Whistler chairs back in service
Whistler Mountain expects to have the Redline operating again today (March 1), five days after minute cracks were discovered on a grip mechanism on some chairs.
Both the Redline and the Green Express were shut down Monday following tests on the grips. The tests were prompted by the discovery of minute cracks in similar grip components on Yan 7 lifts at Silver Star Resort Sunday night.
Every grip on the Green Express was tested by Wednesday night. A small percentage of grips were found to have cracks and those chairs have been taken out of service. The Green Express returned to operation Thursday morning.
Testing on the Redline was expected to have been completed by Thursday night. Preliminary results show only a small percentage of the grip mechanisms have cracks. Those chairs will be taken out of service, which should allow the Redline to resume operation today.
Testing was done by an independent Vancouver engineering company.
The grip mechanism is a large component weighing approximately 150 pounds. It is metal cast by a foundry. All 24 Yan 7 lifts in operation in North America replaced the grip mechanism last fall under the advice of the lift manufacturer, Lift Engineering Co.
Engineers have confirmed that the cracks are due to a manufacturing defect.
The Green Express and Redline were closed for one day last Friday to check for cracks in another area of the grip mechanism.
Whistler Mountain stresses there is no relationship between the Green Express/Redline testing and the accident on the Quicksilver Dec. 23 in which four chairs fell from the line. Two people died as a result of the accident and another was left paralyzed. The Quicksilver was also manufactured by Lift Engineering but it uses a different model of grips than the Green Express and Redline.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the Quicksilver accident continues. David Perry, Whistler Mountain’s marketing director, said Tuesday the cause of the accident has still not been determined. The lift has been tested at 150 per cent of its capacity and there were still no problems.
Perry said Whistler Mountain still has a couple of months before a decision has to be made on the future of the Quicksilver lift, but vowed there will be a "very safe lift operating at that side of the mountain next winter."
He said the solution could be a retro-fit of the Quicksilver or it could be as drastic as a new lift.