Alyeska got lucky early this morning when a fire broke out at the Glacier Bowl Express chair parking facility but did not spread to the lift itself. Girdwood Fire Department and Alyeska crews responded at 5:27 am, accessing the scene by snowcat and using the mountain’s snowmaking system to fight the fire. “We are actively investigating the cause of the fire and will know more details later today when investigators can access the scene,” said Mountain General Manger Di Whitney in a statement. “We are grateful for the speedy response and support from Girdwood Fire Department which did a fantastic job putting out the fire.”
The Glacier Bowl Express is a 2013 Doppelmayr detachable quad built to replace another high speed quad installed in 1988. Considering the barn is at the drive station, this fire could have been much worse. The lift’s operator house is a separate building on the other side of the terminal. Alyeska re-opened much of the mountain at 1pm today and says it will have the Glacier Bowl Express back in action soon.
Update 3/25/16: GBX is still down. Alyeska’s snow reports notes, “we have initiated a plan to resume operations of Glacier Bowl Express this season. The fire investigation and preliminary mechanical inspections have been completed, and equipment and tools to make the repairs have arrived. Experts are on site today to assist with repairs, and inspectors will be in place to confirm successful repairs and oversee the return to safe operations.” From the below post on Instagram, it looks like the fire damaged the haul rope, requiring repair.