Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Lifts Change Face of Leading Ski Resorts

What a difference a week makes, as five new or reopened lifts in Europe and North America have meant some big changes to some of the world’s leading ski areas, at a combined price tag of more than 100 million Euros.
In the US, Jackson Hole has finally unveiled its larger and faster replacement to its iconic red cable car (or ‘tram’ as this type of lift is called in North America), the 100 passenger lift (tramformation) began what will no doubt be many more decades of service, two years after the original lift was closed.
To the north the Peak2Peak gondola at Whistler finally opened after months of hype, connecting the resorts two mountains at altitude for the first time at a cost of more than $50m. The new gondola goes higher above a valley floor and travels further between support towers than any lift of its type before and has two cabins with glass floors sop that you can get the full effect if you wish.
In Europe the new gondola connecting Westendorf to the SkiWelt region, and thus the Skiwelt to Kitzbuhel’s ski area, is now in service opening up more than 400km (250 miles) of more-r-less lift-linked skiing, arguable making it one of the five largest lift-linked ski areas in the world, and certainly one of the ten largest.
In France the famous double-decker Vanoise Express recommenced operations with new haul ropes a year after closing when a routine safety checked highlighted potential problems. To celebrate the giant Paradiski ski area that joins La Plagne and Les Arcs, another world top five contender, offered free upgrades to holders of La Plagne and Les Arcs only tickets to allow them to use the famous lift without needing to pay the usual Paradiski premium.