In Brief: Supply-chain woes with chairlifts; holiday city/town closures | AspenTimes.com
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In Brief: Supply-chain woes with chairlifts; holiday city/town closures

Staff Report

Supply chain woes slow down new chairlifts

The pandemic has passed. Workers are lined up. The snow has piled up early. The vacationers are primed. The path is set for resorts to enjoy a bountiful holiday ski season and set the pace for yet another banner year for the resort industry. 

But, just like the inherent risks in the sport of skiing, there’s always something unexpected for the resort industry. This year, it’s chairlifts.

A global supply-chain breakdown has left resorts waiting for parts and supplies for new lifts. Chairlift makers are racing to keep up with the busiest year ever for new lift installations and replacements. And, early snow has challenged crews working alongside skiers to finish projects. 



Only about 35 of the 60 new and replaced lifts planned for the 2022-23 ski season in North America are ready for skiers.

“The lift situation is definitely unique this year,” said Peter Landsman, the Wyoming chairlift savant who has visited every aerial tramway in the U.S. and tracks new lift construction at his Liftblog.com




The Colorado Sun.

Thumbs down on delayed Roaring Fork school starts

The Roaring Fork School District will not implement an optional delayed start for future snow days, after results of a parent and staff survey were unfavorable.

The district, which includes public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, and Basalt, had considered joining the neighboring Garfield Re-2 and Aspen districts in using the delayed start option on wintery days when the roads are slick instead of taking a full day off.

The idea was that, on certain days, the roads may be unsafe early in the morning when buses normally run their routes, but that conditions often improve by mid-morning.

After a little over 2,100 responses were received to the survey, however, the decision was made to not implement the change when school resumes in January after the holiday break, said Jeff Gatlin, chief of operations for the district.  

“We got a lot of good feedback, and we certainly appreciated that,” he said. “There was a tremendous amount of concern from families who don’t use the bus about getting their children to school on those days.”

The other concern was that the delayed start could increase the demand for students to take the bus when buses are already operating at capacity and with difficulties hiring new drivers, he said.

Garfield County offices close for holidays

All Garfield County offices of elected officials and county administrative departments are closed Friday and Monday, Dec. 23 and 26, and again on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, for the winter holidays. Staff functions that serve the community in emergency or 24-hour capacities remain in operation, as needed, and administrative offices of such departments are closed. 

The Rifle Garfield County Airport is open for general aviation, weather permitting, although the airport’s administrative offices are closed. Anyone needing assistance at this time can call 970-230-1685.

Roaring Fork Conservancy offers lower basin presentation

Roaring Fork Conservancy will host a presentation on a lower basin perspective of the Colorado River on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, from 5-6:30 p.m. at Basalt Regional Library.

Former Director of Phoenix Water Kathryn Sorensen will discuss how shortages on the Colorado River impact cities, tribes, and agriculture in central Arizona, how the largest cities in Arizona manage their water resources, and how Arizona will continue to write its water future.

Sorensen, Ph.D., is the director of research and professor of practice at The Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University. She served for many years as Director of Phoenix Water Services as well as Director of the City of Mesa Water Resources Department.

This program is part of Roaring Fork Conservancy’s Brooksher Watershed Institute, whose presentations address water issues. They discuss the most current water-related issues at the local, state, and regional leve, and provide opportunities for one-on-one dialogue with these water leaders.

This free program is offered in partnership with Basalt Regional Library. Registration is required at http://www.roaringfork.org/events

Eagle County offices to close for holidays

Eagle County government offices, including the Avon and El Jebel satellite offices, will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26, and Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, for the holidays. All county offices and facilities will resume regular hours on the Tuesday following each holiday. 

The landfill and all related facilities will also be closed on Monday, Dec. 26. The landfill will re-open at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday following the holiday closure. The Household Hazardous Waste Facility and Material Recovery Facility will re-open at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday following the holiday closure. The landfill, Household Hazardous Waste, and Material Recovery Facility will be open during regular business hours on Monday, Jan. 2. 

Blue Sky Basin opens this week

Vail Mountain on Monday began running the Skyline Express chairlift, along with Pete’s Express, opening the beloved Blue Sky Basin area to skiers and snowboarders for the 2022-23 season.

While Earl’s Express was not running, the terrain in Earl’s Bowl — including runs like In the Wuides and Montane Glade — was open, as well, with the long skate down Kelly’s Toll Road taking skiers and snowboarders back to Skyline Express from the bottom of Earl’s Bowl.

Vail Mountain, in the last week, also opened a portion of the Back Bowls for the season, with China Bowl, Teacup Bowl, and Sun Up Bowl opening during Vail’s 60th anniversary celebration on Thursday. The large terrain openings doubled the amount of available terrain previously open at Vail, and the mountain is now claiming 73% open terrain.

Heavenly starts up upgraded chairlift

A new, upgraded chairlift at Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe that officials say will increase uphill capacity and reduce wait times at other lifts opened on Monday.

North Bowl Express, a new, high-speed detachable 4-person chair that replaced a fixed-grip 3-person chair, is expected to improve uphill capacity by more than 40% and reduce wait times at the Stagecoach and Olympic lifts. The lift will also provide better access to some less used terrain at the resort. 

The project took a little over a year from approval to loading the public on it Monday. 

Charging your vehicle in Frisco will come with a fee

The town of Frisco will implement a 25-cent per kilowatt-hour fee for the use of town-owned electric vehicle charging stations beginning in the new year.

Frisco has installed five dual-port charging stations since 2019, and the intent has always been to transition the stations to fee-based usage after an initial promotional period, according to a news release from the town.

The fee revenue will be used to cover the cost of the charging stations, including utility costs and network subscription fees, according to the release. Any additional revenue will go toward maintenance of the charging stations and staff time to respond to customer inquiries and coordinate with the charging station contractor.

After four hours, an overstay fee of $20 per hour — with a maximum of $50 — will also apply in order to promote turnover at the charging stations and allow others to charge their vehicles, the release states.

Skier rescued after he gets lost at Alpine Meadows

Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue volunteers and local law enforcement were recently brought a lost skier out of the backcountry and back to safety.

Placer County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report from Alpine Meadows at around 8:50 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, regarding a missing skier and soon had teams from Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue and Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol aiding in the rescue.

The missing skier’s vehicle was still in the parking lot, according to law-enforcement officials, and he did not have his cell phone with him. With winds blowing up to 100 miles per hour, the lost skier’s tracks were mostly covered, said law-enforcement officials. By around 9:30 p.m., volunteers from Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue were called out to aid in the search.

“In Tahoe, if you drop over the crest behind Palisades or Alpine, you will be heading down into a zone called Hellhole,” said Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue staff in their social-media post. “It is a very long ways away, and then we have to hike all the way back up to the crest and into the Lake Tahoe Basin. Following your own tracks back up was the correct decision in this scenario.”

Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue team members added that traveling downhill off the Sierra Crest naturally funnels lost individuals toward Sacramento, which has led to long searches in the past, as volunteers attempted to track down individuals moving downhill.

After making contact with the missing skier, rescue teams and the lost individual snowshoed for several hours to reach the ridge near Grouse Rock.

“We then had a lovely ski down, where all of us left the woods smiling and happy to be safe before the big storm,” concluded Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue in its social-media post.

The lost person has been an “avid skier for the past 40 years,” according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

Biomass plant gets funding at Lake Tahoe

Placer County has been awarded $2 million in grant funding from Cal Fire to develop the Cabin Creek biomass facility in North Lake Tahoe.

“Thank you, Cal Fire. Keeping our Tahoe forest safe and healthy is paramount,” said Placer County Board of Supervisors Chair and District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “This funding gets us closer to our goal, which can’t happen soon enough.”

Biomass facilities can create renewable energy by burning wood scraps left over from forestry operations or residential defensible space clearing, helping remove a hazardous source of fuel for wildfires. They also generate heat and a byproduct called biochar that could be used as fertilizer and in water filtration processes.

A recent study, conducted by the North Tahoe Truckee Biomass Task Force with funding from the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation and its member agencies, also affirmed the need for additional biomass facilities in the region.

Parking issues in Park City

The Park City Police Department since the middle of December has responded to numerous complaints about parking — an indication that crowds are arriving with the ski season at Park City Mountain, Deer Valley Resort is underway, and the holidays approaching.

The Police Department regularly is told of parking issues during busy times. The largest of the expected holiday crowds typically do not arrive until after Christmas, but there has appeared to be a marked increase in traffic and pedestrians in recent days.

The parking issues appeared to be similar to those traditionally reported during busy times, but they occurred toward the beginning of a ski season that Park City leaders are attempting to more strictly manage after widespread complaints about the impacts of crowds during the 2021-2022 ski season.

Park City boosts affordable housing

The Park City Council has given the green light to a development next to Utah Film Studios at Quinn’s Junction that will have 185 rental units of workforce housing and 100 market-rate residential units.

The project, called Studio Crossing, also will have 60,000 square feet of commercial space. The developer, Quinn Capital Partners LLC, plans to include recreational amenities and paths with pocket parks throughout the site.

City councilors voted 3-2 on Dec. 15 to approve the plan. The studio, which previously was called Park City Film Studios, was built under a 2012 development agreement that also proposed a media campus, a 100-room hotel, an amphitheater and commercial space. Only Phase 1 — which includes sound stages, a workshop, and production offices — has been constructed, according to a Park City staff report.

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