Sam’s Knob lift remains on track
September 26, 2005
Nothing, it seems, not even a shortage of concrete, will delay the completion of the new six-pack chairlift at Snowmass. But materials still need to be found for the cabriolet, linking the new base area to the Snowmass mall. Both lifts are scheduled to open for the beginning of the ski season on Thanksgiving weekend. “We have been affected by the concrete shortage just like everyone else, but it has not changed the opening date on the [Sam’s Knob] lift,” said Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle.Concrete is in short supply, partially because of the devastation on the Gulf Coast. About 12 percent of cement (a component of concrete) used in the United States comes from Louisiana.Towers for the new chairlift are scheduled to be flown in and placed by helicopter on Monday. Snowmass Mountain General Manager Doug Mackenzie said he expects to get 22 of the 28 lift towers set in their concrete pads by Monday afternoon. Any that aren’t done can be put in later by a truck and crane.As Skico did not get some of the concrete that was expected on schedule, projects were reprioritized and crews shuffled around to accommodate the delay.There was a never a fear that the concrete would simply not show up, Mackenzie said, because the two concrete suppliers that serve most of Colorado’s Western Slope are obligated to fill existing contracts, and were able to round up the materials elsewhere. “Thank God we’re not at the bottom of the food chain,” he added, noting that the suppliers are not able to take any new orders for the time being.About 500 cubic yards of concrete are needed for the Sam’s Knob lift – lift towers take 12 to 20 cubic yards each.Priority is being given to completing the Sam’s Knob lift in time for opening day, since the previous base lift, the Fanny Hill chair, was taken out this past spring. Skico is still looking for concrete for the cabriolet, however. Construction on that lift “has been slowed down by other things,” Mackenzie said, like the jumbles of utility lines found while excavating under Fanny Hill. It’s uncertain what effect the delays might have on the cost of the project, or if the concrete shortage will impact the construction of Base Village, which has already been delayed by one year. Crews were readying the site, however, this summer and fall.Michael O’Connor, spokesman for the project developer Intrawest, was not available for comment Monday afternoon.