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Blue Mountain installs new lift

Blue Mountain Ski Resort took the latest step Monday toward the installation of its new high-speed, six-passenger chairlift with an aerial concrete pour for the lift towers.

A helicopter could be seen throughout the day delivering concrete up the mountain for the tower bases.

“There are certain areas of the project that you can get to with ground vehicles, for example, concrete trucks, and there are some you can’t because they are on the side of the mountain,” Nick Delich, mountain operations manager, said. “So for those, you have to pour all those individually with a helicopter because there’s no other way to safely get concrete to the site.”

Weather permitting, Delich said, the concrete pour should be finished in one day, but the helicopter is scheduled to come back Tuesday morning as a precaution.

“The company travels up and down the east coast doing this,” Delich said. “They arrived in Allentown on Friday and did a job this weekend. From here, they are scheduled to go to New Hampshire.”

After the concrete pour, the focus will turn toward construction on the top and bottom terminals. Lift towers are expected in within a few months from manufacturer Leitner-Poma in Grand Junction, Colorado.

“They all have to get galvanized, inspected, and then they’ll ship them here,” Delich said. “We’ll put them on the parking lot and then we’ll kind of do the same process that you see today with the concrete buckets, but instead there will be lift towers we have to fly into place.”

The new lift will rise 980 feet and finish where the prior two double lifts ended. The lift, according to Blue Mountain officials, will improve connectivity between the Valley Lodge and the Summit Lodge and dramatically improve access to the terrain on the western part of the mountain.

This speedier and larger lift will transport riders from bottom to top in under five minutes and accommodate 3,000 guests per hour.

“There are advantages now to use up more of the mountain and a lot of the trails on this western side of the hill,” Delich said. “The western side didn’t get used as much just because there wasn’t a high speed lift to service them. You kind of had to ski across and it wasn’t the most friendly with a lot of pushing and a lot of pulling. Now it’ll help disperse our crowds, especially on weekends.”

Einfalt Recycling recycled all of the old lift towers.

“They cut them up, put them in big storage bins, and they actually took those to the Port of Newark,” Delich said. “And from there, they’ll go to the highest bidder. They’ll get loaded on a ship and away she goes.”

The resort planned to sell 247 of its old lift chairs to the general public for $1,200 each.

“We have been able to sell some of the lift chairs to the public for people that would like it as a conversation piece or a decorative chair in their basement and we’ve been pretty successful with that,” Delich said.

Blue Mountain still has some lift chairs available for anyone who is interested.

A helicopter delivers cement Monday for the tower base of a new high-speed, six-passenger chairlift at Blue Mountain Resort in Palmerton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO