Parts for Juneau ski area’s gondola will cost almost as much as the gondola itself

a gondola
Parts of the city-owned gondola sit outside at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Dec. 10, 2023. (Clarise Larson/KTOO)

A gondola at Juneau’s Eaglecrest Ski Area will need more parts and cost more than expected to put up. That’s according to the area’s manager, who says it will need more towers, wheels and haul rope.

“We were aware we were going to need additional towers for the midway station,” Dave Scanlan said. “We didn’t anticipate as many.”

When the city bought the used gondola from an Austrian ski resort in 2022, it cost about $2 millionplus $1.1 million to ship it to Juneau. During an update on the project at an Assembly committee meeting Monday night, Scanlan told members that another $1.86 million is needed.

He said the extra parts are needed because the gondola will be configured differently at Eaglecrest than it was in Austria, but they won’t require additional funding from the city. He said he’s “very confident” that the gondola can still be fully installed with the $6.5 million the project has left over, largely from a $10 million revenue-sharing agreement with Goldbelt, Inc.

Assembly member Alicia Hughes-Skandijs wasn’t so sure. 

“When I see the number $6.5 million I think, ‘How on earth are you going to set it up for $6.5 million?’” she said. 

Hughes-Skandijs said she has a “real fear” that the cost will go over that, and more city dollars will be needed to get the project over the finish line. 

Assembly member Wade Bryson praised the purchase and its increase in value — Scanlan told members that the gondola had nearly doubled in value since it was purchased.

“We got a four-million-plus dollar asset for two million bucks because we bought it before everybody appreciated what inflation was going to do,” he said. “We’ve scored on this one.”

Scanlan said Eaglecrest hopes to have the gondola ready by the winter of 2025. The goal is to have it fully operational by the following summer tourism season.

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