Over the offseason, Indy Pass partner Eaglecrest Ski Area acquired a pulse gondola from an Austrian ski resort. In September, the gondola arrived after a relatively challenging process of getting the funding from the City of Juneau, which owns the ski area, along with shipping it all the way from Europe to Alaska.
A couple of weeks ago, Dave Scanlan, who is the General Manager of Eaglecrest, detailed in a blog post on how the new lift will change the guest experience, and what the timeline is for its opening.
The base terminal will be situated near the bottom of Hooter lift and behind the Tower Bar Tent. A mid-station for loading and unloading will be located below the Avalanche Beacon Park and the Raven trail. The top terminal will be located at the summit of Stairway to Heavenly on Pitman’s Ridge, which is currently only accessible by hiking to it.
The lift is a pulse gondola, with four pods of three cabins, meaning that they’re twelve cabins overall. Each gondola pod will arrive every three and a half minutes, and each section can hold a maximum of forty-five guests. This setup allows for the cabins to be enclosed in the terminal buildings each night, protecting them from the elements.
For this winter, various projects will be done to accelerate the process. The SCJ Alliance will be refurbishing the motor and gearbox, while other new components (haul rope and electrical control system) will be sourced for the gondola. Additionally, the gondola cabins will be refurbished with new windows, paint, and Eaglecrest-themed graphics. By early January, they are hoping to finalize a Request for Proposals (RFP) to allow Eaglecrest to find a contractor and source materials for the construction process.
Funding for the construction of the gondola is another upcoming hurdle. Discussions are ongoing with the Goldbelt Corporation for building the gondola, summit lodge, and other planned summer attractions. During the 2023 offseason, they are aiming to begin work on constructing the lift tower foundations.
Eaglecrest’s goal is to have the gondola completed during the summer of 2024. They want to finish it earlier, but they are trying to be realistic based on the current supply-chain hurdles that the world has faced over the past couple of years. When it eventually opens, the gondola will help Eaglecrest become a year-round destination.
Image Credits: Eaglecrest Ski Area