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5-year plans for Alta and Snowbasin - Page 2

post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Got curious to learn more about Gazex for avalanche control since Alta plans to install several.  Gazex was invented in France in 1988 so has been used in Europe for quite a while.  There are over 2000 installations.  A couple were installed by CDOT for the 2015-16 season.  JH also uses Gazex.  Crystal also has Gazex exploders.

AFAIK, Snowbasin in Utah was the first US ski area to install Gaz Ex. Saw one on Headwall at Squaw today.


Yep, Squaw installed Gazex last fall.  Sounds like planning to install more in the future.

 

Snowbasin started using Gazex in 1999 according to an article from 2004.  So it was in place before the 2002 Olympics.

 

The Gazex installation over Teton Pass has been there a while.  Was mentioned in a 2006 thread.

 

Apparently there are other Gazex exploders installed in LCC and BCC.  Snowbird bought one for UDOT in 2015 to use for the slope off Mt. Superior that is above the Lodge.  It's a different version that uses hydrogen and oxygen that cost $200,000, including installation by helicopter.

 

Clearly Alta has been thinking about Gazex technology for a while since it was mentioned in the 2009 MDP.

post #32 of 54

Great to hear about the quad over on Strawberry, that was badly needed.

 

Was hoping that Middle Bowl or Porky would get the Hi-speed treatment over Wildcat.

post #33 of 54
Thread Starter 
post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post
 

Looks like the Snowbasin proposal, at least, is working its way through the bureaucracy, and the "second and final" chance for public comment is about to close: http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTUwMTAwgAykeaxRtBeY4WBv4eHmF-YT4GMHkidBvgAI6EdIeDXIvfdrAJuM3388jPTdUvyA2NMMgyUQQAyrgQmg!!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfS000MjZOMDcxT1RVODBJN0o2MTJQRDMwODQ!/?project=48902


Thanks for the update.  The most useful document is the map showing all the projects under consideration.

 

http://a123.g.akamai.net/7/123/11558/abc123/forestservic.download.akamai.com/11558/www/nepa/103725_FSPLT3_3892659.pdf

 

Adding the Strawberry Quad and replacing the old Wildcat lift would be really nice for foggy days on the upper mountain.  The other reason for the Strawberry Quad is to allow skiing over there when the Strawberry gondola is closed due to wind.  Wonder if there is any chance of approval in time for planning and construction during Summer 2017?

post #35 of 54

What's the benefit of a new lift between Sugarloaf and Collins?  (Bypassing the EBT?, less maintenance?)   Would it move traffic in both directions?  

post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rsknight1 View Post
 

What's the benefit of a new lift between Sugarloaf and Collins?  (Bypassing the EBT?, less maintenance?)   Would it move traffic in both directions?  


Definitely less maintenance work for the grooming team.  Can be very hard to groom the EBT in windy and low visibility conditions.  For families with younger children, there are times when going across the EBT is difficult even when open because of wind or light fog.  Could be true for cautious intermediates who can ski down the Collins blues but don't have much experience on a cat track that flat and long in poor visibility.

 

I doubt downloading would be standard practice.

post #37 of 54
Thread Starter 

If Alta's going to stop grooming the EBT, how will they handle intermediate skiers coming over/back over from Snowbird? As I recall, Waldron's Way isn't normally groomed, and it's a bit of a hike to get from the gate over to Little Dipper. 

post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rsknight1 View Post
 

What's the benefit of a new lift between Sugarloaf and Collins?  (Bypassing the EBT?, less maintenance?)   Would it move traffic in both directions?  

 

The main benefit would be during storms. 

 

Alta will often close the EBT due to avalanche danger.

 

When this happens, you have to ski down the Sugarloaf side and take the surface tow to get over to Collins.

 

The lift would eliminate this problem.

 

Another benefit of eliminating the EBT would be to turn that side of Baldy into nice little bowl, similar to Ballroom.  (after avalanche control of course. :eek)

 

cmp3.10.3.3Lq4 0x96a09810

post #39 of 54

I think the EBT should be renamed PITA.  Last year I made the mistake of taking the traverse in heavy wind that pretty much windloaded the path with powder (which I got stuck in) AND found it impossible to move much against the wind.  I bet it took me 10 minutes to get over to the Collins side.  Even if the sole purpose of the lift is to avoid having to take the EBT, that is a worthy endeavor IMO.

post #40 of 54

Interesting. I don't entirely understand the addition of the strawberry quad. I would think that they should at least make it access different terrain. But hey, what do I know.

 

The wildcat quad I feel is a pretty good idea. Perhaps it will help spread out the mass of intermediates that find themselves on the traverses off of Needles.

post #41 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbat11700 View Post
 

Interesting. I don't entirely understand the addition of the strawberry quad. I would think that they should at least make it access different terrain. But hey, what do I know.

 

The wildcat quad I feel is a pretty good idea. Perhaps it will help spread out the mass of intermediates that find themselves on the traverses off of Needles.

 

I think it serves two purposes.  The primary one would be to make Strawberry accessible more often since the ridge is, at best, scary in high winds and low visibility (which is not uncommon) and is often closed entirely which shuts down that entire side of the mountain.

 

Secondly the ridge is very intimidating to beginner-intermediate skiers who would otherwise be able to access a ton of terrain that would suit them perfectly down below the ridge.  But I think that area up top scares a lot of them off.

post #42 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vcize View Post

 

 

Secondly the ridge is very intimidating to beginner-intermediate skiers who would otherwise be able to access a ton of terrain that would suit them perfectly down below the ridge.  But I think that area up top scares a lot of them off.

 

I love dropping off the EBT / Top of Collins lift onto Devils Way over to Sugarloaf - without turning!  The intermediates are all puckered up and edging cautiously in the middle, and I fly down one side (usually the left side) sans turns.  Just suck the middle hump up along the way, then glide over with enough speed to get into the Glory Hole without too much effort.

post #43 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post
 

 

I love dropping off the EBT / Top of Collins lift onto Devils Way over to Sugarloaf - without turning!  The intermediates are all puckered up and edging cautiously in the middle, and I fly down one side (usually the left side) sans turns.  Just suck the middle hump up along the way, then glide over with enough speed to get into the Glory Hole without too much effort.

 

Ok...What does that have to do with Strawberry Quad at Snowbasin?

post #44 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vcize View Post
 

 

I think it serves two purposes.  The primary one would be to make Strawberry accessible more often since the ridge is, at best, scary in high winds and low visibility (which is not uncommon) and is often closed entirely which shuts down that entire side of the mountain.

Yes. As-is, Snowbasin management is kind of trigger-happy about closing the whole area, because if they hesitate, and then need to close it quickly, they end up with a bunch of folks at the bottom of the gondola who have to wait around for snowcats to come ferry them back to the main area. And that leaves the stranded skiers and riders angry and feeling like they've been cheated out of part of their ski day. The new quad will mean that they can run the gondola in even worse conditions for those who want to brave the wind and weather, confident that if it gets bad enough that they need to close the gondola, there's still a good way out for everyone.

post #45 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post
 

Yes. As-is, Snowbasin management is kind of trigger-happy about closing the whole area, because if they hesitate, and then need to close it quickly, they end up with a bunch of folks at the bottom of the gondola who have to wait around for snowcats to come ferry them back to the main area. And that leaves the stranded skiers and riders angry and feeling like they've been cheated out of part of their ski day. The new quad will mean that they can run the gondola in even worse conditions for those who want to brave the wind and weather, confident that if it gets bad enough that they need to close the gondola, there's still a good way out for everyone.


Well if strawberry is open for more pow days, I say go for it. While they are at it they should build a lift going down the opposite side of the mountain off of strawberry. Fun looking terrain over their :rolleyes

post #46 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post
 

If Alta's going to stop grooming the EBT, how will they handle intermediate skiers coming over/back over from Snowbird? As I recall, Waldron's Way isn't normally groomed, and it's a bit of a hike to get from the gate over to Little Dipper. 


I suppose that top area could be reworked a bit to make it easier to get to Little Dipper.  Although I've done that and don't remember getting there as a "hike."  Not any harder than getting to the Alta/Snowbird gate on the Snowbird side.  Have gone over to Mineral in the morning in April for a quick look before heading over to Supreme.

post #47 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jxb View Post
 

 

...Another benefit of eliminating the EBT would be to turn that side of Baldy into nice little bowl, similar to Ballroom.  (after avalanche control of course. :eek)

 

cmp3.10.3.3Lq4 0x96a09810

Great picture! The perspective here makes it pretty clear, I think, that the ideal jumping-off point for this Ballroom-style skiing is from Snowbird's Mt Baldy quad... just a short hike up and over the edge puts you ~100-200 feet above the current traverse. Seems to me that this, along with the Baldy tram (2/3 of the terrain it'll open up are on the Snowbird side of the line), argue for closer integration and easier switching between the two resorts.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


I suppose that top area could be reworked a bit to make it easier to get to Little Dipper.  Although I've done that and don't remember getting there as a "hike."  Not any harder than getting to the Alta/Snowbird gate on the Snowbird side.  Have gone over to Mineral in the morning in April for a quick look before heading over to Supreme.

Right you are... JXB's shows that groomed shortcut back to Little Dipper that I'd either forgotten about or never realized existed. I was thinking you needed to get back almost to the Sugarloaf unloading station, but I was remembering wrong.

post #48 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


I suppose that top area could be reworked a bit to make it easier to get to Little Dipper.  Although I've done that and don't remember getting there as a "hike."  Not any harder than getting to the Alta/Snowbird gate on the Snowbird side.  Have gone over to Mineral in the morning in April for a quick look before heading over to Supreme.

Right you are... JXB's shows that groomed shortcut back to Little Dipper that I'd either forgotten about or never realized existed. I was thinking you needed to get back almost to the Sugarloaf unloading station, but I was remembering wrong.

Yeah, it's not a route that advanced skiers take very often.  I've been skiing with a few cautious intermediates who go that way even when unloading Sugarloaf.

 

Occurs to me that if visibility is any issue, Mineral is usually closed so then intermediates wouldn't be coming up from there.  Since there aren't any trees along the top section of Little Dipper, a little tricky in fog and/or wind.

post #49 of 54

Looks like the final Environmental Assessment and Draft Decision Notice for Snowbasin were posted last week: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=48902

The Forest Service wants to approve all of Snowbasin's requests, with some added specificity about particular mitigation strategies. Skimming through, it looks like the Sierra Club filed comments, although they're not available in the reading room. Now just a matter of waiting to see whether the Sierra Club files an official objection... otherwise, looks like Snowbasin can move forward next summer!

 

In semi-related news, Snowbasin's advertising their new conveyor-loading on Becker. I hadn't realized they were adding this... but it's a very good idea. Becker serves some great terrain, but the big problem is the slow ride up a lift that has to stop all the time and its sometimes-longish queues. In the past, it hasn't been particularly beginner-friendly, and the terrain isn't ideal beginner terrain, but it still gets a lot of inexperienced skier traffic because it's often the only alternative to see more of the mountain on a green run (and even when Wildcat's running, it's even less beginner-friendly, though it has a better green run). If the conveyor can really improve ride times, this is a definite win, providing smoother access to some very nice terrain. Has anyone had the chance to try it yet?

post #50 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2PDX View Post

 

In semi-related news, Snowbasin's advertising their new conveyor-loading on Becker. I hadn't realized they were adding this... but it's a very good idea. Becker serves some great terrain, but the big problem is the slow ride up a lift that has to stop all the time and its sometimes-longish queues. In the past, it hasn't been particularly beginner-friendly, and the terrain isn't ideal beginner terrain, but it still gets a lot of inexperienced skier traffic because it's often the only alternative to see more of the mountain on a green run (and even when Wildcat's running, it's even less beginner-friendly, though it has a better green run). If the conveyor can really improve ride times, this is a definite win, providing smoother access to some very nice terrain. Has anyone had the chance to try it yet?

 

How does the conveyor improve ride times?  Does it just mean they can run the lift at a faster speed without people getting blasted by a high speed chair while trying to load?

 

I agree that Becker has some neat terrain if there were a faster way to access it.  It's just hard to justify that long, cold, usually windy lift ride to get 1/3rd of the way up the mountain when you can ride all the way to the top in the same amount of time on Needles.

 

And yeah, there are beginners on there often even though the terrain is not really good for beginners.  After 3 years of taking out beginner skiers/boarders who have come out to visit I think I've finally decided that Snowbasin, as amazing as it is, is just not a good place to learn how to ski.  Little Cat is good for never-evers on their first day and for little kids, but there is no next step without jumping straight to intimidating blues.  Everyone goes up Becker to Bear Hollow next which is narrow, always chopped up, always the most crowded area on the mountain, and has sloped sides.  All things that throw newbie skiers for a loop, especially when all of them are combined into the same spot. 

post #51 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vcize View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2PDX View Post

 

In semi-related news, Snowbasin's advertising their new conveyor-loading on Becker. I hadn't realized they were adding this... but it's a very good idea. Becker serves some great terrain, but the big problem is the slow ride up a lift that has to stop all the time and its sometimes-longish queues. In the past, it hasn't been particularly beginner-friendly, and the terrain isn't ideal beginner terrain, but it still gets a lot of inexperienced skier traffic because it's often the only alternative to see more of the mountain on a green run (and even when Wildcat's running, it's even less beginner-friendly, though it has a better green run). If the conveyor can really improve ride times, this is a definite win, providing smoother access to some very nice terrain. Has anyone had the chance to try it yet?

 

How does the conveyor improve ride times?  Does it just mean they can run the lift at a faster speed without people getting blasted by a high speed chair while trying to load?

 

[snip]

When a lift has a fair number of beginners or even intermediates who are travelers, adding conveyor loading usually means that lift stops less often.  Sometimes means the lift runs slightly faster, but not always.  So the shorter lift ride is mostly because the lift runs more continuously.

 

Took a while for the regular advanced skiers to get used to the Supreme conveyor loading.  But I do think it made a difference since there is a lot of good intermediate terrain over there.

post #52 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

When a lift has a fair number of beginners or even intermediates who are travelers, adding conveyor loading usually means that lift stops less often.  Sometimes means the lift runs slightly faster, but not always.  So the shorter lift ride is mostly because the lift runs more continuously.

 

I'm still unclear as to the connection here on how it means the left stops less often.  Is it because the beginners don't have to skate out to the line to wait for the next chair?

 

I don't think I ever recall seeing anyone not make it out to the line in time on Becker and forcing them to stop the lift for that reason.  When it stops it seems to be pretty much always because someone fell getting off the lift.

post #53 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vcize View Post
 

 

I'm still unclear as to the connection here on how it means the left stops less often.  Is it because the beginners don't have to skate out to the line to wait for the next chair?

 

I don't think I ever recall seeing anyone not make it out to the line in time on Becker and forcing them to stop the lift for that reason.  When it stops it seems to be pretty much always because someone fell getting off the lift.

 

I've ridden a number of conveyor loaded chairs in Europe, and I have to say they do seem to have fewer stoppages than regular lifts.

 

The main problems they prevent are people stopping to pick up things they've dropped on the way out or struggling to get kids into position in time to get on the chair. In both cases, with the conveyor moving everyone into place, they can deal with whatever else comes up and still get into the right position at the right time.

 

Also, the ones in Europe often have lines painted on them that correspond to seating positions. On crowded days, this makes it easier for people to fill up the chair without stepping on each others' toes when getting into position or taking a seat.

post #54 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vcize View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

When a lift has a fair number of beginners or even intermediates who are travelers, adding conveyor loading usually means that lift stops less often.  Sometimes means the lift runs slightly faster, but not always.  So the shorter lift ride is mostly because the lift runs more continuously.

 

I'm still unclear as to the connection here on how it means the left stops less often.  Is it because the beginners don't have to skate out to the line to wait for the next chair?

 

I don't think I ever recall seeing anyone not make it out to the line in time on Becker and forcing them to stop the lift for that reason.  When it stops it seems to be pretty much always because someone fell getting off the lift.


Yep, my observation is that adding conveyor loading usually means a lift stops less often because beginners or inattentive intermediates are more likely to load without falling or needing the lift to be slowed down by the liftie.  So it has less to do with the machinery, it's about the people.

 

Clearly the situation is a bit different for a lift that is mainly used by intermediates and advanced skiers.  However, even Supreme flows better at Alta with conveyor loading.  I was an intermediate when I first started skiing Supreme, so perhaps I noticed more than the advanced skiers.  It was the advanced skiers who had a little trouble adapting.

 

When Massanutten (in VA) installed conveyor loading (2007?) for the existing long beginner lift from the base, it made a big difference.  Does the lift still stop?  Yes, but much less.  Used to stop 4-5 times during a lift ride.  Now perhaps once every 3-4 rides when the place is super busy with total newbies on a holiday weekend.

 

Big Sky included conveyor loading for the new Challenger lift, which only serves advanced/expert terrain.

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