GRAND JUNCTION – Welders are happy to show their boss the last piece of a two-year project. The massive steel structure is ready to ship to complete the multi-year construction of one of the country’s largest gondolas, stretching between two resort villages in California’s Palisades Tahoe ski area.
“Check it out. Almost done,” said a welder, flipping his visor back.
“Don’t worry,” says Daren Cole, president of Leitner Poma of America at Grand Junction, “we’ll keep you posted for the next 12 months. Probably longer.
A few years ago, as America’s ski areas moved into high-speed chairlifts, Cole’s Leitner Poma, who joins Austrian Doppelmayr in the country’s duopoly of lift-builders, began planning for its expansion. in urban markets. Like gondolas at baseball stadiums and streetcars in clogged canyons. But then the demand for ski lifts came back in force.
“The whole world is changing,” says Cole, who considers 2021 to be the busiest year for his business. “And next year will be off the charts.”
Between Leitner Poma and Doppelmayr, Cole estimates that next year, $ 300 million in new lifts will be installed in US ski areas.
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