Erickson Goes for the Gold–in Snow
Erickson Air Crane was called in to drop snow on the Vancouver winter games after a week of rain and unusually warm weather melted the white stuff at some elevations below 4,000 feet. Erickson has been using one of its S-64 Air Cranes to move 13,000-pound loads of snow to cover bare ground at several area ski and snowboard venues, including Cypress Mountain and Mount Black. The snow is loaded by a backhoe into a special four-point, steel bucket originally designed by the company in 1997 to haul large boulders. It is then flown at the end of a long line to the target. Each load delivers six to seven yards of snow.
Erickson typically deploys its fleet of 17 S-64s on logging, large construction projects and aerial firefighting. The company began flying the helicopter in 1971 and acquired the type certificate from Sikorsky in 1992. “This is the first time we’ve moved snow,” said a company spokesman.