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Whitetail, the new tline?
25 posts from 10 users
Updated one year ago
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one year ago
Let’s hope this is just an anomaly and not the start of poor maintenance. Twice in the last week the high speed quad express has broken down and been taken offline. I was there last Monday and today. Today we were skiiing on the back side and came back to the front on angel drop. Near the bottom we saw the quad lift was completely empty and not moving. We stopped and talked to a mountain host at the bottom and asked what was wrong. They said it was not the same issue as last Monday. Today was some kind of power issue. They had to start the diesel generator to clear the lift. We waited about 15 minutes. When they said to clear the lift line we left. I’ve never seen such level of equipment failures before. Twice in one week. Disappointed.
one year ago

itdoesntmatter wrote:

….and not the start of poor maintenance. 

It’s also a unique lift, with, as I believe, no others still in operation. It’s quirky. A product of the heady, original developers of Whitetail in 1990/91. Snowtime may need to shuffle investment priorities sooner than it thought. At least a chairlift, unlike a hotel and full-service restaurant/bar, isn’t subject to the bible beating local electorate who won’t permit the devil’s liquor (and related year round jobs and revenue for schools) - but that’s a different thread.

one year ago

FreshPow wrote:

…..At least a chairlift, unlike a hotel and full-service restaurant/bar, isn’t subject to the bible beating local electorate who won’t permit the devil’s liquor (and related year round jobs and revenue for schools) - but that’s a different thread.

Here here!

Maybe they’ll save a little $ on snowmaking for a while?

one year ago

Didn’t realize it wasn’t just a high speed detachable quad like you see at other places. 

one year ago

I was there when  when the lift stopped running I heard a big vroom from this deseil white plumes of black smoke. Luckily I for some strange reasin was on my touring skis so I just walked up to the experts lift. 

But as fresh pow said maybe they will need a new lift or a new engin at the bare minimum. I wonder who will get the new lift tho white to or snowshoes ballhooter hahaha

 

one year ago

FreshPow wrote:

itdoesntmatter wrote:

….and not the start of poor maintenance. 

It’s also a unique lift, with, as I believe, no others still in operation. It’s quirky. A product of the heady, original developers of Whitetail in 1990/91. Snowtime may need to shuffle investment priorities sooner than it thought. At least a chairlift, unlike a hotel and full-service restaurant/bar, isn’t subject to the bible beating local electorate who won’t permit the devil’s liquor (and related year round jobs and revenue for schools) - but that’s a different thread.

The Whitetail Express is a detachable quad manufactured and installed by CTEC/Garaventa in 1991.  CTEC built its first detachable lift in 1989, but partnered with Garaventa in 1990 to use Garaventa’s detachables.  CTEC and Garaventa merged in 1992, and later were rolled into today’s Doppelmayr Garaventa Group.  (There’s been some consolidation in the industry.)

I believe there are still some detachable CTEC/Garaventa lifts similar to Whitetail’s in operation, such as Beaver Creek’s Grouse Mountain Express (image from www.skiresort.info):

FreshPow, what makes Whitetail’s lift unique/quirky?  It is pushing 25 years old age now, although a well-maintained lift should last many years.  That lift is critical to accessing the majority of Whitetail’s terrain (it’s a single point of failure for reaching the intermediate and expert terrain), so hopefully Whitetail can get the problems straightened out.  I know I’d be very upset if I traveled to Whitetail and was limited to skiing the bunny slopes.

one year ago

Scott wrote:

FreshPow, what makes Whitetail’s lift unique/quirky?  It is pushing 25 years old age

As you point out, it’s getting up in years. Parts, as I understand it, if not manufacturer knowledge on its nuances are a bit difficult, if not unavailable. These were early era high speed detachables. Other models were/are much more established. That chair was a very splashy and bold statement on Whitetail’s opening. It’s still the only one in day trip DC skiing. It requires strong local operational knowledge of its fits and issues. Much like any complex piece of machinery. That does exist. Any further comments would be pushing my own understanding. So take those with some grains of salt!

In short, it’s usefulness as the backbone of a hill may be ending its reasonable life. Moved over to a new terrain expansion…there’s a new extension on life. Hmmm….

one year ago

FreshPow wrote:

Scott wrote:

FreshPow, what makes Whitetail’s lift unique/quirky?  It is pushing 25 years old age

As you point out, it’s getting up in years. Parts, as I understand it, if not manufacturer knowledge on its nuances are a bit difficult, if not unavailable. These were early era high speed detachables. Other models were/are much more established. That chair was a very splashy and bold statement on Whitetail’s opening. It’s still the only one in day trip DC skiing. It requires strong local operational knowledge of its fits and issues. Much like any complex piece of machinery. That does exist. Any further comments would be pushing my own understanding. So take those with some grains of salt!

In short, it’s usefulness as the backbone of a hill may be ending its reasonable life. Moved over to a new terrain expansion…there’s a new extension on life. Hmmm….

It will be interesting to see how that plays out.  Hopefully there’s still plenty of life left in it, because a new detachable lift would be expensive and I’m not sure they have the budget for that.  (Whitetail was originally built by Japanese investors and they took a huge loss, selling Whitetail for pennies on the dollar; a high-speed lift at a day ski area in the weather-fickle Mid-Atlantic wasn’t really an economically viable choice at the time, which contributed to the original investors bleeding money.)

For those who saw the lift break down, do you know how long it was out of service?  I’d hate to take a day off from work, drive to Whitetail, and then find that lift not operating.  Right now they’re reporting that all lifts are in operation.

one year ago

Scott, the lift must of been out for 20 minutes although it in not 100% sure because I toured over to the expert side. But after I saw those giant plumes of black smoke and something that sounded like it was from a 18wheeler. But it looked to me that the backup engine was struggling to accomplish its task (im not a lift tech so idk what it is) 

a curious thing I noticed is it seems that they where planting some pines along the left side of a limelight (not sure if it has anything to do with the lift) maybe it would be to give it some cover from wind?  

one year ago

Antoine wrote:

Scott, the lift must of been out for 20 minutes although it in not 100% sure because I toured over to the expert side. But after I saw those giant plumes of black smoke and something that sounded like it was from a 18wheeler. But it looked to me that the backup engine was struggling to accomplish its task (im not a lift tech so idk what it is) 

a curious thing I noticed is it seems that they where planting some pines along the left side of a limelight (not sure if it has anything to do with the lift) maybe it would be to give it some cover from wind?  

Most lifts do have diesel backups in case of electric failure; the diesel engines are just to help offload the lift and aren’t used to run the lifts (I don’t think they can run them anywhere near full-speed when on diesel backup).  Seeing large plumes of black smoke wouldn’t be unusual from the diesel backups.  So probably nothing unusual there, other than the fact that they had to go to diesel backup…

one year ago
Wow to say Whitetail is like Timberline that is a bold statement. Knowing the lift crew up there they take their job seriously especially the Detach as us locals call it. It isn’t neglect by any means. I have been to Timberline the place as weathered needs a major cash infusion, Whitetail not like that at all they invest every year. They take pride in their resort and listen to people’s feedback. Tell me Timberline does that. Yes the Detach is getting close to the end of its lifespan but Whitetail has performed alot of upkeep on this lift. There has been talk at times to upgrade it to six pack but you need more terrain to offer to do that. Whitetail does has plans to replace when is uncertain but now it may change their thinking going forward if it continues to go down. This weekend will be a big weekend for them with sunny weather. Lets hope they fixed the issues to ease those that quick bash them. Just remember if it was for natural snow received, Timberline would operating on a 1/3 of their terrain while Whitetail be would 100% open with their. :-)
one year ago
Wow to say Whitetail is like Timberline that is a bold statement. Knowing the lift crew up there they take their job seriously especially the Detach as us locals call it. It isn’t neglect by any means. I have been to Timberline the place is weathered and needs a major cash infusion, Whitetail not like that at all they invest every year. They take pride in their resort and listen to people’s feedback. Tell me Timberline does that. Yes the Detach is getting close to the end of its lifespan but Whitetail has performed alot of upkeep on this lift. There has been talk at times to upgrade it to six pack but you need more terrain to offer to do that. Whitetail has plans to replace when is uncertain but now it may change their thinking going forward if it continues to go down. This weekend will be a big weekend for them with sunny weather. Lets hope they fixed the issues to ease those that are quick to bash them. Just remember if it wasn’t for natural snow received, Timberline would be operating on a 1/3 of their terrain while Whitetail be would 100% open with their. :-)
one year ago

I don’t think anyone here is bashing Whitetail, just expressing concern that a critical lift would break down twice in a week.  Whitetail has some of the best customer support in the region and I’m sure they’re doing everything in their power to keep it running smoothly.

one year ago

I apologize for the title of my post.  I phrased it as a question. Yes I was frustrated because twice I have been affected by the lift outage. I posted last week as well and i actually gave kudos for whitetail for doing the right thing and giving me a voucher for a future ticket. Yes I’m frustrated because I have driven a total of 6 hours and have skied maybe 4 hours tops.  Sorry but I’m not going to ski the beginner slopes. And yes I admit I was not willing to climb up the slope to the one lift. 

one year ago

Antoine wrote:

 

“a curious thing I noticed is it seems that they where planting some pines along the left side of a limelight (not sure if it has anything to do with the lift) maybe it would be to give it some cover from wind?  ”

Yes we saw the pine trees as well, probably a dozen or so. Maybe in a couple of years it would be a tiny area of glade skiing. 

one year ago

Yeah, the pine trees are really weird, mainly because they are on the actual run!  I guess they’re trying to build glades?  I’d love to hear an official answer on this, because randomly planting pine trees on a ski run (especially in the mid-A) seems to defy logic….

one year ago

Reisen wrote:

Yeah, the pine trees are really weird, mainly because they are on the actual run!  I guess they’re trying to build glades?  I’d love to hear an official answer on this, because randomly planting pine trees on a ski run (especially in the mid-A) seems to defy logic….

That side of the trail is out of reach of snowmaking and/or never a targeted concern as such. It was rarely skiable - except in event of large snowfall years. Might as well plant some vegetation and kind of fill it in. Also helps with erosion control and keeps it looking better. If it creates an occasional glade with natural, so be it!

…something along those lines.

one year ago

As an engineer I am always amazed when people are surprised when a complicated contraption breaks down. Typically as these lifts get old there are electrical overload problems. They are hard to anticipate. This lift is an early vintage detachable lift. There are many more moving parts than a conventional lift, thus more stuff to break down. It will eventually cost some big coin to replace this lift. They’ve gotten 25 years out of this lift which to me is pretty good. Perhaps an overhaul can be done during the summer and they can get some more years out of it. That said, if I would have driven 1.5 hours to WT and the lift broke down, I would not be happy either. As far as the pine trees, they could be a wind or sun block. 

one year ago

FreshPow strong> wrote:

Reisen wrote:

Yeah, the pine trees are really weird, mainly because they are on the actual run!  I guess they’re trying to build glades?  I’d love to hear an official answer on this, because randomly planting pine trees on a ski run (especially in the mid-A) seems to defy logic….

That side of the trail is out of reach of snowmaking and/or never a targeted concern as such. It was rarely skiable - except in event of large snowfall years. Might as well plant some vegetation and kind of fill it in. Also helps with erosion control and keeps it looking better. If it creates an occasional glade with natural, so be it!

…something along those lines.

Some areas use them as a snow fence to prevent winds blowing across the trail and blowing the snow on Angel Drop. When the winds blow over the top of EZ Rider Quad nothing really shields it from the wind. Just theory. Seven Springs used on Lost Boy and on the North Face.
one year ago

FreshPow wrote:

Reisen wrote:

Yeah, the pine trees are really weird, mainly because they are on the actual run!  I guess they’re trying to build glades?  I’d love to hear an official answer on this, because randomly planting pine trees on a ski run (especially in the mid-A) seems to defy logic….

That side of the trail is out of reach of snowmaking and/or never a targeted concern as such. It was rarely skiable - except in event of large snowfall years. Might as well plant some vegetation and kind of fill it in. Also helps with erosion control and keeps it looking better. If it creates an occasional glade with natural, so be it!

…something along those lines.

Wouldn’t the better answer be to add snowmaking to that side of the trail?  If you don’t, that makes WT’s primary trail (Limelight) pretty narrow.  If there’s talk of them upgrading to a six pack, they’ll definitely need to use the full width of the trail to accomodate the skier traffic.

I feel like I’ve skied that side of the trail many times over the years, probably late season, where it’s had time to fill in.

Come to think of it, do most trails at WT have snowmaking on both sides?  I feel like they sometimes blow on one side then push the mounds across with cats, but I’m not positive.

one year ago

Reisen wrote:

Come to think of it, do most trails at WT have snowmaking on both sides?  I feel like they sometimes blow on one side then push the mounds across with cats, but I’m not positive.

Most trails at Whitetail only have the polemount fan guns along one side.  On occassion Whitetail will take old-school nozzle guns with a hose and move them to the other side of the trail (when the trail is closed).  I think it’s fairly common for ski areas to only have snowmaking along one side of a trail, as that reduces the amount of plumbing needed.

one year ago

They have guns mounted on one side of the trail (west) to take advantage of the prevailing westerlies (did I spell that right?haha) to take advantage of the wind and give the guns more range.   

I thought I would tell you guys about the trees they planted (seem to be white pines) they are the fastest growing evergreens in our area and are pretty good at withstanding wind throw, Liberty before they had that project a couple years back had the whole base area covered in them. Also it. Seems they planted some spruces next to the road curiously tho they’re all tiny saplings. 

one year ago

As a lifelong Skiier at 7S, I distinctly remember the first 3 or 4 years of the Gunnar Express 6 breaking down multiple times a season. I’ve been caught on that lift several times as long an hour and have had to hike out from the Bottom of Gunnar to North Face when they havent been able to get the lift moving again. Even at resorts that are as well maintained as 7S, complicated pieces of machinery do break down on occasion. 

 

Speaking of old lifts that break down, there was nothing like the Avalanche lift breaking down and 7S having to purchase a new motor from Snowshoe and install it during the middle of the season.

one year ago

Just out of curiousity, anybody know, how much does a new detach quad cost?  Could WT keep/use the towers?

As for the trees, they need a few hundred more to help with the southern exposure…

one year ago

RodneyBD wrote:

Just out of curiousity, anybody know, how much does a new detach quad cost?  Could WT keep/use the towers?

As for the trees, they need a few hundred more to help with the southern exposure…

Some towers *might* be able to be reused, and that could significantly reduce the cost.  A brand new six-pack detach these days can cost as high as $8 million, but the price varies a lot depending on the mountain layout/geography and whether existing towers and footers can be leveraged.  For a brand new quad detach, you’d probably be looking at $2.5-$4.5 million.  Not pocket change, but there are a variety of options that could be explored, including rebuilding/overhauling an existing lift.  And an item like a lift would be amortized across many years.

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