View Full Version : JH Tram

12-01-2005, 11:32 AM
Last year to ride the Tram in Jackson Hole.. I'm definatly driving up for a long weekend sometime in probably late jan. If any of you die hard rippers want to get a place let me know. I'll stay in a hostel by myself if I have to...

12-01-2005, 07:22 PM
fill me in on what this is?

Uncle Ben
12-01-2005, 07:27 PM
fill me in on what this is?

Click on this link (http://www.jacksonhole.com/info/pr.tram.asp) to understand...

12-01-2005, 08:36 PM
that looks sweet

12-02-2005, 05:52 PM
I skied JH a few years ago. Hadn't snowed in weeks. It was lame. So we took a trip over to Grand Targhee. It snowed the entire day, and was one of the best skiing experiences I've had. Awesome.

I can't even remember whether I took the tram at JH. Must not have.


12-02-2005, 05:57 PM
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/misc/logoprinter.gif (http://www.nytimes.com/)
November 13, 2005
Practical Traveler

Are Trams Going the Way of Wooden Skis?

LIKE rope tows, wooden skis and cable bindings, the aerial tram may soon be obsolete in American ski resorts - if the news coming out of Jackson Hole is any indication.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming stunned its passholders and visitors by announcing last June that it would shut down its iconic 39-year-old aerial tram after this ski season. Taking that tram in order to challenge some of the most famous double-diamond expert slopes in the West has long been a rite of passage for skiers.

Which is leading some skiers to wonder: If the Jackson Hole tram is not fit to run past its 40th birthday, how safe are others that skiers and boarders climb aboard?

The answer is: very safe. Since 1973, when the National Ski Areas Association began keeping statistics, there has been a single tram incident, in which four people died at Squaw Valley, in California, in 1978, when a supporting cable came off the tower and crushed the car. But still, the association says, visitors are far more likely to die in an accident driving to a ski area than riding a lift. In 25 years, said Sid Roslund, director of technical services at the association, there have been 12 "ropeway-related" deaths.

While trams are a familiar sight in Chamonix, Zermatt and many other European ski areas, there are only 19 public tramways in the United States and several have no connection with skiing, like the Roosevelt Island tram in New York. Yet, no major tram has been built in a United States ski area in 13 years, according to Mr. Roslund.

The main problem with trams, he said, is that in many cases they are just not efficient enough in the new, high-tech world of gondolas, detachable quads and six-packs. "A tram might be a dramatic statement, but it's not as efficient as a gondola" in terms of "cost or capacity," said Michael Berry, president of the ski areas association. Originally, trams were the solution to specific topographical problems, since they could carry people to the peak of a rocky, concave or extremely steep mountain, "leaping chasms in a single bound," as Mr. Roslund put it.

At Jackson Hole, the tram provides access to the longest continuous vertical drop in the United States, including such storied runs as Corbet's Couloir and the Hobacks.

"It's a source of local pride," said David Gonzales, a resident of Jackson and the author of "Jackson Hole: On a Grand Scale." "The ski bums love it. There's a shared feeling of anticipation. To get on the first tram on a powder morning packed with 50 other maniacs is exciting."

Thanks to the tram, Jackson is one of the few places in the country where a single lift takes you to 4,000 vertical feet of slopes, so you can ski or ride "tram laps" for "as long as your legs hold out," he said.

The trams at Snowbird in Utah, Sandia Peak in New Mexico and Squaw Valley in California, like the one at Jackson Hole, were built before 1972. Back then, the maximum speed of conventional "fixed grip" chairlifts was about 500 feet a minute, compared with a tram's 2,000 feet a minute, explained Buddy Loux, lift operations manager at Jay Peak in Vermont, whose tram dates back to 1966 but has since been rebuilt. So a tram was the "only way to get to the top of a mountain in a hurry."

But in the 1980's, engineers introduced a new version of "detachable grip" technology, a method of carrying chairs or gondola cars via overhead cables at a much higher speed. This meant they could build multipassenger chairlifts or gondolas that sped skiers and snowboarders up most terrain much faster than old chairs or trams.

Thus at Jackson Hole, the 66 eight-passenger cabins of the Bridger gondola, opened in 1997, transport 2,000 passengers an hour to a terminal at 9,025 feet up Rendezvous Mountain, more than the 52-passenger tram carries to the summit all day. At Jay Peak, The Flyer detachable quad chairlift runs 2,400 people an hour up the slopes while its tram, built a year after Jackson Hole's, takes only 360.

"A tram is high maintenance, low efficiency," Mr. Loux said. "Being the person who has to maintain it, I'd just as soon have chairlifts to the top of the mountain."

COMFORT, too, is an issue. Waiting for and then riding a tram can sometimes feel like being stuffed into a subway car with 50 strangers, all with ski equipment. Gondola cabins, which carry 4 to 12 passengers, have seats, windows and outside slots for stowing skis or boards for the trip.

But no one underestimates the symbolic - and nostalgic - importance of the tram at Jackson Hole. And if trams are so safe, why, then, did Jackson Hole say that the resort's tram is being retired "to minimize safety concerns"? Because, according to the resort, it would cost a fortune to keep it up to code. Standards for lifts nationwide are set by a committee of more than 60 specialists supervised by Mr. Roslund.

Jerry Blann, president of Jackson Hole, says that it spends about $100,000 a year keeping the tram in shape. In the last few years, the entire gear box has been replaced, but the next parts to be upgraded would be the huge track cables, "and then we would have to change everything but the cabins," he said.

A brand new tram, Mr. Blann said, would cost about $20 million (the Bridger gondola cost $8 million). That may be the long-term solution, but the resort expects to seek help - in the form of bonds or loans - from the state. Indeed, the Jackson tram was initially financed through a federal government program that lent money to depressed communities relying on seasonal economies.

At Snowbird, Bob Bonar, the president, says the average annual maintenance bill for its tram is $250,000. "We have basically rebuilt the tram," he said, enumerating upgrades from cables to cabins to control systems.

Sandia Peak, which operates the longest single-section cable tram in the world, carrying people from Albuquerque to the ridgeline of the Sandia Mountains, spent more than $3 million in 1997 replacing its cables, according to Jay Blackwood, assistant tram manager. Jay Peak refurbished its tram in 2000 and 2003. No other resort has publicly declared its intention to retire a tram.

"It's a year-round attraction," said Rob Arey, the sales manager at Cannon Mountain where the tram rides are a key summer attraction in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. "Not to be trite, but it's a big part of our brand," said Steve Wright, the marketing and sales director at Jay Peak. "Not every decision, at least we feel here, should be made with an eye on how it directly impacts the bottom line."

As Jackson holds talks with state officials about a replacement tram, it is floating the notion of Sno-Cat access, high-speed surface lifts or both for an interim period. Meanwhile, the resort has turned its announcement into a promotional opportunity, offering a "Last Tram" vacation package.

Mr. Gonzales says people in Jackson Hole are worried about losing the tram since it is a symbol of their mountain's famous steeps. "I can't get too worked up about it, though," he said. "The tram is only important because it's the fastest way up this magnificent mountain."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

12-02-2005, 06:22 PM
sad thing is it's like anything else... The terrian it accesses is really only corbetts and the east ridge, You can get to pretty much everything else on the sublette lift. It'd be like putting a high spped quad to the top of the headwall or north face in crested butte. Everything would be skied off in a matter of minutes. I was actually disappointed to see CB replace the poma disc with a T bar.. That's double the skiers accessing the terrain. Man was that a fun lift to be in on a powder day... you better not fawk it up. Big time heckling if you didn't catch it. But it did go down ALL the time and that was the main reason it was replaced.

Any way I'll probably wait til I see a big storm move in on JH and then try and hit it. I might even have a place to crash.. I dunno if an old friend still lives there or not..