Trail Maintenance Update

19 Apr 2024
19 Apr 2024

Trail Updates Header
We felt it was time to give everyone an update as we head into the winter months around our Trail network and targeted maintenance items for the next 6 months. Firstly, we know after every summer season the trails are in desperate need of maintenance.

The 2024 Port Hills fire has provided some additional challenges to the plans we had in place though given the prompt response from our crews on the ground in conjunction with contractors and FENZ we are lucky to be in such a positive position. The fire entered the property from outside our boundary along Worsley Road and has moderately, to severely burnt 65ha of 7-year-old pine. Fire breaks helped keep the fire from burning out any of the mature blocks or spreading into the lower half of the hillside. The fire breaks that have been added in are a fantastic mitigation resource but now present significant erosion sediment discharge issues we must manage moving forward. We have HGM Construction undertaking a remediation action plan with support from CCC and ECAN. Works within these spaces should be finished by the end of May. With regards to the management of the burnt trees moving forward we are still awaiting confirmation of what the landlord and forestry owner McVicar Timber plan to do within this area – at this stage, the trees are remaining for the next 3-6 months while a detailed assessment can take place.

Post-fire pre-opening Trail Crew's focus was on building a new exit from Pioneer Hub to ensure we could keep this terrain open whilst forestry works took place ensuring we could open with all fire-affected trails on the western side of the chairlift. This was a massive effort in the timeline we had available to access the property before the scheduled opening date.

The remainder of April will focus on completing Bako Run a new Skills Centre tickling up GC for the WGS and finishing the month with some ECAN compliance work. Volunteer work streams are focused on re-establishing their much-loved Wasabi to feed into lower Captain Torpedo. Beyond that we have another intermediate hand tool project for the Volunteers after completing their Wasabi work. The estimated opening timeline for Bako Run, Wasabi & Skills Centre is in May.

After the April school holidays into May, we are going to have an 8-week closure on Askins for a complete machine rebuild. This will be broken into two halves so guests can still ride the top half of Gung Ho into Askins or vice versa for the later stages of work. The track requires some downsizing, and realigning whilst increasing/decreasing speed – specifically in the lower half.  

Captain Torpedo, Drainpipe and SMC are still in an active monitoring phase. Through September / October 2023 we sustained significant tree fall damage with over 250 trees falling across the tracks. The trails still have extensive damage however progress has been made and confidence is increasing around tree health – watch this space. A new intermediate trail below Snakobs to complete a western flank blue from top to bottom connecting Bako Run – Loose Connections – Down Low to the Village in time for early summer 2024.

During the Lift Maintenance shutdown in August, the team will focus on feeder tracks – Summit Connector, Flying Nun & Choir Boy. We will keep a loose working program having learnt the hard lesson from last year of overworking Summit Connector during this time, that work will take weeks to settle following a significant rain/snow event. Our focus will likely be on laying aggregate.  

To round out the winter months we will spend some time on Loess Rider & the upper section of the Green.

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