February 13, 2006
Teton Village, WY (Jackson Hole Press Release)—The June 2005 decision to close the Aerial Tram in October 2006 was made following 18 months of unprecedented evaluation into all facets of Tram operations by leading industry engineers. The results required Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) to make a decision regarding ongoing tram operations. Although tough and emotional news, JHMR is now focusing its attention on the future and feasible solutions regarding tram replacement.
Discussions with two lift manufacturers will render JHMR with a couple of complete scenarios for review. JHMR is focused on either a tram or a bi-cable gondola, both on a similar alignment to the existing tram. The financing of either project is being discussed internally. "We have decided at this time to not concentrate our efforts on outright appropriation but instead are researching other public and private financing mechanisms, commented Jerry Blann, President of JHMR. "We will keep the public informed as soon as financing alternatives are thoroughly evaluated which will allow for a replacement decision to be made.
With the absence of the tram, JHMR will implement the following measures to ensure guests can ski or ride 100 percent of the mountain, the lift out of the base area is quick and efficient, and lift access to the summit of Rendezvous Bowl and the backcountry terrain remains.
1. Pending Forest Service approval JHMR will construct a temporary double chairlift up Rendezvous Bowl. The alignment will follow skiers left through the trees to just below Corbet's Cabin. Named East Ridge Chair, the five minute ride will be accessible via Sublette. The design for East Ridge Chair is taking into consideration the sometimes severe weather conditions in Rendezvous Bowl, with an attempt to maximize the available operating time.
2. We will purchase 18 new cabins for the Bridger Gondola (our main "workhorse" lift that operates from the base to the Headwall, 2730' vertical rise). This will increase uphill capacity from the base by an additional 600 skiers per hour from 1800—2400 on this lift. (The aerial tram currently represents uphill capacity of less than 300 an hour from the base).
3. Potentially increase uphill capacity on Thunder Chair by adding extra chairs.