Last week marked the grand opening of the new T-bar on the Inverness Trail at Sugarbush Resort in Fayston. This multimillion-dollar investment will give GMVS athletes more time on snow, more time with coaches and more efficient training blocks.
“We are supported by the most talented coaches and have access to great terrain. The new T-bar gives us the advantage of nearly doubling our training volume in any one block of time, fitting in an additional strength session or more time to meet the demands of being a student athlete," said GMVS senior Carly Elsinger.
This second phase of the Kelly Brush Race Arena (KBRA) transformation broke ground in May 2020, despite the global pandemic. Crews from Leitner-Poma worked closely with GMVS staff and Sugarbush Resort through the summer to ensure the T-bar would support athletes this year, and for years to come.
By mid-August, T-bar towers were flown in by helicopter, while crews on the ground installed new snowmaking hydrants. The high-powered hydrants will ensure the new surface lift has coverage.
“Since donating the original Poma to GMVS in 1982, Sugarbush has shared our vision to build a world class racing venue. They have been great partners, supporting our need for a dedicated clubhouse, more early-season snowmaking, and additional terrain,” notes Tracy Keller, GMVS head of school.
Compared to the 12.5-minute chairlift ride on the long-standing Inverness lift, the new T-bar decreases uphill travel by half, moves 1,000 people per hour, and provides access to 4,000 feet of skiable terrain. There is a mid-station unloading area.
The collaborative effort between GMVS and Sugarbush is a long-term investment in the development of World Cup racers, Keller said. Phase one of the KBRA transformation was completed in the fall of 2019 with the Brambles connector transforming the arena into one of the most unique, flexible and challenging race venues in the East.
According to Keller, GMVS and Sugarbush are working closely to develop plans for renovations of the ski club building that stands at the base of the race arena. That project is due to break ground in the summer of 2022.
“The completion of our new T-bar is the next step in transforming the Kelly Brush Race Arena into a world-class venue, able to support the training and competition needs of developing and national team athletes. Commensurate with this investment, I envision the increase in our training efficiency and productivity will give our athletes the best chance to achieve their ambitious outcome-based goals," said Steve Utter, GMVS alpine program director.