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Rarely, lifts fail due to mechanical or electronic causes, or as a result of external accidental elements. During the last 60 years lifts have experienced stops that resulted in the need for evacuation at average intervals of only once every  4 1/2 years worldwide. Locally (the Bow Valley) the Sunshine Gondola required partial evacuation once during the winter of 1988, and the Sulphur Mountain Gondola has never required rope evacuation. Sunshine has operated its gondola since 1978, and Sulphur its gondola since 1958.

Passengers stranded on gondola lifts are seldom in danger when a lift stops. However they may require rescue by means of rope evacuation if the lift cannot be repaired within a reasonable time.  While this activity is rescue, it is not usually considered to be an emergency. Nevertheless, work will be carried out as quickly as possible to minimise the discomfort and other concerns of anyone on the lift.

Gondola Rescue Team (Lifeskill Murphy Team);

A regional emergency response team for lift rescue operations was conceived at the Risk Management Seminar hosted by the Canada West Ski Areas Association in 1989. While everyone agreed that lift accident or failure events were uncommon, it was recognized that when some dimension of Murphys Law was set in motion, an army of personnel trained and equipped to respond would be valuable. The challenge was to form and maintain such a ‘Murphy Team’ in a commercially reasonable manner given the need for standing a continuous watch while at the same time serious lift stop events were so infrequent.

Murphy Team Membership level;

Variable with larger numbers during the winter months and never less than 14.

Training exercises;

Conducted monthly at all lift locations with small elements tasked to various technical sections. Exposure to high spans, steep areas, sections that fly over challenging terrain features, tricky access adjacent to complex lift structures, ground work, and practising to solve special problems. Over time we work in all weather and light conditions.

Lift Data, Sulphur Gondola;

System

Wallmansberger

   

Lower Term Elev

1,583 m (5,194 feet) above sea level

Elevation Gain

698 m (2,292 feet)

Upper Term Elev

2,281 m (7,486 feet) above sea level

   

Number of Gondolas

40

Gondola Capacity

4 passengers each

Length of Track

1,560 m (5,120 feet)

Horizontal Length

1,370 m (4,498 feet)

Track Rope

Diameter 34 mm (111/32 inches)

Hauling Rope

Diameter 28 mm (1 3/32 inches)

Normal Lift Speed

3.0 m (10 feet) per second

Maximum Lift Speed

4.0 m (13 feet) per second

Length of Trip

8 minutes

Hourly Capacity

650 passengers, each direction

Number of Towers

3

Average Incline

51%

Max Height

38 m (125 feet) at Tower #2

Driving Unit

250 H.P. Electric Motor, Diesel electric back-up

Construction Period

Original – Sept1958 to July 1959,

Refit – Nov 1997 to Feb 1998

Manufactured by

Original – Bell Engineering Works Ltd., Kriens Lucerne, Switzerland

Reconstruction – Garaventa AG, Goldau, Switzerland

Lift Data, Sunshine Gondola;

System

Leitner-Poma

   

Lower Term Elev

1,658 m (5,440 feet) above sea level

Elevation Gain

567 m (1860 feet)

Upper Term Elev

2,225 m (7,300 feet) above sea level

   

Number of Gondolas

165

Gondola Capacity

8 passengers each

Length of Track

4539.64m

Horizontal Length

Approximately 5 km (3 miles)

Hauling Rope

Diameter 50.5mm

   

Normal Lift Speed

5.0 m (16.4 feet) per second

Maximum Lift Speed

6.1 m (20 feet) per second

Length of Trip

17 minutes

Hourly Capacity

2500 passengers, each direction

Number of Towers

38

Average Incline

11.17%

Max Height

40.8 m (134 feet) at Tower #19-20

Driving Unit

xx H.P. Electric Motor, Diesel electric back-up

Construction Period

Originally – 1976-1977

 

Manufactured by:

Original – VonRoll, Switzerland

Reconstruction – Leitner-Poma

 

Copyright 1991 - 2018 - Lifeskill Rescue Services Ltd.

(Site updated December 29th 2017)