Cabin Falls From Sunday River’s Chondola

A 17 year old guest sustained minor injuries in a lift incident at Sunday River last night. “At 5:37PM, a gondola cabin detached from the haul rope of the Chondola lift as a result of a high gust of wind causing the cabin to misfeed into the top terminal of the lift,” Sunday River said in a statement. “The cabin fell approximately 10 feet and was occupied by one guest who sustained minor injuries and was transported to the base of the mountain by ski patrol and released.”

The Chondola is a hybrid lift with both chairs and gondola cabins built in 2008. It features Doppelmayr UNI-G stations and Agamatic grips. “Due to increasing winds, the lift was being unloaded and running at half speed under high wind protocol at the time of the incident,” the resort said. “All guests remaining on the lift were safely unloaded and night skiing operations were suspended.”

8 thoughts on “Cabin Falls From Sunday River’s Chondola

  1. icefaceny February 24, 2022 / 3:36 pm

    “…detached from the haul rope of the Chondola lift as a result of a high gust of wind causing the cabin to misfeed into the top terminal of the lift”

    I do not understand the timeline here. Did a gust cause the cabin to jump from the terminal rail the grips travel on, and it then fell when departing? Or did the cabin fall directly following its entry to the terminal? I was just thinking while eyeballing the picture provided, it doesn’t really seem like there’s 10ft to fall anywhere at the top terminal unless the cabin was traveling downhill. Please jump in with suggestions, it seems crazy that a lift barely over 12 years old would suffer such a serious problem, especially considering it was already running half speed.

    Like

    • Lincoln Fuller February 27, 2022 / 11:38 am

      Please re-read article, ” top terminal”. And yes, it would have been approximately a 10′ drop there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Max Hart February 24, 2022 / 4:45 pm

    My understanding of the incident is that a gust got the cabin at exactly the wrong time and it missed the trumpet, detached as normal, then fell as it was unsupported on one side. If it only fell 10 feet it must have been inboard of the terminal end, beyond the end of the terminal carriers are immediately 12-15 feet above grade. Also the damage to the terminal skin is indicative of the cabin falling while in the terminal. It’s not a case of the carrier detaching mid-line.

    A similar thing happened at Banff Sunshine a bunch of years ago in the first angle station on their gondola (I want to say that was in ’04 or ’05).

    Like

    • pbropetech February 24, 2022 / 10:02 pm

      That’s exactly what I had figured. Despite everything we do as mechanics, and train lift operators to do, wind is most definitely the wild card in these situations. We haven’t dropped a carrier as a result of wind, but we’ve come very close.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Matthew Toy February 24, 2022 / 11:52 pm

    Seems like a case of bad timing as the lift was already being unloaded at half speed and just before it entered the terminal. Will be interesting to see further details about this incident, it doesn’t seem to be a problem with the lift or grips.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Machski February 25, 2022 / 7:27 am

    Been odd they have pulled back from taking the cabins off the Chondi line for wind forecast days this season. Not sure if that is an operating plan change or due to low staffing. Have to imagine this will change ops back to pulling cabins ahead of high wind forecast days or shutting the lift much earlier when winds do kick up. Those cabins have always been wind sails at the top, and they have dropped one before when racking them on the top rack (done by hand).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kirk February 25, 2022 / 9:04 am

    Have seen this happen on a 2000 Doppelmayr with DT grips. Grip made it in the trumpet but the front running wheel missed the running rail and grip got sideways and pealed off. That incident generated a lengthy service bulletin. Turned out the entry side was not set up properly (entry rope angle) from day one and trumpet stops were added etc.

    With that being said I have also seen this happen on a 2003 UNI G with the newer DT grip and terminal entry design.

    That style of trumpet shown in the picture should be good for at least 19 degrees of swing. So the cabin must of been at a severe angle to miss that trumpet or something is not adjusted properly???

    Liked by 1 person

  6. SnowNGR February 25, 2022 / 5:51 pm

    I wonder if we will see them put in a fat wind fence like at the top of Stratton’s gondola. I also wonder if one of the manufacturers will design an expanded trumpet, a bit like the fence just before the bullwheels on a pony tow. Whatever angle the handle is at, it gets deflected away from jambing itself into the bullwheel. Such a thing is certainly possible such that the idler wheel on each grip is forced, from whatever angle, to catch the trumpet and align the grip to the terminal rails.

    Liked by 1 person

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