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King Pine Construction Update

Monday, November 30, 2015

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. 

The new terminal, which is replacing the entire load-terminal at King Pine, including the tensioning system, braking systems, anti-rollback systems, electronics, and gear box, was designed and manufactured by Dopplemayr at a cost of roughly $800,000. The lift will follow its original path, utilizing the existing lift towers, chairs, and top terminal.

After taking delivery of the terminal from Doppelmayr on Saturday, November 7, the crew first placed the 8,000lb motor assembly on the steel frame, and then concentrated on piecing together the terminal enclosure in the following days. 

To date (end of November) the assembly of the terminal structure is complete; the brakes, gearboxes, and bullwheel have all been installed, and the haul rope was re-installed on Sunday the 29th. around the bottom bullwheel.

Powered by a 400 horsepower motor, the new terminal will run at a speed of 450 feet per minute, transporting 2,100 skiers per hour. An additional 400 horsepower Cummins Diesel engine will serve as the auxillary power unit.

In the last week of November, the crew worked to string the communication lines, from the top terminal to the base of the lift, and now the electricians have been tasked with wiring the components in the motor housing, in preparation for the arrival of the Doppelmayr's electrical engineer in early-December.  

Despite a one-to-two week delay, due to a manufacturing bottleneck during the galvanizing process, the lift department is optimistic of a late-December completion. 

One of the final pieces of the King Pine puzzle, will be a dynamic load test, which is scheduled for some time in early December. The test, which simulates the operation of a fully loaded lift using boxes filled with water, will be facilitated by various members of Doppelmayr as well as our Lift Maintenance Department.

The procedure is designed to test all aspects of the lift's operations, including the drive, electrical, and braking systems. The test is a necessary part of any lift installation, as well as routine inspections, and is required by the State before they license a new or retrofitted lift to operate.

Elsewhere on the mountain, the DRC West lift, which received a new haul rope in the summer of 2014, is slated to be spliced in the first week of December. 

Brian LeMay from Daniel O'Connor & Sons Company of Monson, MA, is an expert who specializes in wire ropes, and has been contracted for a majority of the splicing that occurs at Sugarloaf.  LeMay was on site earlier this summer, to perform an annual inspection of all the haul ropes;  his inspection on DRC West found that the new rope had stretched approximately 12 feet over the course of the 2014/15 season, and will be shortened and respliced this month, when he returns to inspect the King Pine haul rope.

According to Ski Area Management (SAM), the lifespan of a haul rope will range from 30-40 years. But, as is standard of all chairlift haul ropes, they stretch over the course of their lifetime as a result of the added weight from loaded chairs and the bending that occurs from going around the bull wheel-normal wear and tear.

The most dramatic stretching occurs in the first year of a haul ropes' life, which often requires shortening and resplicing of the line in the year following installation. Though yearly inspections will continue for the DRC-West haul rope and all our lifts, marginal, if any, stretching is expected throughout the remainder of its life.

Other completed work on the resort's other lifts include upgraded braking and anti-rollback systems; while all of the lifts met manufacturer specifications and are certified by lift engineers and inspectors each year, many featured older designs that were all completely updated this summer, to modern, automated systems.West Mountain, DRC East, DRC West, Timberline, Skidway, Sawduster, and Snubber received new automated breaking and anti-rollback systems, as well as electrical upgrades, and the Whiffletree and Timberline lifts received rebuilt gear boxes.

Click here to view photos of the entire process, and stay tuned for more King Pine updates in the coming weeks.