Eagle Chair to be replaced at Falls Creek

jwharding

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Mar 25, 2009
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Detachable quad is a bit of overkill. Once the 30 min peak is over in the morning the skier load is small as it, in reality, is not a ski lift, it's an access lift. Just an upgrade to the quad with a decent drive would increase capacity by over 25%.
It's not just an access lift the Eagle is used to ski "The Y's", under the chair and the South Gully. The Eagle is the major access lift from the bowl area accessing more runs than "Haleys Comet" and proposed future runs "Rocky Knowles" and "Mt Mckay". I am assuming that the company is taking into account future planning which could also include a major upgrade of the bowl area. Backcountry Tours and Snowmobile operated from the top of the Eagle also..
 

jwharding

Hard Yards
Mar 25, 2009
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I wouldn't have thought Gully would carry much load apart from first thing in the morning?
At least Halley's and (less so) Eagle have constant usage during the day. Even then, Eagle is hardly super busy other first thing in the morning or after the lunch break.
When the bowl was the focal area of Falls Creek the Gully Chair was flat out. Previous lift owners cut heart and soul out of the Mountain when they relocated ski school to the most exposed part of the resort and removed "Baby's", "Dog Patch" and "Village" ski lifts from the least exposed area of the resort the bowl. Let's see what the future brings a revitalized bowl area would be a blessing for Falls Creek.
 
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Ziggy

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What restricts Eagle as a distributor is indeed Gully, which is so bad as to be comic.

As for direct served runs, I don't think you can count under the chair below the road since that's not groomed and is under the ropes.

Future runs on the Knolls and McKay? That will be talked about for another couple of decades I expect. The problem remains of getting people out there and losing them when they are, and there's no need to try at the moment.
 

jwharding

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Mar 25, 2009
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Capital investment off the back of solid visitor numbers suggests that Merlin believes there's life in the alpine resort game for some time yet - ironically climate change in the short term might mean slightly warmer winters which turns out to mean a drier winter which then means less snow melt...
Climate Change Hoax
 
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Richard

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Maybe Eagle has reached the end of its life.

This is very likely a factor, from memory it's a late 60's or early 70's Poma brand and I bet it's a PIA to maintain now - hardly any Poma brand chairs from that era in Australia and I bet maintenance parts are 95% custom fabrication these days.

Detachable tech is now around 30 years and the TCO of detachable v's fixed would have closed greatly by now I would think.

Not putting in detachable would be false economy, both in terms of customer service and total ROI. Look at the clusterfuck that is Heavenly chair at Hotham - ridunkulous that was not installed as detachable.
 

Bluebird

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I overheard a conversation at Falls last week between two people that seemed to be in the know that bits of the current Eagle chairlift (including cable) will be used to improve the Gully chair for next season. I think they might have been suggesting Gully getting a slight extension as well to finish closer to Eagle but I could be wrong (restaurant was very noisy and these people wouldn't talk loudly enough for me to eavesdrop easily!)
 
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currawong

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This is very likely a factor, from memory it's a late 60's or early 70's Poma brand and I bet it's a PIA to maintain now - hardly any Poma brand chairs from that era in Australia and I bet maintenance parts are 95% custom fabrication these days.

Detachable tech is now around 30 years and the TCO of detachable v's fixed would have closed greatly by now I would think.

Not putting in detachable would be false economy, both in terms of customer service and total ROI. Look at the cluster**** that is Heavenly chair at Hotham - ridunkulous that was not installed as detachable.
end of life issues are the driver. i think it went in in 1980. parts are no longer available, in fact fcsl bought spares from buller to keep eagle going this long.
detach quad is an excellent improvement to make it easier for beginners and kids to get over the back. it's a pity they couldn't change the alignment but this will still be a big help. hopefully it will also see monkey bar (playground) get more use - it is an excellent beginner slope.
 

Rabid K9

A Local
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What restricts Eagle as a distributor is indeed Gully, which is so bad as to be comic.

Yep, I could comfortably walk up to Village Bowl faster than that thing.

I'm sure this is common knowledge Ziggy, but what sort of lease / land title is Falls Creek?
 

Ziggy

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Dunno rabid. Crown land of some sort? It's described as unincorporated on one of the maps so not governed by a shire council, and it's not part of the NP.
 

currawong

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Yep, I could comfortably walk up to Village Bowl faster than that thing.

I'm sure this is common knowledge Ziggy, but what sort of lease / land title is Falls Creek?
not sure what you are asking. Falls Creek resort is not part of the national park but is governed by a board of management appointed by the state government. The board appoints a ceo to run the place including managing leases. There is no freehold land. The biggest leaseholder is the lift co. Lodges and other premises are also leaseholders.

There are good and bad aspects of this arrangement. the lift co doesn't control other leaseholders, but then it doesn't really pick up responsibility for making broader things work well.
 
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Ziggy

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rowdyflat

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Gully lift is a shocker. Obviously extremely slow to discourage people from using it !!!
That is the weak link .If Halleys is crowded on a busy Sat or Sunday morning there is a giant bottleneck.
DUMB dumb dumb
 
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snowgum

A Local
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Gully lift is a shocker. Obviously extremely slow to discourage people from using it !!!
That is the weak link .If Halleys is crowded on a busy Sat or Sunday morning there is a giant bottleneck.
DUMB dumb dumb

It's amazing how blind most LiftCos are to really obvious BIG problems - problems that drag the whole ski field down - because a few million clams are involved.

I guess it's easy to be blasé when it's not one's own money.

So $9m for a lift. That's what - about 75k day lift tickets?

Anybody know roughly how many tickets are sold for an average winter? If so, we'll know what % of next season will nominally pay of the lift - obviously other operating visits mean a much longer payback period - a season perhaps?
 

Ziggy

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Gully lift is a shocker. Obviously extremely slow to discourage people from using it !!!
That is the weak link .If Halleys is crowded on a busy Sat or Sunday morning there is a giant bottleneck.
DUMB dumb dumb
I think maybe one reason that it's slow is that it serves foot traffic with day bags heading for accommodation around the village bowl. Plus increasingly snow players as the bowl's options in that respect have been increased. At a guess it gets a lot of newbies.
 

Apresski

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In previous lift company ownership, there were very ambitious plans to develop the bowl into a hotel and shopping complex with a gondola going into the complex and connecting with a new Eagle chair. The new lift went very close to the corner of Snowski apartments (which is why I saw the plans). Change of ownership, never heard about it again.
@Hully @currawong may recall those plans, would have been around1996.
 

currawong

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In previous lift company ownership, there were very ambitious plans to develop the bowl into a hotel and shopping complex with a gondola going into the complex and connecting with a new Eagle chair. The new lift went very close to the corner of Snowski apartments (which is why I saw the plans). Change of ownership, never heard about it again.
@Hully @currawong may recall those plans, would have been around1996.
I never saw the plans but was certainly aware of that vision. I don't think it ever came close to being implemented
 

CarveMan

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Falls has been a bit of a poor cousin with respect to development compared with Hotham, but it’s got much higher visitation and a great place for families to ski. I know this has frustrated Falls locals for a long time.
 
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gettingtooold

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It's great that they are actually spending some money on a lift upgrade. Unfortunately for me it won't make one scrap of difference as I've very rarely ventured to that side of the resort since my son progressed and only use it for access to the Y,s and rarely had a problem. A faster and more efficient lift to replace Gully allowing easier access to Summit lift makes sense to me. It would also be easier for learners to access the beginners area that should replace the rarely used tube park.
 
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BillyKidd

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When the bowl was the focal area of Falls Creek the Gully Chair was flat out. Previous lift owners cut heart and soul out of the Mountain when they relocated ski school to the most exposed part of the resort and removed "Baby's", "Dog Patch" and "Village" ski lifts from the least exposed area of the resort the bowl. Let's see what the future brings a revitalized bowl area would be a blessing for Falls Creek.

Exactly. Moving the bowl focus to the top was a dumb move. Your summary is spot on.
 

Ziggy

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Either way. Hoppet normally gets 1000+ competitors on the day, plus on training days beforehand.

Outside of that, FC won't have accurate numbers as XC-only skiers don't trip the RFID readers.
 

currawong

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fcrm have some visitor numbers. not sure how they count - there must be fudge factors for resort season pass holders and for no of passengers.

xc and alpine are not mutually exclusive, especially among locals. some people do both in the same day. locals passes and hero passes have helped xc-ers enjoy the lifts too. removing trail fees has helped alpine skiers get out on the trails. the old us and them thing isn't as strong as it used to be.
 
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Ziggy

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Yes. The industry figures Teckel reproduced showed c. 420,000 visitor days up to Sept 17.

One easy count would be daily unique RFID readings. If that's where the figure comes from obviously it would miss XC-only skiers, and that would mean an underestimate that could be quite considerable.

Beyond that, FC could be estimating numbers per car through the gate. They'd have a car count from daily entry tickets and again would have to estimate the number of season pass vehicles going through daily.
 

snowgum

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Fwiw A lot of my old uni 'gang' go xc without hitting lifts.

I'd suspect the RfID data would be a modest underestimate at least. Maybe 10-15% at a guess. Tricky to say unlike alpine, xc skiers disperse, so there could be a few hundred skiing out of Falls on a busy weeknd and you'd only see a handful at any one time.

End of the day in a two hill company, Investments will have to alternate through the years. Hopefully Falls get its share over the next few years?? Inc the long neglected bowl!!
 
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Ziggy

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Weekdays there's quite a few school groups camping somewhere off the BHP road and Little River fire trail - but you'd expect the resort to have a grasp on bus entries. There's a per capita entry charge isn't there?
 

Hully

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I wonder what proportion of visitors are there for the XC?
Last time I saw visitor activity survey results, and people could select more than one activity, I think it was about 10%. I remember that snowplay was higher. I believe this might have been 8-10 years back.
 
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Hully

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Yes. The industry figures Teckel reproduced showed c. 420,000 visitor days up to Sept 17.

One easy count would be daily unique RFID readings. If that's where the figure comes from obviously it would miss XC-only skiers, and that would mean an underestimate that could be quite considerable.

Beyond that, FC could be estimating numbers per car through the gate. They'd have a car count from daily entry tickets and again would have to estimate the number of season pass vehicles going through daily.
Resort visit numbers are compiled by RMB, as they are for all Vic resorts, and based on resort entry sales with assumptions for season passes. The numbers are pretty 'rubbery' and I think that assumptions/ metrics were changed before last season.
The number I would like to see are Lift Co 'skier days'. The use of RFID technology had made this accurate without the need for assumptions, and been used for enough years now to start plotting trends.
 
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snowgum

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Resort visit numbers are compiled by RMB, as they are for all Vic resorts, and based on resort entry sales with assumptions for season passes. The numbers are pretty 'rubbery' and I think that assumptions/ metrics were changed before last season.
The number I would like to see are Lift Co 'skier days'. The use of RFID technology had made this accurate without the need for assumptions, and been used for enough years now to start plotting trends.

Agree on the RFID nos, Hully.

Do leases with Vic Govt require lift cos to report ticket nos, itotal users (people) and total farebox?

If so that'd be on a rough par with Transpory franchisees. And they should really since theres public subsidy of the ski field generally and certain infrastructure like roads, public toilets & the Resort generally.

Or are they a black box?
 

Hully

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I think maybe one reason that it's slow is that it serves foot traffic with day bags heading for accommodation around the village bowl. Plus increasingly snow players as the bowl's options in that respect have been increased. At a guess it gets a lot of newbies.
Gully runs slow as a result of foot traffic and a really old drive. The lift needs to be slowed to allow foot traffic to load and unload, as happens with the fixed grip Eagle. With the old age of the drive, there came a time a number of years back when a decision was made by the Maintenance Manager at the time, and he was a really experienced ski lift engineer, to avoid putting undue stress on the drive risking significant breakdown and leave the lift on slow. An upside of the Eagle replacement is that I understand the drive which was upgraded in Eagle a few years back will be moved to Gully improving its effective running speed.
 

snowgum

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Interesting background Hully te lifts.

Sounds like these old triples have lasted well beyond their original planned service life??

I wonder how each resort in Oz fares in terms of ave lift age c/f main small & large resorts worldwide?
 

rowdyflat

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Hopefully the Gully will speed up with newer drive internals cos its a pain if International is crowded or not running and the eagle upgrade would be relatively pointless.
I am not sure that foot traffic is really a great reason for slowness = its a ski area after all.
Ski area management you should know this but are you reading this ??
 

snowgum

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Hopefully the Gully will speed up with newer drive internals cos its a pain if International is crowded or not running and the eagle upgrade would be relatively pointless.
I am not sure that foot traffic is really a great reason for slowness = its a ski area after all.
Ski area management you should know this but are you reading this ??


Slow loading? Foot traffic & luggage ?

Just tailor made for a detachable solution?

Surely this is just a finance and planning solution?
Very little tree lopping or environmental degredation?
Yes?
 

currawong

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i think the lift co would regard gully as a necessary evil, not something to lavish investment on. I'd love to see it replaced with something faster that unloaded uphill of summit but I think I'm dreaming - at least as long as they can keep inter and current gully running
 

Stratus

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However on a quiet day with little to no lines, you’re going to ski more with detachables.

Exactly.

The throughput of a lift (pax unloaded a minute) is not a good indication of the time taken to get from the bottom to the top of a run.

Hypothetically, the only time a detachable wouldn't provide a faster overall journey is when the no. persons in its queue + on chairs is the same or more as the no. persons on chair on a fixed grip

Say there are 200 people skiing a run over and over. Skiing down the run is always quicker then the journey up. At any one time these punters fit into one of the below categories:

Q = In Queue
L = On lift
R = Skiing the run

Every six seconds, a chair unloads and 4 people shift from point (Q) -> (L) -> (R) -> (Q) without delay.

1) If the system had a detachable it might look like this:
(Q) 70 in the queue
(L) 100 on the lift
(R) 30 skiing the run

2) If it had a fixed grip it might look like this:
(Q) 10 in the queue
(L) 160 on the lift
(R) 30 skiing the run

If the system dropped to 190 persons, the Fixed grip Queue (Q) would reduce to 0 and the Detachable (Q) to 60. Both lifts capacity (L) remain fully utilized so the total journey time reduces equally for both lifts.

However as soon as the system drops to 180 persons or less, the Fixed lift capacity (L) becomes under utilized and the detachable provides a faster overall journey, even though there are still 50 people waiting in the Queue.

The journey time on a detachable is never going to be slower than on a fixed, only the same or faster, depending how many skiers are in the system at any one time (which of course, being unique to every single slope is pretty difficult to calculate!)
 
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