Loon Chondola

No Loon hasn’t announced plans to replace the gondi. Tom
wants to upgrade it. At least in my mind. Now being built in 1988, it’s a
stretch to put much into it. But I’m having a little fun. So, what would it
take to make it a 4/4 chondola? My intent is to boost its modest capacity and
do it for under $1 million. I’m clearly ignorant of some of the engineering
issues. Hopefully a few SJers can chime in.

 

I’m thinking of doubling the 1000 pph capacity by adding used
HSQ chairs. If used 4 passenger gondi cabins are available, that would be better.
But I’m sure many chairs are available. A thicker/stronger haul rope is needed.
Killington may have a perfect fit available this summer. It would have to be
lengthened by 500’. I’m assuming gondi and chairs grips can be adjusted to accommodate
a slightly thicker cable. Also, I assume the equipment moving the carriers
through both terminals will fit. That’s the easy/cheap part. From here on, any
of the follow issues will making “building new” more realistic. Current sheaves
and bullwheels will have to accommodate a greater diameter haul rope. Also,
existing towers, perhaps with a few additions, must have the capacity to
support the greater weight. I know that at least one of the current 22 towers was
an addition to the original gondi towers.

 

Assuming a greater horse power drive motor would be needed, perhaps
a rebuilt one could be installed. Some electrical work would be necessary. The
final big issue is tension/support. Even if the larger cable could fit in the bullwheels
grooves, could the wheels and their supports handle the greater weight and
tension? If not, new wheels and stronger supports systems would be expensive.

 

Now after all that, another idea just came to mind. Loon
could buy Killington’s old cabins and haul rope. All the fit and support issues
still exist. However, changes to the terminals areas to accommodate skiers/riders
using chairs (I think simple) wouldn’t be needed. A 4/4 chondola would be
unique. However, buying Killington’s cabins or finding more used cabins would be
a simpler way to boost capacity.

               

                                                      cap. pph        vert        length   hp     speed  
 cabins    towers

Loon Doppelmayr  1988                 1000       1738       6970       500         1000       71           22

K-1               Poma   1997                 2800       1642       6454       800         1000                       24

Comments

  • Why does everyone want to change the Loon Gondola?  I like it at 4, have people stand in line at the bottom not on the trails.  There are secondary ways to access those trails, not so on Killington peak.  Don't want to take your skis off go by chair.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong,NJ
  • I agree with Alex.  I like the gondola the way it is.  And it's at its best during cold or wet days. A chondola would take away half of that benefit. 

    (I also think chondolas are the worst invention in ski lift history. But that's just me.)
  • I agree with Alex.  I like the gondola the way it is.  And it's at its best during cold or wet days. A chondola would take away half of that benefit. 


    (I also think chondolas are the worst invention in ski lift history. But that's just me.)
    I've only ridden on a weekday, no lines, so it was ok with me.  I've heard it's dreadful on weekends, and if you look at that capacity comparison it explains why.

    Only chondola I've been on is Sunday River.  Besides it looking odd when a chair follows a bubble, I think it's a pretty effective lift -- if there's a line on one, I just go to the other.  I like it, but not passionate about it or anything.  

  • edited April 30
    Okay so love the thought, but I know too much about this situation to think that it is even remotely possible. How are you going to load chair inside the base lodge as the gondi is currently designed? You are looking at major base lodge reconstruction at this point. The summit station really would not be an issue except for a little bit here and there to widen the exit enough for a cat to get in there to make unloading ramp.

    Realistically your options are somewhat limited here. Doing almost anything at all is going to be almost a fully new install from the ground up because when the gondi went in they already got away with reusing some bits of the original, but the lift is just about to go into year 30 of service. This is a lift that has seen A LOT of hours because of the busy summer operations and foliage season meaning it runs full time except for maybe 8 weeks a year. They really do need to do something soon for capacity though because on the weekends the only lift that is worse is the Bluebird at Snow. 

    How about a high speed quad to replace 7 Brothers? I'm thinking of Stratton and how they use AmEx to Ursa to alleviate the gondola. Here you would could do an slightly extended 7 Bros, take The Link or Rolling Bear to North Peak or East Basin. You can even get over to Adams Base from the top of this new 7 brothers. Maybe do a cabin refresh/refurb on the gondola and walla you've solved your problem for price of a hs quad and not a new gondi.

    EDIT: Upon doing a little research East Basin must be up for replacement in the next 5-10 years as well because it's going into it's 50th year of service. Move and refurb the 1985 built 7 brothers to replace and upgrade capacity on East Basin.
  • Sully said:

    How about a high speed quad to replace 7 Brothers? I'm thinking of Stratton and how they use AmEx to Ursa to alleviate the gondola. Here you would could do an slightly extended 7 Bros, take The Link or Rolling Bear to North Peak or East Basin. You can even get over to Adams Base from the top of this new 7 brothers. Maybe do a cabin refresh/refurb on the gondola and walla you've solved your problem for price of a hs quad and not a new gondi.
    Much better idea.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • edited April 30
    As is it would only come in about 300 vert shy of the Kanc. I grew up riding WV and Loon most weekends, but it's been two years since I was last there so I can't remember just how easy it would be to extend 7 Brothers, but if memory serves correctly I think it would easy enough to go across Grand Junction and just above where Rolling Bear/Bear Pause break off. Of course now the problem becomes Grand Junction's traffic and adding more to that. If it was allowed by the Forest Service you would like to cut a trail to looker's left down into Bear Pause to keep some people off Junction.

    Edit: Quickly looking at some pics online of the cabins and the weight limit is 707lbs. How often do 4 190lb people, aka regular sized American men, get on this thing and go over the limit. At least the manufacturer builds in some extra wiggle room I'm sure.  
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