Check out the latest update and video from Waterville Valley Resort.
If we weren’t already stoked enough for winter, completing some integral steps in the new T-Bar construction has set us up to be able to continue installation this season as anticipated. Plus, it was just pretty dang cool to airlift 80 cubic yards of concrete to the summit of our 4,000-footer. Check out the final cut video (below) and thank you to everyone who tuned in and asked questions when we went live on Facebook during the action. The experts, pilot, and crews chimed in with some answers and a run down of the whole operation.
We began at the crack of dawn with perfect weather and set up crews at the summit and at a landing zone on Valley Run, just above the Sunnyside Timberlodge. Concrete trucks (nine in all) filled three-quarters of a cubic yard of concrete into alternating buckets, called hoppers. The team at Midwest Helicopter Airways, Inc. alternated between each hopper, flying one to the summit while the other was being refilled. With more than a hundred trips to pour 80 cubic yards total, it has to be a tight operation and quick turn around, especially with the necessary refueling stops cutting into fly time. Overall our team was able to average less than 4.5 mins per round trip, which is pretty incredible when one sees all of the work involved. The 1958 Sikorsky S-55 kept us on our toes, especially at the summit where a second team was in place to receive the deliveries. Ground and air crews worked in tandem to align the hopper, release and pour the concrete into the footings, and then agitate to remove air and settle for a preliminary cure.
With the early preparation of grading and earthwork, setting the footings in place, the heli-pour operation, and the follow-up earthwork to backfill the foundations after curing, our crews have had a lot of long, hard days recently as the ski season fast approaches! This final push of fall construction on the T-Bar project will allow us to continue installation efforts in the winter months. We are extremely proud of the efforts of our staff and the huge amount of progress that has already been accomplished.
What’s next? Wait for snow! It’s no surprise that we work best with a few feet of the cold stuff under our feet. While weather and temperatures can present their own set of challenges, in other ways we can actually work more effectively in our natural element. It is actually easier and more cost-effective to move large equipment like lift towers over snow using our snowcats and trailers. A substantial snowpack also reduces the environmental impact of ground disturbance during construction. The next few weeks or months will be a waiting game as we monitor the progress of erosion control methods and then wait for mid-winter weather and conditions to develop a nice snowy base to work on. Although some aspects of winter construction are advantageous, you can expect our construction pace to be slower than the sprint of summer we have seen so far due to more demanding conditions and simply being open and operating daily. While our completion timeline will be very much at the mercy of Mother Nature (what else is new?) we are going to do our best to complete this project this winter season. Stay tuned for more details about all the next improvements you can expect to see this season, coming soon!
The above information was excerpted from waterville.com. Stay tuned for further updates!