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Georgia Chairlift Incident


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Hi Ocean, I,ve been following it since this morning, very scary indeed if you were riding it or nearby  

Two of the highest profile roll-backs of recent years were actually at Sugarloaf in Maine. The Spillway double around 2010 or so, and the King Pine quad about 2 or so years ago.

The lift appears to be a Doppelmayr, judging by the chairs themselves. I have read it was installed in 2008. This is generally regarded as a failure of the anti-roll back systems of the lift. Modern lifts are designed to make it impossible for a roll-back, even with physical mechanisms (dogs or latches) that drop into the bullwheel to stop it from reverse rotation, among other physical methods that are more sophisticated.

We will have to wait and see what the investigation turns up, but the previous lifts have been Borvig or other older and obsolete brands. For me it’s the first time I hear of a recent model lift to have such an incident happen. 

Overall, it’s important to not let this occurance to invoke fear or worry. This is EXTREMELY EXTREMELY RARE to occur. All lifts are tested and inspected regularly. In Quebec and Ontario the standards are very high for safety, upkeep and inspections and maintenance. 

Hopefully all involved recover safely. Right now I’m about to do some night skiing and ride some chairlifts. I’m not worried or concerned. In 30 years of skiing I’ve only been stuck on a chairlift once and they got it working sometime later to evacuate. Heck, I’m more worried about riding the elevators at my office (no joke) than any chairlift. :) 

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Shane, yeah I've done my share of reading on chairlift, aerial tram and gondola incidents - Squaw, Vail, Aleskya (so nuts!), the Quicksilver incident, and so on. From freak accident (wind gusts) to mechanical failure it's fascinating reading for sure! And It is indeed more likely to be trapped in an elevator than to experience a chairlift incident.

I did hear about Sugarloaf, but didn't hear that it happened twice!  I thought there was also a rollback at Mont Sainte Marie a few years ago but perhaps it was just a stall and I was thinking of Sugarloaf. You're correct that the Georgia lift is a Dopplemayr, and yes it will definitely be interesting to know what caused the issue!

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Initial findings of the incident have been released. Details can be found on LiftBlog here: https://liftblog.com/2018/03/23/government-human-error-caused-gudauri-rollback/

The issue was human error. The lift initially stopped due to a power outage. In the process of switching to the backup diesel power, an error in the procedure performed by the lift operator is the cause of the roll-back that occurred.

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