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Nick Scott

Lift maintenance
Date Posted: 15.22hrs on Sun 2 Feb 03
Maybe I don't quite fully understand the probvlems with running a ski resort, but I am more than slightly put out by the reliability of some of the lifts.

Yesterday I wasted nearly 2 hours, either waiting for or stuck on broken lifts at Glenshee. Surely with Saturday being the first weekend of the season there the lifts would have all been in tip-top condition after the summer maintenance and testing just this last week ready for the masses?

However, the Sunnyside Poma was constantly being stopped for work on the Pylon's (particularly the right hand track - my advice is always take the left), meanwhile on the Carn Aosda T-Bar, my friend and I were dumped quite painfully by the T of t-bar breaking on us, with later delays of upto 30 mins experienced for other repairs!

As it was the queues were horrendous, with inexplicitly closed lifts such as the Cairnwell T-bar (looked to have some of the best cover on the mountain!) but with the breakdowns the situation became ridiculous. To add insult to injury, they were charging full/nearly rates!

I can't and won't complain about the snow on sheer the queues alone (its gratifying to see such numbers of people supporting the scottish ski industry), but for constant breakdowns there is no excuse after 10 months to maintain the lifts!

Re: Lift maintenance
Date Posted: 15.55hrs on Sun 2 Feb 03
Can't comment on individual cases, but I think part of the answer lies in your comments "...was constantly being stopped for work on the Pylon's...".

In terms of stopages on ski tows, the vast majority are user related, short delays due mis-haps loading, longer delays due to either mis-use, or people falling off having knock on effects. This is followed by the next most frequent factor, weather, more esp. wind, which has an unfortunate tendency to seperate cables from the pylons! These combined probably contribute to well over 90% off all stopages, though that's not to say the level of maintaince does impact on whether an one event will result in the lift stopping. In theory anyway a better maintained lift, with a heavier and better tensioned cable should experience less wind stoppages.

Stopages relating to pylons are rarely actual mechanical problems, or sometimes electrical problems with saftey systems, more often or not either the weather or a user will have but to much strain on the cable and either hauled it off, or moved it sufficently to trip the lift. Slaloming on up-tracks, jumping about, getting off where u shouldnt, or simply falling of can all potentially cause stopages. I guess there is not much snow on the track either, so it will be uneven, thus more people falling off, going off the track and simply, due to lack of snow depth, the downwards pressure on the cable is more, this combined could explain some of the stoppages.

The most common reason for 'breakdowns' on the Coire Cas on CairnGorm, is people letting the wind pull them wide, then the drift into the Gunbarrel, and eventually everyone gets so far from the lift line, that the enevitable happens, and the cable jumps one of the pylons.... the result, a 20min plus wait to get the fitters to the site, haul the cable up, reset everything, ensure the pulley battery is not damaged, then restart the lift.

Given that our enjoyment depends on the lifts, it amazzes me just how badly people treat them. It is everbody's responsibility to try and minimize delays/stoppages, especially so in marginal wind conditions.
some frustrated skier

Re: Lift maintenance
Date Posted: 20.33hrs on Sun 2 Feb 03
I have been told that the lecht are the best for maintaining but nevis is not bad either as they hardly have stops on the goose but i think cairngorm are the worst as their lifts are getting on a bit and needing replaced ( ptarmigan cas fiaciall M1 both ciste chairs ciste tow and white lady) also installing a new lift from the cas car park to the sheiling

Re: Lift maintenance
Date Posted: 20.54hrs on Sun 2 Feb 03
Two years ago CairnGorm replaced the sprinboxes on the ciste and ptarmigan tows with oil-boxes, which retract more slowly and less violently, this change drastically reduced stoppages. As for replacing the Cas, it's the oldest, but probably most reliable lift on the hill, it just keeps on going, more than can be said for some of the Pomas a fraction of its age! Apparently replacing the Carpark Chair is on the cards, I think there is a general acceptance that half the problems last year wouldnt have arisen if the Carpark Chair was operating, orginally it should have still been in place last winter, as it should have operated through the summer and autumn, till the funicular was commisioned.

It wouldn't have been taken down until this summer, but the whole thing got taken out in one go when it was deicided it would be cheaper and easier to do it all at the same time and get the chair out of the way for the final construction work. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but had the Carpark Chair operated last winter, once queue problems started with the funicular, i very much doubt it would have been demolished this summer just past. CairnGorm made a big mikstake taking out that chair, and it will be a costly one to right!
Peter s

Re: Lift maintenance
Date Posted: 23.13hrs on Sun 2 Feb 03
We have a lot of problems with misuse of our poma at Yad Moss. Unfortunately it seems to be particularly prone to snowboarders falling off.

What tends to happen is that novice riders get thrown off at the start and the recoil of the Poma causes derailments at Pylon one which is just in the wrong place for the rebound. The problem is worse for snowboards since they exert so much resistance on the system. However given the choice between a Tbar and a Poma i'd always travel by Poma. The fastest Pomas are only slightly slower than detachable chairs or Gondolas.

I worked out that at our recent good day at YM we shifted 3,600 skiers in 6 hours. Thats 1800 miles of runs! Not bad for a 30 year old lift. Wonder how many skier miles Glenshee can generate at full capacity !

By the way its typical isn't it. Sunday night in the Pennines and its belting down with snow. We wait all week while people get stuck in their cars in the South east and we get nothing here. Now the snow is arriving and its back to work. However it may be particularly good news for the Lake District ski club. West is a good direction for their tow on Raise and it looks like they are going to pick up a fair bit of snow over the next two days.
Doug Bryce

Re: Lift maintenance
Date Posted: 09.29hrs on Mon 3 Feb 03
One thing that would make the queues alot smaller would be if everyone doubled up on all the T-Bars. When theres a large queue it is very frustrating to see people going up the t-bar's "single". Do the dedent thing and DOUBLE UP !!.

Alot of snowboarders seem to (mistakenly) believe that its easier to get up a t-bar on there own. Dont be selfish - learn to ride the lifts in pairs please. If you cant get up the lift with another boarder then pair up with a skier in the queue - this is a lot more stable and will help keep you on the tow track.

Nick Scott

Re: Lift maintenance
Date Posted: 14.05hrs on Mon 3 Feb 03
Fair points Winterhighland, though most of the stoppages weren't for people falling off......just rtaher frustrated having waited all winter to get on the slopes, only to be delayed massively, feeling much more cheerful and philosophical about it today.

As for Peter's comments about snowboarders at Yad Moss I can understand how this happens, Meall Odher at Glenshee has a huge spring in it when someone falls, often knocking the next couple of skiers/boarders off with the bounce......funny to watch but obviously not good for the lift.

Guess its the old suface uplift being no good for boarders debate again or or perhaps it should be boarders are no good for suface uplift eye popping smiley)
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