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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holiday Valley Upgrades, More Than New Park


Additions Include Automated Snowmaking, New Chairlift, Groomer and Clubhouse Chalet
By Eric Hund
Univ. of Pittsburgh at Bradford
Holiday Valley Resort will soon offer more warm weather activities as construction on their Sky High Adventure Park nears completion.
Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley Resort marketing director, said they should complete work on the aerial adventure park in early May, and that the park should be open to the public by May 21.
The new park is the largest piece of a $5.4 million capital expansion project by the resort.
The park consists of a 4 acre tree top obstacle course comprised of over 100 platforms located within the tree canopy, connected by rope climbs and wooden bridges.  The course tests participants' balance and climbing skills as well as their strategic ability of those attempting to complete the course.
Eshbaugh said there are eight different courses within the aerial adventure park divided into five different difficulty levels.
There are two courses each for the three easiest and intermediate levels and one course each for the more difficult and most difficult.
She said the aerial park would be open for the spring, summer and fall seasons.
Eshbaugh added that construction is underway for a Mountain Coaster near the Tannenbaum Lodge that would run uphill parallel to the Spruce Lake lift.
The two-person ride is similar to a roller coaster in that it is a car affixed to rails, but that is where the similarity ends. After reaching the summit, the car zigzags through the trees down the ravine towards the base, and contains controls so the passengers can control the cars speed.

"It is a thrilling ride as you go whipping through the trees," she said.
Eshbaugh said the mountain coaster is likely to be finished in July, and would remain open all year.
She said the goal of the Sky High Adventure Park is to attract more offseason tourists to the resort, as well as offering more incentives for conferences and groups seeking to use team-building exercises.
The new park will be open to the public. All participants must be able to perform specific physical requirements. The minimum age for use of the aerial park is seven. The Mountain Coaster has a minimum height requirement of 36 inches if riding with an adult or 42 inches if riding alone.
The resort will require participants to listen to a safety lecture and wear a special climbing harness featuring a double locking lanyard with a special latch system that only allows one end of the latch to open at a time thereby keeping participants connected to a safety line even when changing courses.
Eshbaugh said that other improvements for the resort are planned, including the installation of new pipeline and hydrants along the recently completed Bear Cub beginner slope.
The resort also plans to install new automated snowmaking on the Mardi Gras trail.
The automated system allows the resort to create snow more efficiently while using fewer resources.
A computer linked to two weather stations, one near the top and bottom respectively, controls the snowmaking machines, and allows the units to adjust for differences in temperature, humidity, wind and other various factors that can control snow quality along the slope.
Eshbaugh said this allows the resort to best utilize weather windows that are optimal for snowmaking.
Another upgrade is the planned replacement of the double chairlift at SnowPine Village with a quad chairlift.
In addition, the resort will purchase a Grooming Machine.
The groomer has a hydraulic tiller on the rear that resurfaces the ski slopes each night by grinding up the top layer of firm snow and laying down a soft corduroy surface. The machine also has a hydraulic blade on the front, which can be used either to smooth out humps, or to add moguls or shapes.
She said that plans are also underway to design and build a new Clubhouse Chalet.
"This process has taken several years to plan, and construction will most likely take place next spring," she said.
Timing will be critical, as the entire building must be complete by the start of the 2012-13 winter season.
The resort also plans to alter the course of the Holiday Valley Road, which currently runs straight between the Clubhouse and parking area, which currently forces people to cross the road to reach the ski slopes from the parking area.
The new route will redirect around the parking area, creating easier access for patrons.
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