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What do we do all summer?

Posted on July 3rd, 2014

What do you do in the summer?” Sure, we work and ski like crazy for six months of the year. But during the summer we just sit around watching the snow melt, right!?

Uh … no. We actually keep good and busy during the summer, primarily because chairlifts are big, elaborate machines that require lots of love and attention, and because there are some things we can only do when the weather is warm.

During the season we employ about 220-250 people. In the summer that number drops to about 10 folks, most of whom are involved in chairlift maintenance. Chairlifts are our most important asset, and we invest heavily into making sure they are in top shape before the season starts. We also stay on top of and in front of some some pretty high quality control and maintenance standards mandated by the industry. For example, here are a few of the chairlift projects we’re tackling this summer:

  • Moving every single chair on Chair 1 and inspecting every clip. As part of our maintenance protocol, we rotate every chair on our fixed-grip lifts into new positions on the line every other season.
  • Replacing all the moving parts on 20 percent of the chairs on Chair 2. Again, as part of our maintenance protocol we replace all moving parts on our detachable quad’s chairs every five years (so 20% each year).
  • Taking x-rays of the haul ropes. This both helps us ensure that the wire cables the chairlifts site on are in good working condition, and helps plan for replacements.
  • Inspecting, lubing, cleaning and, if necessary, replacing all the sheaves on all our chairlifts. Sheave assemblies are the wheels located on chairlift assemblies that the haul rope moves over.

Like we said, chairlifts are a big project...

What else are we up to this summer? Here are few of the more interesting things:

  • We just purchased a groomer, a 2008 Bombadier Bison from Bridger Bowl in Montana. If you love beautiful groomed runs, ours should be even better next year.
  • We’re working with the Forest Service to explore adding chairlift lighting to Chair 1. They’re sending a botanist and a geologist out to conduct an environmental impact study. If all goes well, we’re hoping to add lighting next summer.
  • We’re hosting eight weddings at the lodge this summer, as well as some special events.
  • We’re trimming the ski runs of overgrown and invasive brush. We love being able to open as early as possible...and as you might imagine, with 38 runs and miles of trails we have a fair bit of trimming to keep up on.

The list of maintenance, beautification and building projects could go on and on. The big picture: we’re on a mission to make Mission Ridge just that little bit more awesome for next winter.

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