After doing a haul rope splice on Red Dog, that chairlift has re-opened to the public as of this morning. We will also be opening the jump line in Gold Coast park starting tomorrow with a three-pack of sizeable jumps. The rail section at the bottom is already open. With 100% of our terrain now accessible and more snow in the forecast, we are stoked at how this season is going. Today we’ll be sharing some behind-the-scenes information on this week’s haul rope splice, but looking ahead, expect to see some updates related to how we are preparing for the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup, a stop on the Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour.
Precipitation is returning to the Tahoe region startingon Friday! We’ll likely see some wind affects on Friday, but Saturday should be a short break in storms. Starting Saturday night, the next storm will pick up. By Monday morning, these are the expected snow totals:
- 12-18 inches at the base.
- 15-21 inches at mid-mountain elevations.
- 18-24 inches up top.
GOLD COAST TERRAIN PARK: BEHIND THE SCENES
Photos courtesy of the Terrain Parks team at Palisades.
RED DOG HAUL ROPE SPLICE: BEHIND THE SCENES
For the past few days, our operations crews have been working on a haul rope splice on the Red Dog chairlift. We received a lot of interest in learning more about this process, so we wanted to show you some behind-the-scenes photos and share more information about why we’re doing this. There was nothing inherently wrong with Red Dog; it is simply a case of shortening the haul rope. We expected the haul rope to lengthen a bit, and we purposefully put a longer haul rope on this chairlift — We wanted to have more rope to work with, not less, when it came time for changes to be made.
Haul rope splices are very common. In fact, we do two to five haul rope splices every single summer here at Palisades Tahoe. These are time-consuming, complex projects that require many hands on deck. The process is not easy to explain via blog, but we’re going to give it a try:
Even just setting up for a haul rope splice takes lots of time. We have to remove all chairs from the line, use a snowcat to clear the work area, and attach the lift line to counterweights (which in this case were very well buried under many feet of snow!)
Different lift maintenance managers will have different philosophies for doing a haul rope splice, but yesterday we used a “loop” method. We don’t just cut straight through the rope. We actually cut and unspool one band at a time: you unwind it from the loop, and then tie it back into the cable, bypassing the loop. The loop itself will eventually go away.
Here’s a close-up photo of what a haul rope actually looks like. You can see that there are six strands woven together here, with two of them already unspooled from the loop.
The team will switch back and forth between unwinding from the top and unwinding from the bottom: they’ll do one strand from the bottom, then one from the top.
Once the strand has been unwound from the loop, it gets re-binded to the haul rope, which is a very manual process, shown in the video here. When re-binding the strand, you also have to make sure that the curvature of the rope matches the rest of the strands.
The cut ends of the removed strands are then woven back into the cable. This is called a “tuck” and for us, it was completed on day 2 of this haul rope splice.
It takes a large team to unwind and then re-bind each strand. In fact, a job like this can often take longer than 14 hours. It’s often not just Lift Maintenance’s job to complete this task as well; people from departments all across the resort will show up to help out. Yesterday, we removed about 14 feet of length from the Red Dog haul rope!
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