You read yesterday about the concerns many skiers in New Hampshire have about the purchase of Attitash and Wildcat mountains by Vail. Initially, they had hoped the acquisition would bring upgrades and investment in the New Hampshire mountains, but have become disappointed by what they’ve seen so far. Just as their concerns regarding old equipment have heightened, a triple chair has fallen from Wildcat’s Snowcat lift. The Conway Daily Sun reports:
Vail Resort’s local woes continued over the weekend. A triple chair fell near the base of Vail-owned Wildcat Mountain’s Snowcat lift last Saturday afternoon, sending a snowboarder to Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin.
Broomfield, Colo.-based Vail Resorts took over local resorts Wildcat and Bartlett’s Attitash Mountain in 2019.
During the recent busy Christmas vacation week, Attitash was also plagued with long lines stemming from its own lift woes, reportedly spotty snowmaking and labor shortages.
The lift involved in the incident at Wildcat Mountain is a 1974 Riblet that serves beginner trails out of the base area. At 1:30 p.m., Wildcat posted that Snowcat would remain closed for the day.
“We can confirm an incident occurred on Jan. 8, 2022 at Wildcat Mountain involving a 22-year-old male,” read an emailed statement from Vail Resorts. “The guest was transported to Androscoggin Valley Hospital. The incident involved the Snowcat Triple, which is closed until further notice.
“Guests were safely unloaded off the lift at approximately 1:35 p.m.,” Vail shared in the email. “This incident is under investigation, and we have no further details to share at this time.”
According to liftblog.com, chairs utilizing Riblet insert clips have fallen on occasion in recent years including last season at Indianhead, Michigan and 49 Degrees North, Washington.
Within Vail Resorts, a Riblet triple chair fell from Heavenly’s North Bowl triple in 2016. Approximately 275 Riblet lifts currently operate worldwide, mostly in the United States.
Longtime Wildcat skier Jeffrey Dowdy, former mechanical engineering professor at Northeastern University mechanical engineer professor and now consultant to a Cambridge, Mass., firm, said he and his son and granddaughter were at Wildcat when the incident occurred.
“I heard a noise and looked over and the chair was on the ground and a man who had been riding it was sitting there about 30 feet from where you first sit on the chair,” Dowdy said. “I then skied over. The detachment occurred before the first tower. It had been going from side to side, I was told.
“The ski patrol was doing a very good job,” he continued. “They put the young man onto a sled and brought him down to an ambulance. They restarted the lift and ran it to the top to get the people off — I had thought they would have done a lift evacuation, but they didn’t.
““We all love Wildcat. I’m sorry this whole thing is happening. But it seems to be a bigger issue than just here,” he told the Sun Sunday evening.