Lynden Moves Alpine Gondola from Austria to Juneau
Loading the gondola bull wheel in Austria.
The Goldbelt Tram up Mount Roberts in Juneau generates plenty of visitor buzz during the summer, and Eaglecrest Ski Area draws traffic across Gastineau Channel to Douglas Island in the winter. To combine those attractions, an elevated gondola is being installed at the ski resort. But first the entire system had to be moved from one mountain top to another.
The gondola for Eaglecrest is not exactly new. The cableway carried skiers at Galsterberg, a resort in central Austria, for more than thirty years. When Galsterberg decided to replace the system with a new gondola, which began service this winter, the old one found a new home in Alaska.
“This creates an opportunity for year-round operations and sustainability which will benefit the community and people of Juneau,” says Eaglecrest Ski Area General Manager Dave Scanlan. In effect, adding a revenue generator in summertime supports operating costs for winter.
The gondola ski system was dismantled at Galsterberg, and Lynden handled the transport of every piece for reinstallation on Douglas Island. The process took three months.
“We provided specialized equipment in a tight timeframe on site in Austria to remove the gondola,” says Lynden Logistics International Operations Manager Brandie Holmes, “then trucked the pieces to Rotterdam for ocean export to Norfolk, Virginia.”
From Virginia, the pieces traveled by rail to Seattle for loading onto an Alaska Marine Lines barge bound for Juneau. Lynden then carried the disassembled gondola the last miles from the port to Eaglecrest.
“Our goal was to provide a no-transload (no transferring of goods) move of the pods, pulleys, towers, wheels, and other equipment to minimize handling and potential damage,” Holmes explains. “We moved twenty-one 40-foot containers and one step-deck platform loaded with the bull wheel using truck, steamship, rail, and barge.”
At Eaglecrest, the gondola joins the four chair lifts that provide wintertime access to the ski area’s peaks.
“We learned a lot about international logistics through the course of this move and are already looking forward to tackling the next phases of our project together,” says Scanlan. “With such a long history of serving Alaska’s needs, we were honored to be able to work with Lynden on this complex project.”