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Thread: Construction on the Cat?

  1. #1
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Construction on the Cat?

    Saw a BIG excavator atop Wildcat in the Obs Wildcat camera.

    Anyone know what the building project is?

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    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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  2. #2
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    I was up there on Thursday. There have been 2 large cable spools covered with wood parked up there for awhile. They were there when the mountain was still covered with snow top to bottom. I was thinking they were going to replace the cables for the ski lift but the drums looked small. One of the cable drums was unpacked when I was up there. Its a dual cable with outdoor jacketing, consisting of a large cable and smaller cable bonded next to it. There is also a cable reel stand on skids that looks to have been dragged up. My guess is possibly they are pulling a power and communications cable down the mountain. Its a mid sized excavator that I think the mountain owns. There is none of the normal evidence of construction up there like survey stakes or ribbons. There was no staff at all for several weeks during the closure but in the last two weeks there have been contractor trucks at the lodge and this week there were contractors working down near the lifts and there was an ATV hauling misc snow making gear and other items down slope.

    It may be related to the serious damage to the solar array mounted on the observation tower feeding what looks to be a battery bank under the observation tower. Out of the six panels, the dual two panel arrays facing south is partially trashed. Looks like one of the panels mounting didnt hold up to the wind and took a second panel on a ride while the both panels flapped around in the wind. My guess is the battery bank supplies the repeater mounted on the handrails of the tower. A solar powered repeater is not the most reliable device in extreme conditions so pulling fiber up the mountain for communications is my guess along with some AC power to run equipment. There may still be some solar capability but my bet is its very limited with 4 out 6 panels out of service.

    I have some photos of the solar array damage but I do not have them at hand right now. I will unload some once I get to my other computer. I was going to post them on a solar forum on what happens when someone takes a short cut on mounting panels.

  3. #3
    Senior Member yogi's Avatar
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    I've passed excavators cleaning up waterbars on Polecat a couple times.
    Last edited by yogi; 06-20-2020 at 06:27 AM. Reason: spelling

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    The slopes are still recovering from the mess they made several years ago installing the snowmaking upgrade.

    At least they allow us folks from the public access the slopes unlike the state owned Cannon Mountain that doesnt want folks to be able to see their poor construction practices.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I hope they are not building a new summit café up top or a large lift or gondola which would ruin the picture of Washington from Wildcat, maybe my favorite cam of Washington.

    It's their property (is it or is it leased from the WMNF?) so unsure you could say anything. Wondering how ongoing Covid-19 will impact the ski season. Do I want to be in a gondola with strangers, share a triple or quad chair with others? What will lodge capacities be limited to? 50%, less more? 100% and wait and see if you have a mass spreading event?
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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    Its WMNF land leased under a special use permit. Given the AT runs over it, its unlikely that any new structures would be built.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Its WMNF land leased under a special use permit. Given the AT runs over it, its unlikely that any new structures would be built.
    I wonder: New owner new initiatives? A lot of Cat facilities are long overdue for modernization.
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
    .

  8. #8
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    Yes they conceivably could make improvements at or near the top but it would require public notice and a couple of difficult to get permits. Wildcat has a fundamental problem that the money is not made at the ski slope its made on secondary development and they do not have that option. The obviously get natural snow but they are seriously short on water storage for snowmaking. It probably nice in the portfolio for variety. I think the big push is electronic lift tickets and expect they would need communications infrastructure to support it ?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    At least they allow us folks from the public access the slopes unlike the state owned Cannon Mountain that doesnt want folks to be able to see their poor construction practices.
    Of the dozens of ski areas I've hiked, Cannon takes the cake most equipment-caused erosion.

    With regard to Wildcat, I wouldn't expect any major construction this year, as the owner (Vail) cancelled most of their capital budget. Likely any construction will be related to deferred maintenance. Presumably they will move forward with using RFID at the former Peak Resorts, however this should not be particularly visible construction.

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