Greetings Eaglecrest Users,
You may have heard about the funding ordinance 2021-08(b)(am)(z) for $2 million to purchase a used fixed-grip gondola. Many of you will remember our planning efforts and frequent public meetings held in the summer and fall of 2019. We contemplated installing a gondola to the top of the West Bowl ridge line as part of a larger summer adventure park concept.
While the Assembly was busy navigating the community through the crisis of the pandemic, there was very little time left over to continue planning efforts with the Eaglecrest Summer Operations Task Force until reconvening in August. During this break, the Eaglecrest Board continued brainstorming how we might expand summer operations and create a more vibrant and financially sustainable year-round Eaglecrest.
Over the past year, overcrowding at ski resorts across the country has led to unprecedented demand for new lifts. We are now seeing a 25% increase in pricing and a two-year backlog for new projects. The current price for a brand-new gondola system would cost upward of $22 million.
The opportunity at hand is a fixed-grip pulse gondola that has an hourly capacity of 600 passengers per hour; this is a much lower capacity than a typical detachable gondola, which makes it the perfect size for Eaglecrest. This used gondola from Austria will save CBJ 75% of the costs of a brand new system with a total cost (including installation) of $7.5 million— $2 million from the general fund for the initial purchase and shipping, and the potential for a $5.5 million loan from CBJ for the installation. The loan could be paid back within 5 years from the borrow date. After payback Eaglecrest would no longer require general fund support from CBJ.
Below are some highlights that we hope to achieve through the development of this project.
- Create a sustainable revenue stream capable of paying competitive staff wages
- Create a funding mechanism capable of replacing aging ski area infrastructure
- Guarantee winter operations in the face of ongoing climate change
- Retain uniqueness of community ownership model
- Increase accessibility and use of Eaglecrest for non-skiing and snowboarding residents of Juneau
- Eliminate the ongoing need for CBJ general fund support
Visit skieaglecrest.com/summer to read more about summer development plans, including a recent memo from the SE Group regarding the pulse gondola. There is also a video showcasing the gondola in operation.
I will be hosting a public zoom webinar on Wednesday, February 23rd at 6:00pm to discuss the project in greater detail. I will be providing time for a Q&A session at the end.
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
+1 346 248 7799
Webinar ID: 873 3352 0820
In the meantime, feel free to reach out via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eaglecrest Ski Area