New Snowbird Tram Cabin Damaged During Installation

One of the new cabins being installed on Snowbird’s Aerial Tram fell Saturday during installation, causing significant damage. Thankfully the incident occurred in a closed construction area at the base of the mountain and no one was injured. Snowbird said the root cause was some sort of equipment malfunction. “An investigation is under way to determine where the malfunction occurred,” the resort said in a statement. Upgrades to the tram are being carried out by Doppelmayr/Garaventa, the original manufacturer of the tram. The project includes new cabins with rooftop viewing decks, new controls, bullwheels and other upgrades.

The modern red and blue cabins were manufactured in Switzerland by CWA Constructions and had just arrived in Utah. Snowbird said Doppelmayr and CWA will work to replace the likely damaged beyond repair red cabin in time for the 2022-23 winter season. Snowbird and Doppelmayr are also also working on a plan to have at least partial tram service for this summer. The tram was originally scheduled to re-open with new cabins in late June.

Aerial tram cabins are custom built with long manufacturing lead times. In 2012, an Alyeska tram car was destroyed after hitting a tower in high winds. Service resumed about six weeks later with one cabin and a second car was installed and operational about five months after the incident. In September 2018, a brand new tram cabin in Germany was written off following a training accident. That tramway reopened just over three months later with a newly-manufactured cabin from CWA.

35 thoughts on “New Snowbird Tram Cabin Damaged During Installation

  1. meirk May 29, 2022 / 2:26 pm

    How high is the level of customisation on tram cabins?

    Since cabins from similar eras all share the same look… Today it’s even hard to distinguish between CWA and Swoboda tram cabins with the non-expert eye.


  2. Kirk May 29, 2022 / 4:46 pm

    If they are going to try some form of summer operation with one cabin. They will have manufacture some kind of counter balance weight to hang from the hanger on the damaged cabin side.


    • squawvalleychief May 29, 2022 / 6:27 pm

      It appears that there is at least one old cabin and one new cabin that are undamaged. The problem is that both of the undamaged cabins are for the same side – Cabin 2, I think – and it may not be possible to run the old Cabin 2 on the Cabin 1 side…


      • CharlesO May 29, 2022 / 8:09 pm

        How was the old one damaged? Did they drop the new one on it?


    • justin May 29, 2022 / 8:16 pm

      They often run it with only one car. I believe it is already made for this


      • mike May 29, 2022 / 10:00 pm

        yeah, but no. That’s not how trams work.

        Liked by 1 person

        • justin May 30, 2022 / 7:44 am

          how many days did you ride the tram this season where they were running both? I only made it 2 days, blue tram only


        • pbropetech May 30, 2022 / 7:52 am

          As Mike and Kirk have said, that’s not how trams work. They’re both attached to the same haul rope and are meant to balance each other. If you thought there was only one cabin operating, perhaps you missed seeing the other one as it descended opposite you.


  3. Erik May 29, 2022 / 6:49 pm

    Dang that sucks! I hope Snowbird opens Gadzoom and Little Cloud up to at least provide relief from the Tram and Peruvian this summer. That would literally help crowd flow out a ton!


  4. Paul Mathews May 29, 2022 / 7:02 pm

    Have been to the CWA factory in Olten, CH many times and these guys are real pros with typical Swiss precision. But that is why a new cabin cannot be built quickly.


  5. Ryan May 29, 2022 / 7:48 pm

    Ah well. There is always next year.


  6. Skier May 30, 2022 / 1:30 am

    I wonder if they run it with one old and one new over the summer. That would be interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Landsman May 30, 2022 / 7:04 am

      I asked Snowbird that question and they said they would know more in the coming days. My guess is the upgrade project is too far along for the old cabins to be compatible. The hangers are new and a different shape and the control system is new. Plus the new red cabin falling may have damaged the old red cabin.


      • skier May 30, 2022 / 9:37 am

        Are the hangers actually new again this year for these cabins? I thought they were using the already new ones that the old cabins have been hanging on for about 2 seasons now and that they were supposed to be used for the new cabins as well.

        The controls incompatibility makes sense.


        • Peter Landsman May 30, 2022 / 9:39 am

          You are right, I did not realize the hangers were replaced previously.


        • skier May 30, 2022 / 4:22 pm

          Yeah, when they were brand new you could tell when they posted things to Instagram if they were from the current season or if they were reusing old photos. It was funny seeing a powder alert or something similar and thinking to myself, ‘I know that picture is not from today’.

          Very different look between the old ones and new ones.


        • OMP June 16, 2022 / 12:42 pm

          You are correct Skier, new hangers went on before the 2021 season.


      • Munier Salem May 30, 2022 / 12:17 pm

        I’d imagine there is a substantial weight differential between old and new cabins, but nothing some ballast can’t solve. Probably cheaper and quicker than putting together some custom counterweight in the interim (and maybe capable of still shuttling riders?).


      • Ray June 9, 2022 / 8:27 am

        Peter, is there any information out there on what the dollar value of the replacement cabin will be?


      • OMP June 16, 2022 / 12:44 pm

        They are using old Red for a counterbalance and supplies to the restaurant. some control system mods will need to be done.


  7. augiethedude May 30, 2022 / 8:15 am

    Such an unfortunate outcome. Snowbird will recover from this setback. Full speed ahead😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Skier May 30, 2022 / 5:25 pm

    Does anyone know for sure if the old tram cabin was damaged?


  9. 9412vcummins May 30, 2022 / 5:25 pm

    Wouldnt be the first time with a accident at the bottom dock. One of the pieces of the mineral basin chairlift hit the bottom dock when the operater started the tram in the wrong direction.


  10. Kirk May 30, 2022 / 6:59 pm

    Bottom line is there totally out of luck in the short term. I can’t imagine Doppelmayr / Garaventa putting together some kind of one cabin operation in a short period of time. Engineering, Mechanical, Reprograming and designing controls, testing and etc.


  11. Carson May 30, 2022 / 9:48 pm

    A true shame. Hard to see something like this to happen especially to a lift that I’ve ridden for the past 17 years.


  12. Nahms May 31, 2022 / 8:26 am

    Interesting that the car fell from the hanger…


    • Andy May 31, 2022 / 9:31 am

      NO evidence that the car fell from the hanger. Looks like it was in the process of being lifted by a crane up to the hanger when something went wrong and the car fell to the ground.


      • Nahms May 31, 2022 / 2:08 pm

        There was another video posted on this blog’s original story that showed the cabin falling from the crane with the hanger still hanging from the crane. The video has since been removed.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Aussierob06 May 31, 2022 / 6:30 pm

    The hanger and carriage were already on the ropes and weren’t being replaced. Looks like the rigging failed, and the cabin fell to the ground.


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