Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gondola towers to take to the air Friday

Express Staff Writer

A number of the holes for the gondola towers were dug by a “spider hoe,” or walking excavator, able to navigate up extremely steep and rocky terrain. The tower bases were placed in the holes last month and the towers will be installed Friday. Photo by Willy Cook

A major part of the new River Run gondola construction will take place Friday when the lift towers are flown into place by a helicopter.

According to Sun Valley resort spokesman Jack Sibbach, the daylong helicopter operations will begin at 7 a.m. and continue throughout the day until all the towers are installed.

This activity will require a temporary closure of summer lift operation and all access to the River Run side of the mountain.

The gondola is scheduled to be completed in November, in time to take skiers and boarders from just behind the River Run Day Lodge to the Roundhouse restaurant at the opening of the 2009-10 winter season.

The gondola will have 56 eight-person cabins that will travel over 21 towers up a vertical distance of nearly 2,000 feet. It will make the trip in eight minutes.

Passengers will be about 200 feet above the ground when the cabins pass over the Lower Olympic ski run.

Jon Duval:

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