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Stratton Gondola, WTF?

Newpylong

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I always thought Stratton had a very efficient lift system on paper but in practice it is broken due to relocation of the lifts when the 6 packs went in, and the cripple gondola.

In a perfect world I think the Shooting Star 6 should have never gone in and the Kidderbrook quad replaced with a simple HSQ. Not enough terrain over there to warrant a 6 and then it would run mid-week. I would still even think about doing this in the present, and yanking Shooting Star. It only runs weekends anyway, they could store it or retire it.

The Gondola goes away, replaced with an 8.

With that move, there is no need to replace South American with a HSQ, instead Tamarack is replaced by a HSQ and that really serves more underutilized (beginner) terrain anyway.

Alas, I think it'll stay broken for a while, especially the whole Shooting Star/Kidderbrook debacle.
 

urungus

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Even if it makes sense logistically, I can’t see Stratton doing away with the gondola, it is a signature of the resort and used in many marketing materials.
 

jaytrem

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Even if it makes sense logistically, I can’t see Stratton doing away with the gondola, it is a signature of the resort and used in many marketing materials.
Gondola is also probably slightly more appealing than a bubble for summer use. Was doing good business last time we went in the summer. Lots of people ride up and then do the hike to the fire tower.

If the biggest crowd problem is in the base area, I don't think they have too many options other than adding capacity out of it. Kidderbrook and Tamarack high speeds could draw some people away. But my gut says the gondola and Amex would still be packed. Every other important lift is already a high speed, so not much you can do there.
 

Smellytele

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Even if it makes sense logistically, I can’t see Stratton doing away with the gondola, it is a signature of the resort and used in many marketing materials.
Only rode it once, Some New York couple with Stockli skis and in Bogner rode up with us and they said they loved the gondola and ride it all the time.
 

ss20

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Even if it makes sense logistically, I can’t see Stratton doing away with the gondola, it is a signature of the resort and used in many marketing materials.


Bubble lifts have become flagship lifts, not gondolas. Gondola installs are being regulated to transportation and one-ride trips (Jordanelle at Deer Valley, Whistler's Gondola, etc).
 

ss20

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While we're in Fantasyland, my plan for Stratton: Remove Shooting Star, low capacity HSQ where Kidderbrook was, install a FGQ on Big Ben to replace Solstice. Kidderbrook would take pressure off of Ursa, while a FGQ up Big Ben would make the lift tolerable for beginners and deposit into Tamarack terrain rather than Ursa, which is where people currently taking Solstice would probably like to end up anyway. Only downside is that when Sunrise is down this proposed Big Ben lift would not reach Ursa... not a big deal as Tamarack is going to become a HSQ pretty soon.
 

ColdRain&Snow

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I recall during the kidderbrook lift days there were plans, or rumors of plans, to expand terrain on the other side of upper kidderbrook

Are there any plans to expand there, or on the snowbowl side?
 

Newpylong

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While we're in Fantasyland, my plan for Stratton: Remove Shooting Star, low capacity HSQ where Kidderbrook was, install a FGQ on Big Ben to replace Solstice. Kidderbrook would take pressure off of Ursa, while a FGQ up Big Ben would make the lift tolerable for beginners and deposit into Tamarack terrain rather than Ursa, which is where people currently taking Solstice would probably like to end up anyway. Only downside is that when Sunrise is down this proposed Big Ben lift would not reach Ursa... not a big deal as Tamarack is going to become a HSQ pretty soon.
I like this a lot. The placement of Solstice was a real head scratcher. Wasn't the "Mainline" trail next to Big Ben cut to host a lift?

The Sun Bowl as currently configured is a complete waste of acreage. You essentially only have two routes into the base with snowmaking (excluding Churchhill Downs). Rising Star and Rick's Catch 22 were cut like someone blindfolded just drew a line ona map. It's impossible to get to Big Ben, etc.
 
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skiur

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Bubble lifts have become flagship lifts, not gondolas. Gondola installs are being regulated to transportation and one-ride trips (Jordanelle at Deer Valley, Whistler's Gondola, etc).

Gondola's are still needed at some places for off-season. Killington will let you rent out the peak lodge for parties/weddings. A bubble lift isn't getting people in tux's and wedding dresses up to the top, it's also needed for food and Bev to get up there.
 

drjeff

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I like this a lot. The placement of Solstice was a real head scratcher. Wasn't the "Mainline" trail next to Big Ben cut to host a lift?

The Sun Bowl as currently configured is a complete waste of acreage. You essentially only have two routes into the base with snowmaking (excluding Churchhill Downs). Rising Star and Rick's Catch 22 were cut like someone blindfolded just drew a line ona map. It's impossible to get to Big Ben, etc.

I always got the feeling that when Intrawest went on that 6 pack installation spree at Stratton all those years ago, that it was more of a phase I type plan for the renovation of their lift system, and due to their finacial woes in the subsequent years, they never got around to say phase 2 or phase 3 of making their lift system both logical and functional when it comes to capacity in needed places and ease of access around all parts of the mountain. And as a result, to me atleast, Stratton skis much smaller than it's listed just over 2k vertical feet
 

ne_skier

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Someone made a list here with the completed, modified and outstanding upgrades that were part of the so-called “Ursa Project”. AZ user Masshole knows tons about it.
 

KustyTheKlown

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in my opinion, this is a pretty misleading marketing comm from stratton in the email i jsut got. really underplaying the hard cold.

"You know that sound and texture when your edges carve through freshly groomed snow on a crispy cold day? Well that's what you can expect this weekend. Bring your best layers and maybe have an extra cup of warm coffee in the morning before you hit the slopes. You'll be skiing and riding on 80+ trails including Upper Standard. The snowmakers will be out tonight on 10 trails and the groomers are getting everything in shape for your visit.

Keep an eye on the snow report for the latest trail, lift and operation updates as we head into this weekend."
 

NYDB

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Stratton is the best (or worst) at misleading marketing. I've never seen them mention rain ever in a social media post and there is never rain on their website weather forecast.

and most of the pics they post on social media aren't of current conditions.

but also regarding the cold - by 12pm Saturday it's not bad. Friday is the worst of it - and early Saturday.

If it's running that gondola line is going to be huuuge this Sat.
 

ghughes20

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Stratton condo owner here. The plan for Tamarack, when they replace it, is to put in a quad, probably fixed grip with conveyor belt loading, and follow the same path but discharge higher on the mountain for a better connection to Ursa. This could relieve some pressure from AMAX and Gondi. The plan for a hotel lift would be a small cabriolet lift from the hotel, over the road to either the main base or to Tamarack, or somewhere where you could ski to either. A cabriolet would be easier than building a way to ski back to the hotel over the access near parking lot 1. Nothing is certain, but Tamarack would be the next lift for replacement. Oh, and last Saturday was a nightmare. Most crowded I’ve seen Stratton.
 

ne_skier

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What I've heard is that Tamarack is next to go, although the recent upgrades by Partek and Green Mountain Controls dulled down the speculation. The new lift would either start at its current starting point or start in Lot 1 next to a soon-to-be-built hotel. Both variants would have the lift ending above Grizzly Access, where Tamarack actually originally ended until it was shortened in 2001. I was talking to someone about this a couple years ago and found a possible domino effect - should this lift be high speed, which I think might have originally been the plan, could this lift exacerbate crowding on Ursa, and should Ursa be upgraded capacity-wise, where will these skiers go on an already crowded peak? Perhaps gearing this lift as more of a "regional" lift for people coming out of the hotel and/or skiing the Tamarack terrain albeit with the ability to access Ursa could help minimize this dilemma.
 

ss20

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I would be shocked if Tamarack isn't a high-speed whatever. No it's not a long profile but the recent trend has been to make beginner lifts detachable to allow for easy loading/unloading and prevent frequent stops to keep capacity up. This isn't huge in the East but it is out west, although eastern examples could be Snowshed at Killington and the beginner hsq at SR. A fixed grip quad with a loading carpet sounds is too much of a disaster for lower level skiers.
 

Newpylong

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Agreed, there is no way they put in a 3,000 foot (longer if they extend it in either direction) fixed grip quad given that lifts location. Not conducive to beginners or luring folks from the main base.
 

machski

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Stratton really cannot handle any more traffic at the summit. For the gondola I would renovate it to lower the towers on the upper half so it can run more in the wind. Shooting Star I would remove, and maybe it could be used to replace Tamarack, If not build a new HSQ at Tamarack. I would then build new HSQs to replace Kidderbrook and Solstice. This would spread people out more on the Sunbowl side of the mountain and the Tamarack area which can handle some more traffic. American Express and URSA are probably near replacement age soon, maybe they could become 8 packs, but there really is no capacity increase of an 8 pack vs 6 pack. Plus from my experience at Loon, its rare for an 8 pack to be filled with 8 people.
Do not use Loon as your 8 pack filling gauge. The ski to the back of the barn long after the RFID gates and the 90 degree load F up the loading to capacity. SR's new Jordan 8 fills up much better as a direct, straight uphill load. I think they could change where singles lines merge in to ensure full chairs on busiest days at SR, but the Kanc8 barn thing makes changing the lines up there difficult at best.
 

machski

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Bubble lifts have become flagship lifts, not gondolas. Gondola installs are being regulated to transportation and one-ride trips (Jordanelle at Deer Valley, Whistler's Gondola, etc).
Yes, but not for nothing, Dopp already has D-Line Chondolas out there with 8 pack bubbles and 10 pax cabins. Stratton could do that and pull cabins on forecast high wind days.

Regardless, I do not see Alterra making large scale changes at Stratton before they make large scale lift changes at Tremblant. Tremblant needs a ton of lift upgrades. That place should have 4 Sixes at a minimum too.
 
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