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High-Speed? Chair Rant

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I just spent of a few days skiing at Mammoth(early-mid-spring conditions in Dec.!) and was wondering if some other BBF members have noticed a phenomenon about riding on so-called "high-speed" chair lifts. What I noticed is frequent slow-downs and out-right stops in comparison with "regular" chairlifts. I can only reason that it could be from a skier's lack of experience with riding this new technology, having to deal with going from high-speed to regular lifts and vice-versa, or just plain not paying attention to WTF you're doing. I think that I get more PO'ed when I'm on a lift and it slows down(or stops) then having to wait in lift lines. I'd love to hear from others about their experiences. I don't think I'm the only one out there thinking the same...
post #2 of 26
I've been skiing and/or boarding at Mammoth since 1983. I've been a season pass holder for several years and have NEVER had this problem. I just came back from a 3 day trip and didn't have any problems with the lifts. Did they stop occasionally? Absolutely. However, we stopped the longest on a Chair 5 (about 1 minute) and Chair 14 (about 30 seconds)....both are "older" technology. We even stopped on the gondaola today for about 30 seconds. My 12 year old daughter commented that she has never seen the gondola stop running....
post #3 of 26
Interesting. I would think that the high speed lifts would result in fewer stops, since those detachable lifts tend to move a lot slower when loading/offloading.
But it's not easy to do a direct comparison, because you would have to compare lifts that serve terrains of similar difficulty and thus get skiers with similar ability.
Lifts with a higher percentage of less able skiers will stop a lot more often.

Anyway, my experience has been that high speed quads stop LESS frequently in general. But I don't know about Mammoth as I've never been there.

Also, high speed chairs have been around for quite a while. Hardly 'new' technology.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmthmtskier
I don't think I'm the only one out there thinking the same...
Well ... probably not the only one, though you may be in the minority.

It's generally thought that a significant advantage of accelerating chairs is that they're easier to load, and thus they have to stop less. Plus, it becomes more feasible to have really big chairs. I don't know if there ever was a fixed-grip six-pack. If there was, it must have been a total zoo. Now there are accelerating six-packs all over the place, and they work pretty well (if you can avoid gnashing your teeth over empty seats).

As noted, it's hardly "new technology." I think I first rode one over 20 years ago. At many places, fixed-grip chairs are now looked on as an archaic aberration.

I can't speak for Mammoth, or what might have been going on the day you were there.
post #5 of 26
You get alot of small children on Mammoth weekends. They slow things down alot. Go on a holiday weekend and you will find the chairs stopping all the time. Chair 14 can often be tricky to unload from, especially if the wind is blowing really hard.
post #6 of 26
If you are riding a lift that tends to serve green and easy blue runs You will get a lot of slowdowns and stops due to the people who tend to be new to skiing and or skiing with very young children. Early in the season,with new lifties you also get some longer stops and delays. If you really want to wait in long lift lines and ride old fixed-grip chairs just go to Alta on a weekend powder day. They may have the largest collection of old lifts in the country.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
Alta .... They may have the largest collection of old lifts in the country.
Kirkwood could give them a run for the title

Detachable lifts are safer but not fool proof. Skis become detached, people step into the path of the chair at the wrong time, and novices frequently fall at the top or bottom (seems to be a bigger problem for snowboarders that are not clicked in). Its all part of the game.
post #8 of 26
You guys need to stop complaining and come ski at a real tourist destination . At my hill, we have a rope tow and 2 regular quads. On a packed weekend, it's a miracle if the "expert chair" doesn't stop at least twice during the 500 vert rise to the summit, and on the beginner chair, you're doing good to make the 200 foot rise to the top in 10 minutes (this is usually about a 4-5 minute ride.
post #9 of 26
IMHO fixed chairs stop lots more than high speed ones. For a good hit of fixed grip chairs ski at Mt. Baker. They don't have any high speed chairs. Even the chairs they have added in the last couple of years are fixed grip quads. The rumor is high speed lifts need lots of power. Mt. Baker has to generate all their power and the lifts are run by diesel engines.
post #10 of 26
Can anyone sum up, or point me to a link, how the high speed chairs work. Obviously the chair has to be transfered to a slower moving apparatus somehow at the top and bottom and then back to the fast moving cable, but I have never stood and watched the mechanism enough to fully grasp how this works.

I think thats a fairly cool piece of technology that works amazingly well, like the bowling pin setter.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyxjl
Can anyone sum up, or point me to a link, how the high speed chairs work. Obviously the chair has to be transfered to a slower moving apparatus somehow at the top and bottom and then back to the fast moving cable, but I have never stood and watched the mechanism enough to fully grasp how this works.

I think thats a fairly cool piece of technology that works amazingly well, like the bowling pin setter.
http://www.coloradoskihistory.com/chairlift/hsq.html
post #12 of 26
Thanks ssh, I had found that link doing a google search a bit earlier.

The one thing it doesn't show, and what I was particularly interested in, is how the grip on the chair actually works. The best I can tell is just that it is more or less a spring operated clamp that secures to the rope via the friction created by the clamping force. Given the operating environment, I'm amazed more of these things haven't unclamped off the icy metal rope.
post #13 of 26
post #14 of 26
Want to get on a high Speed lift.. Try the Slidebrook Express at Sugarbush, that is one fast ride.
post #15 of 26
I took a detailed look once when I was riding in one because I was curious about the same thing, and it was obvious how it worked. Unfortunately I don't remember.
post #16 of 26
A roller on the attachment mechanism runs up an incline on the rails at the terminals and that opens the gripper, releasing it from the cable. A series of pushers advance the chair around the rails at the terminal until the point the gripper reaches a declining ramp that lets it regrab the cable.
post #17 of 26
Back to the question. Sometimes people don't have a clue what is going on. We all have a brain fart ever now and then. Even us season pass holders have been know to make the lift stop.

One time four of us guy's were so busy talking the lift stopped and we looked up. It was our turn to get off, we had to raise the safety bar so the lift could continue. It can happen to anybody...
post #18 of 26
this is easy.
I spent 15 years in the industry, as an operator, and one summer with a manufractor installing the Payday, Bonaza lifts at PCMR and Deer Crest fixed grip
chair at Deer Valley
On a high speed chair, the chair detaches itself from the cable/haul rope, when it is in the loading unloading termenal. Then when it leaves it reatches it self to the haulrope.
Once the chair is off the haulrope, set of tires moves the chair around th e termenal, there are sensors that detect the spacing between each chair, and if they do not meet the specs, this to will cause the lift to shut down
There are sensors that will measure the grip force, presure when it reattches, if it doesn't meet the manufractor specs, the lift is suppose to stop on it it's own.
The next you go skiing, try asking The Lift Foreman or Lift maintinace for a quick run down. A gret place of looking at the workings of a lift is at Deer Valley's gondola.
Utah49 couldn't of explained it any better why chairs stop so many times(or why it seems to)
post #19 of 26
Come Out Come Out Anjust Say It....it's The Fkcing Snow Boarders!!
Ooops Sorry There In My Family Too.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
Want to get on a high Speed lift.. Try the Slidebrook Express at Sugarbush, that is one fast ride.
LOL, sure as heck is! Not a take the gloves and goggles off kind of ride.
post #21 of 26
[quote=
One time four of us guy's were so busy talking the lift stopped and we looked up. It was our turn to get off, we had to raise the safety bar so the lift could continue. It can happen to anybody...[/QUOTE]

Yep the old `last one off puts the bar up syndrome` Happens all the time. And many a laugh. but.....
Some people really have a attitude about that bar being up and ready way early.
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity
One time four of us guy's were so busy talking the lift stopped and we looked up. It was our turn to get off, we had to raise the safety bar so the lift could continue. It can happen to anybody...
There's your problem right there, the chair carried three people too many. Singles never have these problems.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
If you really want to wait in long lift lines and ride old fixed-grip chairs just go to Alta on a weekend powder day. They may have the largest collection of old lifts in the country.
Kinda related to this but not really.... How did you guys manage before the Collins lift?
post #24 of 26
Before lifts were invinted, people hiked a half day for one run.
post #25 of 26
I've not noticed a difference in which type of chair stops the most but there is a big difference in the type of skier that frequents different resorts.
Some of the smaller resorts in NC attract a very novice crowd. There is very little etiquite and many, probably most don't know how to ski.
When you go to SLC, most people on the mountain know how to ski. There are a few on the blues that are struggling but not too many.
Two years ago, I went to Taos. What a difference! Everybody at Taos knew how to ski. Other than the kids in ski school, there were no novice skiers - none. I was a novice not long ago (and by some standards may still be a novice) so I don't want to knock those that are new on the hill, however one of the highlights of the trip was the clear runs & those that were crowded were crowded with skiers that were moving downhill.
Gary
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulwlee
Interesting. I would think that the high speed lifts would result in fewer stops, since those detachable lifts tend to move a lot slower when loading/offloading.
I agree and have rarely experienced what you are talking about.

Cheers
Merry Christmahanakwanzaka!!
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