Aspen's Proposals for Lift 1A
I’m posting this because we in the northeast have a World
Cup (Killington) because Aspen hasn’t updated this lift, 1A (see: 2nd
full para.). The charts from Liftblog.com didn't paste.
third time may be the charm as the Aspen community is set to weigh the future
of the Shadow Mountain lift over the coming months.
November 6th, Aspen residents will vote for Governor, U.S. House, and likely
whether a ski lift should return to the original base of Aspen Mountain.
SE Group and the City of Aspen today posted 61 pages of study on the new Lift One with a focus on
where to site the bottom terminal, a question which has lingered since
1972. Goals include retaining the historic structures of the first Lift
One, threading the needle between two new developments, and improving skier flow.
An aggressive proposed timeline begins Tuesday with review by the City Council
that could culminate with a new gondola-chair combination lift spinning by late
2019. That would be 48 years after a shortened SLI-Riblet double dubbed
1A eliminated easy access for much of the town to Shadow Mountain.
caption) This is primary lift for one of the few World Cup courses in America.
The current lift starts about four towers higher than the
1946 single chair did and, like its predecessor, has reached the end of its
useful life following decades of service. The International Ski
Federation makes no secret the obsolete machine is a big reason
why Aspen does not host World Cup skiing as often as some of its peers.
But things are finally looking up – or actually down. SE
Group analyzed nine chondola, chairlift, surface lift and funicular options and
ones dubbed Option 1 and Option 7 were identified for detailed study that
commenced in February. An A and B variation were added to alternative
number 7, leaving four scenarios in play to bring the lift back into
town. Option 1, shown above, would put the bottom terminal level with
Gilbert Street between the old Lift 1 terminal and the “new” one. Because
of space constraints with Aspen Skiing Company’s preferred Telemix (chondola in
Poma parlance), the lift would likely be a straight gondola or possibly a
detachable chairlift. Skier access from above would be excellent but
the public would have a 40-foot vertical climb to get to the load point
from town. Furthermore, the developer of the proposed Lift One Lodge
would have to give up an entire building worth of units. The historic
lift terminal and remaining towers from the first Lift One could be retained,
which is an important community objective. This is deemed a viable, but
not best option.
That brings us to Option 7, which would allow SkiCo.’s
wished-for chondola with six place chairs and eight place cabins. The
Leitner-Poma lift would load just uphill of the original Lift 1, providing
direct lift access from town and for returning skiers. Lift One Lodge and
Gorsuch Haus developers could retain much of their proposed square
footage. The downsides are the required removal of all three American
Steel & Wire towers, a variance for clearance needed from the Colorado
Passenger Tramway Safety Board, and a longer runout for repeat skiers.
“Assuming there is an acceptable solution to removal of the historic lift
towers, the significance of the advantages identified in this assessment
outweigh the significance of the disadvantages,” the report notes.
7a adds a mid-station that would be up to 170 feet long with the
cool possibility of loading and unloading in both directions near where 1A
loads today. But it would be expensive, require a bunch of earth
work/retaining walls and create a barrier for skiers and pedestrians. The
study recommends removing 7a from further consideration. I guess we may
have to wait a little longer for the first LPA mid-station.
Option 7b moves the bottom terminal even closer to Dean Street
in place of the olive green single chair station, once the gateway to the
longest and fastest chairlift in the world. From 1946 to 1971, the lift
scaled more than 8,500 feet with a beastly 2,560′ vertical. It even had
footrests, safety bars and canvas blankets with a capacity of 275 skiers per
hour. “Lift No. 1 introduced masses of people to the joys, thrills, and
fears of skiing,” Friday’s study proclaims before recommending a Telemix not
supplant what’s left of an icon.
A public open house will be held this Tuesday at noon before the
Aspen City Council dives in that evening. There will be at least three
more hearings over the summer as developers for the Gorsuch Haus and Lift One
Lodge projects will need to make changes to their respective proposals to
accommodate Option 7. The public also must consent to allow the big new
ski lift in a public park.
The community dedicated significant time and money to vet numerous options in a
way few resort towns have. The result is a lift that deserves to win in