The $25 million project will be considered during the budget process by the Senate
Thursday, February 23, 2023, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
SB 55, appropriating $25 million for a new Cannon Mountain aerial tramway, received unanimous voice vote approval in the New Hampshire State Senate on Wednesday. The bill has been tabled until budget hearings commence.
The first aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain was constructed by the American Steel & Wire Company for a cost of $250,000, opening in 1938 and operating for four decades. The current aerial tramway was installed by Agudio Corp. of Italy between 1978 and 1980 at a cost of $4.6 million. Millions of dollars have been subsequently invested in the lift, including a major overhaul in 2001, a motor rebuild after a well-publicized evacuation in February 2016, and on-going renovation project (including $400,000 recently spent on rebuilding carriage assemblies). The lift has operated part-time during the ski season since 2008 and was closed from March 2020 through May 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns.
According to the Union Leader, a replacement project would result in no tram service for one winter and two summers.
At $25 million, the new tramway would be the most expensive lift ever installed in New England.
According to an interview with Cannon general manager John DeVivo on the Storm Skiing Podcast, the tramway is about halfway through its 80-year engineered life. New England's only other tramway was installed at Jay Peak in 1966.
Governor Chris Sununu has urged legislators to consider a gondola instead of a new tramway.
Capital projects in recent years at the state-owned and operated Cannon Mountain ski area have been funded by New Hampshire taxpayers, Mt. Sunapee lease revenue, and the Franconia Ski Club. The tramway replacement would be the largest single outlay of state general funds for a ski area.
Cannon Mountain has experienced numerous issues with its aging chairlift fleet in the past year, including "excess wear on 60% of the haul rope grips on the Peabody Express Quad, necessitating immediate replacement," an emergency multi-day maintenance project on the Cannonball Quad, and the Zoomer chairlift being closed since January.