West Lake, Handle and Mountain Update

Friday, May 8, 2015


Progress out at our West Lake snowmaking pond site is moving along well.  Although the dry weather is presenting many challenges, it is helping with our project.  As we reported in February, trees were removed from the site when there was still snow on the ground.


Taken In February - clearing the trees.


Future site of West Lake as seen on May 6.

Now our contractor, GW Tatro, is removing the topsoil and stumps.  This part of the project is quite impressive.  The day I was out there, there were (5) haul trucks (see below.) They can transport 25 yards at a time and collectively are moving about 5,000-7,000 yards a day.  Cody, the Project Engineer for GW Tatro told me that a round trip to the staging area and back was averaging about 6 mins.  See what I mean about impressive?


At the staging area, top soil is stored for later use.  Stumps are put in a separate location.


The staging area (above) is a little over 5 acres.  In the photo above, top soil is being stored.  Once the lake is constructed, the top soil will be used on the outer walls/banks and then seeded so grass can grow.

I asked Cody what the hardest part of building the lake will be.  He explained that getting the compaction right is the trickiest part.  I apologize to all of you soil experts - I am about to dummy down your science exponentially.  

When soil borings were conducted on the West Lake site we discovered that would not need to line the lake, as the soil would compact sufficiently to create a natural liner.  Broadly speaking, the soil type is called glacial till and as the name mentions, it is the sediment left behind by the moving glaciers - cool, huh?  In order to build the lake so it holds the water, much care will be given to compacting the soil before layering in more.  Understanding this explains why it will take 2 summers to build the pond.  

The next time I check in with you, expect photos of them starting to build the lake.


Simutaneously, GW Tatro is preparing to add the Handle/Coldbrook Rd project to their list.  One of the big challenges is transporting the water from West Lake up to the mountain so they will begin upgrading the underground pipe along the Handle/Coldbrook Road.  Work starts at approximately the Wilmington town line and heads north to the old Sargent property. Next summer they will tackle the section between West Lake and the Wilmington town line.  For all of you traveling around the Valley, please take note!  

Expected start date for this work is May 18.  End date is tentatively mid-Sept.

The road will be closed to through traffic:

i.      Daily during daylight hours.

ii.      Local traffic will be able to access residences from one side or the other at all times.

iii.     One lane will be opened at night. 

iv.     Road to be open on weekends/holidays.  


You may have noticed a lot of pipe on the hill when you were skiing in March and April.  The snow was put to good use to easily transport pipe to areas on the hill for replacement.  


With Sundance as our staging area, welders strung pipes together and then they were stored on Cooper's Junction until the ski area was closed for the day.  Last chair for you meant they could start transporting the pipe to its final destination.pipe


Pulling pipe up Chute as the ski season draws to a close.


The maze area of the Outpost lift became a handy spot to weld as our crew worked to beat the melting snow.

Our team has been working diligently on this project and are finishing up on trails like Chute, Freefall and Plummet.  I asked Brendan Ryan, our Project Manager, what this would mean to us skiers and riders and he said, "Moving forward we will have the ability to make snow on Plummet, earlier."  Music to our ears, right?  Plummet will probably be equipped with the new HKD tower guns all the way down to the left dog leg and Snow Logics for the rest of the stretch. There are many more trails being treated to a pipe replacement this summer and I promise to share more in an upcoming blog.

Oh yeah, and in case you are wondering, the black flies arrived over the weekend!






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