Originally Posted by catskills
I ski in upstate NY and places like Mt snow early season. I know all about putting too many people on the slopes. Again just my opinion, given the size of JH, I don't think JH is any where close to being concerned with too many people on the slopes. If it is too crowded, then just load every other car. Another option, start with 12 (30 passenger cars). If that works out buy another 12 cars. At least you have the option to easily increase lift capacity.
With a traditional 2 car tram you have no other options. You are stuck for another 40 years with your decision.
They're looking at this design as well (which appears to possibly be about the same as the one pictured above):
There are some issues with the amount of space required for both the base and top terminals with these designs. Believe it or not, there is a very limited building envelope for the bottom terminal at JH. That's because the ski corp has sold most of the adjoining property over the years and space is somewhat limited.
Also, the top terminal is a bit touchy because of "ridgetopping". Construction of new facilities on the very summit of public (and private) mountains and ridgetops is getting much more difficult because of environmental concerns about view degredation.
My vague understanding is that the "funitel" lift designs like the ones pictured require quite a lot more in the way of base and top construction.
As to crowding, the current uphill capacity of the tram is somewhere around 250 people per hour. The funitels they are looking at would be around 750-800 per hour. 3x the lift capacity means Rendezvous Bowl and the Hobacks and the backcountry get tracked out three times faster.
Personally, I *really* liked the arrangement this winter. The lift line for the tram was jammed all winter with waits of 30 minutes probably being the average and lines approaching an hour and a half at some points. All those people standing in line weren't crowding up "my" mountain.
I hardly ever rode the tram this winter. Instead, I rode the gondola (seldom a line over 3 minutes), chairs, and Lower Faces. I got more powder skiing in that way than I have in years.
Here's MY nomination for a lift to replace the tram:
Long live the tram.