Sugarloaf Blames Lift Manufacturer for Rollback Brake Failure
Borvig lifts operate in 5 of 6 New England states.
Thursday, March 26, 2015, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
In a March 25, 2015 media advisory, Sugarloaf posted additional findings from its investigation of the March 21 King Pine chairlift rollback, which resulted in 7 injuries.
According to the advisory, a gearbox shaft fractured around 11:30 AM. The chairlift subsequently rolled back 460 feet, reportedly in about 30 seconds. The chairlift normally operates at an uphill speed of 450 feet per minute.
With the failure of the shaft, two braking systems were unable to engage. A third brake, known as a drop dog, did not stop the lift either. According to the advisory, the switch used on the brake was insufficient: "[t]he investigation indicates that, had an appropriate switch been included in the system, the drop dog would have deployed and the rollback would have stopped immediately." The advisory also claims that "[t]his switch was provided by the lift's original manufacturer, and is still provided by the company that manufactures components for this type of lift."
The rollback was stopped after the lift operated activated the bullwheel emergency brake.
The King Pine Quad was installed new in 1988. The original manufacturer of the lift, Borvig, ceased making lifts decades ago. 10 other Borvig chairlifts remain in operation in Maine, including 6 at Sugarloaf. Borvigs also operate in every New England state except Rhode Island.