Freedom chair flying along

PERISHER'S new Freedom quad chair has literally been in full flight this past week with a K-Max helicopter lifting the final towers and cross heads into position on the Guthega slopes.

Progress is well on track with the new chair starting to take shape despite some wet weather the past three weeks causing minor delays.

Initially the majority of tower work was intended to be completed via crane, but soggy roads have seen the helicopter services engaged to keep the timeline in check.

A team of six ground crew, a helicopter pilot and Doppelmayr project manager Shaun Turner oversaw the assembly of towers seven, six and three fitted in place on Monday morning ready for the final push before winter.

With all concrete poured and the majority of the engine room in place, it will now be left to the Doppelmayr and Perisher staff to finish off the project with electrical, lift hut fit out, cable and chairs to be fitted.

The summer project has been on course for completion before season opening and when Project Manager Shaun Turner was asked how work is progressing he commented, "Yeah good, we are out of the ground definitely, all concrete is done just in time and today we will complete the towers and we are on schedule at the moment".

The towers were lifted from the Guthega car park and flown the short distance up the slopes where two teams were waiting in place, one group of three on the ground with guide ropes, and a team of three firstly locating the tower base, and then on the towers locating the top sections and cross heads.

Doppelmayr fitter and Jindabyne resident Geoffrey Fallon said: "Yeah it's pretty full on, basically watching out for everyone, the tower and the equipment, and trying to talk to the operator, yeah it's pretty intense", when asked about conditions on top of the tower directly underneath the helicopter.

What may have appeared as a momentous task early in the morning was soon completed with the three towers and assemblies in place before noon.

And at a cost of $5000 per hour for helicopter flying time it all proceeded without a hitch.

Doppelmayr are the leading lift company in the world and makers of the new Freedom chair at Guthega which will increase lifting capacity in the area by 46 per cent and will open up the terrain after the removal of the old J-bar on the lower section.

It is sure to be a hit with skiers and boarders and looking at the line of the chair and the terrain that can be accessed with this new installation it will be a popular place on Guthega's opening day in 2014.

You can see more photos from the tower installations on www.snowytimes.com

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