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Recent lift accidents in Colorado

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Just wondering if anyone has any info on a recent lift accident in Colarado involving an older YAN fixed grip triple lift? This would be a lift of an era more than 20 years ago like the original lifts at Blackcomb and some of the lifts of that era at Whistler.

The lift of that type at Lake Louise has now been down 3 days. The official line is 'it's just maintenance'. Since I'm just a moron who still won't buy that no one schedules maintenance for the busiest month of the season I kept asking. Finally one guy fessed up a similar lift in Colorado had a couple of chairs drop off and a bulletin went out calling for inspections.

They currently have about a third of the chairs off of the line laying in the snow and they appear to be inspecting the area at the top of the chair where it hangs by 2 bolts off of the hanger which connects to the grip.

Anyone know of an incident sounds at all similar? I'm just so tired of these guys lieing and I'd like to know the real story. I'd actually like them to just fess up to the real story when asked. Actually I'd like them to send my morning snow report email on the second day of the closure and prominently mention the closure instead of adding the line 'check out the views from Paradise'. I'd also like to know if chairs actually fell off their own lift and the Colorado story is just another line of complete BS. Problem is the poor staff telling the stories probably believe them just because it's the only BS being fed to them by management.

Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
post #2 of 24
It'd be interesting to hear more about this. The big Yan problem was their detachables which failed so spectacularly at Whistler all those years ago. I never heard of any problem with fixed grips, but who knows?
post #3 of 24
Maybe it was Canada. I found this with a quick search.
"John Tustian, area manager of Lakeridge Ski Resort, on Chalk Lake Road, said three passengers were on a lift Saturday morning when it suddenly failed, dropping all three onto a groomed trail below.
"It was an instantaneous failure of a component, a metal hanger," said Mr. Tustian. "It's never happened before"
http://www.durhamregion.com/dr/regio...-3895703c.html

It kinda fits with your story, happened last week, and they had the part tested. Maybe they found a defect. They don't mention the manufacturer...

Another possibility, Ski Patrol does an inspection of any lift before the public gets to ride it. part of this inspection involves how mucha chair slips on the cable. Perhaps the patroller saw something while riding the lift, and the resort closed it down to inspect/correct a problem.
post #4 of 24
A YAN fixed triple had a bail fail in Colorado. One side of the bail pulled out of the taco which resulted in two of the three passengers 'unloading early'.

No injuries, but other YAN lifts that happen to be of the same style of carrier (there are numerous carrier types and some have been modified to eliminate this paticular problem) and have not had the required ultrasonic inspections will require mid-season inpsections to verify that the bails are not cracked.

So give your lift maintenance staff a break. They are only trying to make sure that the lifts are safe to operate.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIP

So give your lift maintenance staff a break. They are only trying to make sure that the lifts are safe to operate.
Not so much a lift maintenance staff issue for me and I thought I made that clear. My issue is the obvious lies being put out by the management about what's going on.

I guess what I'm looking for is these guys to give me a break and tell the truth. I can understand the situation as it may have arisen from this info. What I can't take is somebody who's been around a ski hill all of 4 months looking at me and telling me it's just regular maintenance and expecting me to buy it during the busiest month of the season.

What I asked and the reason I asked is to confirm the second or third story I was told so I could judge if it was true. Once I've been lied to a couple of times I get a bit skeptical that each subsequent story is just another lie. If management had half a brain they would realize that is a pretty normal reaction to being lied to.

Another example that comes to mind is the 5 hour night time gondola evac during world cup when worried parents were repeatedly told the lift would be running again soon. That didn't exactly work in their favour as they increasingly worked the parents into a frenzy while the world wide press milled about. These guys are not quick learners and don't have very long memories.
post #6 of 24
Typical RCR, I'm not surprised. Well, no point in going to LL this weekend if Paradise is closed, doing Ptarmigan -> TOTW -> Summit laps takes too long and too much traversing. Back to Sunshine I go.
post #7 of 24
A CO resort had a chair fall resulting in 2 broken legs for both passengers about 3 weeks ago. The chair, as I understand it, is now back in service. Reportedly, a bolt failed, even though all of the bolts had been replaced this summer.

Mike
post #8 of 24
What amazed me was that the resort was able to keep this relatively quit. This is my local ski hill and I had not heard anything about it on the news. I did not want to start a thread about it because of the bad press that might result from bad info. BUT I would like to know what happened. ie were did the chair fall. I couls see it happening right at the loading station and it being not much of an ordeal. I could also see it happening halfway up on a steep pitch and it being quit a big deal.
post #9 of 24
The accident you may be thinking of happened at Keystone aprox 18 yrs ago when a bull wheel dropped after a weld broke. This happened to be a YAN. Safeguards have since been in place. This accident was the one that put YAN out of business. YAN= Your Airborn Now
post #10 of 24
The incident I referred to was not at Keystone, but another Summit County resort about a month ago. The bolt failed and the chair dropped, reportedly resulting in breaking both of both passengers legs. The news has been completely quite about it -- nothing in the Summit Daily, and nothing on web sites I have visited. Some have speculated that the victims have received condo's at the ski area.

The crew that replaced the bolts this summer reputedly did so with torque wrenches. I'll bet there is some litigation that flows out of this.

Mike
post #11 of 24
This accident was the one that put YAN out of business. YAN= Your Airborn Now


Sorry Chuck, not the accident that put YAN out of Business, See Whistler accidents several years later.

BTW we installed a YAN fixed double this summer.... Great lift!
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike
The incident I referred to was not at Keystone, but another Summit County resort about a month ago. The bolt failed and the chair dropped, reportedly resulting in breaking both of both passengers legs. The news has been completely quite about it -- nothing in the Summit Daily, and nothing on web sites I have visited. Some have speculated that the victims have received condo's at the ski area.

The crew that replaced the bolts this summer reputedly did so with torque wrenches. I'll bet there is some litigation that flows out of this.

Mike
This likely is the accident being referenced. If the bolts were replaced and it was a bolt that failed I would think inferior or counterfeit bolts would be the culprit.

What appeared to be going on at Lake Louise was inspection and marking of the chair itself right where it hangs/attaches at the bolts. This would lead me to believe it was a failure AT the bolt as opposed to failure of the actual bolt. I haven't talked to any lift personel about it yet (at least none that actually know).

I agree that the accident at Whistler was the undoing of YAN. Very sad for Silver Star as they had a brand new YAN detachable at the time complete with mid station cable release and unloading.
post #13 of 24
Yan went out of business due to widespread engineering problems resulting in failures that caused several skier deaths. The 1995 Whistler incident was preceeded by a chair collision at Mammoth, and a fatality at Sierra at Tahoe in 1993. I rode the SAT Yan lift many times, then in 1994 we suddenly had Doppelmeyer lifts. Before high speed lifts, Yan equipment failed at Keystone throwing 49 people to the ground causing two deaths. The low cost of Yan (possible due to manufacturing shortcuts) is why ski areas continued to install this inferior equipment.

The sordid history of Yanek Kunczynski (Yan) can be found at this link.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Wow didn't realize there had been quite that much carnage with the lifts. The Whistler incident certainly did seem to be the nail in the coffin though. The way I heard it was largely engineering shortcuts. Months to design various lifts and functions of the lift compared to doppelmayer taking a years or more.

The lift in question at Lake Louise has been pretty reliable mechanically although when it was new (20+ years) it certainly had lots of electrical and electronic issues. In fact it was commonly referred to as the Poltergeist as that movie was current and the phantom stops and faults lent itself to the name. The quick rush into high speed detachables seemed to be the real undoing.
post #15 of 24
I,ve been skiing in the USA for the last 10 years and I,ve always been suprised by how primative much of the lift equipment is. Its been 10 years since I skied France but even then high speed quads were the norm and there were even some six man chairs, some with moving "magic carpet" loading areas, high speed gondolas and funitels. Meanwhile the most advanced country in the world has Yan 2 or 3 man slowww chairs and makes a fanfare of a high speed quad or gondola. Trams (cable cars in europe) were the thing to have in the sixties but are old hat in europe exept on otherwise inaccesible peaks (the Aguille du Midi is the most amazing tram ride you will take) yet are promoted as something special in the USA. Jackson hole doesn't need a tram it needs a modern high speed gondola but that is a discussion for elsewhere.

I love skiing in the US and in most respects it is much better skiing experience than France where I did much of my skiing before crossing the Atlantic but the infrastruture leaves a lot to be desired but that is mirrored in many other areas.
post #16 of 24
Upon consulting with the ski area personnel today, RIP had it right -- and I had been given misinformation. The lift had a bail fail, and no one was hurt, although one gentleman was pretty freaked out (he hung onto the chair until they moved it to the end) and it took quite a while to calm him down. It was a YAN fixed lift, and evidently the lift arived with the bails prebent too narrow whereupon on installation you had to stretch the bails to fit the chair inbetween. After a number of years, metal fatigue most likely caused the bail to fail.

Interesting that there is no news about the event.
post #17 of 24
I don't have any info on lift accidents but I do know there were a few guys really checking the Eagle Quad chair out at Marmot as it was runnig.

He kept looking up at the wheels on each tower, not just looking but REALLY looking.

We asked if we were gonna die, he said no, so we felt safe.

All day he just kept looking tower by tower.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by gramboh
if Paradise is closed, doing Ptarmigan -> TOTW -> Summit laps takes too long and too much traversing. Back to Sunshine I go.
Isn't this an oxy moron?

To much traversing so I think I'll go to Sunshine.

Thats like saying I don't like getting hit with a Mack truck I'll go stand in the middle of the Trans Canada.

sorry couldn't resist.
post #19 of 24
Where are YAN lifts still used?

I heard there's at least one at Copper.

I heard there's 3 at Loveland.

Anybody know if these are right?

Where else are they?

How can I tell if I'm getting on one?
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by lurking bear
Where are YAN lifts still used?
All over. Lift Engineering (aka Yan) installed or retrofitted 415 lifts over 26 years. A lot of those lifts have been removed and a lot of them retrofitted. Third party companies have actually designed things like new grips to replace the original one, so it's hard to say what part of lift you're on is original.

To identify them, look for this sign. It's usually located on the top or bottom tower or in the terminal:


More info on wikipedia
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by lurking bear
I heard there's 3 at Loveland.
Lift 2 at Loveland is a Yan fixed triple. I don't know if it's the one involved in the accident, since the conspiracy of silence in the local ski industry is so complete. (plus I haven't ridden that lift for a few weeks now) I'm not aware of any other Yan's there; maybe the lifts at the Valley base, or possibly lifts 8 or 9.
post #22 of 24
Here is a list of all Yan lifts ever installed by Lift Engineering: http://www.coloradoskihistory.com/ch...ws/yaninstalls

Yan lifts should all be safe now, the Colorado Tramway Board inspects them every year along with every other chair in CO.
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
That's a lot of chairs, I didn't know they were at it that long. The last 7 years saw them install 28 high speeds with the pace slowing in the last 2 years. Quite a pace I would think. Interesting to see the time lines. All the new lifts in the late 80s and early 90s are hard to keep track of.

Good luck finding any identifying marks for the lifts at Lake Louise. All markings were removed years ago. I forgot they had done the rebuild on Ptarmigan as well.
post #24 of 24
jrbd I think I know the lift, but since I do not know absolutely, I will not put it out there. You are right about the conspiracy of silence, there has been almost nothing, and I know there are people in the know who frequent this forum , and who would/should know something. The amazing thing is , the way it was kept out of the media.
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