Thanks to everyone who made it up to the Mount Snow Valley for Columbus Weekend. I have talked to several business owners who agree that it was a fantastic weekend and we are all very grateful for your business. In speaking to many of you, a lot of questions were raised about the new lift we are installing. I know that when one person asks a question there are usually others who share the same uncertainty. So this week I am creating a FAQ sheet to answer all of those pre-ski-season quandaries.
Q: What kind of lift are you building?
A: A Leitner/Poma high speed 6-pack bubble chair lift. The only one of its kind in the US! We named it the BLUEBIRD EXPRESS!
Q: Why a bubble chair? Why not a gondola?
A: We like the protection of a gondola but didn’t want the inconvenience of taking off your equipment for a 7 minute ride. So the bubble provides protection without the hassle.
Q: Are you going to finish the project in time for the ski season?
Q: Which brings us to the next question. When is opening day?
A: It all depends on Mother Nature but we are shooting to be ready around Nov 19.
Q: Did Tropical Storm Irene set you back.
A: Yes, for over 2 wks after the storm we could not get a concrete truck, crane or helicopter to the resort. The flood also submerged out Snow Lake pump house. But work is back on track and we are still focused on being ready by Nov 19. Time will tell.
Q: What is the big barn for?
A: Each night the bubble chairs will offload onto a rail system (think dry cleaners) and be stored in the barn. This keeps the chairs from swinging on the line during high winds at night. It also keeps the chairs clean and dry.
Q: Will the maze for the lift run through the barn?
Q: How will the maze work?
A: Whether you access the base area from the Exhibition trail or the Canyon trail, you will be able to ski/ride into the maze. It will be queued on each side and meet in the middle.
Q: What are you going to do with the top floor of the barn?
A: We don’t have any definite plans – just lots of ideas! BTW, thanks for all of the suggestions you shared with me.
Q: Will there be a conveyor/carpet at the load of this lift (like the one at the Grand Summit Express?)
A: No. However, there will be gates that open automatically. The gates are somewhat like the gates at the entrance to the Grand Summit Express.
Q: Are there any height restrictions for riding the lift?
A: Yes, at least one person over a certain height will have to be on each lift. If a group of 6 children rode the lift and none of their feet could reach the safety bar, the safety bar would automatically raise. There has to be some pressure on the foot rest for the bar to stay in the closed position. And since we would never want a child to ride the lift with the bar up, we are going to request that at least one person that meets the minimum height requirement, ride in each chair.
Q: What is the minimum height?
A: We don’t know yet. Once the lift is finished we will determine the correct height and post it at the maze so you all know.
Q: Are the seats heated?
Q: What color is the bubble?
Q: How do you install the haul rope? Helicopter?
A: No need for a helicopter. The haul rope will be put in place by first running a small rope around the lift. This rope will be attached to a small steel rope and that pulled into place. This steel rope will be spliced into the new haul rope and used to pull the heavy rope into place then spliced.
Q: Do the bubbles close automatically?
A: On the ride up, you have to lower your safety bar and decide if you want to lower your bubble. They are very easy to lower. On windy days we will request that everyone lower the bubble. At the top you have the option of letting the bubble and safety bar raise automatically. I would highly recommend this. The automatic function happens just before you unload and your arms and feet must be off the safety bar and foot rest. At first it will feel a little uncomfortable because we are accustomed to raising our bars early. But trust me, it will open and for kids especially, raising the bar just before the unload area is the safest time. And if you want to go old school and raise it yourself, no problem. Just lift the bubble and then the bar.
Q: When I unload at the summit am I going to bump into the Summit Lodge?
A: No, because we have designed a contour unload. This means that you will ride around the bullwheel until your skis/board is facing the south (think Long John) and you will unload there.
Q: What if I want to go to the North Face or Cascade?
A: We have built a ski-under trail that will bring you right under the new lift and you will be at the top of Drifter/Cascade.
Q: Is smoking allowed on the Bluebird Express?
A: No. Not in the maze or on the lift.
Q: How can I ride the first chair?
A: Stay tuned. Grand opening details (including details on how you can ride the 1st chair) will be posted in the beginning of November.
Q: Where did the Waffle Cabin go?
A: We had to move the Waffle Cabin during construction. Don’t worry – it will be back right under the flag poles, next to ski check.
Q: Why are the bubbles blue?
A: We were looking at colors that best fit in with the environment and had it narrowed down to clear, smoke and blue. Our owner, Tim Boyd, picked the blue and we couldn’t agree more. It also works well with the idea that every day is a bluebird day at Mount Snow!
Q: Will wind affect the bubble chairs more?
A: This lift has been engineered to be more tolerant of the wind. The towers are lower and the chairs are very heavy. On windy days everyone will be asked to ride with the bubbles down so they are more aerodynamic.
Q: How fast will the chair go?
A: The Bluebird Express will travel at approximately the same speed as the Grand Summit Express or 1,000 ft/min.
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