It was quite a scene out there today as hundreds of Sugarloafers gathered at the bottom of Skyline to be the first to ride the new lift. Boyne Resorts’ President Stephen Kircher joined Sugarloaf General Manager John Diller to say a few words and officially cut the ribbon.
The first four seats on chair #1 of the new quad were occupied by Meredith Strang Burgess, Doug Stewart, Chris Proulx, and Chad Coleman, all of whom were winners of four separate auctions held over the summer to benefit four different local non-profit organizations: the Sugarloaf Charity Summit, the Western Maine Center for Children, the Sugarloaf Ski Club, and Carrabassett Valley Academy.
It’s been a long process and a lot of work over the past year to get the new lift up and running, but it was all worth it today. Thanks for following along here in the blog throughout the process, and look for more posts throughout the season as the Sugarloaf 2020 vision continues to unfold.
It’s been a long process, to say the least, but after years of planning, months of construction, several weeks of tests and inspections, and several more weeks of snowmaking (and waiting for weather to cooperate), we’re ready to open up Skyline to all of you this Saturday, December 17, at high noon.
We’ll have a short ribbon-cutting ceremony, share a few thoughts on this new chapter in the story of Sugarloaf, and then let you all have at. The first 100 of you up the lift will even receive a commemorative, one-of-a-kind tshirt to mark the occasion.
The official first four seats on the lift were auctioned off over the summer, with all of the proceeds going to four local non-profits: the Sugarloaf Charity Summit, the Western Maine Center for Children, the Sugarloaf Ski Club, and Carrabassett Valley Academy.
It’s looking like a fun weekend and snowmakers are expanding our open terrain all the time, so come on out and join us for this historic event on Saturday.
One of the final pieces of the Skyline puzzle was completed today, with a full dynamic load test of the new lift. Members of the Maine Tramway Board and engineers from our insurance provider were on had today to conduct the test, which simulates the operation of a fully loaded lift using boxes filled with water.
The procedure is designed to test all aspects of the lift’s operations, including the drive, electrical, and braking systems. The test is a necessary part of any new lift installation, and is required by the State before they license a lift to operate.
After today’s load test all that remains to be done on the lift is a bit of cleanup, some decking around the load area, and some finishing touches to the top and bottom lift buildings.
The crew finished hanging all of the chairs on Skyline earlier this week, and now they’re working on fully assembling all of the chairs - adding seat pads, arms, and safety bars. It’s kind of a tedious process, but the lift is now looking more complete than ever. And the seat pads are actually mighty comfortable too - I tested one of them out myself and can safely say that this will be the most comfortable lift we have, at least from a seat cushion perspective.
Electricians are now on site to finish up comm lines and some remaining wiring, and after they’re done we’ll be set for a load test. Scroll down for some more pictures from today, plus a quick little video of Skyline turning. (They’re only running it slowly with the diesel auxiliary motor, which is the reason for the noise in the video.)
The Skyline crew began putting the new chairs on the haul rope this morning, with six inches of fresh snow covering the ground. (Thanks to crew member Brendon Quigley for sharing this picture.) Once the chairs are up there will be a few minor projects to complete, and then we’ll have this baby ready for a load test sometime in the next two weeks.
We picked up our first measurable snow of the season last night, with six inches or so of fresh fluff covering the mountain. We LOVE snow around here, but it can add a challenge when crews are trying to finish up offseason projects. The weather is forecast to return to some more seasonable temps for the rest of the week, however, which will allow the glade crew to keep cutting in Brackett Basin, and the Skyline crew to finish hanging chairs and prepare for the load test in a couple of weeks. The season is almost here!
Our posts have been a bit sparse over the past week (our apologies) but the Skyline crew has still been busy, and this baby is getting closer to completion everyday. The new gates and conveyor loading system have been installed, as has the diesel backup engine (which the crew fired up for the first time yesterday), the comm lines are up, the new lift building is nearly complete, and they’ve even installed the new “Skyline” lettering. There is still a bit of work remaining, including hanging the chairs, earthwork around the load and unload areas, and some additional wiring. If all goes according to plan, we expect to be load testing the lift sometime during the second week of November. Stay tuned!
If you missed any of the action here so far this offseason, this great footage from local videographer Joel Osgood will catch you up. Joel will be producing a few videos for us throughout the course of the season, so look for more of his work later this winter. Thanks Joel!
The Skyline crew tackled a big job today - splicing together the two ends of the 21-ton haul rope. The process of splicing a haul rope for a lift is fairly complex, and requires the supervision of an expert who specializes in this type of splicing. But in simplified terms, the crew basically carefully unwinds each end of the rope back about 90 feet, and then carefully winds them back together until the cable makes a full loop. They weaves the ends together, replacing the plastic core of the cable with the strands from the two ends.
The splicing generally takes a full day to complete, and once it is done we’ll lift the haul rope up onto the sheaves and bullwheel, and we’ll be one step closer to a completed lift. Check out some pictures of the process below.