May Tram Diaries – Towers Come Down, Go Up
By Lauren Whaley
Itâ€™s officially spring in Jackson Hole, but for the past month and a half work crews assembling the new red box under wintry conditions. In fact, it took nearly three weeks just to clear snow off the mountain road.
â€œWe rented an excavator and a D6 to break up the ice layer on top of the dirt road,â€ says Tim Mason, interim General Manager of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. â€œYou can currently drive a truck to Tower 4 and an ATV to the top of the tram easily. We do have to continue to maintain this road due to snowmelt. Because old man winter does not want to give into spring, we continue to push snow. Keep in mind we still have 122 inches at the snow study plot at the bottom of Rendezvous Bowl.â€
Worker on Tower 1. Photo: Tristan Greszko.
Mason says that on May 14, road clearing and grooming crews finally unearthed the new Tower 4 foundations â€“ poured earlier this year – which were under about 20 feet of snow. Some snow banks lining the access road are still 25 to 30 feet high. â€œImpressive,â€ Mason says.
Snowcats plow the road to the top of Rendezvous Bowl. Photo: Tristan Greszko
Still, Mason reports that crews have made headway since the resortâ€™s closing in early April, including dismantling Towers 1, 2 and 3 and finishing the new Tower 1.
New Tower 3 construction began on May 5.
As crews continue to dismantle and assemble, major shipments continue to arrive from Europe. Lift company Garaventa has had 36 containers delivered to date. The 36 containers were full of material for towers 3, 4 and 5 as well as remaining bottom terminal equipment. The haul rope and one track rope were delivered on April 12; the same delivery trucks then drove back to California to bring the remaining three track ropes back to Jackson. These three arrived at the end of April.
The spool of haul rope for the new tram is delivered.
Gunderson Stanley Concrete workers from Las Vegas, who have been pulling long weeks all winter finished the subfloor and walls of the bottom terminal. Crews also completed the north and south bollards, which help to anchor the tram cables. Over the next few days, theyâ€™ll pour platform deck, above the subfloor, where passengers will board the 100-person tram.
Lift Maintenance and Electrical Director Troy Stoker had another European vacation in Stans, Switzerland, to visit Frey AG; while there, he trained on the drive system for the new tram.
â€œHe came back impressed with the new system for the tram,â€ Mason reports. â€œTechnology has changed in forty years.â€
Mason reflects on the past several weeks.
â€œToday, May 13, is probably one of the nicest spring days in probably a week on the mountainâ€ he says. â€œWith so much snow and quick warm up, maybe to warm, the run off may give the valleys on both sides of the Tetons a bit of trouble. I think the ground is quite saturated now and the water has nowhere to go. I guess with our past dry summers, this can be a good thing but it can make construction a challenge.â€