The world's longest column conveyor for a Moving Carpet
The merger of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly created the largest and highest ski area in North America. Nearly 40 kilometers of lifts offer 600 runs of all levels of difficulty. In addition to skiing, however, this area also offers a variety of other winter sports attractions, such as snow tubing. Sunkid, together with its sister company Star Lifts, has already built the third, and at the same time longest, column conveyor belt in this area for the comfortable transportation of winter sports enthusiasts and their fun sports equipment.
In the conveyor belt sector, Sunkid and its sister company Star Lifts are among the leading suppliers of suitable ascent aids in snow adventure worlds such as tubing systems. Especially in the case of snow tubing systems, two conflicting demands basically collide in a very confined space: on the one hand, the area of the lift should be as straight, comfortable and safe as possible; on the other hand, the ideal tubing system starts with a relatively steep incline and ends in a wide run-out.
A solution can only be achieved with a tremendous amount of irreversible terrain correction, or with a comparatively inexpensive support structure like the one offered by Sunkid/Star Lifts. This advantage, in combination with the comfortable transport of people and tubes with the Moving Carpet, convinced the operators at the Vail Resorts as early as 2007. As a result, the world's first column conveyor was built by Starlifts in Keystone. In 2009, another followed in Heavenly Valley in Nevada. The column conveyor in the Adventure Ridge leisure arena at the summit of Vail Mountain, which was handed over a few months ago, now represents "the third in a series".
With a length of 141 meters, it is also the longest column conveyor for passenger transport to date. In a period of 16 weeks, Starlifts designed, planned and implemented the entire project on a turnkey basis. An impressive steel structure with a total of 11 supports lifts the conveyor belt up to 10 meters above the ground. The foundation posed a major challenge, as the soil at this point consisted of fill and was initially too weak to support the total weight of 50 tons. However, thanks to the close cooperation with those responsible at Vail Mountain, this challenge was also mastered by Star Lifts and the project was completed on schedule.
The column conveyor at Vail Mountain replaces two platter lifts that previously transported winter sports enthusiasts to the start of the tubing run. But their capacity was limited. Now the Moving Carpet carries up to 1,800 people per hour, and this allowed the tubing lifts to be expanded from five to eight. Since the Adventure Ridge recreational area is open almost around the clock, the Moving Carpet gallery was also equipped with energy-saving and low-maintenance LED interior lighting.