Link: Stranded on a ski lift
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Scott - DCSki Editor
November 28, 2005
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,132 posts
A ski lift at Lake Louise malfunctioned, trapping 65 people for several hours:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/americas/11/28/canada.gondola.ap/index.html

Sounds like the ski patrol did a good job with the rescue.
jimmy
November 28, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
I wonder how often Ski Patrol practices this procedure. Seems like it could be hazardous to the rescuer as well as the folks trapped on the lift.

Almost got to see this at 7 Springs last year. An afternoon fog blew in and i ran into, almost literaly, a patroller looking for someone who was reported hurt on NF. I helped him look for about 5 minutes, we couldn't see more than 10-15 yards when he got a call that someone found skier down. He then told me he had to go over to the Giant steps lift because they couldn't get it started and may have to evacuate it. Found out later that day that they got the backup engine running just before the ropes came out.
TLaHaye
November 28, 2005
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
It does sound like the patrol did a great job.

One of our family stories is about poor dad, who was evacuated twice in a day, once at Indianhead in the afternoon, and then again that night, just down the road at Big Powderhorn (both in Michigan's UP). The first time, he was stranded right after polishing off a pitcher of beer with a buddy, and ended up needing new ski mitts. Oops!
POWPOW
November 28, 2005
Member since 05/10/2005 🔗
124 posts
Quote:

It does sound like the patrol did a great job.

One of our family stories is about poor dad, who was evacuated twice in a day, once at Indianhead in the afternoon, and then again that night, just down the road at Big Powderhorn (both in Michigan's UP). The first time, he was stranded right after polishing off a pitcher of beer with a buddy, and ended up needing new ski mitts. Oops!




My old stomping grounds. I worked at Indianhead and lived in a condo on powderhorn with 6 other guys. Those were the days! the UP is one of my favorite places to visit in the states, nothing like a fresh smoked whitefish for lunch and a pastie for dinner!
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Jim
November 28, 2005
Member since 11/22/1999 🔗
317 posts
Can't speak to areas other than Snowtime, Inc. (Liberty, Whitetail and Roundtop), but I can tell you that patrollers from Snowtime areas practice lift evac procedures at least once each year prior to the commencement of the season.

The initial training for lift evacs comes during the candidate year and is several hours long. Each candidate experiences both sides of a lift evac (as a guest and as a patroller) under the supervision of a team of trainers. After becoming patrollers, lift evac training involves an annual refresher that includes a review of the step-by-step procedures for calling a lift evac, setting up the evac and performing the evac. After the refresher lecture, patrollers must demonstrate the ability to run the various stations involved with a left evac, including rope handling, instruction to guests and lowering stranded guests from chairs in a safe manner. This is all done hands-on from an actual lift each year with patrollers acting as both stranded guests and patrollers (i.e., after being lowered from the chair, each patroller than climbs into the harness necessary for handling the evaculation equipment). Patrollers that do not (or can not) meet these requirements can have their patroller status revoked (its taken that seriously).

Luckily, I can only remember having to do one real evac in the ten years I've been patrolling with Liberty Mountain. That went without a hitch and all the guests were off the chairs in about 45 minutes from the time the evac was called. That lift has since been replaced!
snowcone
November 28, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
My partner and I were just discussing that very issue while reminiscencing about a stopped lift at LM. [ That was not fun! .. we sat there in 40/50 mph winds for a good 30 mins while someone was trying to get the lift restarted by repeatedly slugging the fly wheel with a sledge hammer. Speaking of percussive maintenance! Shortly after finally getting off that lift we saw the rope tow literally collapse in a heap. It was our clue to head home. Never been back since. ]

I am very impressed with the training as described and the patrollers who do it.

I, personally, want to thank any patrollers on this board for all their time, commitment, hard work and devotion to their craft that makes our skiing experience safer. Thank you.
Heather
November 28, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005 🔗
170 posts
Let me thank you for the accolades you gave all patrollers! As for your over view of LM lift operations, all I can say is that things have certainly changed since it's rebirth! 7S really helped "change" some of that "sledge hammer stuff" at LM, although sometimes the sledge hammer actually works!
TLaHaye
November 28, 2005
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
Yeah, I was trying to describe pan-fried perch and walleye to my kid yesterday. Words can't do it.

When were you in the Yooper? When I lived there, it was $6 to ski the Porkies. I try to explain the lake effect at that place, with big snowflakes dropping out of a clear blue sky, and people look at me like I'm nuts.
POWPOW
November 29, 2005
Member since 05/10/2005 🔗
124 posts
Quote:

Yeah, I was trying to describe pan-fried perch and walleye to my kid yesterday. Words can't do it.

When were you in the Yooper? When I lived there, it was $6 to ski the Porkies. I try to explain the lake effect at that place, with big snowflakes dropping out of a clear blue sky, and people look at me like I'm nuts.




I lived right on the Hurley/Ironwood Line for 2 years and at Big Powderhorn for a year in college in 89-91. The lake effect there is SICK!(the region is called "big snow country) anyone who has not traveled through the UP. GO! you will be amazed at the people, towns, and natural sights everywhere.
wgo
November 29, 2005
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,337 posts
Thread hijack alert!

I wish I had gotten to the UP more when I lived in the chicago area. The lake effect up there is really amazing. I only ever skied indianhead and big powderhorn - would have really liked to try Whitecap, and, of course, bohemia.
TLaHaye
November 29, 2005
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
Yeah, I know ... Sorry 'bout that.

I really would hate to be stranded on a chair, especially in real weather. It does sound like those patrollers did a great job, don't you think?
JCHobbes
November 29, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005 🔗
94 posts
I actually got the opportunity to watch a lift evacuation drill during the pre-season a few years back. Really absolutely amazing.

I've also been on a lift where ski patrollers were riding up and down the lifts on snowmobiles after it had been stopped for half an hour really scared me. It was like they were surveying us, trying to figure out where to start.

Luckily, the lift started before they had to do anything other than yell at us to hang tight. I'm glad that ski patrols train for this though, I can't imagine trying to evacuate a lift when the ski patrol had no experience whatsoever.

Kudos to Heather, DcSki's ski patrollers, and ski patrollers across the country.
POWPOW
November 30, 2005
Member since 05/10/2005 🔗
124 posts
Typically at any resort iv worked at not only the patrol but alos all maintenance, management, heads of other departments are all trained to do this. its really fairly easy and safe but takes time, sometimes lots of it. The worst are on really steep sections of the chair ie over very steep expert terrain. you have to use a type of jumar setup and 1 person (rescuer) lowers themselves down the lift cable from chair to chair, gets on the chair with you and lowers you from there, then on to the next. When i worked at Jay we did rescue practice out of the tram between the 2nd tower and the summit, if you have been there you know how high that is!
On a side note on chairs when i was in school a resort in WI donated the lift to the us tramway safety department to do distructive testing on it. they LET the char rollback past the regular brakes then past the emergency brake then shear off the final anti rollback blocks made into the bullwheel. They also weighted the uphill chairs with concrete blocks to simulate a weighted line. The result was chairs going backwards down hte line with increasing speed until the chairs going around the bullwheel were getting ripped off teh line and flung up to 100 yards away. SO for all you sports fans if your in that situation (going more than 1 tower backwards and gaining speed) tis way better to jump than get mangeled around the bullwheel. Although the odds are nil. just something to think about next time your on that chair ride!
TLaHaye
November 30, 2005
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
Woah! Thanks for that pleasant thought. When I was younger, I "hung-up" on a chair and went around the upper bullwheel. Even at standard operating speed, that was enough to fling me off the chair. Don't really want to contemplate the scenario you describe Powpow.
Jim
November 30, 2005
Member since 11/22/1999 🔗
317 posts
Powpow - good point re: lifts going backwards. That IS a very dangerous situation. Fortunately, the lifts at Liberty Mountain use a quadruple back up system to ensure that does not happen. During the recent pre-season training, the lift maintenance supervisor showed all the redundant systems to the patrollers. In addition to the cable brake system, bull wheel brake system, and some other hydraulic and electrical braking systems, the redundant system that impressed me the most involved three large metal blocks that came down between the bull wheel spokes. The way it worked was if the bull wheel ever moved backwards more than a few inches, large solid blocks of metal would drop down at an angle allowing the bull wheel to move forward like a ratchet, but absolutely block the wheel from moving backwards (i.e., the spokes of the bullwheel would run right up against the solid face of the metal block). And there were THREE of these blocks. Next time you're at Liberty Mountain, take a look at the bull wheel and you can see those blocks recessed above the wheel in the housing of the lift.

I'm no mechanic so I know I'm probably not describing the systems correctly, but suffice to say that I wouldn't worry a whole lot about lifts going backwards at Liberty Mountain. In fact, I have no problems riding the lifts or letting my wife and son do so either.

Hope that helps.
BushwackerinPA
November 30, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
Quote:

I actually got the opportunity to watch a lift evacuation drill during the pre-season a few years back. Really absolutely amazing.

I've also been on a lift where ski patrollers were riding up and down the lifts on snowmobiles after it had been stopped for half an hour really scared me. It was like they were surveying us, trying to figure out where to start.

Luckily, the lift started before they had to do anything other than yell at us to hang tight. I'm glad that ski patrols train for this though, I can't imagine trying to evacuate a lift when the ski patrol had no experience whatsoever.

Kudos to Heather, DcSki's ski patrollers, and ski patrollers across the country.




I took part in Hidden Valley practice evac this year, pretty cool to watch and then get lowed outta of the lift myself:).
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