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ropeways.net | Home | 2017-12-20

Tussey Mountain releases update on ski lift malfunction

As a member of the National Ski Areas Association, Tussey Mountain is committed to lift safety and injury prevention. Among our other year-round efforts to ensure skier’s safety, our ski lifts must pass annual inspections by the Elevator Division of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety. Because we operate year-round, our chairlift is inspected both in the spring and the fall. These inspections include the testing of haul rope, which was most recently completed in October 2017 by Mountain Wire Rope Services, and testing of chair lift grips, which was completed in October 2017. Load testing was most recently completed in August 2017. All of these tests led to the official state inspection, which was completed on November 14, 2017. All of Tussey Mountain’s equipment passed these inspections.

Despite these safety efforts, a chair lift malfunction occurred on Saturday, December 16. Since this incident, Tussey Mountain has first and foremost been in contact with the individuals who were impacted by this event. We are grateful to learn of the progress being made with their recoveries. We will continue to work with these individuals, although we will not provide any further statements regarding these individuals out of respect for their privacy.

Tussey Mountain immediately alerted the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety Elevator Division to Saturday’s incident and agency employees were on-site Saturday and Sunday to assist with determining the cause of any problems. As part of this investigation, chairs were removed and studied and grips were transported to be examined by a third-party investigative company. At this time, it appears that weakened spring packs inside the chair lift grips caused Saturday’s incident, and as a result, we are replacing this entire system on our lift. Upon completion of this upgrade, the Department of Labor and Industry investigators will return to Tussey Mountain and again inspect our equipment before we re-open.

Tussey Mountain takes lift maintenance and operation seriously. Our mountain may be small compared to others, but our staff is experienced, knowledgeable and passionate about their craft. Our lift technicians receive training on lift safety on an ongoing basis, and our employees conduct individual inspections of our chairlifts on a daily basis. While these procedures have served us without incident until this point, we have begin self-examining our processes to ensure that incidents like this one will not recur.

We wish to thank the first responders who quickly arrived to the scene and assisted our National Ski Patrollers in evacuating the lift and attending to any injured individuals. We look forward to continuing our mission of providing safe, fun outdoor activities and events to our neighbors and guests. Pending the completion of state inspections, our targeted re-open date is for Saturday, December 23.

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