Winds howled, snow accumulated and construction at Jackson Hole
Mountain Resort seemed quiet during January. Within the canvas and
steel tent at the site of the new bottom terminal, crews from Las
Vegas’ Gunderson poured 484 yards of concrete into what will become the
foundation and floor.
But January’s real news is in the travel.
1. Tim Mason, former mountain operations manager, took over as interim General Manager following Tom Spangler’s departure to Mt. Hood in Oregon.
2. Mason and contractor Stan Zaist took a trip to Switzerland to visit all the companies making the various tram parts.
Postcards from Switzerland:
For their whirlwind tram tour, Mason and Zaist flew from Jackson to Chicago to Zurich, leaving on a Sunday and returning on a Saturday. “We flew into Zurich and got lost quite a bit,” said Mason.
Cabin Manufacturer: CWA Constructors
“They will start constructing the cabins around March 1,” Mason said. “It should take about four months to complete and they will be shipped to us by July.”
The main difference between the 2008 tram and the 1966 tram, Mason said, is the size of the cabins.
“The size of the equipment, too, will stun people,” he said. “All of the equipment is going to be much bigger and to a larger scale. It’s a 40-year difference in technology. … But, the same basic theme is there: It’s a lift.”
Next stop: Olten
Mason and Zaist visited Frey AG, a company that makes the electronics and the drive, the device that tells the machine to move.
“I saw all the cabinets, which are mostly complete,” Mason said. “We’re also going to send head electrician Troy Stoker there for two weeks so they can teach him about the equipment and troubleshoot, if necessary. They can set up scenarios, too, like a school.”
In Goldau, Mason and Zaist stopped by Garaventa (their parent company Doppelmayr is in charge of the entire tram project).
“We went and looked at the bullwheel and the saddles,” Mason said. “We looked at all the equipment that would go in the motor room, including generators.”
In terms of recreation, the closest Mason and Zaist came to skiing was when they visited Engelberg’s Titlis to see how lifts run there.
“You basically ride several lifts to get up 6,500 feet of vertical,” Mason said. “The lifts are gondolas, a tram and a rotair. When their tram docks, the doors open automatically. Ours will do that, too.”
The snow, however, “wasn’t that hot,” he said. “Still, I would have loved to ski. But, we just went to see that and ate lunch.”
Following the brief mountain trip, the duo went to Romanshorn to visit Fatzer, the company that makes all the ropes and cables.
“They have huge machines,” Mason said. “The wires to make up the cables start on spools which all spin, weaving the individual strands together at a high rate of speed. Depending upon the size of the cable and size of the individual wire, some of them spin faster and slower. The spools add layers as they weave.”
The cables will come via ship to a port in Southern California. From there, three trucks will carry track ropes - 12 x 12 foot spools - each weighing 82 tons and one truck will carry the haul rope, which weighs about 60 tons.
Before they departed Zurich for the states, Mason and Zaist watched the towers – still in pieces - get galvanized: coated with zinc to prevent corrosion (specifically rusting). The towers were constructed in Czechoslovakia, and then shipped to Zurich for the coating.
Mason said everything is on schedule.
Back in Jackson, crews will spend February pouring the walls for the lower terminal and enjoying the sunshine.