This Long-Range Plan consists of two components that will enhance lifts at Sunshine Village. These projects include the construction of the Goat’s Eye II chairlift and glades, and the addition of chair capacity and chair parking rail extension on the existing TeePee Town LX chairlift.
Goat’s Eye II Chairlift and Glades:
This component of the Long-Range Plan includes the construction of a new chairlift. This will be the second chairlift on Goat’s Eye Mountain. The project also includes clearing under the lift line, grading for the top and bottom terminal and lift equipment, and glading (thinning) certain tree islands between existing trails to improve the ski experience and skier safety.
The project includes (see below figures "Goat's Eye ll lift location in red" and "Goat's Eye ll lift and glades"):
- Construction of a detachable high-speed four or six-person chairlift with an uphill design capacity of 2,600 people per hour.
- Extending the underground fiber optic and electrical power lines to the bottom terminal.
- Grading and clearing at the top and bottom of the lift and clearing underneath the lift line (which will be up to 40 meters wide). Parts of the lift line and upper terminal are located in existing cleared ski trail areas. Additional tree removal and grading will occur at the top and bottom terminal to allow for skier circulation. A relocation, tree removal and grading of the Banff Ave. ski run and summer access road in the westward direction will occur to make space for the lift maze on the west side of the existing Sprung Structure and provide for safe skier circulation on the Banff Ave. ski run. Space is provided for the terminal, operator house, and parking rail for the chairs. These areas total approximately 3.13 ha. The conceptual construction plans are shown in more detail in the Detailed Impact Assessment for this Long-Range Plan.
- Glading of certain existing skiable areas within the Goat’s Eye pod between existing clear-cut ski trails.
- Selective tree and shrub removal would occur in the areas shown on the below Figure "Goat's Eye lift and glades". These areas total approximately 23 ha. The spacing will be approximately 13 - 15 meters between clumps and trees.
- Some trees will not be removed from the top edge or sides of the gladed areas to contain and define the gladed areas.
- Gladed areas will be cleared using a combination of low ground pressure machines including spyder, feller buncher, harvester, forwarder as well as hand work with chain saws. Logs, branches, and brush will be hand or mechanically skid and stacked on the adjacent ski runs, or within the immediate gladed area, and burned in accordance with BMPs and under PCA burn permits. It is not expected that any of the wood is merchantable (too small to offset cost associated with harvesting) and will therefore be burned on site. Some wood from the lower terminal location may be used for firewood at the Resort.
- Burn piles will be located in the clearings between the leave trees. Maximum pile size is 7m in diameter and 5m in height. Ensure surrounding live trees will not be scorched or incur stem damage (girdling or burning of bark). All burning to be pre-approved by Parks Canada Fire and Vegetation Management Section. Burning operations require a Restricted Activities Permit from Parks Canada.
- Limbing would occur for skier safety up to 3 meters above maximum snow depth.
- Trees of different height/age/type will be left to provide for stand diversity where applicable and in coordination with Parks Canada.
- Whitebark pine trees will be avoided.
- All work would be handled in compliance with the 2008 Best Management Practices.
Context and Need:
Goat’s Eye I chairlift top terminal extends into the high-alpine. On poor weather days, during high-wind or decreased visibility, the visitor experience can be challenging on Goat’s Eye I. The Goat’s Eye II chairlift will have a lower top terminal at treeline. It provides a more comfortable experience on weather days. It will also spread visitors out between the two lifts, serving the vast Goat’s Eye Mountain terrain.
There is a demand by advanced and higher-level skiers for improved tree skiing opportunities. On weather days, skiers prefer to ski within gladed areas to avoid the wind and poor visibility at the wide-open ski trails. The remaining trees provide wind protection and improve visual definition of the terrain for the skier.
The lower terminal of Goat’s Eye II is located uphill of the bottom of Goat’s Eye I, dispersing skiers more effectively and reducing crowding at the bottom of Goat’s Eye I.
Glading/thinning these areas will reduce wildfire fuel on Goat’s Eye Mountain. Reducing fuel will protect the facilities and assets in the event of wildfire.
The terrain proposed for glading is within the existing skiable terrain at the Resort. This project allows more people of different ability levels to access these areas as a result of the thinning.
Policy Substantiation and Applicable Requirements:
The 2018 Site Guidelines provide for the expansion of lift capacity within the limits of growth (8,500 skiers at one time). The additional capacity added from this project is included in the “resort balancing” analysis contained in Section 4.2 of this Long-Range Plan.
The 23 ha of glading will not count against the 80 ha of additional ski terrain approved in the 2018 Site Guidelines as these areas do not represent new ski trails/runs; more importantly they represent an improvement (through thinning) to existing ski terrain within the developed area.
Goat’s Eye II and the glade areas are within the existing Developed Area, as mapped in the 2018 Site Guidelines.
The tree removal activity would occur in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Ski Run and Vegetation Management Strategy developed and contained in this Long-Range Plan and the 2008 Best Management Practices.
Additional Chair Capacity and Chair Parking Rail on Teepee Town Chairlift:
When the TeePee Town chairlift was re-constructed from a fixed grip double to a high-speed quad chair in 2015, the uphill capacity of the lift was designed to be 1,800 people per hour. The initial uphill capacity built was 1,200 people per hour. This is because the development permit was a like-for-like permit and the chairlift being replaced had an uphill capacity of 1,200 people per hour.
Twenty-four additional chairs will be installed on the existing ropeway. The parking rail, which is used to store chairs overnight and out of the high winds will be extended to accommodate and park these additional chairs. The footprint of the project is approximately .04 ha.
Context and Need:
The TeePee Town lift is very popular with visitors, as it is the only bubble lift with heated seats in the Canadian Rockies. The existing capacity of 1,200 people per hour is far below industry norms for a high-speed detachable quad chairlift. On cold days in particular, the line for this lift becomes very long. The additional chairs will provide an improved visitor experience.
Policy Substantiation and Applicable Requirements:
The 2018 Site Guidelines provide for the expansion of lift capacity within the limits of growth (8,500 skiers at one time). The additional capacity added from this project is included in the “resort balancing” analysis contained in Section 4.2 of the Long-Range Plan.
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