A Mammoth Undertaking for Xcel Mechanical

Mammoth Mountain’s new ownership group had put in place an $800-million master plan to establish the resort a world-class full service ski destination.

But to get there, the ownership group knew they needed help.

Xcel Mechanical Systems was already on contract to upgrade various mechanical, plumbing and snowmelt capabilities at key locations across the mountain. But this project would be bigger: Employ the same technology on a wider scale to implement snowmelt at the major common areas.

The job entailed building a large concrete dining deck with extensive use of snowmelt technology. The snowmelt system would also serve walkways, sidewalks, loading docks, stairs, bridges, equipment platforms, bus stops, and loading areas of the new, high-speed gondola running from Village Gondola Station to Canyon Station.

Smartly automated controls would permit the zones, high-temp for paver areas and low-temp for concrete, to start by phone calls for nights when they knew snow was coming and they wanted to pre-heat slab surfaces. Xcel set up primary-secondary pumping with injection and zone pumps for the snowmelt. Each zone had a zone pump to eliminate field water balancing at the individual manifolds.

“Each snowmelt zone is controlled by a dedicated pump zone,” said Xcel Mechanical President Kevin Michel. “These were a huge benefit because of time saved when piping the mechanical rooms, and for space considerations; they’re very compact and sensibly laid out.”

Snowmelt is seen as a valuable investment. There are so many advantages to the placement and use of this technology, including public safety, operating issues (the lifts must be open and accessible), and workforce impact. There are fewer employee and maintenance issues, and much less use of volcanic cinder, preventing damage to buildings and paved surfaces, and much less need for snowplowing.

“It’s easy to see why Xcel is our preferred plumbing and mechanical contractor,” said Rick Demshki. “They routinely meet the unique challenges posed by the mountain’s location and extreme weather.”

Much has been done to help “move the mountain” at Mammoth Lakes. And each year as the 1.2 million visitors to this world-class ski resort return, they will give little thought to the areas within the village without snow, looking only for the “best powder” to begin their day. But rest assured that the staff of Xcel Mechanical Services and Mammoth Mountain ski resort will be on top of where the snow should and shouldn’t be.