Broken Water Line Sprays Lift Riders at Beech Mountain

An unfortunate situation was caught on video yesterday at Beech Mountain, North Carolina when a skier hit and broke a snowmaking hydrant under the #1 double. Now viral videos show guests struggling to stay in chairs as high pressure water hits them from below. Some chairs swing violently and it appears a few riders jumped or fell from the lift. At one point the lift stopped with two people directly in the path of the spray.

“On Friday, January 7, an uninjured guest skied into a water and air hydrant during snowmaking operations,” read a statement from resort management. “The hydrant was under a loaded chair, resulting in several patrons getting wet. Our operations and safety team worked diligently to unload the lift and drain the system safely. Avery EMS transported two patrons to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. We believe everyone is okay outside of the unfortunate situation, and operations are on a regular schedule.”

A similar incident occurred at Stratton Mountain, Vermont in 2018. In that case, a snowmaking pipe burst and sent water toward gondola cabins, causing them to swing. No one was injured in that mishap.

12 thoughts on “Broken Water Line Sprays Lift Riders at Beech Mountain

  1. Rob Withey January 8, 2022 / 8:14 am

    That will test your Gore-tex.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. squawvalleychief January 8, 2022 / 9:02 am

    Crazy situation. I guess they were still making snow somewhere on the mountain, so the water line was still pressurized. It seems to have taken a long time to get the water turned off and it’s amazing that no one could get the operator to stop the lift without a loaded chair dead-center in the geyser, but that’s Murphy’s Law in action.


    • Ryan January 8, 2022 / 1:16 pm

      The pressure from the water broke a brittle bar on the lift. Which is a safety device that stops the lift if it de-ropes. It wasn’t the fault of the operator.


  3. Robyn January 8, 2022 / 11:21 am

    We were up there. The weather was in the teens and at least one person ended up being frozen to the lift chair. There were two different chairs that ended up stopped over the geyser, one person was blown off from the force. So thankful there weren’t more severe injuries. When the pipe exploded it sounded like a bomb and rocks flew everywhere.


  4. vons3 January 8, 2022 / 12:14 pm

    Even if the line is shut down immediately there is still 500-1000 ft. head just from amount of line uphill of the break so it may take awhile for the system to depressurize.


    • pbropetech January 8, 2022 / 7:51 pm

      …and the broken brittle bar would take a minute to find and replace. Sounds like the perfect storm of bad luck.


    • Ryan January 8, 2022 / 2:48 pm

      No, that would BLOW!


  5. Robert Fisk January 9, 2022 / 8:22 am

    Another reason hydrants should be protected.Skiing into one can lead to significant injuries


  6. Rob January 9, 2022 / 7:51 pm

    Oh look, another barely-informed article. 🙄 So so so so so many articles spreading around that don’t cover even 10% of what happened.


    • Somebody January 9, 2022 / 8:06 pm

      If you have more information to share, there’s a lot of people who’d love to know what really happened.


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