Holiday Valley seeks IDA tax breaks for new $4 million Yodeler chairlift

Holiday Valley plans to replace the existing Yodeler chairlift with a new $4 million detachable chairlift.

ELLICOTTVILLE — Win-Sum Ski Corp. has submitted an application to the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency for tax breaks for a $4 million project at Holiday Valley — a new detachable quad chairlift.

The detachable chairlift would replace the existing Yodeler quad chairlift outside the Yodeler Lodge, chief financial officer David Thathen told the IDA board of directors during a virtual meeting Tuesday.

“It’s an exciting project for us,” Trathen said. “It was a big decision by our board” particularly with the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19.

The Holiday Valley mountain crew will build the new detachable chairlift over the spring and summer. A crane will be used to place the towers for the new lift from Doppelmayr USA of Salt Lake City. It will be ready for the start of the 2021-22 winter season.

Trathen said the chairlift is the same one in use on some other slopes, which customers prefer. Its detachable feature slows the chair and makes it easier and safer to load at the base and unload at the summit. Fewer stops will mean a smoother and faster ride to the top.

It is the second project Holiday Valley has brought before the IDA board of directors this year. The first was a $2.8 million proposal that included upgrades to all three lodges and the Inn at Holiday Valley. New automated snowmaking guns, snowgrooming and a remote check-in system were also included.

The Holiday Valley mountain crew will use an area near the training center to assemble the towers and other components shipped in by truck. A local contractor will oversee installation of the concrete foundations for the towers.

Instead of using a helicopter to raise the towers, as has been done in the past, a crane will be used for the Yodeler chairlift, Trathen said. A slightly different alignment at the top of the hill will require moving the warming hut. It will make it easier for skiers and snowboarders to get off the lift.

Trathen said other ski resorts have already inquired about purchasing the existing Yodeler chairlift, which was installed 10 years ago.

“This is a very significant commitment,” said IDA board member Michael Wimer.

Corey Wiktor, IDA executive director, said the sales tax exemption Win-Sum Ski Corp. was seeking works out to around $250,000.

The IDA board approved a resolution declaring the action a type II State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) project and agreed to set a public hearing on the application.

Also Monday, a $1.5 million acquisition/renovation by the Olean Area Federal Credit Union of a building in the Homer Street Industrial Park for back office and storage operations was approved by the IDA board.

The 20,000-square-foot building at 234 Homer St. is being purchased from Olean General Hospital.

Credit union officials plan to have 32 employees working in the building within two years, Wiktor said. In addition, 15 full-time jobs from the local labor force are expected to be created during the four months of construction.

The facility is not a banking location, Wiktor emphasized. The Olean Area Federal Credit Union is building a fourth banking location in Portville, he noted. The credit union has two banking locations in Olean and one in Allegany.

The IDA adjourned its meeting in memory of Erick Laine, of Olean, the chairman emeritus of Cutco, formerly Alcas Cutlery, who died Dec. 1.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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