The most anticipated new lift of the year is starting to look like the really big gondola that it is. The drive terminal for Park City’s Quicksilver Gondola is largely complete and all 27 towers were set last weekend. Doppelmayr opted to use the same K-Max heli they’ve been using for other projects even though gondola towers are huge. The biggest towers – 23 and 24 – were actually set by crane. In fact, a two-mile long road was built just to access T21-23 on the edge of Thaynes Canyon.
The towers that were flown were split into in as many as six pieces because of the limited capability of the K-Max at 9,000 feet. At least two towers have 16-sheave trains that must weigh a ton. Some towers were flown without catwalks and railings just to make weight. I was surprised Doppelmayr did not use a heavy-lift helicopter like the Chinook but I’m sure it all came down to price and what was available.
Most interesting is that the two halves of Quicksilver have completely different tower heads. The Park City section has 14 European-style crossarms and lifting frames while the 13 towers on the former Canyons side are the Doppelmayr CTEC style. Perhaps some of the towers were manufactured in St. Jerome or Wolfurt while others came from Salt Lake. There’s no question parts for this lift are coming from all over the world.
Speaking of parts, the remaining portions of the Miner’s Camp terminal are in Park City’s parking lot while everything for the mid-station is staged along roads in The Colony. A couple dozen cabins have arrived from CWA and more were being delivered today. I’m guessing CWA is still building them and shipping a handful at a time. The cabins arriving today were numbered in the 30’s.
Quicksilver will have only one haul rope so the mid-station will have three mini-bullwheels to deflect the rope. The turn is apparently too sharp for horizontal sheaves but the bullwheels are smaller than the line gauge. Even though there is no mid-station yet, there is already a sand line the entire way from Miner’s Camp to Pinecone Ridge. The big span over Thaynes Canyon has two other lines strung between tower bases. It will be interesting to see what the evacuation plan is for this section.
The terminal is still about half done at the Park City station with windows being installed. All of the footers for the cabin parking rails are finished and back-filled but there isn’t going to be a building this winter. It looked like the contractor building the loading platforms was gearing up to start work.
Park City opens in 73 days and I think the gondola may be ready before there’s snow to ski to it. Stay tuned for an update on the King Con Express.