News Roundup: More Epic

  • The Spanish ski resort that closed when a chair fell from its Yan detachable quad reopens with uploading via snowcat.
  • The San Diego Fire Department performs a successful over water night evacuation of the Bayside Skyride at SeaWorld San Diego.
  • Timberline Four Seasons Resort, which has struggled with lift breakdowns and other issues of late, is closed this weekend and could be placed in receivership.
  • Snow Valley missed all of President’s weekend will remain closed indefinitely due to road damage.  Mountain High is kindly honoring their season passes during the shutdown.

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News Roundup: Beyond Skiing

  • According to the New York State contracting website, the Gore Mountain Sunway, High Peaks, Hudson and Whiteface Bear Den lift replacement projects that went out to bid last fall are all on hold.  Two bids were received for the Olympic Jumping Complex gondola in Lake Placid but no builder has been selected as of January 18th.
  • A chair falls off a 1993 Yan detachable quad in Spain, closing an entire ski resort indefinitely.
  • Lift service returns to Killington’s South Ridge for the first time in a decade as of yesterday.
  • Bartholet completes its first 10 passenger gondola lift in Norway.
  • Les Otten lobbies for a new bill that would permit public financing for The Balsams redevelopment.
  • The proposed gondola in Idaho Springs, Colorado would be modeled after the Sea to Sky Gondola, which now carries more than 400,000 riders a year in British Culumbia.  The 1.2 mile Colorado version would rise 1,100 feet above Interstate 70.
  • The largest lost ski resort in Canada, Fortress Mountain, could reopen with a mix of new and refurbished lifts in 2020.
  • Sun Valley and Snowbasin ditch the Mountain Collective Pass for a partnership with Vail Resorts and the Epic Pass starting next winter.
  • The Laconia Daily Sun explains how Highland Mountain Bike Park finds success on the grounds of a long lost New Hampshire ski area.
  • The former longtime operator of Timberline Four Seasons Resort is indicted, accused of illegally prescribing pain drugs.  The ski area suffered a major lift accident in 2016 and has operated only sporadically this winter.

News Roundup: Urban Momentum

News Roundup: Adding More

News Roundup: Making Repairs

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Ropeway Construction works to re-install a crossarm Thursday that fell off Timberline’s Thunderstruck lift last weekend.  Photo credit: Timberline Four Seasons

Fallout from Timberline

Timberline Four Seasons Resort plans to have the Thunderstruck lift re-opened Saturday after last weekend’s incident with help from Partek, Aerial NDT and Ropeway Construction.  A new crossarm will be installed to replace the one that fell from tower 12 and the lift will be load tested before it re-opens.  “We have assembled a world-class team of manufacturers, engineers, and safety inspectors who have been working diligently since the event took place to assess and repair the lift, with multiple levels of oversight at every step in the process,” the resort said in a statement posted to Facebook.

Sugarloaf temporarily closed its Snubber lift (a 1985 Borvig triple) for inspections Monday after news of the incident at Timberline.  Sugarloaf notes it completed Borvig’s recommended reinforcement of towers on affected lifts in the late 1980s, as did Sunday River.

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In this photo from Sunday River, you can see the U bolts that were added in the late 1980s as a second connection between crossarm and tower tube on this 1986 Borvig triple (the same year and make as Thunderstruck at Timberline.)  Borvig issued a bulletin in 1987 calling for this modification on certain lifts.

The State of Vermont ordered the closure of the 2,000 foot double chair at Suicide Six after cracks were found on two of its towers.  This lift was manufactured by Borvig in 1975 and has a different tower design than the ones at Timberline with no lifting frame. Because this particular lift provides the only access to the majority of the mountain’s terrain, the resort is closed until the towers can be repaired.

By my count there are 176 Borvig lifts remaining in operation in 26 states and 3 Canadian provinces.  The company built 260 lifts from 1962 to 1991.

Added 2/25/2016: Sugarloaf announced today they performed non-destructive testing on the Skidway double’s towers this week in addition to inspecting Snubber.  Skidway is a 1988 Borvig double.  While the NDT found no problems, Sugarloaf will voluntarily install U-bolts connecting Skidway’s tower tubes and crossarms this week out of an abundance of caution.

Falling Crossarm Injures Nine at Timberline, WV

Nine people were injured and 100+ others evacuated when a crossarm fell completely off a tower at Timberline Four Seasons Resort around 9:15 this morning, causing skiers to contact the snow.  Thankfully, only two of those people required hospitalization despite the fact that numerous chairs fell 10-20 feet during public operation. The lift in question is called Thunderstruck and was built by Borvig in 1986.  It has Leitner chairs and is just over 4,100 feet long with 17 towers. Tower 12 is the one that failed. The pictures are harrowing and this incident could have been much worse.  Sugarloaf’s two recent high-profile accidents involved Borvig lifts – a de-ropement with chairs contacting the ground in 2010 and rollback in 2015.