Could New Hampshire’s only aerial tramway be removed and replaced with a gondola? The New Hampshire Bulletin reports that New Hampshire’s state legislature is currently mulling the future replacement of Cannon’s aerial tramway. This process began in 2021, as Cannon Mountain announced that they had begun the planning process for replacing their old tram. It’s reaching the end of its operational life, and finding the parts are difficult.
Those who want a new tramway to replace the old one include the leaders at Cannon Mountain, locals, tourism officials, Brian Wilson, (Director of NH’s Division of Parks and Recreation), and Sarah Stewart (Commissioner of the NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources).
Governor Chris Sununu, who is currently mulling a Presidential run, sent a letter to New Hampshire’s Senate Finance Committee, telling them to consider replacing the tram with a gondola. A portion of that letter is below:
“My office has been working with Commissioner Stewart and the team at the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for nearly two years looking into the cost of replacing the Tram and potential alternative options to reach the summit. Latest estimates indicate replacing the Tram with another Tram may be in excess of $25 million. I urge the committee to consider all options and alternatives including the installation of an 8-10 person gondola that carries numerous benefits over the older tram model.
In addition to the savings on construction cost, a gondola would increase revenue through its ability to bring customers to the summit faster and create a more secure customer experience. Visitors may feel more comfortable in a gondola with 8 to 10 people rather than a tramway car with 70 to 100 people during the height of respiratory illness season in the winter months.”
One of the main questions right now is where these funds would come from for the $25 million project. Throughout the process, state park officials said that the funds could come from the American Rescue Plan, but state lawmakers aren’t sure that it can. While the gondola is cheaper, they would have to replace the towers and other structures to support the gondola. The funding for the replacement will reportedly be announced next week.
Cannon’s lift infrastructure has struggled this season. Their Zoomer Triple chairlift has been closed since January, as it needs various new parts to operate again. They’re aiming to get the lift back open between January 13th and 20th. The Cannonball Quad was also briefly closed due to a maintenance issue in January. This has forced their aerial tramway, which typically only runs during weekends or holiday periods, to operate daily.
With more runtime than what’s typical, the tram’s replacement is becoming a more urgent issue. What do you think is a better replacement: a new tram, or a gondola?
Image Credits: Evan Leith of Unsplash(Featured Image), Cannon Mountain