For local little kids and big ones too, all the hub-bub at Whitewater as of late seems like a scene stolen right out of TV show Mighty Machines. (Any dad or mechanically inclined mom who’s saddled up in front of the Treehouse channel with their wee ones will be well-versed in the show…)
The big rigs are almost too innumerable to count as of late with construction on the new Glory Ridge Chair rumbling at full speed. Big bulldozers, a huge crane, graders and idle snow cats are commonplace as of late. (Lots of grimy, rough-looking-but-friendly hairy dudes too.) But none of the diesel-guzzling goliaths can share the spotlight with one of the biggest birds ever to have flown the West Kootenay’s friendly skies.
Due to the fact the Glory Chair is a sizeable as it is, Summit Lifts, the Fernie company building the chair, brought in a huge twin-bladed chopper—a circa-1963 Columbia Vertol helicopter—to do the heavy lifting. The Vertol can carry a payload of four-and-a half tonnes (10,000 lbs), and according to Chris Carswell, the fella who manages the bird for Helifor Canada, there are maybe only two or three other choppers in B.C. that are as big. The helicopter measures 83 feet from blade tip to blade tip and costs clients $6,500 per hour to operate. That’s $1.67 a second. But who’s counting?