Originally Posted by trekchick
Someday I'll ride that!
How about a Gathering in 2010?
Originally Posted by catskills
Kind of sad how the old girl has to break her back helping to build her replacement.
Yeah, it is.
Kind of like "The King is dead. Long live the King. But the old king had to muck the stalls for a couple of years before they killed him off."
Originally Posted by Highway Star
Bob, just curious....what are the specs on the current and new tram?
Like ride time, length, vert, capacity, etc?
Any comments on how it will handle the weather, as far as wind, etc? What's the max wind speeds they see at the summit there?
The "old" tram was originally rated for 63 passengers (plus 1 tram operator). That was in the long-ago days when Americans weighed less and very few skiers carried packs for going out of bounds. The cars felt very cramped when 63 skiers were riding.
The ski corp replaced the original cars sometime around the mid-90's with lighter but roomier cars. That made the space feel much nicer with 63 people for awhile, but that also coincided with the opening of the backcountry access gates and the proliferation of skiers with packs. It soon meant that the cars felt REALLY crowded with 63 people, so they dropped the capacity to 55 people. That got dropped further still during the last two winters because of concern for the aging structure. By the last winter the old tram was running for the public, they loaded only 52 people per car.
The new tram will follow the identical path of the old tram, so the basic stats will stay essentially the same. The vertical rise is 4,139 feet, from a base elevation of 6,311 to the top elevation of 10,450. The cable run is roughly 2.5 miles and the "old" tram made the trip in 12 minutes on average.
This tram design is known as a "jigback", meaning that the two cars run in opposition to each other. When one is on the top, the other is on the bottom, and when they are running they pass each other at the exact midpoint on the cable run.
There are two cables on each side of the towers that extend from top to bottom. These cables don't move and they hold the tram cars up. The huge carriage structure above each tram car "rides" on these cables. These cables are known as the "support" or "track" cables. They are anchored into the ground at each station. If you look at the photo above of the top station, you can clearly see the two cables leading from the left-hand corner of the top station diagonally toward the ground. Those are the support cables.
Each tram car is also attached to a continuous cable known as the "haul" cable. This is the one that moves the tram cars up and down the mountain. In the photo above, the haul cable is the lower of the three cables that lead downward from that upper left-hand corner.
There are five support towers and I believe that the tram cars are about 260' above the ground at the highest point.
The new tram will be rated for 100 passengers and be, I believe, about ten percent faster in terms of speed. Where the old tram was lucky to carry 250 skiers per hour to the top, the capacity of the new one will be closer to 600 skiers per hour. Decisions are still being made about what the interior of the new tram cars will look like.
As far as winds are concerned, my understanding is that the new tram will be somewhat more capable of running in high winds than the current tram. The tower arms are, I think, going to be a little wider, which means that the cars are less likely to be blown toward the tower support structure during high crosswinds. Also, the cars are larger and therefore heavier, so they perhaps will be less susceptible to being moved by the wind.
The "old" tram could operate in winds of up to 70mph if the wind was coming straight down the cable line. Winds of 45-50mph would close it if they were crosswinds, which is more likely. I will say that the machine could safely operate in windspeeds that for passengers would make walking off the tram dock at the top miserable and even borderline dangerous. I've seen smaller kids and women get blown backwards as they're trying to make their way off the dock while carrying skis or boards.
I've never heard anyone say what the max windspeed at the top is. I've always been told that the top station anemometer maxes out at 120mph. The rumor during the massive blizzard of February, 1986, was that there was a 24-hour period at the height of that 8-day storm when the anemometer was pegged almost the entire time.
All I know is that I've been on top in conditions that I think were really stupid.
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
Someday I'll ride that again. Last time was about 1975.
Originally Posted by Johnnys Zoo
Is JH planning on keeping the Rendevous Bowl (East Ridge) lift? I thought that it was a really long wait to get on the old tram... 40+ minutes. I got aggravated by the fact that many of the people riding the tram up just skiied the cat track back down. I would think that keeping the Rendevous lift and perhaps adding one or 2 more would really open things up and keep the wait time down.
When the ski corp got the Forest Service permit to put the East Ridge chairlift up Rendezvous Bowl, it was issued as a temporary chair. They said at the time that it would be taken down the summer after the new tram goes into service. It is supposedly scheduled to be re-installed in the Crags area above the Casper Bowl chairlift.
I have nothing to base this on, but I wouldn't be surprised to see that "temporary" chair become permanent. The ski corp got such good feedback on the East Ridge chair that I'm betting they'll try to keep it there. From my own standpoint, it has pretty much ruined the skiing on Rendezvous Bowl (except very early on a powder day), but I think it REALLY resulted in fewer people skiing some of the Lower Faces, which is where I like to go anyway. So, I've decided I'm all for leaving that lift there.