Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Greetings,

After receiving our first dusting of snow, it really has begun to feel like winter is getting closer all around the resort.  Staff is on the move around the resort, preparing the slopes, lifts, buildings and other areas for our opening day.

Snowmaking began on Saturday morning, 11/1, around 3am.  The guns began pumping out snow on Upper World Cup and then moved to Nor’easter and Sapphire. By the time the temperatures had warmed up on Monday morning, we had been making snow for about 50 hours and made it all the way down to the middle of the mountain.  When you make snow early season, there are always problems which are found. This year was not any different, with some water and air leaks discovered and repaired, as well as some pump station issues.  All in all, it was a good first time making snow.  The weather is looking like we will be right back at it over the weekend and into next week.  The plan is to work our way down towards the Green Ridge and Black Ridge, with skiing on Sapphire, Upper Arrow to Lower Arrow into the base area.  As work on the Sunburst Six proceeds along, a decision will be made to begin making snow on Buckhorn, to be able to access Upper World Cup and use the Sachem and Glades Peak quad lifts.  At this point there continues to be a need to get equipment and personnel down to the top of the Sunburst Six.

If you have been following the Okemo Facebook page, then you have seen the photos showing how the construction is moving along well.  The Okemo and POMA Leitner staff has been hard at work, 7 days a week, preparing the Sunburst Six for the winter.  Almost all of the 6-passenger chairs have arrived; they were shipped by boat and have been in the Port of Newark waiting for delivery to Okemo.  The wire cable in in place, ready to be put on the towers, and both the drive and return terminals are in place.  One key component, the drive mechanisms including the Bullwheel, motor and gearbox, arrived this week and were put into place on Monday.  This will now allow the drive terminal on the summit to have the roof and windows put together and the electricity energized on the lift.  At the return terminal at the base of the Sunburst Six, the new chair storage building is nearing completion as well as the lift itself.  With all the hard work that has been going into this project it is great to be able to say we are on schedule for an early December opening.

Keep checking on Facebook for updates and we all are excited to begin winter and skiing and riding for the 2014-15 season.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Greetings,


Work on the Sunburst Six is coming together, and the Okemo Team is in high gear to get the new lift constructed.  During the next few days, the return terminal (base terminal) will be taking shape.  This will involve putting the bullwheel on, erecting the internal frame, as well as putting on the sides of the terminal.  This work involves using a large crane and lowering and lining up all the pieces.  At the same time, Okemo has been receiving the six-passenger chairs. They are delivered in a shipping container, as they were sent over by boat from France.  Each day, one or two trucks arrive with the chairs to be unloaded.

The cable for the lift arrived last week and was set in place by a 100-ton crane.  The idea is to set the cable spool where it does not have to be moved again before it is unspooled on the towers.  The chair storage barn is coming along on schedule. The building itself has the walls and roof almost completed, as well as the cupolas are in place.  Inside the foundations for the towers which hold the rails for the chairs are also ready and we expect the steel for the rails soon.  The next focus will be the drive terminal on the summit, and we expect that to be leaving the factory in Grand Jct., Colorado early next week, for the trip across the country.  The Sunburst Six lift project is on schedule, and we anticipate a mid-December opening.
There have been many questions on how the seats on the new lift are heated.  I wanted to give an overview of how this works:

The Seat Heaters:
The Sunburst Six detachable is unique in many ways, and one of them is that the seats are heated.  How does that work, you ask?  This new technology involves a couple aspects of the lift and efficiencies of how the lift works.  On the top of the haul rope grip, which is the part of the chair that attaches to the cable, there is an electrical current collector.  This collector has a pair of insulated electrical wires that run down the side of the chair hanger and into the chair seat and then connect to 6 coils which are built into each chair seat (6 per chair).  Each seat has its own coil.  Situated around the coil is insulating material similar to that used in “Hot Seats” which are used for cold weather events.

As the chair comes into the lower station, the collector on the top of the chair receives an electrical charge. This charge in turn warms up the coil and thus the insulating material.  As the chair goes around the station, the chair is charged 3 times.  As guests are loaded on to the chair and head up the mountain, the combination of the heated coil, insulating material and your own body heat keeps the seat toasty for the ride to the summit.  With the bubble closed and no wind in your face, every ride to the top of Okemo will be an experience to remember.

So that gives you an update as to how things are going.  The Okemo staff is working 7 days a week to get the Sunburst Six constructed and open to our ski and ride guests.  Everyone is working hard, and we are excited about the biggest lift project in Okemo's history coming together for this winter.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM





Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Greetings,

The first day of Fall has arrived, which is always a time to really be thinking about the winter that is ahead.  I’m sure many have been following the progress of the Sunburst Six on the Okemo Facebook page. If you haven’t, I would encourage you to take a look and see how much is happening.  The Okemo team has been hard at work getting the new lift together and in place.  All the concrete has been poured, and the tower locations as well as the top Drive terminal and bottom drive terminal have been backfilled with gravel around them.  As you can imagine, there are many parts that are used to put a lift like this together, and those parts are coming on trailer trucks 2-3 times a week from Grand Jct., Colorado.  The project is moving along well as is the chair storage barn at the base of the lift.

There have been many questions about this project, and I wanted to try to answer some that are being asked.

Will the lift be ready for this winter?  The answer is an enthusiastic YES.  The project is on schedule.  Things will come together quickly as the lifts components come are shipped to Okemo.  We are still looking at an early December opening

What will our plan be for early season skiing?  Our plan will be to start snowmaking on Buckhorn, Count Down, Upper and Lower World Cup.  The main access to the summit will be by using the Sachem and Glades Lifts.  Depending on the weather, we will be working hard to get the Base Quad lift open as well as the Green Ridge.  With new SV-10 guns on Heaven’s Gate and Screamin' Demon, I would anticipate that the Solitude area would open quickly also.  Of course, we have the potential to make early season snow on Nor’easter and Upper & Lower Arrow, depending on how the season is progressing.

What is the Sunburst Six opening date?  Okemo is comfortable with an early December opening. Of course some of that will hinge on the weather.

The storage barn is on schedule.  The walls are about done and the wood framing will begin soon. This is expected to be completed by mid to late October.

So that gives you an update as to how things are going.  The Okemo staff is working 7 days a week to get the Sunburst Six constructed and open to our ski and ride guests.  Everyone is working hard, and we are excited about the biggest lift project in Okemo's history coming together for this winter.

Bruce Schmidt
Okemo GM