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Gunstock Mountain Resort

Gunstock Mountain Resort
Gilford, New Hampshire
Working with Leviton, Gunstock Mountain was able to avoid damage and increase safety by LEV series Pin & Sleeve mechanical interlocks with mating attachment plugs to their snow making season.

For ski resorts, time and preparation are paramount to producing the right amount of snow and making sure the trails are groomed properly and efficiently. At Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, New Hampshire, employee safety during snowmaking is a top priority. Originally known as The Belknap Mountain Recreation Area, the Gunstock Mountain Resort complex has grown substantially over the years, but still prides itself on the enduring characteristics of the resort’s classic design and commitment to safety, quality and skier services.

Gunstock Mountain’s commitment to excellence is evident in every aspect of the resort, including the snow they produce in the winter during ski season. The resort owns 33 portable snowmaking cannons that require a 50 A, 480 V power supply. In the past, the snow cannons were using a locking receptacle for electrical connection in extremely harsh weather conditions up on the mountain. However, if those receptacles were disconnected under a live power load, the receptacles were subject to burning caused from arcing.

Arcing generates high intensity heating in an electrical connection which ignites burning particles that can lead to severe burns or shock to staff members, and electrical fires and damage to the connected equipment. Upon noting these dangers, Gunstock’s Snowmaking and Grooming Manager Dan Carbonneau and Master Electrician Adam Lambert worked to address this situation, which could potentially put employees at risk, by contacting Jeff Kane from Consolidated Electrical Distributors.

Mr. Kane brought the issue to the attention of Leviton sales representative, Bill Ammon. After assessing the situation, Mr. Ammon recommended Leviton’s LEV Series industrial grade pin and sleeve mechanical interlocks and mating attachment plugs to prevent Gunstock’s snowmaking equipment’s connections from arcing. The rugged housings of the Leviton interlock and plug resist impact, heat, flame and chemicals while the pins and contacts provide maximum electrical performance for safe, dependable connections in extreme environments.

Since the Leviton LEV Series 60 Amp mechanical interlock does not allow users to disconnect equipment unless the power is turned off, Gunstock’s concerns of damage were greatly reduced, as no current could pass through the equipment at the time of disconnecting.

The mechanical interlock and plug are specifically rated for outdoor use and engineered to watertight standards and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety regulations for the snowy conditions on the mountain.

The integrated lockout handle offered additional safety functionality, including lockout and tagout capabilities, which established Gunstock’s responsibility to protect its employees from hazardous energy sources on machines, and met the NFPA 70E “Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces.”

Over a number of months, Mr. Ammon and Mr. Kane worked with the Leviton product manager, Maria Acosta, to provide Gunstock with a specification that highlighted exclusive features and advantages of the Leviton devices and reinforced the company’s mutual commitment to quality and safety. Gunstock and Leviton worked hand-in-hand during the decision-making process and formed a great working relationship.

“We are thrilled with our decision to partner with Leviton in this process,” said Dan Carbonneau. “We are confident we are not putting our staff at risk when they are using these devices in conjunction with our snowmaking cannons.”
After careful consideration, Gunstock made an informed decision to install Leviton Pin & Sleeve interlocked disconnects with mating attachment plugs for their snowmaking equipment.

Since the installation of the devices, Leviton has joined the New Hampshire Ski Area Association to further promote the solution.

Mechanical Interlock devices incorporate a safety disconnect switch and IEC receptacle in a non-metallic watertight enclosure. The interlock mechanism prevents making and breaking of power under load. The switch cannot be actuated to the ON position until an IEC compatible plug is fully inserted and the plug cannot be removed until the switch is in the OFF position.

With the new technology in snow making equipment and increased power requirements, these devices may very well find themselves part of the safe operation of snowmaking machines in mountain resorts across the country.