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Tips up: After some bumps, Colorado chairlift maker is on the upswing

A Skier On A Ski Resort Chair Lift On A Cold Winter Morning
Brendt Petersen
Adobe Stock

News Brief

Most industries faced a slump at the beginning of the pandemic, and that included chairlift manufacturers. But as skiers and snowboarders returned to resorts, the demand for chairlifts came back, too.

There are two main chairlift manufacturers in the U.S.: Doppelmayr USA, based in Salt Lake City, and Leitner-Poma of America, based in Grand Junction, Colo.

Daren Cole is president and CEO of the latter. The company struggled in 2020.

“Pretty much once the pandemic hit, I think it was March 19th, we saw a pretty abrupt slowdown in business,” he said.

Customers delayed projects. New orders slowed. But now, he said, Leitner-Poma of America has a record number of orders to fill as ski resorts open, expand, and upgrade equipment.

“We pretty much have a full docket for 2022 summer,” he said.

He said projects range from major expansions at big resorts like Vail as well as smaller, independent operations all around the country.

Leitner is even eyeing growth into the urban sector, with a gondola/autonomous vehicle hybrid that can switch from being on a cable to cruising on the ground.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Nevada Public Radio, Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Madelyn Beck was Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau.

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