June Tram Update – Early Summer Construction

June Tram Update – Early Summer Construction

June Tram Diaries
by Lauren Whaley

The big news this month is the promotion of Tim Mason to Vice President of Operations. In his new position, Mason will oversee all areas of on-mountain operations, including lifts, ski patrol, grooming, mountain facilities, parking as well as summer operations.

Before coming to Jackson, Mason worked at Winter Park in Colorado. He joined the Village team in 1996 and worked as head of Lift Operations and eventually Director of Mountain Operations – and unofficial tram construction spokesman.

“Being given the opportunity to learn and develop over my years at JHMR and cover all areas of operations from the parking lots to the ski patrol has been an invaluable experience,” Mason says. “I am looking forward to being involved in the developing mountain plans for the future to meet both the winter and summer needs of our ever changing guests.”

For the month of June 2008, these plans continued to revolve around the new tram.

After working for the entire winter pouring foundations and walls, Gunderson Stanley Concrete only has a few more days of clean up before they pack up and head back to Las Vegas.

Base terminal pour. Photo: Tristan Greszko.

The solid motor room left behind by Gunderson Stanley now houses machinery, including the electric motors, the gear box, auxiliary motors, backup generators and bullwheels.

The motor room will serve a novel role in the new terminal, as guests will be able to peer through glass into the inner workings of the new tram.

“You’ll be able to see some of the machinery working a little bit, like some of the overhead equipment as the cars dock, Mason says. “That’s really cool.”

Inside the motor room. Photo: Tristan Greszko.

The building structure has been assembled above the motor room box and foundation giving the “bottom terminal” look and tying the tram and building into one unit.

Further up the mountain, where crews have been at the mercy of weather for the past several months, construction is speeding along.

Tower Rundown:

Towers 1 and 3 are finished.

Because there is no road access to Tower 2, Garaventa hired a helicopter to help transport new Tower 2 materials in and old Tower 2 materials out. Now, crews are using a needle crane to build the tower.

Heli pilot. Photo: Tristan Greszko.

The heli grabs another load. Photo: Tristan Greszko.

While all other towers had the benefit of an 85 ton crane and an all-terrain forklift, Tower 2 will be constructed by the needle crane, which is anchored to the side of the hill.

Tower 3 is done.

Crews are still working on Tower 4. The snowy, rainy weather that defined the beginning of June slowed Tower 4 construction, Mason says. “We had to rebuild roads and make them safe and stable for our workers to access Tower 4.”

Further up the mountain, where the snow still sits, Tower 5 construction crews had to hand dig the snow surrounding the buried Tower 5 foundations.

“We went in there about the third week of June and threw a couple of six pound charges to see if the snow pack would go,” Mason says. “But, that area is constantly blasted by ski patrol throughout the winter, so it’s work hardened and snow hardened.”

Mason says the snow covering the foundations was about 10 feet deep. The recent week of sun reduced it to four feet. And crews finished the job with shovels.

“Once we started digging, things moved more quickly,” Mason says. “We found all the foundations around Tower 5 and also the 28 foundations up there at the top terminal. Once we exposed the earth, snow started melting quickly.”

Tower building crews work from about 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. “Sometimes they take Sundays off. Sometimes not,” Mason says. “We’re trying to stay ahead of Garaventa daily.”

Despite the “bad weather” this spring, construction is “more or less on schedule,” Mason says. “Nothing affects the Swiss. They work hard. I gotta give credit where credit is due. I don’t think they have ever missed a deadline.”

Mason says he’s confident that the company will keep its commitment to a November load test.

Loading dock panorama! Photo: Tristan Greszko.

Lots more photos and videos at Tramformation.com, including new 360° panoramas of the various build sites on the mountain.

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