Working with Helical Piles
When Hogadon Basin Ski Area completed their design for slope lighting they needed 45 new
30-foot poles to accommodate 170 Snow-Bright™ fixtures. This would have required excavating
and pouring 45 concrete casings that needed a minimum of one month to cure. The cost of this
process would have been prohibitively expensive.
Friends of Hogadon contacted TorcSill Foundations (www.torcsill.com) to arrange a site survey
which involved reviewing the available geotechnical report covering soil and subsurface
conditions. As a result of the review, TorcSill engineers designed a helical pile with a seven-inch
diameter that was seven feet long with a specific “pile termination.” The specification sheet
provides a technical line drawing with the required features (below).
Every soil type and ground condition requires the correct helical pile design. Hogadon Basin
also experiences very high winds exceeding 60 miles per hour. To ensure a good installation, five
test piles were installed. This determined how easily the piles could be installed into the soil and
the appropriate torque. “Worst-case” locations were picked based on terrain and rock. All test
piles were easily installed by TorcSill and Town of Casper workers in just 90 minutes. After review
by the Town of Casper engineers and Council members, approval was provided to install the
With the helical pile foundational designs from TorcSill,
the light poles’ height was reduced from 60 to 25 feet. Us-ing
shorter poles over a more diverse area was projected to
improve the overall light distribution and intensity as well.
TorcSill provided all the soil evaluation, engineering and de-sign
for Hogadon’s installation. Since there was no need to
wire through concrete casings, trenching and electrical costs
were greatly reduced.
Having the correct light spectrum to match the reflective
properties of snow was a key element since the surface is ob-viously
white. While LED lights may be suitable for illumi-nating
fields of grass or soil, none are specifically matched
to snow like Snow-Bright™ technology. This allowed further
separation between poles, reducing overall infrastructure.
Fewer poles translates to less trenching and wiring, dropping
time, material and labor costs.
TorcSill provided all engineering,
manufacturing and installation for
the project, which was completed
in less than three days. The
completed design and installation
with composite poles should
withstand sustained winds up to
100 miles per hour and higher gusts.
Based on the ease and speed of
installation, combined with the
lower overall cost, the Town of
Casper is considering helical piles
as foundations for the municipality
street and traffic lighting. Helical
piles are removable with minimum
ground disturbance, another
PLANNING & DESIGN
Coincidentally, Ultra-Tech had specified brand new com-posite
pole technology for replacing streetlight infrastruc-ture
in hurricane-prone regions like Puerto Rico, Florida,
and the Bahamas where wooden telephone poles and steel
poles were literally blown away. The composite poles were
half the cost of metal and had the added advantages of ex-tremely
high wind and corrosion resistance. Since Hogadon
Basin can experience winds exceeding 100 miles per hour,
the composite pole, at half the price of steel, provided an
ideal solution. Since Friends of Hogadon is a non-profit, they
qualified for a five percent cash-back rebate that applies to
ski areas with either adaptive sports programs or non-profit
status. Hogadon Basin needed 205 fixtures at $770 each for
a total of $157,850. The rebate came to $7,892.50, another
value toward completing the project within budget.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TORCSILL 30 January 2020 | snowopsmag.com