Is it too early to think about the upcoming winter season? Well, here at Smuggs we’re always planning ahead, so to prepare for an amazing winter season, this summer we’re giving our M2 lift’s bull wheel a little love. Like your car needs regularly scheduled tune-ups and maintenance based on mileage and age, so do our lifts. The mechanical components of the bull wheel, such as the planetary gearing or the upper portion of the hub and the brake drum, wear over time from use and needs service. This typically happens every 10-15 years. It involves removing major pieces from the bottom drive of the M2 lift including the gearbox and the bull wheel itself where the planetary is mounted. This is similar to any planetary gear that you would find on many pieces of equipment including our final drives for the snow cats…only a lot bigger!
Below are the detailed steps of how we’re getting the M2 lift ready for ski season.
The first step is to de-tension the cable on the lift which requires jacking the counterweight up to take pressure off of the cable. Then we have to lower the cable down on the first few towers to give enough slack to remove the cable from the bottom bull wheel.
Next, we cut a hole in the roof of the M2 drive and disassemble the gearbox to remove it so we could access the top of the bull wheel structure.
Once this is done, a service member from Doppelmayr assists with the delicate procedure of lowering the wheel and planetary down to be transported out of the drive area. At this point, the bull wheel which is around 6000 pounds, can be flipped over for access to the planetary. A large excavator and our lull were needed to perform this as the structure is about 12 feet in diameter.
All of the internals on the planetary are serviced and put back together. The whole process begins in reverse to get the bull wheel and planetary back into place for many more years of operation.
Sterling Pond has been restocked! A huge thanks to our Mountain Operations Department and Vermont’s Department of Fish and Wildlife for all their hard work.
At 3,000 feet high, Sterling Pond is Vermont’s highest elevation trout pond. Each year, our Operations teams work with Vermont’s Department of Fish and Wildlife to stock the pond with hundreds of Brook Trout. It’s quite the adventure for these little fishies!
The truck arrives with our special guests in tow. From there, bag-lined cans are filled with water. Fish are added to their new (temporary) vessel of transport, and a special shot of oxygen is introduced to calm their nerves. Brook trout are notorious for having a fear of heights, so the more we can do to keep them happy, the better chance they’ll have of loving their new home at the top of Sterling Mountain.
So, why the chairlift? Well, it’s the smoothest way to bring these little guys to the top without shaking them up too much. 9 minutes in the air and they’ve arrived at their unload station. From here, it’s a short ride on the back of a four-wheeler to the pond, where they are introduced to their new accommodations at the highest trout pond in the state of Vermont.
If you haven’t been up to Sterling Pond in the warmer months, it’s a must. Access comes from either the Smugglers’ Notch parking area at the top of Route 108, or by hiking up the ski trails on Sterling. This large body of water sits comfortably above 3000 feet in elevation and has a fun trail running around it called the Elephant’s Head Trail. The scenery is gorgeous and it makes a great place for a picnic or family outing, whether you enjoy fishing or not!
This is the Belisle Family from New York state. They have been coming to Smuggs since 2011 and have come here each summer. They were telling me how much they enjoy Smuggs in the summer with all the activities. They also really enjoy the notch in the summer. They said they have now been to Smuggs a few times in the winter and love it also. They have had a great time skiing and tubing! They also told me that they might be back next week. It was great to meet you and we look forward to seeing you next week!
This is the time of year most full of promise. An entire season of riding looms before us, and with it – the excitement of long weekends with good friends – the thrill of exploring new terrain – the serenity of sessions on the ol’ tried and true favorites we know and love – the exhilaration of progression on our bikes – the anticipation of battle with that one feature we know we’ll conquer, that one rugged climb we know we’ll reach the top of – this year, this season…
We will be opening parts of our trail network soon! Stay tuned for updates! This season, for those mountain bikers that will be visiting Smuggs trails just for our single & double-track riding (instead of the MTB Center in the village) we are opening up parking and trail access from our NEW Outdoor Center! The new building will be operational come July, but until then – from May 12 on – we invite Smuggs trail riders to park at 1239 Edwards Rd and to check in at our Pro Shop! Trails are free, but we’d love you to sign in!