Saturday will be the last day of operation for the Mt. Hood Express high speed quad - our primary workhorse out of the base area lift for the past 29 seasons. The Poma lift was constructed in 1994 and has racked up an astonishing 50,000 hours of service. Serving guests both day and for night skiing, it has carried an estimated 32,500,000 (yes that is 32 million) passenger uplifts in its lifetime. If a chair on the lift was a space ship traveling at a speed of 1,000 feet per minute, it would have traveled to the moon and back and orbited the earth three times before landing during its lifetime. That’s quite a ride!
When the lift was installed, you were probably listening to Boyz II Men or Springsteen on cassette tape, text messaging was new (but you had to be on the same network) and you were just discovering the internet with your dial up modem. Clinton was President, “Star Trek: Generations” was number one at the box office, you were playing Tetris or Super Mario Land on the new “Game Boy” and watching movies on a VCR. On TV, people are watching popular shows such as "Full House", "Baywatch", "Melrose Place" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman".
Yes a lot has changed since the Mt. Hood Express first turned. The gear box has been replaced and the bull wheel changed out. A thousand sheaves have been replaced over the years. It has served Mt. Hood Meadows and it’s guests well the last 29 seasons. But the old technology will give way to new - with the construction of a new Leitner-Poma six passenger high speed lift. The replacement six pack will increase the uphill transport capacity of the out-of-base-lift from the current capacity of approximately 2,600 guests / hour to approximately 3,600 guests / hour. Additionally, the increased size and weight of the six-person chairs, larger grips and haul rope combined with a larger electric motor drive and gear box will allow the new lift to operate more efficiently in inclement weather. Loading efficiencies will be improved via an expanded and improved maze and gate access system, thus reducing lift lines at Mt. Hood Express.
The new lift will travel at the same 1,000 foot per minute speed. Each carrier will have a retention bar and foot rest for the comfort and safety of passengers. The base terminal will be located in the same place as the current lift, and 19 new towers will follow the same general alignment, however the upper terminal will be located slightly closer to the Blue lift. This will allow more room for passengers to offload on both sides of the lift.
The chairlift terminals will be installed using a crane and other ground-based construction equipment. Tower footings will be excavated by machine and by hand. In locations where construction vehicles will be required for excavation, they will be used over the snow as much as possible to minimize ground disturbance.
This is a massive construction project which begins Monday, May 1, with the removal of snow from our summer roads to access the lift project. We will keep parts and components off this lift for repair and maintenance of our other high speed quads, the towers will be recycled to scrap metal and some used to build features for our terrain parks. We will announce our plans for selling the quad carriers (chairs) this summer.
Goodbye old friend. You have served us well!
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