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January 2007

SAM Idea Files :: January 2007

Dumpster forks and a new grouser tool are some of the great ideas from creative ski resorts. Plus, we pick the best idea of 2006.

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Talking Trash

Something for me to get excited about... dumpster forks! I built these in response to the "challenges" of transporting dumpsters up to the summit and back down. We used to use standard forks which required some ratchet straps to secure the box-o-garbage to the front of the snowcat, leaving us wide open for a catastrophic loss of slime on the hill, not to mention the time spent tying these things down.

So I fabricated some forks which use the existing pockets on the dumpsters themselves, and attach directly to the quick connect blade frame on our Prinoth machines. Now the operator can stay in the machine the whole time, effectively reducing the time it takes to move two full loads down and two full loads up by an hour, twice a week. Rail building made practical.
—Elia Hamilton, Mount Snow

SAVING knuckles

Changing grousers on tracked vehicles can be a real knuckle breaker, but not at Winterplace. Roy Lowe, director of mountain maintenance, fabricated this handy grouser tool from an idea borrowed from a vehicle maintenance school he attended.

The problem was holding the bolt steady on a grouser while turning the nut on the other side. By welding two three-quarter-inch sockets together and then welding the joined sockets to a steel pate, the problem goes away. The plate is then bent slightly to make it easy to insert the sockets between the tracks. A half-inch bolt, four inches long, is attached to the end with a hose over it for a hand cushion.

2006 winner!

After combing through all the great ideas of 2006, we chose this one as our winner. Congratulations to Robb Thomas of Sun Valley for saving the backs of lift mechanics everywhere. We will be sending Robb a great SAM jacket.

The idea was featured in our July 2006 issue, but in a nutshell, here it is: “We borrowed an old engine hoist from our vehicle maintenance shop and added a hydraulic ram and electric pump from an old Yan detachable setup. It was 24-volt so we put a battery on either side, swivel caster type wheels in the front, and an operating 3-way valve designed so that one operator could hook up the grip, pick it up and wheel it to the grip stand or storage shelf with no manual lifting required.”