News Roundup: Full Steam Ahead

Mont Orford to Build New Quad Chair

One of Canada’s oldest chairlifts has spun its final laps and will be replaced this upcoming season with a fixed grip quad. Mont Orford’s Alfred-Desrochers double dates back to 1965 and was built by Samson. Doppelmayr will construct its replacement, which will increase capacity by 60 percent. The project represents a CA$4.5 million investment.

“We are very happy to be able to complete this major change that is long awaited by our customers, which is part of several improvements that we wish to carry out in the coming years,” said the ski area. “In addition to being faster and more efficient, the ascent will feature an easy-to-use boarding conveyor.” Unlike its predecessor, the new lift will operate seven days a week, enhancing access to beginner and intermediate trails.

News Roundup: Chairless

News Roundup: Dollars and Euros

Sea to Sky Gondola to Reopen June 11th

Two intentional haul rope cuts and a global pandemic aren’t keeping British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Gondola from its mission of carrying guests high above Howe Sound. The lift will once again open to passengers a week from Friday with enhanced health and security measures in place.

The gondola was forced to close September 14th, 2020 when its haul rope was intentionally cut. Shockingly, this was the second such crime mirroring a similar incident in August 2019. The gondola first reopened Valentine’s Day 2020 only to be shuttered again by the pandemic the very next month. It reopened for a second time amid Covid last May, catering to locals and passholders. After the cable was cut a second time, Fatzer again worked to provide a new haul rope while CWA manufactured 25 new cabins. “Needless to say, the past eight months have been extremely challenging for everyone,” read a reopening announcement on the Sea to Sky website. “We would like to thank our fantastic Sea to Sky community and industry partners who, despite their own challenges, have supported us every step of the way.”

“We have implemented extensive updates to our security system, including a professional in-house security team; 24-hour surveillance of all infrastructure and refined our detection and response capabilities in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” said the gondola. “Our security architecture is extraordinary in the lift industry and has evolved after extensive consultation with security experts. We will not be disclosing all of the details of our security system; however, by design, we will provide a safe experience for everyone.” 

The gondola will continue to adhere to all Covid public health orders and travel advisories as it reopens, hopefully for good. A $250,000 reward remains in place for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the 2019 and 2020 downings.

News Roundup: Reopening x3

Three Arrests Made in Italy Tramway Disaster

The owner and two employees of the Stresa-Mottarone cable car operating company were arrested overnight, charged with manslaughter and intentional removal of precautions against accidents at work. Prosecutor Olimpia Bossi said two devices were found blocking the crashed cabin‘s emergency track rope brakes in the open position. Company owner Luigi Nerini, engineer Enrico Perocchio and service manager Gabriele Tadini admitted this had become common practice to avoid downtime when brakes were malfunctioning. The brakes on cabin 3 had reportedly not been operable since April 26th. “It was a conscious choice dictated by economic reasons,” said Bossi, who is coordinating the criminal investigation. “The ropeway should have remained stopped until the problem was fixed.” One of the so-called forks was found still attached to cabin 3’s brakes and the other located on the ground nearby. The bright red devices are intended to be used during unmanned operation or for maintenance purposes. Brakes were not blocked on the other cabin sharing the same haul rope and that car was safely stopped and evacuated.

There’s no indication the underlying failure of the haul rope system was intentional and that remains the focus of a technical investigation. The haul rope loop was made up of two sections, an upper and lower, socketed to each of the cabins.

The crash killed 14 people and seriously injured a 5 year old child named Eitan. His condition was said to be improving Wednesday. Both his parents, his 2 year old brother and two great grandparents all perished along with 9 other passengers.