Lift Woes Still Affecting Sugarbush
Upper mountain complex opening delayed due to Heaven's Gate Triple issue.
Friday, November 21, 2014,

In its run up to opening day, Sugarbush has had to scale back initial operations due to lift issues. While plans this week were to open Lincoln Peak top-to-bottom, continued issues with the Heaven's Gate Triple have resulted in a lower mountain-only debut for the weekend.

The 30 year old Heaven's Gate Triple, a fixed grip Poma chairlift, experienced multiple issues during the 2013-14 season. As a result of the issues with this and other lifts, Sugarbush focused its 2014 off season funds on improving the existing lift infrastructure. It is not known if the most recent Heaven's Gate issue is net new or a result of delays in completing 2014 off season work.

A background of the recent lift woes:

Win's Word, February 12, 2014:
"Many of you have also asked about other lifts issues we have had on North Lynx, Valley House, Heaven’s Gate and North Ridge. Over the past five years, our lifts in aggregate have experienced downtimes due to mechanical or electrical issues less than 1% of the time. All lifts, new and old, at all resorts will have mechanical and electrical issues and will experience downtime. That said, if you are here on the day when this happens, your perception will likely be that our lifts always have problems. Although it is true that we have had a few more problems than usual early in this season, they were caused by unrelated problems--from a sheave assembly on Valley House that needed replacement, to an auxiliary starter and ring gear failure on Northridge, to a failed bearing on the drive motor at Heaven’s Gate, and finally last Sunday to a mouse that got into the control panel on Heaven’s Gate and in the process of committing suicide blew out the fuses. In the case of Northridge and Heaven’s Gate, we had to order new motors, which meant that the lift was down for a couple of days. In the other cases, the problem could be fixed in a couple of hours or less."

Win's Word, March 26, 2014:
"In a recent Win's Word, I mentioned that we would be making lift maintenance our top priority this summer, and we have begun actively pursuing that. Unexpectedly, we got an early start on Heaven's Gate as the motor - which had been rebuilt earlier this year - had a drive shaft break Monday morning as the lift was starting up. We will be installing a new motor (so that project will be behind us) and will have the lift spinning this weekend through the end of the season."

Win's Word, April 11, 2014:
"The cash that is raised from spring pass sales goes into our summer capital account, and our first priority is lifts. Our team has presented me with a list of projects well beyond the significant normal preventative maintenance that we do each summer. They have identified slightly more than $1 million of mechanical and electrical upgrades to the following lifts: Super Bravo Express Quad, Gate House Express Quad, Heaven's Gate Triple, North Lynx Triple, North Ridge Express Quad, Summit Quad, and Sunshine Double. I have approved all of them. These upgrades should give us the reliability that we all expect."

Sugarbush Facebook Post, November 18, 2014:
"Only four days left until Super Bravo and Heaven's Gate start to spin!"

Sugarbush Facebook Post, November 20, 2014:
"Win here. We have been waiting for a part for the auxiliary motor. It will arrive late tomorrow and installed asap. But the we have to get a final load test inspection by Vermont Tram authority. That should happen in a couple of days."

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