Beech mountain disaster
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6 users
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Denis - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,281 posts

Been waiting to see when someone would pick up this. 

That’s horrible.  How long does it take to radio to the base to turn off the freakin’ water. And, how long for a patroller to call the liftee and time shutting off the lift when nobody is in the spray.   I can’t remember the last time I skied when snowmaking was on.  It’s been years.  I hate skiing thru an icy blast and would probably quit if I found myself at a resort making snow.  Snowmaking should be done when lifts aren’t running.  


The liability consequences of this could put Beech out of business, and there’d be no one to blame but themselves.  I went there and to Cataloochee many years ago on a long, desperate to ski, weekend when living in Alabama. 
rbrtlav
5 months ago
Member since 12/2/2008 🔗
539 posts

On one of the Facebook groups I follow someone said the blast damaged a brittle bar on one of the towers so it wasn’t as simple as just starting the lift. Not sure if that is true, but would explain some of the issues.

Vail may also have a lift issue on their hands at wildcat liftblog.com sounds like this isn’t the first time a Riblet chair has fallen with this particular grip.
abeski
5 months ago (edited 5 months ago)
Member since 12/8/2021 🔗
20 posts

I have been on lifts or trails with active snowmaking many a time, in fact, more common than not during mid Atlantic night skiing.  Yes a bit annoying if you get the wet stuff on your goggles but I always really do respect any efforts to make snow while conditions are suitable.

For those not clicking the link above, today a loaded triple chair fell off at the 1st tower of a Riblet lift at Wildcat sending 1 guy to the hospital, prompting discussion of whether Vail's absolute circus in NH is at fault (currently they have no lift mechanic as most of the pre-Vail employees with experience quit or were fired) or whether it would have happened to anybody

Earlier this week on the east coast, an unloaded chair fell off the Red chair at Magic Mountain on the downhill side by the return when after hitting a tower because the (brand new) drive was surging and a snowmaker was fatally run over by a snowmobile at Jiminy Peak

imp - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 01/11/2007 🔗
262 posts
the grip on a ribblet goes into the cable not around from what I have seen, if I see one I ride something else.
Thefirewarde
5 months ago
Member since 09/17/2015 🔗
80 posts

A broken main has to drain out. I don't know how Beech is set up, but I've worked snowmaking systems with buried pipe that just didn't have a fast way to drain, and others where the drain wasn't easy to get to quickly (IE dirt road to a remote pump station). Getting the pumps shut off in a couple minutes and the system drained in 20 minutes - most of the water coming out was likely from head pressure, not pumped - is about normal for a panic stop. As for the lift, what I hear is the water tripped brittle bars/sensors on the tower. That stops the lift and has to be bypassed by a mechanic going into the panel. That explains one of the two stops. What I don't exactly understand is why the lift stopped, started, and stopped again.

Stowe had a similar but potentially worse failure that happened to be visible from the base of their gondola a few years ago, but it happened to hit empty cabins.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
5 months ago
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,821 posts

I sure hope nobody got seriously hurt. 

In the second video there is a guy who gets stuck over the spray for about two minutes starting at the 1:30 mark.  He gets spun around in all directions, feet flinging over his head, and manages to hang on for dear life with his butt aiming uphill as the chair finally passes through the spray. This is cruel, but I couldn't help chuckling.  It looked like a scene out of an old Jerry Lewis movie.

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