The pace at Snowbowl increases in October as the days get shorter and the work day is long. Seasonal employees have joined the ranks this month assisting with projects and preparing for ski season. The Snowmaking crew have the fan guns placed and ready on designated opening trails and will take advantage of any cold cycle from this point forward. Last Monday was the coldest night so far. The snowmakers fired up the system and made snow on lower Ridge and Stump Patch.
The Grand Canyon Express is looking great and on schedule. Last week, the towers were set with a special heavy lift helicopter. Now, we're focused on installing the top terminal machinery and drive systems. The equipment will be hauled on a special trailer pulled by a large dozer in five or more trips. The machinery weighs too much for the helicopter. We've had many questions about where the top terminal is. The top terminal is directly below the island of trees where Upper Ridge intersects with Midway Catwalk. View the trail map by clicking here. Riders will unload and have access to both Ridge and Midway Catwalk. You will not recognize this area; we created an entirely new trail on skiers left of Ridge that weaves around the standing tree island and changes traffic flow to accommodate the lift terminal. The views will be stunning as you ride the lift.
The Grand Canyon Express is a big lift by industry standards. The length (5,800’) and vertical (1,546’) are impressive. We chose to locate the drive machinery at the top which is the most efficient use of power and pulls the cable uphill opposed to pushing it like Agassiz and Sunset lifts. There are not many six person chairlifts but they are gaining in popularity. An entire family can now ride together.
After the top terminal installation, the cable will arrive, be installed and spliced. Remaining work includes installation of the drive machinery, braking, and hydraulics systems followed by hanging chairs. Our lift has the latest in technology for the drive and safety systems, communication, and electronic package. Depending on weather delays I expect the new lift to open mid-November, well before Thanksgiving.
The staff is very excited for the ski season and you should be too. Grand Canyon Express is a significant improvement in our uphill capacity and provides new ways to ski the mountain. Within weeks, we will be skiing and riding Snowbowl’s first high-speed lift. That is a short countdown.