Monday, October 12, 2015

Silos and Ski Lifts

    Question:  What do silos and ski lifts have in common?   I think the answer is they both are indicators of the progression of successful businesses.  
   As I travel the dairy country of upstate New York, silos are typically skyline markers.   As consolidation of the dairy industry has occurred over many years, abandoned barns and silos are frequent indicators of this trend.   However, over the same time, successful dairies sport a progression of larger and larger silos.   Also as the dairy has expanded the barns get larger as more cows are added.
  As I observe the ski industry, a similar trend has occurred.   Some ski areas have been abandoned or in some cases they have been absorbed into larger more successful operations.   For the successful ski areas, a progression of more and better ski lifts occur.   Also just as the dairy farmer adds more structures to house the larger herd, the ski area expands the lodges and service facilities.
    So, I conclude silos and ski lifts have an interesting connection.   I think the two photos below confirm my conjecture.  Note the dairy with a progression of larger and larger silos  from right left in the photo.  Also note a larger barn from right to left plus a large free stall structure on the far left.   I regret that my ski lift photo does not capture all the possibilities at a ski area.   However, I have been at ski areas that show a progression form a rope tow to t-bar, to double chair, to triple chair and even to quad chair.
    Perhaps all these musings confirm that my interests in engineering, agriculture and skiing do converge.   I like making connections between disparate things!

A prospering dairy of Cortland County, New York
New quad chair on the left replaces a double chair.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ski Area Construction Entertainment

  Visited my local ski area on this sunny October afternoon to scope out the new deck over the stream outside the Trax restaurant at Greek Peak.  A friend mentioned this construction in passing a few days ago.  He suggested I should check it out.
    The photos below illustrate the magnitude of the project.  I have built a lot of decks in my lifetime as home projects, but this one sure exceeds anything I have ever done.   The support beams are massive steel I beams and by my engineering estimate you could drive semis across that deck without any concern.   There  was some attempt to beautify with stone columns and they do add some grace to the structure.   To an engineer the under structure has a symmetry and bold lines that are pleasing to view.  Since the stream was nearly dry, I could get a streams eye view that will not be available this winter.  
    Looking forward to the ski season and the chance to lounge on the deck and view the skiers on the slope.   A nice addition and upgrade to the area.  Sorry that I didn't get to see the various stages of the project over the summer.

Down Stream View from the Creek Bed

Upstream View

Support Beams

Decorative Columns

Supporting Steel 

Upstream View