REMARKABLES, NEW ZEALAND
Following years of planning, The Remarkables Ski Area began an extensive project that included a new high-speed detachable six-pack chairlift, snowmaking upgrades, expansion of the learner’s area, new trail development and the re-alignment and expansion of guest parking areas, costing the area NZ$18 million.
The new 1.2km Curvey Basin Leitner Poma chairlift will begin at the bottom of the expanded learner’s area and rise 300 meters to the top terminal. Prior to the Curvey Basin chair, the area was completely off-piste skiing and riding. The chair will increase the area’s skiable acreage by 20 percent, and add a transport capacity of 2,400 people per hour.
The earthwork program to accommodate the new chair included a 1.6-kilometer-long trail from top to bottom. It was a cut and fill process that moved approximately 94,000m3 of material. The new trail enables a top to bottom experience for novice skiers and riders. In addition, the majority of the area’s new snowmaking equipment, including eight high-output Techno Alpin T10 fan guns and 38 Rubis tower guns, have been added to the trail. The guns will draw water to a relocated pump house above the existing Alta Chair top station. The relocated pump house now has an increased pumping capacity of 125 liters per second to feed the new snowmaking guns.
Major re-alignment and earthwork construction to the resort’s access road and guest parking lots has increased the parking areas by 10 percent, with easier access to the Curvey Basin chair. The planned completion date for Curvey Basin chair was June 5, 2014.
In February 2015, the new 453-suite Camelback Lodge & Indoor Waterpark will open its doors at the base of Camelback Mountain. The eight-story, 533,000-square-foot hotel is designed in a mountain-modern style architecture and will feature a 125,000-square-foot highly-themed, indoor adventure waterpark. It will be the largest in the Northeastern U.S.
The lodge will have a two-story grand lobby and a nearly 17,000-square-foot indoor family entertainment center. Guests will also be able to enjoy a 10,000-square-foot luxury spa and fitness center, and four new restaurants—each with a unique menu and ambiance—including a ski-in ski-out bar and outdoor patio at the base of the mountain. It will also have 25,000 square feet of meeting and conference space.
The $163 million lodge and indoor waterpark will be the resort’s largest capital investment ever. The waterpark includes several notable elements. An innovative Texlon transparent roof provides natural daylight for year-round use. The park will have two levels of water features, seven pools (including recreation, adventure river, kids’ and wave pool) along with nineteen slides and rides, FlowRider indoor surfing and interactive water play centers. Additional amenities include private cabanas, swim-up bar, and food and beverage service. The waterpark will also include 30,000 square feet of dry play amusement space, including an arcade, game center, kids’ club activity center, ropes course, mini-golf, laser tag, bowling, private birthday party rooms, and more.
CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN, WA
Part of Crystal Mountain’s $4 million in summer improvements include two new chairlifts, which will be completed in time for the opening of the 2014-15 season.
After the lower two towers of the High Campbell chair were destroyed by an avalanche this past March (see photo at right), plans to eventually replace the aging lift were accelerated to this summer. The new SkyTrac fixed-grip double will be at least two times heavier, and will be able to run more often in windy weather. Both terminals will be in the same location as the old High Campbell chair, and the capacity will remain the same, 900 pph. The new lift, however, will include a full diesel auxillary backup. It will officially be renamed “Chair 6,” which was the original name when the chair was installed in 1980.
To prevent another devastating avalanche, Crystal also plans to install three Gazex exploders at the top of Powder Bowl, which is accessed by Chair 6. The exploders will be spread out on the left side of Powder Bowl, to mitigate risk and trigger small avalanches to stabilize the snowpack when new snow has accumulated.
The second new chairlift will be a replacement of the Quicksilver double fixed-grip with a fixed-grip Dopplemayr quad, and will increase the current carrying capacity from 1,070 pph to 1,800 pph. The chair will be relocated along a designated route in the trees between Boondoggle and the existing Quicksilver trail, which will open up the run providing unobstructed intermediate terrain. The top terminal will be located about 250 feet lower than the old, eliminating the steeper face which proved too challenging for beginners and intermediates. It will also include a SunKid loading conveyer with a child lift.
LAS VEGAS SKI AND SNOWBOARD RESORT, NV
This past season, LVSSR unveiled a new rooftop bar and grill, called Chair 4, atop the resort’s main lodge. The menu has been themed around a basic food and drink concept of big burgers, big beers and whiskey. Beyond food and drink, though, Chair 4 also serves up views of Lee Peak and Mummy Mountain. Guests access the lounge by climbing a circular stair installed around an old chair lift tower. The lounge’s other vintage decor includes repurposed chairs from the resort’s old Rabbit Peak (Chair 3), which was replaced in 2012, and from Chair 1, which was replaced in 2005.
To keep construction costs down and also further the nostalgic feel, the resort specifically obtained a BBQ-only permit. All cooking is done on outdoor propane grills. With no access to an icemaker or dump sinks, all the alcohol is pre-packaged mixed drinks or shots. All food is prepared in the main kitchen downstairs, and food is only stored at Chair 4 during operating hours. The only kitchen appliance needed was a hand sink, located in an insulated area.
Since 2012, Stowe Mountain Resort has invested more than $8 million in snowmaking upgrades, and plans to spend an estimated $1.7 million in 2014. This major upgrade over the last two years includes a retrofit of the area’s 1979 pump house, in 2013. Stowe worked with Torrent Engineering for improved pump house mechanics and relocated the pump house to a much more accessible location to improve maintenance capabilities. The pump capacity was upgraded as well, from 1,400 gpm to 3,000 gpm, and summit pressures were increased to better suit the newer gun technology.
New snowmaking gear includes 425 HKD SV10 and 20 SMI fan guns as well as seven miles of new snowmaking pipe. Stowe disposed of more than 300 old guns in the process.
The snowmaking upgrades over the past two seasons have resulted in major savings due to the new guns’ efficiencies. The resort used to rent eight diesel compressors that produced an additional 12,800 CFM of compressed air in order to run enough guns to fully utilize the resort’s pumping capacity. With the new guns using half or a quarter of the compressed air of the old, the resort was able to eliminate the eight compressors. In 2011-12 the resort burned more than 120,000 gallons of diesel for snowmaking, but zero in 2012-13 and in 2013-14.
Projected improvements for 2014 include replacing more old snowmaking pipe and the possibility of adding a new snowmaking trail. The resort also plans to add more tower and fan guns to continue improving the efficiency of the entire system, and to allow snowmakers to move more quickly from trail to trail without the need to move guns.