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Lift Collapse at Timberline--9 injured

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

The news report is recent, so not too many details about what kind of failure (if a cable just came off or if there was an actual tower collapse), but the Thunderstruck lift at Timberline had some kind of collapse leading to 9 injuries. Two were serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital (although neither is considered life-threatening.). 

post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 21
post #4 of 21
post #5 of 21
Good to hear that you're OK.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

Quoting @JohnL from his post on DCSki:

 

Quote:
 Around 9:15 today, lift tower broke on the main Thunder lift. Cross beam snapped off one tower; friend said looked like weld failed. I could see the tower, sans beam. I was told about 20 people fell to the ground, with apparently no serious injuries. I hope that is true.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

Picture from WBOY:

 

 

 

According to SkiLifts.org the lift was installed in 1986 and was manufactured by (the now defunct) Borvig company. That's the same manufacturer as the Kingpine lift that failed at Sugarloaf last season (that lift was installed in 1988, but its issue was electrical rather than structural). 

post #8 of 21
Damn! Hope all the mid Atlantic area bears are safe!
post #9 of 21

This was frightening news as I got a text from JohnL that morning about the accident but I was at tge Blue Knob Gathering and no service there to get details. By time I got back to the motel that night I read the details. Thankfully no serious injuries. I know that there other triple has some issues too. When I was there last weekend there were only loading double and skipping chairs.

post #10 of 21

Man, I haven't been to Timberline in about 10 years, but both their main lifts seemed in pretty sub-par condition back then.

 

Wow, thats pretty crazy for a tower head to come-off and for the welds to give like that.  Very lucky this wasn't worse.

post #11 of 21

Timberline Resort in West Virginia, not Timberline on Mt. Hood, Oregon.

 

Just more than two dozen skiers fell off a ski lift Saturday morning at the Timberline Resort in Tucker County, according to West Virginia Ski Areas Association spokesman Joe Stevens.

“A lift derailment did occur causing the cables to drop and approximately 25 people came into contact with the snow underneath the lift,” Stevens told MetroNews. “Minor injuries were reported.”

Two people with non-life-threatening injuries were transported to local hospitals, Stevens said. The rest of the skiers were treated by Timberline’s ski patrol.

It’s believed the skiers fell about 30 feet, Stevens said.

http://wvmetronews.com/2016/02/20/ski-lift-accident-at-timberline-resort-minor-injuries-reported/

post #12 of 21

Ski industry has  a lot of OLD equipment out there.  As  a Loafer, I've stared at the ancient lift systems for years just wondering when one would fail.  Seems the entire industry has NO plan for lift replacement programs like they do in Europe.  That is the first full blown fail I've ever seen, far worse than a failed shive train on Spillway a decade ago.  WOW!!  These things exist outside 24/7/365 and are subject to rust, corrosion and the other nasty aspects of weather and climate.  They don't last forever.  Hope everyone ends up OK.  Wake up call for industry.  Its not just the extreme climate of Sugarloaf to blame anymore.

Just like old car, there comes a time to stop repairing them and start replacing them.  Hope Sugarloaf inspected EVERY weld on the King Pine towers when they installed the new Powertrain this summer!!!

post #13 of 21

Some fair points, and lift maintenance is no doubt an issue.  On the other hand, it's super expensive to replace every lift when only one tower broke.  While Timberline needs some new lifts with better speed and reliability, this problem seems to have been inadequate inspections or detection of weakness in the cross bar.  Maybe I'm optimistic to think that could be detected with a closer look, but if not how do we know whether the lift should be replaced after 10 years, 20 years, 25 years, 30 years?

post #14 of 21

30 years is a long time for anything left outside exposed to the elements.  When an entire tower fails.....I think its time..  Can't say lets just stick a new tower in there and keep her running another 10-20..  That has got to be a line in the sand.  Hey King Pine popped a driveshaft and they realized it was time to retire the entire powertrain.  Esp when other lifts were showing the same wear/potential fail pattern.once they started inspecting components never thought to be an issue in the past.  Would you EVER expect a tower to fail??.  Would you just replace one hub on a car if only 1 failed?  Hopefully, you'd replace both affected front or rears or realize that at 250000 miles of wear and tear in northen US (pick a state) its time to retire it.  Sucks but as part of a business model, replacement should be considered.

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddsski View Post
 

30 years is a long time for anything left outside exposed to the elements.  When an entire tower fails.....I think its time..  Can't say lets just stick a new tower in there and keep her running another 10-20..  That has got to be a line in the sand.  Hey King Pine popped a driveshaft and they realized it was time to retire the entire powertrain.  Esp when other lifts were showing the same wear/potential fail pattern.once they started inspecting components never thought to be an issue in the past.  Would you EVER expect a tower to fail??.  Would you just replace one hub on a car if only 1 failed?  Hopefully, you'd replace both affected front or rears or realize that at 250000 miles of wear and tear in northen US (pick a state) its time to retire it.  Sucks but as part of a business model, replacement should be considered.


Sure, but the ideal time to replace the lift is the season before a critical failure (just like the ideal time to sell your car is the week before some major part dies).  The problem is you don't know when that's going to happen.  It's easy to say now that they should replace the lift - they should - but should they have done it five years ago, if they knew they could get 4+ more years of (safe) life out of it?

post #16 of 21

Rumor mill spinning..

 

Quote:
 Borvig issued a service bulletin in 1987 calling for U bolts to be added as a second connection between tower and crossarm on certain lifts due to several failed welds.  Thunderstruck doesn’t appear to have gotten them.
 
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddsski View Post

 

...That is the first full blown fail I've ever seen, far worse than a failed shive train on Spillway a decade ago...

 

You mean first failed weld? Or first full-blown tower failure? Because Whistler had a gondola tower break in half in 2008 due to "ice jacking" at a seam between the upper and lower halves : http://www.seattletimes.com/life/travel/lift-collapse-at-whistler-ski-resort-blamed-on-ice-build-up/

post #18 of 21
Serious lift inspection during off season.
post #19 of 21

The latest press release from Timberline Resort, WV:

 

Timberline Four Seasons Resort - Update

Davis, WV, February 23, 2016 – Saturday morning Tower 12 of Timberline’s Thunderstruck triple lift experienced a mechanical malfunction. The cross-arm which supported the cables along which the lift chairs travel detached from the tower structure, causing a derailment. This occurred after the lift had passed visual safety inspection and was cleared for operation.

Thankfully the lift malfunction caused no serious injuries. Timberline remains open with 2 functioning lifts in operation capable of transporting skiers to the top of the mountain.  Until we determined the exact cause with our team, it was agreed that we would cancel the USSA Championship Races that were scheduled for this past weekend. This weekend’s Wendy’s Race and Telemark Festival will continue as planned. We are making all repairs based on the engineer and ski professionals’ recommendation. Although we are working diligently to undertake lift repairs quickly to restore access to mid-station and lessen the wait in our lift lines, our concern for skier safety at the highest levels supersedes our desire for a swift resolution.

That said, we have taken the following measures to ensure the safe re-opening of Thunderstruck.  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.  Partek Ski Lift Enterprises and Beitzel Corporation are working together to complete the job at hand. The initial tower work is expected to be completed by Wednesday.  Exceeding industry standards, every lift tower and weld has had NDT inspection performed by Ariel NDT, and all welds on the new modifications will be inspected prior to lift reopening.  Tower 12 will receive a new cross-arm installed by Ropeway Construction with anticipated completion by Thursday.  Ropeway will also perform a haul rope inspection to be completed by Friday (after the tower has been repaired).   

We are requesting that these same experts do a thorough inspection of our other lifts as well, even though they are performing properly. We anticipate all inspections and load testing to be completed, and for Thunderstruck triple lift to be fully operational by Saturday morning, February 27, allowing skiers to enjoy the rest of ski season in confidence.

We would like to thank our skiers and our community and expert first responders for their support and professional responses. We will keep you updated throughout every aspect of this process as we complete these steps.

post #20 of 21

Here's a link to the most thorough account yet of the accident and Timberline's response by DCSki.com's M. Scott Smith. The accident trigger an inspection of existing Borvig chairs of that design resulting in a shutdown and repair of a chair at Suicide Six, VT. The inspection revealed cracked welds in the same location of the failed welds on Timberline's Thunderstruck chair.

 

http://www.dcski.com/articles/1486

post #21 of 21

The Thunderstruck triple was repaired and open for service a week after people were tossed to the ground.  The weekend of Feb. 27-28 had all lifts operating.

 

http://www.skisoutheast.com/timberline-resort-reopens-thunderstruck-lift/

 

http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/20160227/timberline-reopens-chairlift-as-skier-ponders-what-might-have-been

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