While the Skyline crew has been making steady progress on tower footings this week, chainsaws have been buzzing over on the east side of the mountain as our glade crew continues working on the Burnt Mountain expansion. The crew has been back at work for the past few weeks, and lest we lose track of their progress, we tagged along with them this morning to check out what they’re up to.
So far the crew has been concentrating on expanding, cleaning up, and generally improving what they began in Brackett Basin and Cant Dog last year. Several large clumps of timber around the area known as the “French Cliffs” have been thinned out, making for several acres of new terrain and greatly improved access back to the King Pine Quad. And of course, more open terrain in Brackett means more fresh lines on powder days, which is obviously what matter most here.
Roddy Ehrlenbach, our Assistant Ski Patrol Director who runs the glade crew in the summer months, breifly explains some of the recent cutting in this video:
This year’s crew consists of eight full time cutters (Roddy, Dave, Jesse, Mahlon, Johnny, Hunter, Dustin, and Caleb) - seven with chainsaws and one with a pole saw. This crew will be responsible for cutting new lines and shaping the character of the terrain. Later in the summer, they’ll be joined by a crew of temporary workers who will come in to clear out the smaller brush that is left behind.
Once this initial phase of cleaning up and improving upon last years cutting is finished, the crew will begin to move further out towards Burnt, where they will begin opening up lots of brand new lines. If you skied out in the Birler, Edger and Sweeper glades last season, you likely recall passing by a fairly large amount of uncut timber on your way out there. This summer the crew will be cutting roughly six new chutes in that area, which will connect with the Rough Cut glade at the bottom. They’ll move beyond that, too, with new lines extending far out into Phase II as it is marked on the trail map.
And as has always been the case with this project, we are working hard to ensure that all cutting is done in a responsible way that protects the unique alpine ecosystems and the various animals that call the area home. We have weekly visits from professional foresters and state biologists, who help us to ensure that we are preserving the habitats of some of the more vulnerable species out there, including the Bicknell’s Thrush.
Our crew is working hard every day and they’re in for a busy summer. Thanks for all of your hard work boys, we can’t wait to test it out.
For additional photos, check out the full album on the Sugarloaf Community.