North Construction Vancouver – Winter Operations Services
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Winter Operations on the North Shore Mountains: More than Just Shovelling Snow
It was Christmas Eve. Heavy snow had been falling relentlessly for hours, adding several feet of powder to the thick layer that already blanketed the ground. North Construction’s Winter Operations team received a call in the late afternoon from one of the local mountains. The snow had piled up so high against the lodge that the mountain managers were beginning to fear structural damage from the pressure against the walls. They knew they could count on the North team to clear the area quickly and safely because of their extensive experience in winter operations. As night fell, North Constuction’s President, Kevin Webb, arrived onsite to clear the heaps of snow that had stacked up against the walls of the building. As the early birds arrived on the slopes on Christmas Day, Kevin was wrapping up his day, having successfully cleared the area for one of mountain’s busiest days of the year.
For over two decades, North Construction has been working with the North Shore Mountains to assist them with their winter operations, with everything from snow removal to constructing structures to help keep people and equipment out of the elements. Our fleet is immaculately maintained and diverse, including small to large loaders and excavators, all outfitted with custom buckets to move snow efficiently in any area or condition. All of our equipment is outfitted with winter tires, proper snow blades, GPS tracking, and VHF communication. As Joel Markson, Director of Planning and Logistics explains, “much of the work we do is overnight work and, because it’s weather-dependent, it can be very short notice, so we have to be ready at the drop of a hat. Our equipment has to be maintained in excellent condition because you don’t want to run into any issues while you’re trying to move snow by yourself in the middle of the night.”
For that reason, North Construction has become a go-to for the local mountains during the winter season, providing them with equipment and operators whenever they need it. Our work throughout the years has varied: our operators have plowed snow day and night to keep high traffic areas clear; we have helped clients repair utilities in harsh conditions; we have set up temporary and permanent tent structures, from 30-40 feet wide and up to 80 feet long — and since much of this work is done in the peak ski season, the safety of the public on the mountain has to be top of mind.
Our work has also taken us to the backcountry, where we helped erect the Kees & Clare Hut, the first of three huts to be built along the Spearhead Traverse, a 40-kilometer route connecting Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains and considered one of the best high-alpine traverses in North America. In order to avoid damaging the sensitive terrain, the North team had to use their experience in helicopter logistics to fly a disassembled excavator in pieces to the site, assemble it to prepare the foundation, backfill and install the utilities of the hut, and then disassemble it to be flown back.
So far our team has been busy with what was a snowier than anticipated start to the winter season. As we look forward to 2021, we are excited to continue strategizing with the local mountains on opportunities for the year ahead!