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Last updated: 02/27/21 at 1:06pm

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Chair 1 Update & Information

Update 12/11/20

Chair 1 will operate this weekend, Dec. 11th-13th. A redundant system of chair retention designed by professional tramway engineers has been retrofitted on Chair 1 this week and we have been authorized by the Washington State Department of Parks and Recreation Commission Tramway Inspection Program in conjunction with the US Forest Service to operate the chair.

We've also made the decision to not operate Chair 4 until we have completed the same upgrades to the retaining system on that lift. Despite having experienced no issues on that lift, we felt it was right thing to do. We plan to start the retrofit this week and have it ready for operation for the Holiday Period (Dec. 18th - Jan. 5th.)

With regards to the remaining lifts, Chairs 2, 3, 5 and 6 are not Riblet Chairlifts and do not use the same attachment mechanism. These chairs have external grips which already incorporate a redundant system, and would not benefit from a retrofit. They have also been inspected by industry professionals. 

We’ll post another update when the work on Chair 4 has been completed, please see our Ops Calendar for updated lift schedules.

For further inquiries, please contact ski49n@ski49n.com

 

Updated 12/8/20
Chair 1 Detachment Information & Safety at 49 Degrees North

In light of the Chair 1 incident on Saturday, December 5th, we would like to address the main concerns of our guests and the general public. We will share what is currently known about what happened, how we are addressing the issue and what it means moving forward this ski season. Please know that the safety of our guests and staff continue to be our top priority. We have spoken in depth with industry and regulatory experts about the cause and solution and will be taking extensive steps to improve the safety of the lift.

At approximately 11 a.m. on December 5th, one chair detached from the line on Chair 1. Two people were on the chair when it fell and were promptly attended to by our Ski Patrol. They were shaken up but reported only minor injuries and left the mountain under their own power. After assessing the situation, the rest of the guests on Chair 1 were safely unloaded and the chair was closed.

Our Lift Operations and Lift Maintenance teams immediately began the investigation process, closely inspecting the chair/carrier involved in the incident along with all the chairs on the lift. They were able to determine that this chair detached from the line because a key piece of the attachment mechanism, the cotter pin, had failed or was missing from its clip. The chairs on this lift are held in place via a cotter pin placed inside the clip shaft, then bent at an angle to keep the pin in place. We have been unable to find the pin for this chair to verify if the pin had broken or had somehow come out of place. During our summer maintenance, all cotter pins on Chair 1 were replaced with brand new ones, checked and inspected, all fewer than 50 operating hours prior to the incident. Following Saturday’s incident, and after thorough inspection of every single chair and their individual components, we found no signs of any other missing or damaged parts.

Chair 1, along with the rest of our chairlifts, are subjected to rigorous testing and inspection. This chairlift was inspected this fall by a Washington State tramway inspector with decades of experience. Chair 1 was also load tested this fall, which is a stress test that is required by code every seven years. The chairlift passed all inspections and was issued a certificate of operation by the State of Washington this fall. Additionally, these tests were observed by engineers from the USFS. Every chairlift at the resort is extensively maintained over the spring, summer, and fall. All components are visually inspected, and many components are subjected to advanced non-destructive testing. 100% of the grips and carriers on Chair 1 were subject to non-destructive testing using industry standard methods such as wet mag particle testing, dye penetrant testing, and visual inspection. 

Unfortunately, we cannot definitively explain what happened to the cotter pin on this chair. In reflecting on this fact, and despite the existing system’s certification for current operation, we have decided to not open the lift to the public until we have completed the installation of an upgraded retaining system that has a superior and redundant secondary fastening system. This will circumvent any issue with cotter pins in the future. The new system uses a spring pin which is much more durable, and is superior to the cotter pin system in that it is self-retaining. As a redundant safety measure, the spring pin is also retained by a cotter pin that will keep it in place in the unlikely event that the spring pin were to fail. This system is retaining new flanged collars which are stronger than the previous components and easy to visually inspect. The decision to replace all retention systems on Chair 1 was made alongside state and federal regulating authorities as well as tramway engineers.

The safety of our guests is our primary concern, and we will not re-open the lift without completely and thoroughly addressing the issue that caused this incident. This week, we will have retrofitted (as described above) this chairlift and eliminated the components that have caused the problem.

This incident has brought questions and concerns about safety here at 49 Degrees North as well as chairlifts in general. Our maintenance staff works tirelessly to inspect and maintain all of our chairlifts. We adhere to the same high standards of safety and maintenance as all other resorts in the industry, and we want our guests to have confidence in our operation. We prepare and maintain our lifts in a way to not just to meet regulations, but as if our own friends and family members were riding them, because they are. Our guests are just as much a part of our family, and the safety and well-being of every person on this mountain is of the utmost importance to us. Be assured that we will continue to be vigilant in our safety measures moving forward and will continue to inspect and maintain all chairlifts on the mountain to high standards.

We will provide an updated status of the Chair 1 on Thursday, December 10th. Please reach out via email to marketing@ski49n.com for further inquiries.

 

 

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Updated 12/5/20

Chair 1 will be closed until further notice due to a mechanical issue, details below

On Saturday, December 5th, at approximately 11am, one chair detached from the line on Chair 1. Two people were on the chair when it detached. They were immediately attended to by our ski patrol and escorted to our patrol room. Both guests were thankfully okay with only minor injuries. The lift was stopped for about twenty minutes to assess the situation, the chair then ran and the rest of the guests were safely unloaded.

We are investigating this mechanical issue and Chair 1 will be closed until further notice. We will be working with industry experts and regulatory agencies to identify and rectify the issue.

 

Please see the Ops Calendar for updated lift operations. For questions, please email marketing@ski49n.com.

Lift Operations Update