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.