A “component failure” caused an empty Mt. Bachelor ski lift chair to fall 20-plus feet to the snow-covered ground below Sunday afternoon, resort officials said Monday as they put the Sunrise Express lift back into operation.
The incident occurred around 1:15 p.m. in the top 600 feet of the 3,700-foot lift, after the chair left the upper terminal and was heading downhill with no passengers, said Drew Jackson, marketing and communications manager for the ski and snowboard resort west of Bend.
No passengers were on descending Sunrise lift chair at Mt. Bachelor which became detached from cable, fell 20-plus feet to the snow below (Scott Fleck photo)
There were no guest or employee injuries as a result, Jackson said, but the Sunrise Lift was closed for the rest of the day so Mt. Bachelor personnel could investigate. He said he did not know the number or nature of past incidents but called it a rare occurrence..
On Monday morning, the resort issued a new statement updating the results of their investigation, which “revealed that the involved chair suffered a component failure which caused the grip to malfunction as it exited the upper terminal.”
“All other grips were inspected and no other abnormalities were discovered,” said Spencer Weimar, the resort’s director of sales, marketing and reservations.
Weimar added, “Mt. Bachelor personnel also inspected the Sunrise lift’s terminal components and the company is reviewing operating procedures with lift operations and maintenance staff.”
“Maintaining guest and employee safety is Mt. Bachelor’s top priority,” the statement said. “After inspection, resort officials are confident that the Sunrise lift is safe to ride. The lift will reopen at 9 a.m. this morning.”
Witness Scott Fleck said the “chair slid down the cable (and) met another chair, then went into the towers and peeled off,” falling to the snow below.
“Bachelor lifties and courtesy patrol were fantastic — immediate response,” Fleck added.
Fleck said there had been an “abrupt stop” on the lift about five minutes earlier.
“We sat for a few minutes, and then when it started up, we heard a loud bang and saw the chairs collide,” he said.