Last week many in The Valley were treated to the sight of an enormous Sikorsky S6IN helicopter making repeated trips from the parking lot of Sugarbush’s Mount Ellen in Fayston to the slopes of the Inverness area where a new T-bar is being built for the Green Mountain Valley School.
Highly visible from many parts of The Valley, the soaring helicopter – complete with its own refueling station – drew many families and kids to the parking lot for the COVID-19-safe thrill of watching the helicopter.
Head of school Tracy Keller said that the $1.3 million project is part of a larger $3.5 million investment in the school’s race area at Mount Ellen.
As the Sikorsky ferried materials for the lift towers from the base of Mount Ellen to the slopes, workers poured concrete for the new tower foundations. Workers previously deconstructed and removed the 62-year-old poma. While many ski area projects are on hold this summer, GMVS stayed on top of Leitner-Poma's construction schedule and is on target for completion this fall. Tim Harris, assistant head of school, notes that “with some of the best infrastructure of any academy and now a state-of-the-art T-bar that decreases ride time in half, GMVS will give athletes more time on snow, an edge in training and an unparalleled training environment.”
Installation of the new T-bar is the marque project in a series of transformational improvements to the Kelly Brush Arena on the Inverness trail. Alpine program director Steve Utter said, “The T-bar will robustly expand training options and specificity, both in and out of gates. We can double our number of turns in the same amount of time, and with a mid-station, the full-length T-bar provides a variety of options for GS or SL training on Inverness.”
Keller said that the capital improvement project started two years ago with the expansion of the race area onto the Brambles trail. This summer the T-bar is going in along with some expanded snowmaking. More snowmaking will be added next year along with renovations to the ski club building. Additionally, a spectator venue will be created and communications systems improved,” Keller said.
Sikorsky S6IN photos courtesy Chris DelBrocco