While we wait for more snow to melt on the mountain, Eaglecrest staff have been busy with all sorts of projects. Notably, mountain operations staff performed trail improvements at the top and bottom of the Porcupine Learning Area’s Stickleback trail, adding fun new terrain-based learning features and maximizing the vertical elevation. The crew has also welded and staged nearly a half-mile of the new snowmaking pipeline and serviced heavy machinery, the Eagle’s Nest composting toilets, and our water treatment facility.
This week we hardened and finished the Fish Creek Trail, a new section of the lower Nordic trails. The half-mile out and back starts in the main Eaglecrest parking lot and winds through the rainforest to the river. In the future, we hope to have a pedestrian bridge over Fish Creek to provide increased backcountry and Nordic ski access from the end of the new trail.
Additional offseason trail work will focus on completing the mountain bike trail to the top of the Hooter Chairlift, repairing existing trails, and then the annual mowing, brushing, and mountain conditioning work that allows early season and low snow terrain openings. We will also repair rock walls, improve drainage, and seed various areas of the mountain and parking lot.
For years now, Eaglecrest has been permitted to build a hardened service trail to Cropley Lake. The pipeline replacement project will mark the first step in this process. This section will be from the existing service trail to the top of Hooter and will run over to the top of the Log Jam trail. The new pipeline will allow the entire lower mountain to be pressurized, greatly increasing snowmaking efficiency.
Eaglecrest will also harden a large portion of the lower Nordic trails this offseason so that we can provide more grooming opportunities when the snowpack is shallow.
As for infrastructure, soon we will start preparing for a haul rope splice on Ptarmigan Chairlift. Rope splices are a required part of every chairlift’s lifecycle, occurring about every 15 years. They are major undertakings and only a few contractors in North America do this kind of work. Eaglecrest is working with one of the industry leaders, Knight Equipment Company.
Later and throughout the summer, we will inspect and service all chairlifts, towers, sheave assemblies, snowmaking equipment, and the entire snowcat and vehicle fleet to get ready for this upcoming season. Ptarmigan’s drive hub and gearing are also getting a full disassembly, inspection, and servicing once the rope splice is complete.
We are very excited for a busy and fun summer at Eaglecrest with hiking, biking, berry picking, and dog walking. If you are looking for a new adventure, consider booking a tour with one of our partners. Cycle Alaska has guided bike tours from the parking lot to the North Douglas Boat Launch. Segway Alaska has guided Segway tours on the lower loop. Alaska Coach Tours offers nature walks on the new Fish Creek Trail. Kawanti Adventure’s zip line is closed this summer.
If time and resources allow, we will explore converting the former tubing area’s storage building into public use cabin, like the Hilda Dam Cabin, which is – in other news – getting an outhouse enclosure this summer. Part of the new cabin project could be relocating and expanding our electric vehicle charging station to this area of the parking lot. Hilda Dam Cabin renters would then be able to park overnight at the caretaker’s residence, where the EV charging station is currently located.
Another summer goal is to repair and expand the night lighting infrastructure on Sourdough and Ego with the hopes of hosting special events in future winters.
- Repair and waterproof Fish Creek Lodge deck.
- Make Tower Bar tent a more permanent installation.
- Eagles Nest, Ptarmigan Top Shack, and Powder Patch Weather Station repairs.
- Install drainage culvert at the entrance to Trickster trail.
- Install Ski Patrol shed at West Bowl sign line.
- Deploy snowmaking equipment for a potential November 1, 2021 start-up.