Rico Wehrli (Sales & Marketing) has been with CWA for more than 25 years now and in that function he has a long track record of success on the US market. The CWA man says: “We have been active on the American market since 1964 and in that time have produced numerous cabins for jigbacks and gondola lifts as well as cars for funiculars, monorails and shuttles, including the first open 4-seater gondolas for the Skyfari Aerial Tram (1969) at San Diego Zoo (CA), the monorail at Newark Airport (1994) in New Jersey and the DCC Shuttles built in Las Vegas (1999/2008) in Nevada.” US ski resorts tend to be closely connected to the real estate business and were accordingly affected by the real estate crisis. But the market started to recover a few years ago and that is again reflected in growing volumes of orders for cars and cabins for ropeway installations. In 2015, for example, CWA supplied the gondolas for two ropeways, while this year two ski resorts and a zoo have already chosen CWA for its proven ropeway carrier competence and system solutions.
Park City, UT (2015)
Opened in December 2015, Vail Resorts’ Quicksilver detachable gondola lift connects the two ski areas Canyons Resort in Park City and Park City Mountain Resort to create the biggest ski resort in the United States. The contract for the design and construction of the ropeway was once again awarded to the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, to which CWA is affiliated. A special feature of the Quicksilver lift is the angled mid station with its three bullwheels, which gives access to new terrain for skiers and snowboarders. The Quicksilver 8-passenger gondola lift has a line length of 2,396 m and a rated capacity of 1,500 pph. Passengers can now ride in comfort from one ski area to the other in 61 OMEGA IV-8 LWI (level walk-in) gondolas with padded seats. With its spacious design and wide range of options, this CWA gondola is a highly popular choice worldwide.
Lutsen Mountains, Minnesota (2015)
In the 2015/16 winter season, the famous Lutsen Mountains ski resort on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota also opened a new 8-passenger gondola lift supplied by the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group. It is a replacement for an older gondola lift and is used for both winter and summer operations. In winter it serves as a feeder lift and repeat ride system. For the 24 gondolas, the choice again fell on CWA’s OMEGA IV-8 LWI, in this case with hinged windows front and rear to ensure adequate ventilation for passengers in hot weather. The system has a rated capacity of 1,000 pph, which minimizes the wait in the terminals.
Albuquerque, New Mexico (2016)
Rico Wehrli: “This year we were able to supply the third generation of CWA reversible ropeway cabins for the Sandia Peak Tramway. The first generation was delivered in 1966 and the second in 1986. The long-standing trust placed in us by the Abruzzo family is something we really appreciate. The two new KRONOS cabins have a capacity of 55 + 1 persons and detachable underfloor water tanks, which are used to supply water to the mountain lodge. The cabins are an aesthetic design with modern looks and have been finished in the same colors as their predecessors, i.e. one in red and the other in blue. The interiors are a functional and vandal-proof design. The attendant’s stand communicates fully with the passenger area.”
The Sandia Peak Tramway runs from the lower terminal at 1,999 m above sea-level on the northeastern fringe of Albuquerque to Sandia Peak at 3,316 m, where there is a viewing platform offering outstanding views of the Rio Grande Valley. With a line length of 4,467 m, the reversible aerial tramway is the second longest single-stage passenger ropeway in the world. The line has a maximum height above ground of 274 m. The ropeway, which offers a ride time of about 15 minutes, is operated in both summer and winter. At the beginning of May, the Sandia Peak Tramway celebrated its jubilee. Among other things, the Abruzzo family also runs the Santa Fe ski resort, which is located at 3,680 m above sea-level high above the historic center of Santa Fe, the capital of the US state of New Mexico.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming (2016)
Jackson Hole in the US state of Wyoming is an enclosed valley in the Rocky Mountains. The ski area is located near Teton Village on the edge of the Grand Teton National Park, 12 miles northwest of the cowboy city of Jackson. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers a varied range of trails and is particularly popular with freestylers. The exciting 100 + 1 passenger VAROS reversible tramway cabins delivered in 2008 and the gondolas for another circulating ropeway were also supplied by CWA, and the Swiss company is currently producing 48 OMEGA IV-8-LWI gondolas for the new 8-passenger Sweetwater Gondola, which is being built by the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group for the upcoming winter season as a replacement for the Eagle’s Rest and Sweetwater chairlifts. The new gondola will operate with an initial transport capacity of 1,600 pph, increasing to 2,000 pph in the final development stage, and will provide novice skiers and snowboarders especially with convenient access to a varied practice area.
Oakland Zoo, California (2016)
The city of Oakland in California lies on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. Knowland Park occupies some 212 hectares of land in the southeast of the city and is the location of Oakland Zoo, which opened in 1939. The zoo, which is owned by the Municipality of Oakland and run by the East Bay Zoological Society, is currently working on the California Trail, an additional area on the mountain behind the bison enclosure, which is due to open in 2017. The project includes an 8-passenger gondola lift to take visitors from the main grounds of the zoo to the California Trail, and this is currently being built by the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group. When it is finished, the lift will carry up to a thousand visitors an hour over the animal enclosures to the top terminal, which will include a visitor center and mountain-top restaurant. Rico Wehrli explains: “CWA is supplying 16 OMEGA IV-8 SI gondolas, which are designed for the safe and convenient transportation of wheelchairs and strollers. As a special feature, the gondolas will be delivered in the Safari version, with open tower-side windows protected with chrome steel bars instead of glazing. That makes it easier for passengers to take good photographs of the animal enclosures and San Francisco Bay. In wet weather, the bars can be quickly covered with a clip-on window pane.” The cabins have already been shipped, and Oakland Zoo’s new 8-passenger gondola lift is expected to open at the end of the year.
Quite apart from the US market, CWA again has healthy order books in general for this year, with a total of about 2,000 cars and cabins ordered worldwide.