Winch Cats

Nice youtube on winch cats. Never seen it before.

Comments

  • That is very cool! A long way from a sno cat with a bunch of tires on some pipe.
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • bmwskier said:

    That is very cool! A long way from a sno cat with a bunch of tires on some pipe.

    I couldn't believe the number of controls there were on his panel.
  • What ice? Never seen any.
  • What ice? Never seen any.

    Especially at Fernie, where that video was recorded.
  • tedede said:

    What ice? Never seen any.

    Especially at Fernie, where that video was recorded.
    And here I thought you were a real New Englander skier! Ice? Only on the surface of the snowmaking pond. :-)
  • And here I thought you were a real New Englander skier! Ice? Only on the surface of the snowmaking pond. :-)

    Locals out west use the term "ice" for packed powder that's more than a couple days old. The same conditions in New England would be a 9 out of 10.
  • tedede said:

    And here I thought you were a real New Englander skier! Ice? Only on the surface of the snowmaking pond. :-)

    Locals out west use the term "ice" for packed powder that's more than a couple days old. The same conditions in New England would be a 9 out of 10.
    We are a hardy bunch!
  • edited July 21
    Joshua, has patrol got a treat to share with you!

    On those grey days when sane folks head home early; patrol hangs out in the top shack watching the empty lift run while freezing rain saturates the snow and sticks to everything. When the sun drops the hill takes on a whole new very solid slick character that even spikes don't work on as the temp drops 30 degrees in 20 minutes.

    Once things are solidly frozen and the last customer has gone to the bar (where the TV says stay off the roads), the decision comes down to pack it in for the night.

    Grabbing our skis (kept undercover to avoid ice build up) we inch out, click in and proceed to sideslip & snowplow very carefully down while muttering epithets about what can only be called true eastern ice (& who else should be made to ski down on it).

    Yep, getting first & last tracks isn't always fun. Ted, I seem to remember sharing this experience with you last season. :)
  • Ted and Nelson: You must be talking about New England hardpack. Looking forward to many seasons with you all, but I may have to sharpen my skis a bit more often.
  • More Dante's inferno, WINTER edition. We got iy easy though, the new guy gets to haul the garbage bag down >:)
  • NELSBEER said:

    More Dante's inferno, WINTER edition. We got it easy though, the new guy gets to haul the garbage bag down >:)

    I have documented experience at doing that.
  • "Advanced Training" so to speak....

    Back to the winch cat. Few people have seen Crotched's winch cat in action. It came on line late in the season. The local crew spent the winter re-building a Hunter Mountain PB 400 winch which had been replaced.

    Due to the danger of the cable snapping to a new position as the cat moves the winch isn't used when anyone is on the hill. Tele mark skiers may be warned off in the morning while the winch is used. The basic operation of the machine is the same as seen in the video.
  • I was told that it made a huge difference in keeping Jupiter's Storm open, last season. With it, they can not only groom while going up the steep, they are also able to push snow up the steep.
  • As they showed on the video the cat can groom while going up as well as when going down cutting grooming time by 50%+ . They were also able to blow snow on Velocity, which has good coverage with tower mounted SMI polecats, and push the snow up on to Milky Way (connector from main hill to West) a narrow trail with no towers and perennial coverage problems. Once they did this Milky Way was good and stayed that way.

    Word has it that they will be adding tower mounted pole cats on Moon Walk this summer, together with the winch cat we should see a lot less "NE hardpack" on the favored trail from the summit. Will we be doing mid-late day 1/2 hour closures to allow winch cat miracles on Moonwalk? We can only hope!
  • NELSBEER said:

    Yep, getting first & last tracks isn't always fun. Ted, I seem to remember sharing this experience with you last season. :)

    Oh yeah Nelson, on more than one occasion. And Joshua, when you can read the top sheet on your skis through 1/2" of accumulation, it's ice. Any arguments otherwise and I'll shoot you my incredulous look:




  • Back to the topic, it seems the folks out west are more lax about anchor points. It appears NH wants proper concrete footings.
  • tedede said:

    Back to the topic, it seems the folks out west are more lax about anchor points. It appears NH wants proper concrete footings.

    I've not been skiing a lot of different areas in recent years, but I noticed that Killington uses large trees in places, but Saddleback had large-heavy-metal eyelets to which to hook the winch cable.
  • Sugarbush uses eyelets and cables at the top of Steins, Organgrinder and Ripcord.
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • I heard there may be a legal aspect, like required by law (once they catch you)...
    Wildcat has rather substantial 'I' beams scattered on steeper slopes. Keep in mind you don't need a lot of anchors as the cables are several thousand feet long and can go around corners.

    Might add Crotched is largely second growth with a lot of scrawny trees the winch might be better at collecting firewood from a lot of the trees...
  • edited July 23
    bmwskier said:

    Sugarbush uses eyelets and cables at the top of Steins, Organgrinder and Ripcord.

    Yes but what are those "eyelets" anchored too? I believe concrete encased winch poles (or some such other man-made structure) and not trees....
  • I can't recall seeing a winch cat in operation up close, but one time about a dozen years ago I arrived at Kirkwood ski area in California at about 4 AM. It was a really dark night and I was weary from a long trip to get there. All I could see were lights going up and down some really steep slopes. They looked like UFOs hovering over the ski area. I found out later the lights were from high angle winch cats in the act of grooming some of Kirkwood's steeps.
    More on Kirkwood steeps (many are never groomed) from some sort of Vail Resorts publication:
    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/525b7146e4b0e9bbe4c95701/t/5806858f59cc68f14f75ec75/1476822420393/FINAL_EpicLife_IG_kirkwood_Michelson.pdf
  • slatham said:

    bmwskier said:

    Sugarbush uses eyelets and cables at the top of Steins, Organgrinder and Ripcord.

    Yes but what are those "eyelets" anchored too? I believe concrete encased winch poles (or some such other man-made structure) and not trees....
    They're always buried in snow when I am up there-- so my guess is probably somehow stapled or secured into the exposed bedrock. That would make the most sense given their positions.
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • bmwskier said:

    slatham said:

    bmwskier said:

    Sugarbush uses eyelets and cables at the top of Steins, Organgrinder and Ripcord.

    Yes but what are those "eyelets" anchored too? I believe concrete encased winch poles (or some such other man-made structure) and not trees....
    They're always buried in snow when I am up there-- so my guess is probably somehow stapled or secured into the exposed bedrock. That would make the most sense given their positions.
    Did he say that they are attached to buried logs?
  • That he did :#
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • I'm pretty sure Platty uses large trees for the winch.
  • I would much rather use a live large tree rather than a hidden,
    possibly rotten log in the ground.
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