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Alpine Meadows Turns a Groomer into a Rolling Stage

Just in time for 2010, California's Alpine Meadows Ski Area is getting hammered with snow and is debuting a high-tech snow cat turned mobile entertainment system with a 210-square-foot stage. The machine will be unveiled at noon on December 31.
posted: 12/31/2009
Alpine Meadows New Year's Machine

At noon on December 31, California’s Alpine Meadows Ski Area is unveiling what they’re calling a “one-of-a-kind engineering masterpiece” and a “fusion of science fiction straight from the imagination of Optimus Prime.” What exactly is it? It’s a snow grooming machine turned mobile entertainment system that will help ring in 2010.

The Alpine Meadows vehicle maintenance team modified an eight-ton Bombardier snow grooming machine into a 20-foot wide, 13-foot long rolling stage. A local reggae band called Truckee Tribe will be playing on the stage during a daytime New Year’s Eve party at the ski resort.

To convert the groomer into a musical platform, crews removed the standard articulated lift frame and replaced it with an eight-foot by 10-foot central aluminum channel platform that serves as the center stage. Then they added a steel sub frame and installed piano hinges and stage panels to create 210 square feet of stage space. They removed the grooming tiller and repurposed the tiller hydraulics to operate the stage fold-out, which is operator-controlled from the grooming machine cab. They added 200-watt Bose amplifiers and four 100-watt speakers mounted on the cab’s roof.

“This is a dual-purpose conversion unlike anything,” says Kent Hoopingarner, general manager of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. “The idea behind this project is to be able to offer live bands, deejays, and performances in different locations around the mountain, such the base area; the Ice Bar located at the base of Sherwood Bowl; the Mid Mountain Chalet—and anywhere we host events in remote on-mountain locations. The machine itself is a spectacle to behold.  When a great band performs on the stage, it is a no-holds barred party on the snow.”

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