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After some hard-earned time off, our Lift Mechanics are back at work and continuing to focus on Sawduster.
While the SuperQuad and Skyline lifts are still running for the 2016/17 ski season, off-season maintenance is already underway. First up: Sawduster.
If you happened to be riding the King Pine lift, or waiting to load, around noon on Tuesday you may have experienced a significantly longer-than-usual lift stop and are wondering why.
During our routine morning inspection on Tuesday, one of our mechanics noticed some abnormal wear and tear in the top terminal of DRC-East. As a result, it will remain closed for the rest of the week.
Recently we've received a few inquiries from guests who were curious about a somewhat odd noise coming from the Skyline bullwheel first thing in the morning.
This week, members from Dopplemayr will be on hand as our Lift Mechanics perform a load test on Skyline.
If you have ridden on the King Pine Lift recently, you've probably noticed the braces installed on the bases of towers 4 and 5.
On January 1st, we experienced a power outage that disabled power to the base lodge and many of our lifts. As you may recall from one of our earlier posts last season, ski resorts are not immune to power outages-although they are rare, we experience them just as you would at home.
The SuperQuad will be closed to scenic lift rides this weekend, while the lift maintenance team and a crew from Doppelmayr work to install a new communications line.
The old communications line was taken down yesterday, and the new line has already been strung over the towers. The new line will be tensioned tomorrow so that it will be ready for the arrival of personnel from Doppelmayr later in the week.
With construction on the new Competition Center already underway, our Lift Maintenance Department has had to make some changes to the location of the Skidway lift counterweight, and lift operations hut. (A counterweight is a massive weight that provides constant tension on a chairlift's haul rope.)
With the winter 2015/16 season winding down, so too is our daily lift operating schedule. As in years past, the SuperQuad is the only lift scheduled to run through the end of the season. We'll be open daily through Sunday, April 24, and closing mid-week April 25-29, with plans to re-open for one final weekend April 30-May 1, if conditions permit.
For the latest updates on our spring operating schedule, click over to the Daily report.
The Skyline lift is slated to receive a computer programming upgrade this morning, and therefore will not be scheduled to run. Experts from Dopelmayr will be on hand perform the upgrade, and the lift may be back up and running as early as mid-day.
Since the Whiffletree gearbox arrived back in Maine earlier this week, our lift maintenance team has been busy reinstalling it and making sure all is operating as it should be before we reopen the lift. A state lift inspector and engineers from Doppelmayer were also on hand today to check things out as our Lift Maintenance Department performed a dynamic load test to ensure that all systems were working properly.
After it was shipped to Michigan to definitively determine the source of the problem that our Lift Mechanics detected last weekend, the Whiffletree gear box has been repaired, and it is now en route back to Sugarloaf and is expected to arrive late tonight. After it is returned, there's still roughly a week's worth of reinstallation and testing before the lift with be ready re-open to the public.
After further examination of the Whiffletree gear box last night, our lift maintenance team found that repairs would not be as simple as they had initially hoped. In order to definitively determine the source of the problem (see yesterday's post for further details), the gear box will need to be disassembled and rebuilt - a process that requires us to ship the box to a third-party vendor in Michigan who specializes in this type of machinery. As a result, we will unfortunately have to keep the Whiffletree lift closed for an estimated 1-2 weeks, until the gear box is repaired.
While doing routine checks of the Whiffletree lift today, our lift maintenance crew encountered an abnormal noise coming from the lift's gear box. Consequently, the lift was put on a mechanical hold until the source of the noise could be determined.
Earlier this week we made a post about our inspection of the Snubber lift towers following the recent accident on an identical lift at Timberline Resort in West Virginia. In the days since, our lift mechanics have also done additional inspections and testing on the Skidway lift, which is of a similar design.
If you've followed the news over the past two days you likely heard about a serious lift accident at Timberline Resort in West Virginia. The lift involved in this accident was the same model and age Borvig lift as Sugarloaf's Snubber lift.
After two consecutive days of negative temperatures, my car had a hard time starting yesterday morning. The cold temperatures take a toll on all vehicles from your commuter car to a chairlift. However a chairlift, unlike your car, cannot be kept in a warm garage, to prevent troublesome behavior that results from the frigid temperatures.
As we've written about previously, all of the lifts at Sugarloaf undergo daily, weekly, monthly and yearly inspections. Earlier this week, during one such routine inspection, our lift mechanics detected an out-of-the-ordinary sound coming from the electrical motor in the Double Runner East lift. Upon further investigation of the sound, they determined the cause was the signs of excessive wear to the drive shaft bearings.
Thanks to a favorable snowmaking window this week, our snowmakers have been working around the clock to expand terrain, and tomorrow you will get to enjoy the fruits of their labor, as Timberline is scheduled to open for the first time this season.
Before the snowflakes flew last weekend, we received a light mist that caused a thin layer of ice, resulting in icing holds and delays for the SuperQuad on Saturday morning. But if the whole mountain experienced the mist, why were other lifts able to run while the SuperQuad was down? Skyline has a higher top elevation than the SuperQuad, why wasn't it affected by the icing? There are a lot of factors involved with icing holds, so here's a quick breakdown of why detachable lifts (like the SuperQuad) are more susceptible to icing than fixed grip lifts (like Skyline).
As most of you know, we had a power outage up here over the weekend that caused us to put several lifts on hold for a couple of hours. As you can imagine, power outages happen from time to time here at the mountain, just like they do at your house. Every ski area can expect a couple of these each year, so we're all equipped with back-up systems that kick in when the lights go out. But what exactly happens when the power goes out at a ski resort? If chairlifts are powered by electricity, how do you get people off of the lifts? Here's a quick play by play of what happened Saturday, and our standard protocol when power outages happen.
After picking up more than a foot of new snow this week, we've nearly doubled our open trail count, with skiing and riding available on 81 trails. And, with a long window of favorable snowmaking temperatures, we've been pressing on to expand open terrain in the Timberline area.
Under partly sunny skies and intermittent snow flurries, Sugarloaf's King Pine lift, which received a new state-of-the-art load terminal during the off season, re-opened for the first time today. Following months of planning, construction, and testing, the lift opened to the public at approximately 9:30am.
After we picked up more than 18" of new snow in the last week, our open terrain has been expanding almost daily. And, as our Lift Maintenance department completes the final tests on the King Pine lift this week, it looks like we could be riding the lift and skiing the King Pine bowl as early as tomorrow, January 4th.
With the holiday season upon us, our Lift Maintenance Crew is working harder than Santa's elves to wrap up the work at King Pine. This week's to-do list included load tests of both Snubber and King Pine, plus the annual state inspection of Whiffletree.
As you may recall from one of our earlier posts, this summer, our Lift Maintenance Department enlisted the services of Cone Drive to conduct borescope inspections of every lift gearbox. After being sent away for complete rebuilds, the Timberline and Whiffletree gearboxes have been returned, and are slated for reinstallation later this month.
While winter has officially kicked off on the mid-western portion of the mountain with 1,750 vertical feet of skiing and riding now available on Hayburner, Kings Landing, and Tote Road, the King Pine terminal construction presses on on the eastern side of the mountain.
John Burpee, the Chief Boiler/Elevator and Tramway Inspector for the Maine Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation, released his final report today regarding the King Pine rollback that occurred on March 21, 2015, thus concluding the investigation into the accident.
While Mother Nature keeps the winter weather at bay, the King Pine terminal construction presses on here at Sugarloaf. This weekend, the remaining components arrived, after a five day cross-country journey, from Salt Lake City UT, ready for assembly.
Ever since we announced back in August that we'd be removing the Bucksaw lift, people have been asking us when they'll be able to buy one of the chairs. The answer to that question is right now.
This week, we received our first delivery of parts for the King Pine terminal. The shipment contained pieces of the steel frame that will be assembled and installed later this week.
If you are a skier or snowboarder who relies on the lift system to transport you to the top of the mountain, as opposed to hiking, chances are you have experienced a lift stop. And while it is easy to assume that a stop is usually the result of mechanical fault, our lift operations department-who records every stop of every lift through the season-has miles of spread sheet data that shows there are many different factors that may cause a lift to stop.
For those of you who may have missed the Annual Season Pass Holder Meeting during Homecoming Weekend, Karl Strand, along with other members of the Senior Team, addressed a standing-room-only-crowd at the Sugarloaf Inn, on Saturday. The meeting covered topics such as current marketing campaigns, safety initiatives, and capital projects.
With autumn now upon us, and winter looming, all lift projects are chugging full steam ahead--this week, Sky Trans Manufacturing is removing the Bucksaw towers.
Our friends from Doppelmayr dropped by today in preparation for the new terminal that will be arriving soon.
Each week has brought warmer temperatures, and more concrete to the King Pine terminal construction site, and last week was no exception. With temperatures near ninety, Haley Construction returned with another two loads of concrete for the columns that will support the new lift terminal.
Our team began removing chairs from the Bucksaw Lift this week. They we able to take more than half off of the line by the end of the day on Tuesday, and plan to remove the remaining chairs on Wednesday.
Sugarloaf announced today the hiring of Brent Larson as the resort's new Director of Lifts. Larson will oversee both the Lift Maintenance and Lift Operations departments at Sugarloaf.
As the King Pine terminal construction progresses this week, Sam Price and Noah Lake, two of our veteran Lift Mechanics, are on their way to Salt Lake City, UT to take part in the Doppelmayr Fixed Grip New Installation Orientation Seminar, August 26-27, at the Salt Lake City Training Center.
Despite near-ninety degree temperatures this week, various lift maintenance projects and King Pine terminal construction press on.
Earlier this week, the first concrete was poured at the King Pine terminal construction site, as crews formed two hold down weights, also known as a deadman, to be buried directly in front of the terminal.
As a part of this summer's lift upgrades, every chairlift has undergone extensive inspections, from routine annual inspections to micro-inspections of critical working components.
In all of our planned lift upgrades for this summer, our first priority is ensuring that all of our lifts are as safe as they can possibly be. That means retrofitting some of our older lifts with newer, automated braking systems and anti-rollback technology. While these upgrades may not be required by the lift manufacturers or inspectors, they are necessary for us to live up to our commitment to lead the ski industry in lift maintenance and safety practices.
Despite a bit of wet weather last week, the lift maintenance crew trudged on with a laundry list of chores that included continued line work on the West Mountain, Sawduster, and the T-bar lifts, non-destructive testing, chair grip migration on Skyline and T-bar, plus general lift tower maintenance.
With hot and humid summer temperatures setting in this week, the Lift Maintenance crew has been focusing a lot of time and energy on the DRC A lift, which received a new haul rope last summer.
Led by Lift Operations Supervisor, Kiel Thompson, Sugarloaf's Lift Maintenance team began dismanteling the bottom terminal of the King Pine lift on Thursday, July 2, 2015. With the help of Nickerson Rigging & Crane Services, the same company who aided the resort with the Spillway/Skyline project back in 2011, the demolition process is nearing completion, after just one week.
Sugarloaf will install a new, state-of-the-art terminal at the bottom of the King Pine chairlift this summer, part of more than $1.3 million in upgrades to the resort's lift infrastructure, the company announced today.
The primary reason we've created this site is to keep you informed of everything we are doing in regards to lift maintenance and lift safety, in the wake of last winter's accident on the King Pine lift.