Back in July, Cannon Mountain announced that their aerial tram was reaching the end of its operational life. Three options were proposed: tearing down the structures and building a new gondola in its place, renovating the tram, or putting a new aerial tram in its place. Last Friday night, Cannon Mountain held a meeting to discuss their options with the public. According to the Union Leader, an overwhelming majority at the event placed their supports towards a new tram. When a straw poll asked whether people would prefer a tram or gondola, no one voted for the gondola.
While a gondola would be flashier, it’s not exactly the perfect solution for the space. For one, the aerial tram isn’t exactly lapable. The few trails that provide direct access to it are rarely open, and getting to it from Zoomer requires skating through a long and flat catwalk trail. Gondolas are also more susceptible to wind holds, which is a common issue at Cannon due to the mountain’s unique characteristics. The gondola terminals may run at a lower elevation than the current trams, which would provide less spectacular views than its predecessor. The only positive from the gondola is that it could bring two to five times more people than Cannon’s current aerial tram.
So with the public meeting, it now looks like a tram overhaul or replacement are the options going forward. The following parts of the tram need to be replaced in the next five years: the tram cars(aptly named ketchup and mustard), “the hangar arms, carriage trolleys, electromechanical components, and motor-and-breaking systems.” The funding for the tram will come from the nearly $1 billion dollars the state of New Hampshire got from the American Rescue Plan. An overhaul will cost $15 million, while a complete replacement will cost $25-30 million. Doppelmayr met with Cannon on Monday to discuss the next steps in the tram replacement process. If funding for the project is approved by the state, construction will begin either in 2023 or 2024.Image Credits: Cannon Mountain