McCall, ID (CBS2) — A Blackhawk helicopter flew over 50 laps on Tuesday to help install pieces of a new chairlift at Brundage Mountain Resort.
The helicopter piloted by Brian Jorgenson, who helped install the Bear and Lakeview lifts in 2007, made more than 50 trips to assemble the 16 towers for the new Centennial Express high-speed detachable quad lift.
“Those fixed-grip lifts were some of the first lift installations Brian ever did, so he was excited to return after all these years,” says Johnson. “Brian and his team have installed 90% of the new chairlifts that have been built in the West over the past 15 years, so in spite of the inherent risks of aerial operations, we knew we were working with one of the best in the business.”
Each tower weighs between 6,500 and 12,000 pounds and had to be broken down into three to five separate sections to stay under the weight limit for the Blackhawk helicopter.
Jorgenson worked with the Doppelmayr ground crews to precisely place each piece for the ground crews to bolt into place.
“Communication is absolutely crucial in a project like this,” says Brundage Mountain Director of Mountain Operations, Dustin Johnson. “Hand signals from the ground crew to the pilot are essential for precise placement of all components, so being able to manage things like rotor wash to keep dust down is hugely important.”
Crews are now working to install the terminals at the top and bottom of the lift. They will then work on installing the cables, comm lines, and 92 four-seat carriers.
The new lift is set to be up and running just in time for the 2023-24 season.