January 25, 2021 marked the grand opening of the new T-bar on the Inverness Trail at Sugarbush Resort in Vermont. This multimillion-dollar investment will give GMVS athletes more time on snow, more time with coaches, and more efficient training blocks.
GMVS Senior Carly Elsinger has been with GMVS for over 10 years, and sees the opportunities that lie ahead. “We are supported by the most talented coaches and have access to great terrain. The new T-Bar gives us the advantage of nearly doubling our training volume in any one block of time, fitting in an additional strength session, or more time to meet the demands of being a student athlete.”
This second phase of the Kelly Brush Race Arena (KBRA) transformation broke ground in May 2020, despite the global pandemic. Crews from Leitner-Poma worked closely with GMVS staff and Sugarbush Resort through the summer to ensure the T-bar would support athletes this year, and for years to come.
By mid-August, T-bar towers were flown in by helicopter, while crews on the ground installed new snowmaking hydrants. The high-powered hydrants will ensure the new surface lift has robust coverage to run, and will be integral to creating a new firm slalom lane.
“Since donating the original Poma to GMVS in 1982, Sugarbush has shared our vision to build a world class racing venue. They have been great partners, supporting our need for a dedicated Clubhouse, more early-season snowmaking, and additional terrain,” notes Tracy Keller, GMVS Head of School.
Compared to the 12.5 minute chairlift ride on the long standing Inverness lift, the new T-bar decreases uphill travel by half, moves 1000 people per hour, and provides access to 4000 feet of skiable terrain. A mid-station unload provides flexibility in trail use, and an opportunity for coaches to broaden programming.
The collaborative effort between GMVS and Sugarbush is a long-term investment in the development of World Cup racers. Phase one of the KBRA transformation was completed in the fall of 2019 with the Brambles connector transforming the arena into one of the most unique, flexible, and challenging race venues in the East.
Looking to the future, GMVS and Sugarbush are working closely to develop plans for renovations of the Ski Club building that stands at the base of the race arena. Due to break ground in the summer of 2022, the dedicated training center will provide a world class home for a program that develops world class skiers.
GMVS Alpine Program Director Steve Utter paints the vision for the future that lies ahead, “The completion of our new T-bar is the next step in transforming the Kelly Brush Race Arena into a world-class venue, able to support the training and competition needs of developing and national team athletes. Commensurate with this investment, I envision the increase in our training efficiency and productivity will give our athletes the best chance to achieve their ambitious outcome-based goals.”