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Replacing 5,000′ of Snowmaking Air and Water Pipe on Lower Chilcoot

Our hardworking Mountain Ops crew has had their hands full, literally, of snowmaking pipe. Recently, they’ve begun the process of replacing approximately 5000’ of snowmaking air and water pipe on Lower Chilcoot. This project will improve our overall ability to make snow on the Lower Chilcoot and be a great addition to our early-season snowmaking capabilities.

Welders using the Zap-Lok process
Workers prepping pipe before being loaded into the Zak-Lok machine

To expedite the process, GW Tatro Company, mountain construction specialists, are using their exclusive Zap-Lok process to join together 40’ pieces of 8” (water) and 6” (air) pipe into strings several hundred feet long. These pipe strings will then be pulled up the Lower Chilcoot trail with a log skidder, placed with an excavator, and shallowly buried at all trail crossings. A welder connects the pipe to the existing infrastructure and welds threaded couplings to the pipe to accept air and water hydrants. Once the pipe is installed, the Smuggs snowmaking crew will re-install the tower guns and hydrants.

Zak-Lok machine doing its thing!

In preparation for this project, Smugglers’ snowmaking crew previously removed all the tower guns, air, and water hydrants from the trail. Working with Bob Edwards Excavating and Trent Roy, welder, the old pipe was removed from the hill, pulled to the base area, and cut up by the Mountain Operations team into 20’ sections. The old pipe was loaded into dumpsters and then sent off for recycling.

Pipe being pulled up Lower Chillcoot by an excavator

As much as we’ve been enjoying summer in the heart of Vermont, we’re very excited for cooler temps to arrive and the first snowfall. Big thanks and shout out to our hardworking Mountain Operations team for another job very well done!

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Pat Kelley

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