Keystone Mountain Operations Summer Recap and Fall Update
It’s been an incredible summer at Keystone. Now, we start to wind down our summer operations at the resort, but the work does not stop for our mountain operation’s team. Even during the summer months, winter is never out of our minds at Keystone. Our teams have been hard at work on many projects in preparation for winter. While the resort may be a bit quieter now, there is still plenty of hustle and bustle on the mountain.
This summer, we were able to accomplish a ton of work in a short amount of time. Much of our focus was on two major capital improvements. We are upgrading the Montezuma Express to a new 6-passenger chair and renovating and expanding Labonte’s Smokehouse BBQ restaurant.
Read below for a look at what we have been doing behind the scenes at Keystone this summer!
- We removed the old chairs, lift towers, and haul rope from the Montezuma Express Lift. A Black Hawk helicopter was used to assist with some of the heavy lifting.
- Pull tests were conducted on the existing concrete foundations to ensure they are structurally robust for the larger chairlift. In order to protect to the mountain environment, as many of the existing footers as possible are being reused. Eight new foundations are needed due to the new lift configuration.
- For the foundations that required replacement, holes were drilled into the existing concrete and explosives were used to break up the concrete in preparation to pour new concrete foundations this fall.
- The excavated areas are where new foundations (and eventually towers, too) will be placed in order to support the increased capacity of the 6-passenger chair.
Check out the YouTube playlist of all the action in the Making Montezuma video series:
Labonte’s Smokehouse BBQ
- We broke ground early this summer to begin the extensive renovation and expansion work.
- A new basement area was excavated to be used for food storage and offices, all located under the new 190-seat indoor dining space at the restaurant.
- New wall framing, windows and a new roof are all complete!
Along with these major projects, routine trail maintenance and snowmaking maintenance have been taking place throughout the summer.
During the upcoming months, we’ll be focused on finishing these projects and getting the resort ready for winter operations and our scheduled opening day on Friday, Nov. 10.
Exciting Work for the Fall
- The helicopter returns! We will utilize a helicopter again for continued construction of the Montezuma Express to pour concrete for new tower foundations in September. When the concrete cures the helicopter will fly in and install new towers in October.
- Completion of the top and bottom lift terminals, including the installation of all electronics and mechanics that make the lift run.
- Hanging of the new haul rope and installation of the 6-passenger chairs.
- Load testing, done by simulating a fully-loaded chair by using weighted barrels of water on a turning lift. This is required to get the stamp of approval from the Forest Service, Tram Board and Leitner Poma prior to opening to the public. Load testing is one of the final steps needed and will be conducted upon completion of all other tasks.
- When load testing is complete – we’re ready to load guests for the winter!
- At Labonte’s, we’ll continue work on the interior, including bringing in new kitchen equipment.
- Last but not least, we’ll be charging the snow-making lines with water at the end of this month in preparation for snowmaking operations, scheduled to begin in early October.