An Alberta ski lift was reopened a week after an evacuation forced 110 skiers and snowboarders to rappel to the ground from as high as 10 metres.
The evacuation happened at Sunshine Village’s Goat’s Eye Mountain Dec. 27, and took just over two hours. No one was injured.
“There was never any danger to the public that were on the lift because the lift has redundant braking systems but it just couldn’t move forward so we had to do a little evacuation for the people on the lift,” Sunshine Village COO Dave Riley told Global News at the time.
Video from Calgarian Ryan Corry showed his brother-in-law make his escape with a snowboard attached to one foot, and the other dangling mid-air.
“I had mitts on, so I had to take my fingers and ball them up, and then my feet were getting a little cold, too,” Ben Kilmer said. “But I couldn’t really complain; we were stuck in the trees and the weather was great considering…I think the people that were higher than us and exposed would have been really, really cold.”
Watch below: Dec. 27 footage shows snowboarder forced to rappel down from Sunshine Village ski lift
Sunshine Village said on its Facebook page the ski lift was evacuated due to a failure of the main gearbox, which is equipment that transfers power from the electric motor to the shaft that drives the lift. The ski resort said last week a brand new oil pump was what caused the failure, which had been installed in the summer by manufacturer Leitner Poma as part of a $130,000 rebuild of the gearbox.
A Leitner Poma technician arrived from Colorado Dec. 30, and a special part was sent from Switzerland. The gear box had to be dismantled, fixed and reassembled. Goat’s Eye was back up and running as of Jan. 3 at around 11:30 a.m., and Sunshine Village said no problems have been reported since.
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