Dec 1, 2002 | Marmot, Winter 2002

Summer 2002 ends with$6.5 million investment

Mount Washington has been busy spending $6.5 million in capital purchases over the summer.

“The biggest investment (at $5 million), obviously, is the Hawk Chairlift,” says Director of Business Services Don Sharpe. The Resort has also leased an entirely new fleet of Bombardier grooming machines (five alpine and one nordic). Six of the new tracked units, known universally as “sno-cats”, with their hydraulically-actuated implements, will handle the manicure needs of Mount Washington’s 1,200 skiable acres. Five of the machines will be found working the slopes with a sixth, smaller version allocated to Raven Lodge and its accompanying 55 kilometres of nordic trails.

One of the new machines is outfitted with a massive arm and cable mechanism on its rear deck. Known within ski industry circles as one of the most exciting winter vehicle rides imaginable, the “Winch Cat” allows grooming in hard-to-reach areas by paying out its firmly tethered cable from behind. It puts a whole new meaning to the term “steep and deep” as the sno-cat, weighing several tonnes, hangs from a wire over areas where its treads would not have purchase due to the pitch of the slope. This same cable is used to winch the vehicle back to the top of what is normally a Black Diamond run.

Another machine mounts the Resort’s Pipe Dragon, a conveyor belt and scoop mechanism that is designed to groom the half pipe in the Terrain Park. ” Grooming is certainly an art and the new machines give the operators increased flexibility and reliability as they perform their nightly ritual of preparing the mountain for another day of skiing and snowboarding,” said Mike Klein, Director of Resort Operations.

Parking at Mount Washington has also increased dramatically, especially at the expanded parking lot by The Hawk and at Raven Lodge. Sharpe estimates the resort has added well over 300 sites in anticipation of the 2002-03 ski season.

The former Red Chair parking lot (now at the base of the Hawk) has been doubled, and parking at Raven Lodge has tripled. The Resort has reduced the number of recreational vehicle stalls at the old RV lot to allow day parking, and there is now a seven-day maximum for RV visits.

“The two biggest issues were parking and seating inside,” Sharpe said. ” We’ve bought all new tables and chairs in the main lodge, thereby adding about 200 seats,” he said. Gone are the cough drop-colored plastic chairs; they have been replaced by classy black chairs with beige tables.

The Resort also bought new snowmobiles, two new trucks, a shuttle van, bobcat and some ATVs. They also continue to upgrade their rental equipment, Sharpe said.

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