first_imgMount Snow Resort,Mount Snow employed a helicopter earlier this month to fly-in the 25 lift towers for its new six passenger bubble chairlift. A Sikorsky construction helicopter was used to fly twenty-five 8,500+ pound lift towers from the base of Mount Snow up the mountain, placing the galvanized steel towers on bolts the size of wiffleball bats from almost 100-feet in the air.This is the most significant part of the installation process for Mount Snow’s new $8.5 million lift. The very large construction helicopter ‘picked’ lift towers and crossarm assemblies from the staging area at the base of the mountain and flew them to the lift tower bases along the future lift line. The helicopter stays airborne throughout the entire process.  Crews on the ground attach and detach, by hand, a hook connected to an 80-foot cable hanging from the belly of the helicopter.  This carefully orchestrated process is supervised by officials from Leitner-Poma; the manufacturers of the Bluebird Express. Mount Snow in Wilmington, one of the parts of Vermont hardest hit by Tropical Storm Irene, plans to open as usual in early November for skiing. It anticipates that the Bluebird Express bubble lift will be operational by then or shortly after opening day.Facts about the installation: The helicopter company is called Construction Helicopters based out of MichiganThe helicopter itself is a Sikorsky SK61.  It has a 62-foot rotor span and can lift up to 10,000 poundsThe helicopter did almost 40 ‘picks’, ie, separate trips from the staging area at the base to lift tower locations along the lift lineThe lift has a total of 25 towers. Crews were able to install three of the towers using ground equipment, so the helicopter flew in 22 of the towers. It took only five hours to fly in all of the parts for the 22 towers.Mount Snow is also building a 60’ X 130’ bubble chair storage barn.  They will take the bubble chairs off the line every night and store them in this climate controlled, timber frame structure.  This allows them to dictate how many chairs to put on the line and in the event of overnight icing or sticky snow, all they must do is clean off the haul rope to get the lift going, instead of having to clean off the chairs and their attachments which is more time consuming.  Source: Mount Snow Resort. 10.7.2011last_img