Synergo Field Notes • January 4th, 2019
How To “Winterize” Your Course
As with everything else in our industry, how you winterize your course will depend on a variety of factors:
Severity of winter in your region
Do you expect a lot of precipitation, snow accumulation, high winds, freezing?
Your operational season
How long will your course be “closed”? Do you have occasional off-season use?
How easily can unauthorized users access your elements or the space they occupy while they aren’t monitored?
Ensure that all equipment is fully and completely dry before storing.
Store in closed bins in a climate-controlled environment.
Most important for harnesses, helmets, ropes and other soft goods.
Ensure bins are mouse and critter proof.
Apply lubrication to all locks throughout the winter.
Take them down to prevent tangling or breaking. This is can be done with the season closing periodic in-house inspection and gives you a good excuse to do a season opening inspection to put them back up!
If your belay systems have traversing hardware (i.e. pulley) it is a good idea to take them down as well to reduce potential wear from winter weather.
The colder temperatures will make cables tighter. This is usually factored into the installation of high element cables & zip lines making it unnecessary in most cases (make sure to confirm this with your installer). If tension adjustments are recommended, consult with a professional.
If installed using turnbuckles, low element foot cables can be loosened or disconnected. If possible, disconnect them and store the coiled cable inside. Another option is to disconnect one side and coil the other end at the tree/pole.
All lumber benefits from annual application of weather protection/preservative, though this should be done in a dry season.
Wooden platforms and boards will last years longer if they don’t sit on the ground covered in the mud & snow. Consider moving them inside if possible.
Elements such as a Whale Watch should be stored vertically off the ground, or inside if available. Another option is supporting the corners, so it doesn’t buckle under a significant snow load.
Stationary platforms can also be covered with sturdy tarps to further protect them from weather.
Hand lines, swings, rope ladders and the like can be an attractive nuisance so taking them down or securing one end will reduce this risk.
Weather also takes its toll on them so be sure to keep an eye on wear and tear.
Anything that can be taken down should be taken down and stored properly.
Doing a season closing inspection gives you a good final look at the condition of your elements and a chance to plan for next year’s repairs.
Take photos in case you’d like to request repairs from your inspector.
If repairs are needed, reach out to your inspector to schedule them before Spring. Remember, inspections and repairs don’t happen overnight so planning ahead will give you and your boss better peace of mind once Spring sneaks up.