Busier-than-ever year for Grand Junction chairlift maker reveals strength of nation’s resort industry
Ski resorts big and small are ordering new chairlifts, marking a record year for Grand Junction’s Leitner Poma
The Colorado Sun
GRAND JUNCTION — The welders are happy to show their boss the final piece of what’s been a two-year project. The massive steel structure is ready for shipping to finish off the multi-year construction of one of the largest gondolas in the country, stretching between two resort villages at California’s Palisade Tahoe ski area.
“Check it out. Almost done,” says a welder, tipping back his visor.
“Don’t worry,” says Daren Cole, the president of Grand Junction’s Leitner Poma of America, “we will keep you backed up for the next 12 months. Probably longer.”
The welders grin at the promise of year-round work.
“Make sure and put your initials somewhere on that,” says Cole.
A few years ago, as American ski areas settled into high-speed chairlifts, Cole’s Leitner Poma, which joins Austria’s Doppelmayr in the country’s duopoly of lift builders, started planning expansion into urban markets. Like gondolas to ballparks and trams up clogged canyons. But then demand for ski lifts came roaring back.
“The whole world is changing,” says Cole, who counts 2021 as his company’s busiest year. “And next year will be off the charts.”
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