Park but rather on the boundary of it.

The opening and closing dates are stipulated in the ski corp's lease with the US Forest Service. There's been a long-lived rumor that the dates were a result of elk migrations that take place across a portion of the permit area.

The truth is that the ski corp could request a later closing date if they wanted to and it would very likely be approved by the Forest Service. The ski corp does NOT choose to request a later closing date because no one ever comes here to ski after the beginning of April so there's no financial incentive for the ski corp to stay open.

Americans in general simply do not plan destination ski vacations after the first of April. I think that's completely nuts, but there you have it.

Unlike many of the larger ski resorts around Colorado, Utah, and California, we have no population center of any sort to funnel day skiers to our mountain. The JH ski resort has tried mid-April closings in the past and has learned that while they have hundreds and hundreds of skiers every day, nearly ALL of them are season-passholders. That translates into almost no incremental revenue for the ski area while still having to provide all the services they do during the "regular" season.

It just breaks your heart to see skiing as good as we have right now and no one here to enjoy it. This past week has been some of the very best skiing of the year and this coming week is forecast to have lots more snow.

If more people would come, the ski corp would stay open longer.

Go figure.

(one other thing... does anybody know why I don't have an "edit" button available to me for my original post in this message? It's got a typo that I would like to correct but I can't get into the edit page. )
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie
So Bob,

The rumor going around the Wasatch recently was that the Tram would still be open for the patrol to do their control work next year, making 1 or 2 runs a day, as necessary. Can you confirm or deny that rumor?

L
Well, I can certainly confirm the fact that the rumor does exist.

It has started to appear more and more likely that the tram will NOT operate for the public in any way next season. There have been persistent rumors that there might be "special status" rides available to guided clients or visiting dignitaries or whatnot. That possibility is sounding less likely all the time.

I HAVE heard that they will probably use the tram (as you suggest) on a limited basis for snow control when necessary. How much and under what circumstances may have already been decided by the powers that be but I'm not one of those powers so I don't know. At some point, however, that tram is going to be decommissioned and the towers will be removed. My guess is that the old towers will not start to come down until the summer of 2007, but what do I know?

There's no question that if/when a new tram is built, there is going to be at least one and maybe two ski seasons when there is no single-ride access to the top of the mountain. How they handle snow control when that happens will be an interesting thing to see.

There's always plenty of controversy around here. Makes for an "intellectually stimulating" environment.
post #12 of 28
Another shining example of why Bob Peters is on my must read "A" list...perhaps the finest poster on epicski....I never miss a post. The Alaska stuff last week was soooo good.

Thanks Bob.

Season over for me....

out till November.

cheers
post #13 of 28
Never got to know/see you .. but.. R.I.P. Jackson Hole Tram
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
(one other thing... does anybody know why I don't have an "edit" button available to me for my original post in this message? It's got a typo that I would like to correct but I can't get into the edit page. )
Yes, one thing you missed while you were in Alaska, was the mods (and there are so many new ones), changed the time you have to edit your posts to 1 hour. It used to be 48 hours, but apparently some folks were being quoted and then changing content in the original posts which led to loss of meaning in those threads.

If you need to fix a typo, shoot a PM to one of the mods and they can take care of it.

L
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
(one other thing... does anybody know why I don't have an "edit" button available to me for my original post in this message? It's got a typo that I would like to correct but I can't get into the edit page. )
Bob, you can PM any of the moderators, and they say will make the edit for you. They changed the site to only allow edits within 60 minutes of a post. The idea being to retain integrity in some of the fast moving and controversial threads. There have been some discussions and objections in the supporter lounge you might want to weigh in on.

We will have a number of our ski areas close about April 16. Others will continue on, at least on weekends through Memorial day. Its economics here as well, but April 1 seems like a very early closing-date. In the words of the immortal AT skier:

"Lifts? We don't need no stink'in lifts! Vamanos muchachos!"

Thanks for the updates and nice pictures of the big day.
post #16 of 28
I am going to be optomistic and say that in 3 years there will a another "ahead of the curve" lift to the top. There are some pretty amazing options out there.
post #17 of 28
Hi Bob,

Do you know why the tram is being retired? I know it's pretty old -- did it reach the end of it's safe design life? Or was there some other incentive to replace it with a new tram?

Craig
post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219
Hi Bob,

Do you know why the tram is being retired? I know it's pretty old -- did it reach the end of it's safe design life? Or was there some other incentive to replace it with a new tram?

Craig
Hi, Craig.

Yes, it's reached the end of its design life. The owners have been unable to find engineering consultants who will certify that all of the components are safe. In addition, upgrading pieces of it at a time looks like a nickel-and-dime black hole.

No incentive (although they tried hard to attract some) beyond a concern that it might fall down with 50+ people on it sometime.
post #19 of 28
Here is another JH tram photo I have always liked. Sorry for the quality as it is a scan from an old newspaper.
525x525px-LL-vbattach572.jpg
post #20 of 28
Jackson hole has posted a VIDEO of the last tram. Lots of great shots of people getting clobbered with snowballs, and backslapping Corbets . Worth a look.
post #21 of 28
Cirque, that video made me laugh out loud! Thanks for sharing the link!
post #22 of 28
Very Cool Cirque!!! Thanks for the link
post #23 of 28
The Tram! After seeing pictures and video's of the tram for decades it was almost surreal last year to be there and see it all the time. I was delighted when the ski patroller on the Tram had the announcement just like in the movie, "The High Life" Of course we could not leave without the tram leaving its mark on us. My daughter feinted on the tram from the altitude. Its one of her favorite stories these days. That was the one day she was in ski school. Nothing like sitting at lunch drinking a beer and hearing on your walkie talkie, "This is the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol, we are looking for Alan:". She was fine however. The good thing was the Ski Patrol sent us a card after with all of them in front of the tram:
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfonse
The Tram! After seeing pictures and video's of the tram for decades it was almost surreal last year to be there and see it all the time. I was delighted when the ski patroller on the Tram had the announcement just like in the movie, "The High Life" Of course we could not leave without the tram leaving its mark on us. My daughter feinted on the tram from the altitude. Its one of her favorite stories these days. That was the one day she was in ski school. Nothing like sitting at lunch drinking a beer and hearing on your walkie talkie, "This is the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol, we are looking for Alan:". She was fine however. The good thing was the Ski Patrol sent us a card after with all of them in front of the tram:
Great story!

You're right, riding the tram was surreal because it's so famous and an integral part of the Jackson Hole experience. Oh jeez, now I'm gonna get all teary and that video made me laugh and feel good and everything! I'm such a GIRL! :

Thatsagirl
post #25 of 28
Glad I can say that yes, I rode the tram when I skied the big one.
post #26 of 28
Thanks for the video! For the first time in 10 years since I returned back to New England I felt REALLY homesick.The in your face photos of my old photog cohort Bob Woodall was a pleasant surprise.

Glad to see they are still not doing any drinking or drugs in the valley.
post #27 of 28
That's not a tram, it's a cable car. These are trams:

http://vbz.ch/vbz_opencms/opencms/vb...ams/index.html



<ducks and runs>
post #28 of 28
I guess we are one of the "chosen", WE RODE THE TRAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2002 I believe.

Thanks JH, and Mr. Peters.

Another fond memory was the Kid's ski school, probably the best for our then not quite 3 yo boy.

All the best!
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