Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Written by Megan Page
LIFT CAMS , showing crowds or clear sailing;
GROOMING MAPS , to help people find the fresh corduroy;
SNOW CAMS , showing accumulation;
& LIFT STATUS UPDATES
all can be found on the Sugarbush app, on flatscreens throughout the base area, and on the website.
ENERGY-EFFICIENT SNOW GUNS
Since 2014, the resort has installed more than 500 new snow guns, which use less air and fewer kilowatts while converting more water into snow. This improved efficiency means that Mountain Operations can now run 144 guns at once, up from sixty. Meanwhile, kilowatt use has dropped by 30 percent since 2013.
SNOWMAKING CONTROL PANEL
In 2014 Sugarbush started using iSnow, a program that allows a single control room attendant to operate all the pumps, hydrants, and valves supplying water and air to the guns. (Workers used to have to turn on each pump individually.) All snowmaking infrastructure has been marked using a GPS system, so attendants can produce a live map of where they are producing snow.
SNOW DEPTH FINDER
At Lincoln Peak, Sugarbush has implemented the use of GPS technology in Pisten Bully groomers, allowing the driver to monitor snow depth on every trail. At Mt. Ellen, the resort’s Pisten Bully winch cat utilizes a sonar-based technology for the same purpose. These technologies allow Mountain Operations to decide where to shift snow and which snow guns to activate.
COMPUTER DATA CENTER
In order to better ensure the continuity of business operations and limit any computer-related downtime that could directly impact guests, in 2017 the resort implemented a state-of-the-art computer data center that incorporates a high level of redundancy and “automated failover” to a standby system if necessary, as well as sophisticated data and systems recovery methods. With this implementation, the network was also redesigned to accommodate a new disaster recovery location with a high-speed network connection that could be used in the event that something unexpected were to happen to the primary data center.
These cards, with a chip and an RFID antenna inside, can be used to store individual lift tickets or season passes to the mountain, SHaRC, or the golf club, and also to purchase meals and other items at the resort. The cards are reloadable online, so there’s less waiting at the ticket window. And, unlike printed lift tickets, they can be used over and over again, reducing paper waste at the resort.
New gates using radio-frequency identification technology were installed at the base lifts in 2017. In the past, each lift ticket was scanned by hand, causing delays even on slow days; now four customers at a time with SugarXpress or IKON Pass RFID cards in their pockets can pass quickly through the lift gates.
When the Valley House chairlift was replaced with a faster quad in 2015, a loading conveyor belt was installed as part of the upgrade, allowing for easier loading and higher lift speed. In 2017, two of the older double lifts (Village Double at Lincoln Peak and Sunshine Double at Mt. Ellen) were replaced with new fixed-grip quads, increasing uphill capacity.
ELECTRIC CAR CHARGERS
The resort has installed eleven Tesla chargers and four universal chargers over the past few years at Lincoln Peak (two of the Tesla chargers are inside Clay Brook). An additional six universal chargers are scheduled for installation at Mt. Ellen in the fall of 2019.
Upgrades were made to improve the user experience. Guests who shop online at sugarbush.com can easily reload passes and lift tickets on their reusable RFID cards, allowing more people to go directly to the lifts. New automated kiosks around the resort are giving online customers more options for printing lift tickets and avoiding lines.