Busier-than-ever year for chairlift maker reveals strength of nation’s resort industry | SkyHiNews.com

Busier-than-ever year for chairlift maker reveals strength of nation’s resort industry

Ski resorts big and small are ordering new chairlifts, marking a record year for Grand Junction’s Leitner Poma

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
Aerial lift sheaves inside Leitner-Poma’s 90,000-square-foot facility in Grand Junction on Dec. 20, 2021.
Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun

GRAND JUNCTION — The welders are happy to show their boss the final piece of what’s been a two-year project. The massive steel structure is ready for shipping to finish off the multi-year construction of one of the largest gondolas in the country, stretching between two resort villages at California’s Palisades Tahoe ski area.

“Check it out. Almost done,” says a welder, tipping back his visor.

“Don’t worry,” says Daren Cole, the president of Grand Junction’s Leitner Poma of America, “we will keep you backed up for the next 12 months. Probably longer.”

A few years ago, as American ski areas settled into high-speed chairlifts, Cole’s Leitner Poma, which joins Austria’s Doppelmayr in the country’s duopoly of lift builders, started planning expansion into urban markets. Like gondolas to ballparks and trams up clogged canyons. But then demand for ski lifts came roaring back.

“The whole world is changing,” says Cole, who counts 2021 as his company’s busiest year. “And next year will be off the charts.”

Between Leitner Poma and Doppelmayr, Cole estimates next year will see $300 million in new lifts installed at U.S. ski areas.

For more on this story, go to coloradosun.com.

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