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Sugarloaf reopens Spillway East chairlift

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine (Feb 21, 2011) – Sugarloaf reopened the Spillway East chairlift to the public this afternoon, after completing testing and inspections of lift last weekend. The testing revealed no operational concerns, and the Chief Inspector for the Maine State Board of Elevator and Tramway Safety (Tramway Board) reinstated the operating license for the lift on Monday morning.  

The resorts’ lift maintenance staff, along with independent lift engineers and members of the Tramway Board, performed a dynamic load test of the Spillway East lift on Friday and completed inspections of the lift over the weekend. The lift had been closed to the public since it was damaged when it deroped from tower number eight on December 28, 2010. 

Friday’s dynamic load test simulated the operation of a fully loaded lift, using plastic-lined boxes filled with water to simulate passenger weight on each chair. The lift was loaded to 100 percent of a standard load weight, with approximately 368 pounds per chair in 74 chairs on the lift’s uphill side.  

With the lift loaded, technicians tested the lift’s drive, electrical, and brake systems and monitored the lift’s machinery (including sheave trains, bullwheel carriage, and counterweights) while in operation.  

Over the weekend, technicians completed testing of the lifts electrical systems, and monitored the lift’s machinery as it ran at normal operating speed for more than three hours on Sunday afternoon.  

The testing was overseen by lift inspectors from the Tramway Board and engineers from Sugarloaf’s insurance provider, and performed according to load test guidelines from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  

Since December 28, Sugarloaf’s staff and numerous lift engineers and state inspectors have performed thorough inspections of all of the lift’s machinery. In addition, components that were damaged during the deropement, including the Tower 8 sheave assembly and five individual chairs, were replaced with new parts. Several sheaves were also replaced on the uphill and downhill sides with new sheaves, and some maintenance items were addressed in the carriage and counterweight. 

“We would like to thank the members of the Tramway Board, engineers from our insurance company, and everyone else who worked long hours with us over the past six weeks to thoroughly inspect and examine this lift,” said John Diller, Sugarloaf General Manager. “With their assistance we are able to reopen Spillway East and can be confident that it will provide the reliable transportation that our guests expect.” 

The final report on the investigation into the cause of the December 28 deropement has not yet been released by the Tramway Board. At this time Sugarloaf does not have an estimated date for when that report will be released.