Featured, Local News

Killington upgrades delayed by snow

Courtesy Killington Resort

One of Killington’s three new tunnels gets built.

By Katy Savage

Record-breaking snow has caused construction delays at Killington Resort.

The new South Ridge Quad, which was expected to be done before Christmas, has been pushed back until the end of January. A new storage barn for the Snowdon Six Express bubble chairs and relocating the Snowdon Poma to the Swirl trail have also been delayed.

About 56 inches of snow fell in November – the highest since 1968 – causing a construction “headache,” according to a press release. Crews have been forced to use snowmobiles and grooming tractors to transport personnel and materials to and from work sites.

“Killington skiers and snowboarders greatly appreciated the generous early season snowfall, but it created headaches for construction workers, who found even the simplest tasks taking longer with the job site buried in snow,” a press release said.

Killington announced it was making a $25 million capital investment last spring – the most invested in a single season in memory. Work crews have since been scrambling to get the major construction projects complete.

The K-1 gondola was replaced with a new storage barn. New RFID gates at Killington and Pico were installed along with 44,000 square-feet of new snowmaking pipe. The Snowdon Six Express bubble lift opened Dec. 10.

“Finishing up the Snowdon Six storage barn has been a very high priority for us,” Operations Manager Jeff Temple said in a press release.

Crews are working to complete the rails and elevators that will move the bubble chairs from the lift terminal into the barn and protect the chairs from the cold overnight.

Three new tunnels—two on Snowdon and one on Skye Peak are also nearly complete.

Fencing on the Skyburst tunnel is being installed this week. Temple expects the Skyburst and the Upper Bunney tunnel to be done this week. The steel structure is also complete for the Lower Snowdon tunnel.

He expects another tunnel to be done this spring.

As for the South Ridge Quad: “It might be a little further from completion than the other two projects, but it is progressing and we are still hopeful that it will open before the end of January,” Temple said in a press release.

Towers for the South Ridge Quad were installed with a helicopter over the summer. However, crews still need to splice and install the haul rope, put the the chairs on the lift and run a load test, Temple said.

A load test is conducted whenever a new lift opens to the public. Barrels of water are put on each chair to mimic the weight of people.

The South Ridge Quad, with 134 chairs, will replace the South Ridge Triple, which was removed in 2011 after it reached the end of its useful life.

The South Ridge Quad will use chairs from the Snowdown Quad, which were replaced with a bubble lift.

“Immediately following the completion of that barn, priority falls to the new South Ridge Quad,” Communications Manager Courtney DiFore said. “Aside from providing another pod of excellent skiing and riding, the new South Ridge Quad will also provide better connectivity between Bear Mountain and the north side of the resort.”

Photo courtesy Killington Resort

One of Killington’s three new tunnels gets built.

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