Multiple media outlets are reporting chairs full of skiers and snowboarders slid into each other near the top of Tussey Mountain, Pennsylvania today, the first day of the season for the area. It appears four grips slipped down the haul rope and were stopped by a fifth grip and chair. All of the chairs were occupied but thankfully, injuries to five people are being described as non-life threatening. Passengers on the entire lift were brought down by rope. A spokesman for the mountain told CBS News that an operator manually stopped the lift, which is a 1982 Borvig center pole model and one of two Borvig chairlifts at the ski area near State College.
Borvig brand lifts have been involved in at least six recent incidents including a deropement causing serious injuries at Sugarloaf in December 2010, a rollback at the same mountain in 2015, a tower separation in West Virginia in February 2016 and a foundation grout failure at Sunday River later that year. Also in 2016, two chairs slid into each other on a relocated Borvig double at Granite Gorge, New Hampshire, sending two people to the hospital.
New York-based Borvig built 260 chair and surface lifts between 1962 and 1991, mostly in the eastern United States. Approximately 170 of them still operate today. A successor company, Partek Ski Lifts, still provides parts support for Borvig lifts and manufactures a small number of new lifts each year.
Update: Tussey Mountain has issued a statement noting the lift was previously inspected by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Elevator Division.