The Eco-Transit consultants for Resort Development provide planning, engineering, construction, project management and certification consulting services for ski lift development and resort planning at year round mountain recreation sites and ski areas. ECO consults on the behalf of resort owners, municipalities and stakeholders, and also associates with other planning and engineering teams for the benefit of the overall resort amenity program or municipal development program. Services provided include site evaluation and analysis, economic and technical feasibility studies, engineering studies, lift specifications and cost estimates, RFQ and RFP preparation for owners to request manufacturer or third party bids, bid evaluation and recommendation, procurement assistance, project management, inpections and safety analysis, evacuation procedures, and operator training, if desired.
A primary goal of mountain recreation site design is to provide a unique or distinct alpine atmosphere and to allow visitors the possibility of forming an identity with their surroundings. The locations and physical attributes of ski areas are studied in detail to assess suitability for the development of a high quality ski area and four season recreation site to attract resident and non-resident winter and summer tourists and outdoor sports enthusiasts.
Starting points for the analysis of the suitability and development potential of ski areas for recreational purposes and public safety are the input of geotechnical, geophysical and topographic data into mapping software. Mountain resort planning depends on the best available mapping and aerial photography with an outline of the ski or recreation domain and an indication of prevailing wind direction, solar orientation, elevations, climate and micro-climates, known avalanches, known geologic hazards, as well as land availability for development and exclusions for any variety of reasons, such as hazards, jurisdictional wetlands or stream buffers, protected or sensitive areas, zoning exclusions, and land ownership to be considered during the Study.
To plan and develop a winter and summer recreational project in mountainous terrain requires reliable and safe aerial lift access for patrons to the alpine mountain environment. Lift Systems 1) provide access to high alpine terrain from lower elevation road accessible base areas, 2) provide on-mountain distribution to access potential ski trails, bike trails, hiking trails, observation points, restaurants, etc., 3) provide access to base areas if more practical, cost efficient, or environmentally sensitive than roads / bridges / tunnels, and 4) provide an attraction in itself for tourists.
Complementary to aerial lift development is the routing and layout of ski slopes and trails to provide recreational skiing and snowboarding opportunities for riders. Skiing and boarding related facilities are located so that they take full advantage of natural site contours with a minimum amount of slope or trail grading. Planning also includes a description of the interrelationship of the proposed lift system and the planned trail system, and to show how lifts will be placed relative to capacity balance with the trail system, visibility, wind, avalanche hazard areas, and icing potential.
The methodology involved in determining what lift systems and ski slopes are feasible and appropriate involves identifying the public access and safety requirements, the geophysical, geotechnical and environmental assets and liabilities, the terrain and natural resource characteristics, the specific seasonal and climatic conditions, etc. Capital and construction cost estimates for the aerial lifts, ski slopes, and snowmaking are developed as part of our studies.
This resort planning division of ECO was founded back in 1988 when ECO was retained to master plan and design all of the ski trails, ski lifts, snowmaking, trail lighting, grooming plan, and operations and maintenance facilities for Muju Resort, Korea, and also to consult for the master planning of Noboribetsu Resort in Japan. ECO's resort design division consists of a specialized consultant group of project managers, planners, engineers and operation specialists who work in multi-disciplined teams to address the needs of specific projects and clients. ECO has achieved significant gondola and lift planning and development milestones with projects in Colorado, Alaska, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, California, Canada, Japan and Korea.