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Pebble Creek replaces snow fence, maintains lifts in off-season

December 21, 2018

INKOM — Skiers and snowboarders at Pebble Creek Ski Area will have a bit more room to turn, and potentially better snow cover, when they take runs on Sunshine Ridge this season.

They should also notice a smoother ride up the ski area’s three lifts.

Mike Rodriguez, lift supervisor at Pebble Creek, said the ski area has replaced the short, wooden fence along Sunshine Ridge with a taller, new fence designed to capture snow. He said the drifts that accumulate will be spread throughout the run to bolster the base.

Pebble Creek has also conducted maintenance on its ski lifts, he said. Rodriguez is one of four employees at the ski area who work year-round, making improvements during the summer.

Rodriguez said the new fence is adjustable and can be extended up to 15 feet high.

“It has the ability to keep moving up higher as snow fills in,” Rodriguez said. “As storms and new snow come in, we will slowly bump it up so it can continue to catch snow for us.”

The new fence, made of steel and plastic, will be installed in 20, 100-foot sections with breaks in between them, enabling skiers to move from Sunshine Ridge to the adjacent run, Sun Bowl. Rodriguez said the fence has also been moved over about 20 to 40 feet, depending on the spot, to widen the Sunshine Ridge run. Rodriguez said the cost of the project was about $6,000.

“The old buck-and-rail fence would quickly get buried in snow, and it would be ineffective for catching snow that was being blown by the wind or a storm,” Rodriguez said. “If we’re able to catch snow, it won’t blow away, and we’ll be able to distribute the piles of the drifts onto the run, making it more adequate for skiing and boarding.”

Rodriguez said the lift maintenance included replacing 60 sheaves, which are the wheels on the towers that move the lift cable.

Rodriguez and the staff cleared some brush from within Sun Bowl. They also completed a large recycling and cleanup project, selling a snowcat, a front-end loader and a six-wheel Army truck for either reuse or salvage. He said they also recycled 58,000 pounds of aluminum and steel — including cable spools, metal racks, lift components and old snowmobiles — that had left in storage at the ski area for for more than 30 years.

Pebble Creek has implemented a new computer system to operate its ticketing, season passes, cash registers and other systems.

For the ski area’s 70th anniversary this season, a local artist, Chelsy Harten, has also produced a new trail map.

Rodriguez said the ski area has a staff of about 60 employees for the season. Pebble Creek is already open for the season.

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