The state-owned ski area wants to refurbish or replace the aging lift.
Friday, July 23, 2021, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
At the July Cannon Mountain Advisory Commission meeting, Cannon Mountain general manager John DeVivo outlined plans to replace the aging Cannon Mountain Tramway. The state-owned and operated ski area is looking into obtaining federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds issued to New Hampshire for the project.
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). According to the Union Leader, the tramway currently costs between $350,000 and $500,000 per year to operate and maintain. 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 DeVivo, Doppelmayr Garaventa expects a rebuild to cost $10 to $15 million, while a replacement would be $20 to $30 million. According to the Union Leader, a rebuild would extend the life of the lift by 20 years, while a replacement would be expected to last 40 to 50 years. According to DeVivo, either project would result in no tram service for one winter and two summers and would increase tram car capacity from 80 to 100 people.
At the July meeting, the Cannon Mountain Advisory Commission voted unanimously to support the use of federal and state funds for tramway improvements.
Capital projects in recent years at the state-owned and operated ski area have been funded by New Hampshire taxpayers, Mt. Sunapee lease revenue, and the Franconia Ski Club.