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Mission Ridge chairlift malfunction strands riders


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#1 Peter

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 08:55 PM

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Mission Ridge chairlift malfunction strands riders
Some skiers, boarders stuck nearly three hours in windy conditions before being lowered on ropes Mission Ridge chairlift malfunction strands riders

By Dan Wheat
Posted March 03, 2008

WENATCHEE — More than 100 skiers and snowboarders were evacuated with ropes off the Liberator Express chairlift at Mission Ridge Ski & Snowboard Resort after an electrical short Saturday afternoon.

Some people were stranded on the chair for close to three hours, with temperatures in the 20s and sometimes windy conditions. One woman was treated by a Ridge physician for "frost nip" to her feet or toes but was fine the next day, said Mark Milliette, Ridge general manager.

Several Special Olympics competitors were among those evacuated, he said.

There have been previous partial evacuations of the Liberator, but this was the first full evacuation of the chair since it was installed in the summer of 2005, Milliette said.

The Liberator did not run Sunday or today but should be running Thursday if a part arrives from the manufacturer in Grand Junction, Colo., by then, he said.

The chair quit running at 2:15 p.m. Saturday when an electrical short activated a safety brake meant to engage in the event of a power outage, Milliette said. The brake can't be disengaged with people on the chair, he said.

The short was found and rewired but a new part is needed, he said.

The Liberator is a high-speed quad chairlift that runs 6,225 feet from the ski area's Midway to the 6,820-foot summit. The lift is known for relatively frequent but usually short duration shutdowns due to electrical problems, but also is shut down in high winds.

Milliette said the Ridge is continuing to replace original equipment on the 22-year-old chair, which was bought from Winter Park Resort in Colorado in 2005.

"When we got it, we did a lot of rewiring, but there still are some parts of terminals with original wiring. We will continue to change things out," he said.

This reporter was the last skier to board the Liberator just before Saturday's shutdown.

I was riding by myself and my chair was just a few feet off the ground when the lift stopped. After about 10 minutes, during which the operators made several failed attempts to restart the chair, operators took off my skis and allowed me to drop about 5 feet to the ground.

Seven teams of two patrolmen each evacuated chairs simultaneously on different sections of the lift under windy conditions.

At the top of Chair 3 on the Tumwater Run under the Liberator, people were sitting some 30 to 40 feet above on their chairs. One skier was noticeably shivering. A short distance below, where Tumwater and Nastar runs converge above Hay Stack Rock, Milliette climbed a 40- to 50-foot-tall lift tower. He straddled a cross bar at the top and deployed ropes over the top of the chairlift cables. Ski patrolmen Nate Woodward and Chuck Aldrich caught the ends of the ropes on the ground.

Milliette climbed back down the tower and disappeared down the slope to climb another tower to help another patrol crew start evacuating another section of the lift.

A teenage girl, first off the chair, was near tears with fear but did fine, slipping a looped section of rope under her armpits and sliding onto a metal and plastic seat fastened to the rope. She held the rope as Aldrich and Woodward slowly lowered her to the ground. Her friend came next.

The patrolmen had some difficulty with the ropes, but got it resolved and moved down the hill to unload several more chairs. They then waited for Milliette to return to climb the next tower to redeploy the ropes, which cannot be pulled over the tops of the towers. He said it was the fifth tower he had climbed.

Ski patrol director Brad Whiting and patrolmen Everett Taylor and Robert Anson also climbed towers, Milliette later said.

A couple huddling together to try to stay warm were glad to be lowered from the next chair at 4 p.m., the time the ski area closes for the day.

Myrna Hoane, 49, and her husband, Doug Eisert, 48, Wenatchee, said they had been on the chair for about an hour and 45 minutes.

"We were cold but it could have been way worse," Hoane said. "We had some sun."

She said it was her first time being evacuated from a chair in 45 years of skiing. She praised the patrolmen's work.

Milliette said the last chair was evacuated at 5:02 p.m. and that several of those evacuated stopped at the Midway Cafe to warm up before skiing down to the base.




I think Mission Ridge is regretting their purchase of the old high speed quad...
- Peter

#2 Snoqualmie guy

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 09:20 PM

Where was this chair from?
- Jeff


Why couldn't they of come up with "Global Cooling"?

#3 Peter

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 09:33 PM

If you read the article, it is from Winter Park.
- Peter

#4 hyak.net

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 11:42 PM

It seems they have had one problem after another with that lift. Maybe it is because they tried to save money initially when they kept much of the original wiring which now is proving to be bad? (just a guess)

It is things like this that will scare customers away.

#5 Guest_mjturley34_*

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 02:05 AM

View PostSkier, on Mar 3 2008, 09:55 PM, said:

I think Mission Ridge is regretting their purchase of the old high speed quad...


I think they are regretting their non purchase of spare parts :crying:

:unsure:
:pinch:

#6 aug

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 05:11 AM

what about oh shit mode this is a poma???? all of the brakes can be released manually unless a hose burst. you would think there could be better options than gett'n out the ropes
"Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish—a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow—to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested . . . Res ipsa loquitur (it speaks for it self). Let the good times roll." HT

#7 shoemaniii

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 07:32 AM

my thoughts exactly.

"the brake can't be disengaged with people on the chair" ?
bobp

#8 Kelly

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 11:32 AM

I will post this topic in SORT Forums
www.ropetech.org

#9 Limelight

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 11:45 AM

Whats the history/story of this lift other than its old and came from Winter Park?

#10 andyh1962

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 01:01 PM

View PostLimelight, on Mar 4 2008, 01:45 PM, said:

Whats the history/story of this lift other than its old and came from Winter Park?



http://www.skilifts....-winterpark.htm
click on Summit Express under the Removed Lifts Section.

#11 skierdude9450

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 03:58 PM

Well about Summit Express... It seemed to be a fine lift for all of the years that I rode it. But I was kind of surprised that it was completely relocated rather than being taken apart and used for separate things. I don't think that there were any incidents on the lift while it was at Winter Park. Although its sister lift, Pioneer Express broke down this year too, and also required an evacuation. It seemed to run just fine (albeit a little slow for a detachable quad.) But I really wonder if Mission Ridge is regretting buying a detachable lift that was past its 20th birthday....

I agree that they should have been able to manually disengage the brake in order to start the lift up again. But maybe the engine brake wasn't strong enough to prevent a rollback. (Unlikely but possible.) I guess that was just a risk they weren't willing to take. Wow there have been a ton of incidents requiring evacuation this year.... :wacko:

This post has been edited by skierdude9450: 04 March 2008 - 03:58 PM

-Matt

"Today's problems cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them." -Albert Einstein

#12 coskibum

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:19 PM

here is the lift at WP:

Posted Image

#13 Allan

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:37 PM

View Postskierdude9450, on Mar 4 2008, 03:58 PM, said:

But maybe the engine brake wasn't strong enough to prevent a rollback. (Unlikely but possible.) I guess that was just a risk they weren't willing to take.



Engine brake? If the drive train doesn't have a high speed rollback device (and even if it does); then you give the evac drive some throttle before lifting the brakes - a manual version of proof of torque. I don't know anything about this older lift but on all our lifts you can release each brake individually... leaving the service brake for last.
- Allan

#14 aug

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:57 PM

The GM's media response was aimed at the general public with them not knowing the difference. Did he not think his remarks would not be scrutinized by discerning Lift Technicians?????
"Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish—a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow—to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested . . . Res ipsa loquitur (it speaks for it self). Let the good times roll." HT

#15 Kicking Horse

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 09:19 PM

The way I look at it. IS they are being safer then sorry. I'm sure we dont know the FULL STORY. There is always 2 sides to this.
Jeff

#16 liftmech

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 05:19 PM

No, we don't yet know the full story. However- I work on a virtual twin to this lift, and yes, you can lift all brakes manually. There are lockout valves on the e-brakes that allow you to pump them up even if the electric solenoid fails. There are manual levers on the electric service brakes to allow you top prop them open in the event of a contactor failure. there is a backstop brake on the inpput side of the gearbox that allows the lift to 'rest' on a dog even with all brakes lifted. I've done this and while it's stressful to run the lift with a mechanic on each brake, it can be done. that being said, perhaps there were other factors that led to this decision.
Member, Department of Ancient Technology, Colorado chapter.

#17 lastchair_44

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 07:55 AM

It's the same setup on our lift too John. Need about four guys to run the lift "safely" at the drive, and a bunch of guys spread out watching rope/sheave alignment...we haven't had to do this yet, but we're trained up on it just in case. Hope it never happens!
-Jimmi

#18 skisox34

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 10:17 AM

One day we had to do this on the K1 at Killyworld just as you said, a mechanic on each brake pad, another with a radio with me at the drive lift shack and many on the line watching the towers. I can't remember exactly why but I believe we lost the safety circuit. This was over 6 years ago so the details are fuzzy. It was a Poma detach albeit a little more recent model!

#19 jeffe

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 12:08 PM

The exact reason I did not buy a pass there this year. If they really had to evac the lift for a real reason then there had to be alot more wrong than what was reported. I kind of wish missing out though. I would have loved calling 911.

The marketing person there called 911 a couple of years ago because the county had had some mechanical problems and didn't get the road plowed on time. The claim was that there was six inches of new. In reality that meant there was about three inches of new.

Last fall there was an acticle where the GM was quoted as saying that the lift was running like a swiss watch. If that is how a swiss watch runs, I'll stick with a timex. I guess that is why they always have to have someone at the loading station making sure that the carriers engage the cadence chain. Then of course there was that one sheave with a flat spot that took two years to change.





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