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Chair falls off the cable at Red Lodge

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

A double chair fell off the Willow Creek lift at Red Lodge yesterday. Two boys were riding the chair at the time. It was really bad timing for the lift to fail, as the resort has been enjoying one of the best starts to a ski season in recent memory, but the soft snow perhaps cushioned the boys' 35' drop. 

 

 

post #2 of 28

Dangit! That's a fun part of the mountain to lap, too! Hope they get it running again soon. They say winds weren't a factor, but who knows with them shutting down the Grizzly chair that day for high winds (higher up, though). Hope the kids are all right. That would be terrifying! Methinks there may be some human error at play here, though. From what I remember, those particular chairs already tend to swing a bit on their own, but I've seen some people exacerbate that even further, swinging back and forth like it's playground equipment. Who knows. Look forward to an update.

post #3 of 28

That's a hilarious spin on the mechanical situation. the chair didn't break. and the lift didn't break. good, I feel better now.

 

seems noteworthy the newspaper was given an interview with the sales manager.

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

 

 

Quote:
seems noteworthy the newspaper was given an interview with the sales manager.

Not really. The staff at ski areas like Red Lodge may wear many hats.

post #5 of 28

I am aware of a triple riblet chair lift which also had each chair woven into the cable.  A few years ago one of the chairs broke near the connection to the cable (steel rope).  Nobody was on that chair when a lift operator noticed it.  The lift was shut down and all the chairs were removed, The upper part of each chair was replaced  with a new piece of steel.    Sounds like this chair had a similar problem.  There is a lot of stress when a chair goes around the bow wheel, which shakes the chair back and forth. 

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

That's a hilarious spin on the mechanical situation. the chair didn't break. and the lift didn't break. good, I feel better now.

 

seems noteworthy the newspaper was given an interview with the sales manager.



Seems according to the local paper that said lads were swinging the chair very hard when it hit the guard rail and tower which knocked the chair off the cable. Completely possible on an old riblet lift. Had it happen to a classmate when we were in HS. He wasn't as lucky and cracked both his shins on impact. So no, perhaps the chair didn't break. It appears to have been broken

post #7 of 28

Can anyone describe the chair to cable connection on a fixed chairlift?  It looks like a steel tang goes into the cable.

I was just foolin' around and not suggesting a conspiracy in the above post. The wording in the article was kinda' funny.

post #8 of 28

Sounds like the kids managed to swing hard enough to disconnect the chair.  It will be interesting to hear what the investigation finds.  I've only seen the ski area from the Beartooth Hwy and it looks like it has some very good terrain and older lifts, but that describes Kirkwood too.

post #9 of 28

I noticed once that chairs with people on them swing harder in the wind than empty chairs. People on the chair catch the wind which is a bigger factor than the weight to hold it down, obviously, and it can really swing in a strong wind. Because of that I would have guessed that twisting and bending the connection would not have an effect on the weld or fastener.

post #10 of 28

I think some of the modern chairlifts are more wind-resistant. Here's a french vid of a (detachable) one twisting and turning in the wind at a 90 degree angle. Note: the music is a bit daft - sorry bout that.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jBImtfCCKc

 

 

 

 

post #11 of 28

Here is a close up photo of a Riblet chair with a special tool used to insert the chair into the steel rope.

 

4d2ce8c0ba35f.jpg

post #12 of 28

Is that french chair twisting the cable or pivoting on a hinge?

That Riblet fixed attachment machine must twist the cable to insert the tang. so twisting the cable after the attachment has been made can not be good.

Squaw takes all the detachable chairs off the cable in anticipation of a major wind event, having once had issues with cable twist.

post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

Is that french chair twisting the cable or pivoting on a hinge?

That Riblet fixed attachment machine must twist the cable to insert the tang. so twisting the cable after the attachment has been made can not be good.

Squaw takes all the detachable chairs off the cable in anticipation of a major wind event, having once had issues with cable twist.


It's twisting the cable, high speed chairs grip the cable (as do most fixed grip YAN chairs and the like ).

 

Inserting the clips is like compressing a Chinese finger torture device.

 

Yes swinging the chair is bad for chairs with clips (attachments that go inside the haul rope).

A few years back Timberline had the problem with the Blossom lift spitting out clips from the haul rope as chairs went around the bullwheel.

 

post #14 of 28

Stuff like this happens all the time in third world countries.

Get used to it!

 

Long splicing and unlaying cable for clamp insertion is a licensed professional gig.

Some professionals are better than others.

post #15 of 28

???  Are you saying Montana is a third world country????

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post

Stuff like this happens all the time in third world countries.

Get used to it!

 

Long splicing and unlaying cable for clamp insertion is a licensed professional gig.

Some professionals are better than others.



 

post #16 of 28

Quote:

Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

???  Are you saying Montana is a third world country????
 

 

When we moved to Montana in 1999, my wife's uncle had trouble believing we could actually fly on a commercial airline here.  And no he wasn't joking.

 

The Willow Creek Lift has, for as long as I can recall, had a rather funky behavior up to about the third tower.  It's fine when you load but starts swaying left to right after it passes the first tower and then settles down by the time it passes the third tower.  I have seen plenty of teenagers try to make it swing even more than it does and they usually get yelled at.  It is a good way to get your ticket lifted if it's reported.  The lift is supposed to be inspected today and if it passes it will be running again tomorrow.  Based on what I believe happened I would have no qualms about riding it, inspected or not.

post #17 of 28

The Willow Creek Chair was back in operation today after it passed the inspection by the independent engineer.  No faults were found with the lift.

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

???  Are you saying Montana is a third world country????

 



 


Last time I looked Montana wasn't a country.

The US is.
 

 

post #19 of 28

If you can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching,
You live in Montana. I've seen this,Swear to God.

post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 

Just curious: are Riblets being used at any ski areas other than in Montana? They were manufactured in Spokane, but I believe the company went out of business in 2003. 

 

Bridger Bowl is running a couple of Riblets -- Virginia City and Alpine, which is due to be replaced next year. 

post #21 of 28

Jiminy Peak has one and I would call it a crappy lift.

post #22 of 28

"If you can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching,
You live in Montana. I've seen this,Swear to God."

 

Can't everybody do that ?

post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Just curious: are Riblets being used at any ski areas other than in Montana? They were manufactured in Spokane, but I believe the company went out of business in 2003. 

 


 

 Just checked on skilifts.org. Stevens Pass still has three, didn't check any other Washington areas.

post #24 of 28

Crystal Mt. has 2 riblets and 1 riblet/hall mix which is accesses some of the best terrain on the hill. Baker has 5.

 

Nolo, here's a list:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riblet_Tramway_Company

 

It's not completely up to date, but suffice to say, there's a bunch still running.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girdwoodguy View Post

 


Can't everybody do that ?



I tried in Vermont once on Rt 7.  It was closed but I went through anyways.  Snow was not blower so the best I could do was 50, pedal to the metal.

post #26 of 28

There are still 100's of Ribet chairlifts in operation throughout the United States and Canada.  Riblet was one of the largest manufacturers of fixed-grip chairlifts through about the mid-60's through early 90s.  They never got into the high-speed detachable lifts, and ultimately went out of business in 2003, but service parts are still produced for their lifts.

 

Lots of fixed-grip doubles, triples, and quads still in service.  You see a lot out in Washington state, Montana, and Michigan.  Colorado used to have a lot but many have since been removed and replaced with high-speed lifts.  Vail used to have a bunch, Breckenridge still has some Riblet doubles. 

 

Places in Michigan like Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain, and Nubs Nob are almost all Riblet.

post #27 of 28
Location Area name remaining removed notes ref
Alaska Eaglecrest Ski Area, Juneau 2 0 "Hooter" and "Ptarmigan" chairs  
California Alpine Meadows 0 1 removed was hybrid with YAN [1]
California Boreal Mountain Resort 2 0   [2]
California Dodge Ridge 5 0   [3]
California Heavenly Ski Resort 2 0 2 triples, one a hybrid with YAN [4]
California Iron Mountain 3 0 "planning 2 more" [5]
California June Mountain 4 0 2 are hybrid manufacturers [6]
California Mammoth Mountain Ski Area 0 6   [7]
California Northstar at Tahoe 0 6   [8]
California Squaw Valley Ski Resort 0 6   [9]
California Badger Pass Ski Area 0 1   [10]
Colorado Aspen Mountain 1 4 updated in 1985 by Poma [11]
Colorado Aspen Highlands 0 9   [12]
Colorado Breckenridge Ski Resort 6 2 one remaining chair is a triple [13]
Colorado Buttermilk 0 1   [14]
Colorado Crested Butte Mountain Resort 2 1   [15]
Colorado Durango Mountain ski area 3 0   [16]
Colorado Hesperus 1 0   [17]
Colorado Keystone Resort 0 2   [18]
Colorado Powderhorn ski area 0 1   [19]
Colorado Aspen/Snowmass 5 2 One double remains now [20]
Colorado Vail Ski Resort 3 3   [21]
Colorado Winter Park Resort 1 4   [22]
Idaho Bogus Basin 4 0 3 doubles, 1 triple [23]
Idaho Brundage Mountain 0 2   [24]
Idaho Lookout Pass ski area 1 0   [25]
Idaho Schweitzer Mountain 4 4   [26]
Idaho Silver Mountain 1 0   [27]
Idaho Sun Valley 1 4   [28]
Indiana Perfect North 5 0 2 quads and 3 triples  
Massachusetts Jiminy Peak 3   1 double, 2 triples  
Michigan Blackjack Ski Resort 4 0 4 doubles [29]
Michigan Boyne Highlands Snow Ski Resort 7 0 4 triples and 3 quads [30]
Michigan Big Powderhorn Ski Resort 9 0 9 doubles  
Michigan Boyne Mountain 7 0 1 double, 2 triples, 4 quads [31]
Michigan Nub's Nob 6 0 1 double, 2 triples, 3 quads [32]
Michigan Pine Mountain ski area 3 1   [33]
Michigan Snow Snake ski area 1 0 a triple chair [34]
Minnesota Giants Ridge 5 0 2 triples, 3 doubles [35]
Montana Big Sky Resort 1 0   [36]
Montana Bridger Bowl Ski Area 2 2 Bridger and Dear Park lifts removed summer 2010 [37]
Montana Discovery Basin Ski Area 3 0   [38]
Montana Montana Snowbowl 2 1   [39]
Montana [40] 3 0   [41]
New Hampshire Crotched Mountain 3 0   [42]
New Hampshire Mount Sunapee Resort 1 0 begun in 1986 by Riblet, completed 1987 by Doppelmayr [43]
New Hampshire Wildcat Mountain Ski Area 2 2 the two remaining are triples [44]
New Mexico Ski Santa Fe 1 0   [45]
Oregon Hoodoo (ski area) 3 3 1 double, 1 triple, 1 quad [46]
Oregon Mount Ashland 3 0 1 double, 2 triples [47]
Oregon Mount Bachelor ski area 0 7   [48]
Oregon Mount Hood Meadows 3 1   [49]
Oregon Mount Hood Skibowl 4 1   [50]
Oregon Oregon State Fair 1 0   [51]
Oregon Summit Ski Area 1 0   [52]
Oregon Timberline Lodge ski area 0 5   [53]
Oregon Willamette Pass ski area 3 2 3 triples [54]
Utah Brighton Ski Resort 1 1   [55]
Utah The Canyons 1 2   [56]
Vermont Mount Snow 0 1 old Carinthia double was removed  
Washington Mount Baker Ski Area 5 2 3 quads and 2 doubles remain [57]
Washington Stevens Pass Ski Area 4 4 1 triple remains [58]
Washington The Summit at Snoqualmie 12 6 2 triples [59]
Washington Crystal Mountain 4 2 one is a hybrid with Hall [60]
Washington White Pass Ski Area 2 2   [61]
Washington Mission Ridge Ski Area 3 1   [62]
Washington Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park 5 0   [63]
Washington #Loup Loup 0 1   [64]
Washington 49 Degrees North Ski Area 4 0   [65]
Wyoming Grand Targhee Resort 1 0   [66]
Wyoming Jackson Hole Mountain Resort 0 1   [67]

 

post #28 of 28

We run nothing but riblets at my local hill, and Ive been working on them for about a month, all of our chairs were inspected by an engineer, and are inspected daily. Swinging and bouncing chairs is no joke. Derailment and twisting a clip out of the rope are real dangers. The signs are there for a reason. Feel free to lay in to any kids or people that think its fun to bounce around on a chairlift, or any liftie not paying attention to chair swing on a windy day.

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