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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.)
The former position of the Skidway counterweight interfered with the location of the new Competition Center addition, and as a result the lift maintenance crew is relocating it to the top of the embankment, where the lift operation hut used to be. The hut is being moved to the northeast corner of the terminal, which will make it more accessible and more efficient for the lift operators and attendants.
Both lift terminals will remain in their current positions, and the lift experience will remain essentially unchanged. The new location of the counterweight will not affect the lift's operation in anyway, and according to our lift maintenance staff, it will actually be preferable to the former location.
One of the bright sides to the "winter that wasn't" is that our Lift Maintenance team was able to start annual summer maintenance on lower elevation lifts, before the mountain even closed for the season. Thanks to the jump start, they have been able to check off two lifts on their to-do list: Skidway and Sawduster.
Sawduster, as you may recall from one of our earlier posts, is slated to receive a new diesel back-up engine this summer. A back-up, or auxiliary, engine is required on all chairlifts in Maine, and is used in the event of a power outage or other event that renders the lift's primary motor inoperable. Sawduster's current 1971 Volkswagen auxiliary engine has trouble starting during periods of extreme cold, which forced us to keep the lift closed on a couple of occasions this past winter.
At a cost of approximately $10,000, this project will help to improve the reliability of the lift's diesel backup, and decrease the lifts down time.
Additionally, the Lift Maintenance department will install a new communication line on the SuperQuad. Communication lines, which you generally see running down the middle of the lift, are attached to the tower heads, and carry the data signals from each tower's safety and operating circuitry, as well as phone lines between the base, summit, and lift control.
In recent years, the lift department has recorded an increase in the number of nuisance stops and downtime as a result of the aging communication line on the SuperQuad. The replacement will increase reliability of the lift's communication system, and reduce unnecessary downtime.
Our Lift Maintenance department will partner with the experts at Doppelymayr to perform the replacement this summer, at a cost of roughly $75,000.
These are just a few of the projects that our lift department will be undertaking this summer. Stay tuned for a complete list of summer capital projects in the coming month.