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wind hold

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
i know each mountain probably has its own wind hold policies, but does anyone have a general idea as to wind speed?
post #2 of 9
I was wondering this a week ago, when my wife and I were riding lift 2 at Loveland in high winds. I would guess we were getting steady 30 mph with 50+ gusts, but the chairs weren't swaying (wind direction was head-on) so they didn't close the lift. It was kind of fun, actually, since it wasn't very cold at the time.
post #3 of 9
Wind holds are related to each type of lift. For instance, heavy fixed grips (triples & quads) can operate in pretty high winds. Even heavier Detachables (especially six packs) can also operate in pretty heavy winds. Gondolas are also fairly good, but can be prone to "sailing" due to the higher wind profile. Trams are difficult in the wind (especially side winds) because they operate so close to the towers. Anyone who has ridden one on a windy day and had to stop at every tower knows what I am talking about. Lift vintage also plays into the equation, as older lifts used to operate closer to the towers. Then there is wind direction. That is the wild card. A side wind shuts down a lift sooner than a head/tail wind. Of course, eventually a head wind gets to be too much, as riders have difficulty getting out of the carriers (chairs).


EDIT: Have you ever been on a chair that has such a strong head wind that your skis were pulling you sort of backwards & out of the lift? Kinda alarming.
post #4 of 9
Originally Posted by Powdr
Have you ever been on a chair that has such a strong head wind that your skis were pulling you sort of backwards & out of the lift? Kinda alarming.
That's what we were getting at Loveland last weekend. I was worried that a gust pushing down on the skis would pop my bindings, so was trying to keep my tips up.
post #5 of 9
Originally Posted by Powdr
EDIT: Have you ever been on a chair that has such a strong head wind that your skis were pulling you sort of backwards & out of the lift? Kinda alarming.
As long as the lift is still moving.... Last July I was 2/3rds the way up the Mt Perisher Triple Chair when the lift went on wind hold. Bouncing around 10 metres above rocks is not fun. After what seemed an eternity the lift slowly inched us to the top station. Needless to say the rest of the day was spent skiing off the T-bars.
post #6 of 9
It definitely varies from resort to resort and lift type. I was skiing one day last year when they came close to shutting down some of the lifts at Wintergreen VA because gusts were exceeding 40mph. According to a patroller, that was the limit for their 6-seat detachable lifts. The fixed-grip quad on the other side of the hill had higher limit.

When I skied Sugarbush a lot in the 80s and 90s, I remember a ton of wind holds -- usually always after a nice powder dump, which meant we were drooling over the new snow higher up the hill! Back then, almost all of the lifts were fixed-grip. I would assume it's even more dicey now that they are running a lot of detachables.

post #7 of 9

Big Sky

I was a lifite at Big Sky a few years ago, so I can contribute their policies. All lifts (but 1 or 2) had a wind gauge that would automatically stop the lift with gusts over 35 mph. If we had 3 stops within a few minutes than we'd go on wind hold for an hour. I think the tram had a higher tolerance. The tram operators (sans passengers) would ride up and down those things in exteme winds, the cars would almost get completely horizontal. They were all insane and got off on it.

In the end the mountain manager had the final say. For instance, if it was a busy day and the wind was just pushing 40 then we override the wind guage device.

I'm sure the lift themsleves have operating limitations as well.
post #8 of 9
The replyies above are all good answer. But resorts will have thier internal poliecy regarding windhold.
Winds blowing striaght down the line, aren't as bad as blowing directly across the line. cept for gondolas

Resorts hate to go on windhold,,, but in the name of safty they do it.
Fixed grip triple chairs weigh n the range of 300-500 lbs, detachable chairs anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 lbs
Gondola cabins? not sure, but if any type of lift goes on windhold, first to go is the dola in most cases unless it was built in a well protected area.
Where i was employed for 15 years, our policy was if winds were over a certain speed, the Lift Maint. dept would turn the speed of the lift down. And if they still kept getting auto shut downs, and they have done every trick in the book, they would call the bottom for last chair , and put it on wind hold. Lift Maint. had that right since it was thier responsablity to esure the lifts were running safely. (they keeep in contact with Patrol for the most upto date weather, also with other resorts in the area) 3o mph was the max speed of the wind to operate a lift safely. Any higher, it's onhold.
Each lift tower on both side have safty switches. If the haul rope(cable) or the grip comes into contact with thses switches( brittle bars, thin pieces of metal or plastic) it will shut the lift down. Lift Maint then determins which tower went "out". They can either bypass the switch, and go for restart, to get every one off, and another 'tower monkey' will ski down to the tower with the bad switch and swap it out.
When the winds are going right across the line, this can cause the rope to move side to side, thus breaking the brittel bar ,this will cause the lift to shut down, another built safty. Tower monkeys will take tools with them, to the problem towers, and sit ontop (you may of seen a guy siiting on a tower) of the tower making adjustments to the sheave assemblies( the wheels you see on each tower) They can only adjust it so much, then they will put the lift on wind hold.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the info, i guess i can assume that a 30mph crosswind will cause a wind-hold.
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