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November 2008

Construction Site :: November 2008

New lifts, expanded snowmaking and an interesting conveyor construction are featured in this issue.

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Telluride, Colorado
The opening of the steep, above-treeline Revelation Bowl this winter adds a new dimension to this already significant resort. “Revelation Bowl offers an unbelievable experience,” says CEO Dave Riley, “with some of the best snow and scenery in North America.” It’s listed as having four advanced and expert runs, but any marked runs are merely suggestions.

Located directly off the back side of Gold Hill, this terrain will be served by a new, locally manufactured fixed-grip Leitner-Poma quad. The base of the lift actually sits in a large flat area more than 1,500 feet above the Bear Creek drainage (and just above some impassible avalanche zones and cliffs). The top of the lift sits in a step on the Gold Hill ridge, and also offers access with a short 160-vertical-foot hike to Gold Hill Chutes 6-10 and the expansive Palmyra Basin, below 13,320-foot Palmyra Peak. The lift itself is short and steep: slope length is 1,876 feet, with 800 vertical. The lift has a rope speed of 450 fpm, with initial capacity of 1,300/hr. (design capacity is 1,800/hr.). It’s driven by a 200 hp AC top drive and active top tension.

With the addition of Revelation, Telluride has expanded by nearly 400 acres in the past year. The resort’s vertical drop is now one of the largest in North America at 4,425 feet, with 3,845 vertical feet lift-served.

Windham Mountain is currently renovating its base lodge and arrival and departure areas to the tune of $4.75 million, the first part of a multi-year plan to indulge guests—both members of the new, elite Club at Windham Mountain, and regular paying Joes—in an unparalleled base-area experience.

To eliminate arrival hassles, three traffic lanes lead up to the lodge alongside the parking lots. Club members drive directly to valet parking in one lane, and everyone else uses the other two lanes. A porte-cochere protects a walkway between the curb and a breezeway that shelters visitors as they head to the main entrance to the lodge. Within the breezeway, kiosks display ski and snowboard accessories outside the Mountain Sports retail shop, while guests can pick up coffee, pastries, fruit, and kettle corn at a café on the other side.

As for the lodge itself: Significant changes in the structure and physical appearance of the lodge will render an alpine look and feel. Shingles replace the metal roof, stone and timber spruce up the façade. The upper patio opens onto the slopes with a new alpine-style hut adjacent to a larger, more inviting fire pit that invites guests to relax in the fresh air. Inside, on the second floor, the Starting Block rental shop is being re-configured for smoother traffic flow. On the third floor, new Club at Windham Mountain facilities include a dedicated kitchen, dining room, lounge, tavern and fireplaces. The Club will enjoy dramatic views of the mountain and valley. Additional phases of the renovation will likely see upgrades to other areas of the lodge.

Buck Hill is upgrading the learning experience, replacing a 1954 J-Bar and a beginner rope tow with a 790-foot, 60 hp Magic Carpet. The new lift has twice the capacity of a chairlift, at about half the cost. While the length of the carpet itself is noteworthy, so is its configuration: it includes a 320-foot pre-cast concrete bridge, manufactured by Hanson Structural Precast, which spans a ski run. The bridge consists of four 80-foot sections, seven feet wide, and has a fiberglass canopy. A large crane lifted the sections into place, and these were then bolted to the towers (the sections incorporated metal plates for this purpose). Buck Hill recontoured the trail beneath the bridge to provide ample clearance even when the trail has deep snow cover. Area GM Don McClure came up with the idea for the bridge, and Nils Erickson did the engineering work. Cost for the entire project, including slope grading and utility upgrades, was $500,000.

Freestyle terrain at Mount Snow has had a major makeover. The Carinthia terrain now hosts all of Mount Snow’s freestyle terrain parks, transforming 95 acres of trails into a massive park system. This encompasses approximately 125 freestyle features in 12 full terrain parks. Also part of the system: a tree-skiing area, superpipe with 18-foot walls, mini-pipe with 8-foot walls, an all-natural park absent of manmade material and a big-air site. A snowskate playground, hikable park and beginners’ learning park surround the base area. The base lodge itself has been transformed, too, into a rider’s haven. Upstairs lounge areas are equipped with comfy sofas and chairs, flatscreen TVs (one with an Xbox hooked up), and wireless Internet. An extended outdoor deck offers ample seating, a skate ramp, and outdoor fire pits. Inside, a gut renovation of the main floor improves cafeteria flow and adds counter seating along the windows. There’s also a new ski and board shop, The Vault.

Many of the trails on Carinthia will be flanked by new SMI fan guns, allowing terrain parks to open earlier in the season and stay open later. Mount Snow is installing 150 fan guns across the resort, bringing the area’s two-year investment to $8.5 million and 251 fan guns, the most of any resort in North America.

Boreal's new Doppelmayr Castle Peak Quad Chair will replace the Gunnar's and Claimjumper chairs, increasing base area capacity on beginner/novice runs and evolution parks. The new lift is 1,253 feet long with a vertical of 185 feet, and runs at just 300 fpm, to make it easier for beginners to load. At the same time, chair spacing was reduced; capacity is 1,900 an hour, with a loading interval of 7.6 seconds. It’s a bottom drive/tension setup with a 60 hp DC drive.

Boreal is also upgrading to a fully automated SMI Super Polecat snowmaking system (13 towers, 12 carriage-mounted). A new 400hp VFD Flowserve pump from Torrent Engineering with a rated capacity of 2,200 gpm at 500 psi that doubles the current output capacity; it will max out around 2,500-2,800 gpm at slightly lower pressures. This system will make for a much improved early season product and reduce the resort’s carbon emissions by over 300 tons (by eliminating the need for 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel to run air compressors).

Major environmental projects include a full retrofit planned for a major section of indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures, upgrading to energy efficient lighting, reducing the carbon footprint by over 40 tons a year. In addition, Powdr Corporation, Boreal's parent company, is offsetting 100 percent of its grid-supplied electricity at its seven ski/snowboard resorts through the purchase of nearly 50 million kWh of renewable energy credits.