Dangling high up in the air with only one foot attached to a chairlift, a snowboarder is seen floating in the air, grasping as he was forced to rappel down from a broken chairlift at Banff Sunshine Village, a ski resort in Alberta.
This snowboarder is just one of the 110 skiers and snowboarders who were evacuated off the chairlift, named Goat’s Eye Express, due to a “failure of the main gearbox,” according to Sunshine Village’s Facebook page.
“The gearbox transfers power from the electric motor to the shaft that drives the lift. Because there is only one gearbox, the lift can not operate until the gearbox is fixed.”
The resort said that component that caused the failure was a brand new oil pump, installed by the manufacturer Leitner Poma this summer as part of a $130,000 rebuild of the gearbox.
“The oil pump circulates cooled oil through the gearbox. The pump failure led to catastrophic overheating and the failure of other parts within the gearbox.”
“The gearbox has been taken apart by our mechanics and Leitner Poma technicians are on route from Colorado with parts. We expected to be fully operational in the next few days. We will continue to provide updates.”
Mark Pawley, one of the skiers evacuated from the chairlift, uploaded a video to Youtube as he anxiously waited to be rescued.
“Stops on a chairlift are a regular occurrence,” Pawley told the Toronto Star.
“After about ten minutes I began to think it was serious. The operator at the top was near our position and he tried to relay information as best as he could. Once Ski Patrol started arriving I knew we were in for a long wait.”
“The thought of being lowered to the ground is daunting,” Pawley said, adding that the situation was handled very well by the resort.
“It was amazing to see how organized and fast your rescue personnel were,” Pawley wrote on the ski resort’s Facebook page, “Banff Sunshine Village, I’m proud of you and your personnel, and never regret being a season pass holder. You guys rock.”
The Banff Sunshine Village gave everyone a snow check good for another free day at Sunshine for the inconvenience.
In an updated Facebook post Monday afternoon, the resort said, “Goat’s Eye Express will remain closed until further notice.”
Other lifts are open at the resort, and skiers will be enjoying five centimeters of fresh snow overnight.
– With files from Fakiha Baig