Vail (USA): The longest bridge-supported conveyor for tubing in the world
Sunkid has built the third bridge-supported conveyor in North America along with affiliated company Star Lifts
In the area of conveyors, Sunkid along with affiliate Startlifts belongs to the leading suppliers of suitable mounting aids for snow entertainment parks such as for example tubing facilities. Especially with snow tubing facilities, two opposing demands collide with each other in a tight space: On the one hand, the area of the mounting aid should run in a possibly straight, comfortable and safe way. On the other hand, the ideal tubing track begins with a relatively steep slope and ends with a wide outlet.
A solution could only be obtained with enormous effort in irreversible terrain corrections, or with a comparatively reasonable supported structure such as the one that Starlifts offers. This advantage in combination with convenient transit of people and tubes with the Wonder Carpet already convinced the operators in the Vail Resorts in 2007. Subsequently, the first supported conveyor in the world made by Starlifts was constructed in Keystone. In 2009, another followed in Heavenly Valley in Nevada. The supported conveyor that was supplied ready for operation a few months ago at Adventure Ridge on the top of Vail Mountain is now portrayed as “the third one.“
With a length of 470 ft., it is also the longest supported conveyor to date for transport of people. During a period of 16 weeks, Starlifts conceived the entire project, planned it and implemented ready to use. An impressive steel construction with a total of 11 support columns hoists the conveyor up to 32 feet above the ground. The foundation presented a big challenge, since the soil in that area consists of filled ground and was not stable enough to support the total weight of 50 tons. Yet the engineers lead by Peter Kavanagh, Marc Wood and Joe Gmünder from Starlifts mastered even this problem brilliantly.
The supported conveyor at Vail Mountain replaced two platter lifts that transported winter sports enthusiasts to the start of the tubing track before. However, their capacity was limited. Now, the Wonder Carpet transports up to 1,800 people per hour, which allowed the expansion of the tubing tracks from the previous five to the current eight tracks. Since the recreation area at Adventure Ridge is open nearly around the clock, the Wonder Carpet gallery was equipped with internal lighting, moreover, with energy-saving and low maintenance LED lighting.