Case Study: Deropement Incidents (Jan 2009 - June 2016)

BC is home to some of the world’s best alpine facilities. Millions of residents and tourists frequent these facilities every year to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and alpine vistas. An integral part of this experience is exciting and safe transportation on passenger ropeways.

Passenger ropeways are some of the safest forms of transportation. Safety and confidence in these systems has been achieved by combining technical advancements in design with a strong safety culture within the industry. Put simply, safety is achieved when passengers remain on their carriers, carriers remain gripped to the cables, and the cables remain on the sheaves.

Even though significant advancements have been made in safety, every year BC experiences a number of incidents where the cable of a passenger ropeway departs from the sheaves. Within the industry, these incidents are called deropements.

All passenger ropeways in BC are required to incorporate a means to retain the cable to the outside of the sheave assemblies should it depart from its normal running position. The means of retention must also allow for free passage of the cable (the haul rope), grips and carriers while the cable is either in or out of the normal position. Testing is required to demonstrate that free passage and safe clearances are maintained during anticipated operating conditions.

Typically, cable retention designs have incorporated a series of angle brackets on the outside of sheave assemblies to catch the cable in the event of a deropement. These angle brackets are referred to as cable or rope catchers. To improve the likelihood of cable catchers to catch and retain the cable, a requirement in BC was added that retention means shall be located not more than half of the sheave’s diameter vertically from the normal position of the rope and that sensing devices are incorporated to stop the system as soon as possible following a deropement.

In addition to these requirements, ski hill operators take a variety of preventative measures to minimise the likelihood of a deropement event. These measures include regular inspections of sheave alignment, automated cable tensioning systems, snow plowing/grooming protocols to create tracks to guide skiers and snowboarders in a safe path, and posting signage to instruct passengers to remain on the designated path.

Even with the advances in requirements for rope catchers and the measures taken to prevent deropements, from 2009 to 2015, on average four deropements were reported annually where the cable is not retained. Deropements present a serious risk to passengers on aerial ropeways who could fall to the ground and to passengers on surface lifts who could be struck by the falling cable above them. This study summarizes reported deropement incidents occurring from January 1, 2009 to June 30, 2016.

Operating Passenger Ropeways in BC

Technical Safety BC is responsible for overseeing the safety of passenger ropeways throughout BC in accordance with the Safety Standards Act and the Elevating Devices Safety Regulation. There are generally two types of passenger ropeways operating in BC:

  1. Surface ropeways that pull a standing passenger along a surface.
  2. Aerial (or above-surface) ropeways where the passenger is completely suspended in a carrier which is attached to a ropeway.

Figure 1 shows the distribution between the different operating passenger ropeways in BC.

 

 

There are approximately 232 passenger ropeways operating in BC. These are manufactured by approximately 23 different companies and installed at 51 different sites or ski areas. As illustrated in Figures 2 and 3 above, passenger ropeways operating in BC range in age of installation from less than a year to almost 60 years.

Deropement Incidents January 1, 2009 to June 30, 2016

 

 

Deropement by Type, Lift and Year

Figures 4 through 6 illustrate relationships between the number and the types of deropements and the types of ropeways involved in deropement incidents.

In 2013, six retained and one unretained deropements occurred on the same surface ropeway. Safety officers investigated the multiple incidents and the ropeway design. The investigation identified issues in the amount of tension in the system and safety officers worked with the owner to modify the design and installation to resolve the issue leading to these occurrences.

In 2014, two unretained deropement incidents occurred on aerial ropeways where passenger carriers fell to the ground.  

Deropements and Equipment

The following figures summarize deropement incidents relative to the age of the equipment:

 

Approximate Age of Aerial Ropeway
Approximate Age of Surface Ropeway

 

Deropements and Equipment Age
Equipment Age When Incident Occurred and Contributing Factors

Reliability engineering widely uses a concept called the bathtub curve to describe typical failure rates over the life cycle of a product. At the beginning of a product’s life, increased failure rates may be experienced as a result of manufacturing quality errors or installation errors or the lack of familiarity of an operator with the product. Following this phase is a period where a lower failure rate is experienced, often a constant rate that is attributed to random issues. As the product ages and components begin to wear, an increased failure rate can be expected.

Elements of this bathtub curve can be observed when examining the instances of deropement relative to the age of the equipment in the above figures. There is an evident deropement rate that is experienced within the first two years of

service. There are no deropements reported to have occurred on equipment between three and 15 years of age. Equipment installations and operations that are more than 15 years in age experience an increased deropement rate that remains as that equipment continues to age until retired from service.

Figure 10 expands upon figure 9 by further separating the distribution of deropement incidents into the identified cause categories. Each dot or bubble indicates a deropement incident. Figure 10 plots the deropements by age of the installation relative to the various identified cause categories and illustrates that there is no strong relationship between equipment age and any particular deropement cause.

Deropements Resulting in Injuries

Five deropements since 2009 resulted in injuries to passengers. These incidents and injuries are summarized in Table 1 It is important to note that Technical Safety BC receives its injury reports and descriptions from operators or first responders at the time of, or immediately following, the incident. Injuries may develop after the initial reports were made to Technical Safety BC and the long-term effects of a resultant injury may not be recorded as part of our investigation.

Table 1: Injuries Resulting from Deropement Incidents

Ropeway Deropement Carrier Suspected Cause(s) of Deropement Persons injured Description [Note 1] Suspected Cause of Injury
Surface Not retained T-bar Passenger may have been skiing out of the tow path; or carrier may have contacted the tower. 1 Broken clavicle, concussion Contact with cable
Surface Not retained T-bar A passenger fell on the tow path prior to the tower. 1 Abrasion and swollen arm Contact with cable
Surface Not retained T-bar Passenger may have been riding out of the tow path. 1 Possible bruising Contact with cable
Surface Not retained T-bar Passengers may have been riding out of the tow path. 2 1 - Fractured shoulder 1 - Bruises  
Aerial Not retained Fixed chair A swinging chair contacted a tower. 4 4 - Injuries requiring hospital treatment Carrier falling to the ground

Note 1: Injury information is provided to Technical Safety BC by first responders and/or voluntary reports at the time of investigation. Injury information is provided to give some context relating to impact or scale of the incident.

One out of 15 (17%) unretained surface deropements and one out of three (33%) unretained aerial deropements resulted with injuries to passengers. Generally, while unretained aerial deropements are much less frequent, they are more likely to result in injuries and those injuries are likely to be more severe.

Summary of Causes

The table below summarizes the main cause and contributing factors identified by Technical Safety BC incident investigation

Summary of Factors Contributing to Deropement Incidents

 

The most frequent contributing factor to deropement incidents relates to how directly passengers interact with the equipment either along the surface lift tow path or at the loading and unloading area. The second most common contributing factor relates to carriers swinging during operation. These two factors (passenger interaction with equipment and swinging passenger carriers) combine to have influenced almost 76% of all deropements. The listing of incidents at the end of this document further breaks down Table 2 into aerial/surface ropeways and retained/not retained deropements. These two predominant contributing factors account for over 87% of all unretained deropements in BC.

Summary of Deropement Incidents

BC has a thriving passenger ropeway industry that currently operates 127 aerial ropeways and 105 surface lift ropeways. Every year, passenger ropeways in BC report over 10 occurrences of a deropement incident. Incidents where the cable is not retained by the equipment, and subsequently falls to the ground, present a considerable risk to passengers or nearby people.

From January 1, 2009 to June 30, 2016, 82 deropement incidents were reported with an average of 7.9 deropements on surface lifts and 2.4 deropements on aerial lifts per year. Approximately 48% of surface lift and 16% of aerial lift deropement incidents resulted with the rope not being retained.

A total of nine injuries (from five incidents) have been reported since 2009 as a result of deropement incidents where the haul rope was not retained.

Deropement incidents were most frequent on equipment installations of zero to two years of age or between 15 and 20 years of age. No deropements were reported to have occurred on equipment installations that were between three and 14 years of age.

The vast majority of the deropements are a result of sideways loading on the cable. These sideways loads were induced by either direct passenger activity such as skiing out of the designated path on surface lifts or falling, or by unintended contact from a swinging passenger carrier (chair or T-bar) and other parts of the ropeway equipment.

Deropement Incidents (2009 - 2016) are provided via a downloadable .CSV file.

Year              Incident Data
2009 - 2016 Data Set (.csv)

TABLE 3: SUMMARY OF FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO DEROPEMENT INCIDENTS ON AERIAL ROPEWAYS

CAUSE CONTRIBUTING FACTOR QTY DESCRIPTION
Sideways forces or sudden forces applied to the cable Passenger usage 8 Passenger unloading error
Weather 3 High and/or strong winds
Contact with foreign objects 2 Tree fell onto ropeway line
1 Heavy equipment (excavator) contacted/pulled haul rope
Excessive carrier swing 1 Swinging carrier contacted tower
1 Operator contacted carrier when removing snow
Cable obstructed Weather 2 Ice accumulation
Equipment Alignment 2 Poor sheave assembly alignment
Operational error Lack of experience 1 Operators lacked operational experience at the installation location.

 

TABLE 4: SUMMARY OF FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO DEROPEMENT INCIDENTS ON SURFACE ROPEWAYS

CAUSE CONTRIBUTING FACTOR QTY DESCRIPTION
Sideways forces or sudden forces applied to the cable Passenger usage 20 Passenger skiing or snowboarding out of the tow path
14 Passenger loading or unloading error
6 Passenger fell on tow path
1 Passenger swerved
Excessive carrier swing 3 Swinging carrier during operation
4 Irregular or uncontrolled carrier retraction/release
3 Carrier contacted sheave or sheave assembly
1 Excessive swing on ropeway start-up
1 High/strong winds
Equipment Alignment 2 Poor sheave assembly alignment
Component failure 1 Sheave assembly component failed
Installation 1 Spring box installed backwards after servicing
Cable obstructed Weather 1 Ice accumulation
Tangled equipment 1 Carrier (T-seat) over the haul rope
1 Carrier and winch line tangled
1 Carrier rope tangled with sheave assembly

 

TABLE 5: SUMMARY OF FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO RETAINED DEROPEMENT INCIDENTS

CAUSE CONTRIBUTING FACTOR QTY DESCRIPTION
Sideways forces or sudden forces applied to the cable Passenger usage 15 Passenger loading or unloading error
9 Passenger skiing or snowboarding out of the tow path
1 Passenger fell on tow path
Excessive carrier swing 3 Swinging carrier during operation
3 Irregular or uncontrolled carrier retraction
2 Carrier contacted sheave or sheave assembly
1 Excessive swing on ropeway start-up
1 Operator contacted carrier
Weather 4 High and/or strong winds
Contact with foreign objects 2 Tree fell onto ropeway line
1 Heavy equipment (excavator) contacted/pulled haul rope
Equipment Alignment 4 Poor sheave assembly alignment
Component failure 1 Sheave assembly component failed
Cable obstructed Weather 2 Ice accumulation
Tangled equipment 1 Carrier (T-seat) over the haul rope
1 Carrier rope tangled with sheave assembly

 

TABLE 6: SUMMARY OF FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO NOT-RETAINED DEROPEMENT INCIDENTS

CAUSE CONTRIBUTING FACTOR QTY DESCRIPTION
Sideways forces or sudden forces applied to the cable Passenger usage 11 Passenger skiing or snowboarding out of the tow path
7 Passenger unloading error
5 Passenger fell on tow path
1 Passenger swerved
Excessive carrier swing 2 Swinging carrier contacted tower
1 Irregular carrier retraction
Cable obstructed Weather 1 Ice accumulation
Tangled equipment 1 Carrier and winch line tangled
Equipment Installation 1 Spring box installed backwards after servicing
Operational error Lack of experience 1 Operators lacked operational experience at the installation location.

 

TABLE 7: DEROPEMENT INCIDENT INVESTIGATIONS

YEAR INCIDENT DESCRIPTION POSSIBLE CAUSE(S) AND CONTRIBUTING FACTORS CONTRIBUTING FACTOR CATEGORY DEROPEMENT TYPE DAMAGE INJURY- QTY. INJURY DESCRIPTION ROPEWAY INSTALLATION AGE
2009 A carrier (T-bar) wrapped around the haul rope and caused the uphill side sheave assembly top station to derope. The haul rope was not retained by rope catchers. A passenger did not unload correctly and caused the carrier to swing and wrap around the haul rope. Passenger unloading error Not retained T damaged; complete carrier removed from service. 0 NA Surface 31
2009 Complete deropement of Tower 10. Two passengers were riding T carrier 3 and had passed the unload area when the deropement occurred. The haul rope struck one of the passengers. Ski tracks to the inside of the tow path indicate that the passengers may not have been on the tow path as they approached Tower 10; the tow path had bumps from regular use that could have affected the passengers' ability to stay on the low path; the sheave liner on Sheave 1 at Tower 10 (uphill) was beginning to delaminate and some material on the side of the sheave liner was missing. The groove, however, was still in tact. This may not have caused the deropement but may have affected the liner's sidewall strength and its ability to hold the rope in the correct position. Passengers riding out of tow path Not retained Carrier was twisted and removed from service. 1 Broken clavicle, concussion Surface 44
2009 Deropement of Tower 1 uphill. The haul rope was not retained by the cable catchers and the deropement switch was not activated. The operator observed the passenger (snowboarder) riding out of the tow path. Passenger riding out of tow path Not retained None 0 NA Surface 15
2009 Retained deropement. The passenger left the track to the outside and pulled the rope off the lead-in. Passenger riding out of tow path Retained None 0 NA Surface 16
2009 Retained deropement at Tower 4 uphill. A passenger fell. Fall on tow path Retained None 0 NA Surface 15
2010 Retained deropement at the drive station. Improper unload by passenger; Improper handle release. Passenger unloading error Retained None 0 NA Surface 16
2010 The haul rope partially deroped from its normal running position at Tower 14 (light side, lead out). The deropement occurred during pre-operational tests before operation. Poor sheave assembly alignment; Sheave assembly alignment Retained Severed communications line 0 NA Aerial 24
2010 A full deropement occurred at Tower 9. The haul rope was not retained by the catcher and came to the ground (tow path). A passenger (beginner snowboarder) fell on the tow path prior to Tower 9. The carrier T shaft may have swung up and onto the communication messenger on recoil, or the carrier swing after the passengers fall may have caused a violent swing that resulted in the carrier contacting the assembly and prying the rope off. Fall on tow path Not retained Sheave damaged; T-seat damaged 1 Abrasion, arm swollen Surface 36
2010 Deropement from Sheave 1 uphill side of top station. Passenger (snowboarder) did not unload correctly; passenger was riding out of the tow path. Passenger unloading error Retained None 0 NA Surface 30
2010 Deropement at unload station. A passenger pushed off the chair as he unloaded and caused the chair to swing and derope on the downhill side. The passenger caused the chair to swing as he tried to keep his balance while falling. Passenger unloading error Retained None 0 NA Aerial 48
2010 Complete deropement of Tower 4 up hill side. Rope missed rope catchers and was retained on cross arm. (Hold down tower) Rope was also running on the sheave flanges on Tower 2. A passenger (skier) was out of the tow path on a surface lift T-bar, causing the haul rope to derail from the sheave assembly. Passenger riding out of tow path Not retained None 0 NA Surface 39
2010 A carrier struck the tower carrier deflector, causing a deropement at Tower 14 downhill side. A passenger did not unload correctly at the uphill side of the unload station. This caused the carrier to swing wildly as it entered the bull wheel. The momentum of the carrier continued as it exited the bull wheel on approach to Tower 14 and contacted the tower carrier deflector. Passenger unloading error Retained None 0 NA Aerial 48
2010 The carrier T wrapped around the haul rope at unload and went around the bull wheel. It became hung up on the lead out guide sheave, snapped the T rope, then derailed the lead out guide sheave wedging the haul rope between the sheave and inside deropement guard. The haul rope derailed at a return station sheave assembly. A surface lift T did not properly retract. The passenger unloading from the carrier may have contributed. Irregular carrier retraction Retained Minor scuffing, flattened wire. 0 NA Surface 35
2010 The haul rope was pulled from the sheave assembly and missed the rope catcher. The haul rope hit the ground (tow path) and settled approximately three feet above the tow path. Passengers were weaving off of the tow path while riding a surface platter. Passengers riding out of tow path Not retained Two platter seats damaged; one hanger arm damaged 0 NA Surface 19
2010 A deropement occurred at Tower 2. The haul rope was pulled off she sheave assembly and was not retained by rope catchers. A passenger (snowboarder) was riding out of the tow path, over the berm. This is a small platter lift (single passenger) with lightly loaded towers, this type of occurrence happens when passengers ride far out of the track, some times this type of incident is intentionally caused by passengers. Passenger riding out of tow path Not retained None 0 NA Surface 16
2010 Partial deropement of return station uphill sheave assembly. A passenger (skier) was not riding under the haul rope. Passenger riding out of tow path Retained None 0 NA Surface 16
2011 A deropement of the incoming lead-in guide sheave occurred at the return station. A passenger (snowboarder) caused the chair to swing excessively as he unloaded from the chair. Passenger unloading error Retained None 0 NA Aerial 24
2011 The haul rope came out of the sheaves and landed on the rope catcher at Tower 5, heavy side. High winds caused the haul rope to come out of the sheaves. Weather - Wind Retained None 0 NA Aerial 38
2011 Deropement of Tower 2, uphill side. The haul rope was not retained by rope catchers and ended up slightly above the sheave assembly. Deropement may have been caused by passengers riding out of the track, or unloading from the ropeway prior to Tower 2. Passengers riding out of tow path Not retained None 0 NA Surface 34
2011 Deropement of Tower 6, uphill side. The rope was not retained by the rope catchers. The haul rope ended up approx 2 meters above the snow once line bounce had stopped. One passenger was hit on the thigh/hip area by the carrier as it came down. The sheave assembly on Tower 6 uphill is a 4-sheave support assembly (4T). Lift maintenance staff observed tracks six to eight metres outside the normal tow path. It appears that the haul rope was pulled from the sheaves by a passenger riding out of the track. There was minor marking on the lead-in cable catcher - this is may be where the rope contacted the carrier and came out of the sheaves. Passenger riding out of tow path Not retained None 1 Possible bruising Surface 24
2011 A deropement occurred at Tower 2. The haul rope was not retained by the rope catcher. While riding, a group of passengers (ski racers) veered to the outside of the track and pulled the haul rope off the sheaves at Tower 2. Passengers riding out of tow path Not retained None 0 NA Surface 18
2011 A partial derail occurred on the uphill side return station assembly. The rockers were seized, the assembly did not articulate as intended and the derail fork did not break. The stop was initiated by the attendant. Improper loading procedure; Passenger loading error Retained None 0 NA Surface 17
2011 A deropement occurred on Tower 2, uphill side. A passenger (inexperienced skier) swerved and pulled the rope out of the combination assembly; Passenger swerved and pulled rope out of assembly Not retained None 0 NA Surface 27
2012 A deropement occurred. Rope derailment was not retained and the tower fault was not actuated. The attendant initiated the lift stop. Sudden lateral loading to the haul rope after passengers fell after loading. The sheave assembly did not articulate enough to cause the break fork to break. Fall on tow path Not retained None 0 NA Surface 18
2012 A deropement occurred at Tower 5, downhill side. A sudden, strong gust of wind caused the cable to derope. Weather - Wind Retained None 0 NA Aerial 44
2012 A carrier contacted Tower 12, causing it to derail the haul rope off the sheave assembly. A carrier was bumped as it came around the bull wheel by an operator on the drive room roof shovelling snow. The carrier left the terminal with a lot of sideway swing and hit Tower 12. Operator contacted carrier Retained None 0 NA Aerial 19
2012 Deropement of Tower 8 downhill side sheave assembly, haul rope was not retained by rope catchers. Incident occurred sometime overnight during storm cycle. Icing and rhime on haul rope caused reduced load on hold down assembly, this along with high winds pushed haul rope off sheave assembly. Weather - ice Not retained None 0 NA Surface 39
2012 Deropement of the uphill side sheave assembly of the bottom station. The rope was retained by the rope catcher and the break fork switch caused the lift to stop. A passenger skied away from the tow path. Passenger riding out of tow path Retained None 0 NA Surface 18
2012 Tower 4 deroped on the uphill side, missed the cable catchers and the haul rope ended up approximately 2.5 metres above the snow surface. A passenger fell on the tow path, allowing the carrier's T seat to fly up and become jammed in the carrier grip. This then acted as a pry bar and forced the haul rope off the sheave assembly. Fall on tow path Not retained Carrier 5 damaged and removed from service; incoming inside haul rope deflector damaged and replaced 0 NA Surface 25
2012 A deropement occurred on Tower 4, downhill side. The rope was not retained by the rope catcher. After a passenger unloaded their surface lift platter, the platter carrier swung out and became entangled with the carrier on the down hill side. Passenger unloading error Not retained Broken platter rope 0 NA Surface 39
2012 Upon starting the surface lift, a carrier swung excessively as it went around the return station bull wheel, contacted the guide sheave assembly, causing the haul rope to derope. This unit has limitations with the soft start drive, the combination of the radical acceleration and perfect positioning of the carrier on the bull wheel caused the carrier to swing on start up. Excessive swing on start-up Retained None 0 NA Surface 39
2012 A deropement occurred on the uphill side of Tower 1. The rope was retained by the catcher. The swinging platter rope became entangled in the grip. Swinging carrier Retained None 0 NA Surface 19
2012 A deropement occurred at Tower 4. The haul rope was retained by the inside rope guide. A passenger veered to the inside of the tow path, forcing the haul rope out of the sheave liner grooves and onto the inside rope guides. Passenger riding out of tow path Retained Break fork assembly damaged 0 NA Surface 18
2012 A deropement occurred on a surface T-bar ropeway. The haul rope was not retained. Passengers (two snowboarders) did not unload at the correct location. They tried to pull hard to the left to clear the unload area. This caused the springbox to swing wildly as it entered the bull wheel. As the carrier exited the bull wheel, it deroped from the sheave assembly (4-sheave assembly). This T-bar is 'left hand up' (clockwise drive direction) and is a bull wheel unload -- this type of T-bar can be prone to deropement when passengers do not unload correctly. There is a large instructional sign on the return station showing how to unload correctly; these passengers did not follow the requirements. Passenger unloading error Not retained None 0 NA Surface 32
2013 The cable came off at Tower 10 and was caught by the cable catcher. A passenger (skier) may have veered too far to the left (outside), pulling the cable off the sheave wheel groove. Passenger riding out of tow path Retained None 0 NA Surface 1
2013 A carrier struck the tower sheave equipment, causing a deropement. A carrier was installed on the haul rope incorrectly after servicing, I.e., the springbox was installed backwards. Installation error after service/maintenance Not retained Bent incoming deropement guard 0 NA Surface 44
2013 A deropement occurred at Tower 4 uphill side. The rope was retained by the inside guide. A passenger veered to the inside of the tow path, causing the haul rope to be pulled out of the sheave liner groove and against the inside sheave assembly guide. A fence was not installed to prevent passengers from veering out of the tow path. Passenger Retained Break fork assembly damaged 0 NA Surface 19
2013 A T-seat hooked onto Tower 7, causing an unretained deropement on a surface lift. A passenger fell on the tow path. Fall on tow path Not retained Broken Tee rope 0 NA Surface 42
2013 A deropement occurred at Tower 10, uphill side. The haul rope was pushed out of position but was retained by the cable catcher. After reaching the top of the hill, a passenger (skier) released the T-bar. The T-bar hit the plastic barrier in place before the safety gate. The T-bar bounced off the barrier and was flung in between the lift cable and the wheels of Tower 10. Passenger unloading error Retained None 0 NA Surface 1
2013 A retained deropement occurred at Tower 10, unload area. A passenger unloaded irregularly, causing a swinging motion. The swinging T-bar (stem and seat) collided with the centre of Tower 10. Passenger unloading error Retained None 0 NA Surface 1
2013 A deropement occurred at the uphill side of Tower 10. Tower 10 is located after the unload area. A swinging carrier may have resulted in the haul rope lifted and pulled out of the sheave liner groove and then riding over the sheave side plates and onto the rope catcher. Swinging carrier Retained None 0 NA Surface 1
2013 A deropement occurred on the uphill side of Tower 1. The rope was retained by the catcher. A swinging carrier may have pulled the rope off Tower 10. The per-sheave loading of the uphill side of Tower 10 was below required values. Swinging carrier Retained None 0 NA Surface 1
2013 A deropement occurred at Tower 8 (hold down), uphill side. High winds were reported at the time of the incident. Because the carrier was just beyond the deroped tower, it is speculated that the deropement may have been passenger related (i.e., passenger may have caused the deropement). Passenger unloading error Not retained None 0 NA Surface 26
2013 Deropement of a return station guide sheave on a 2-wheel assembly. The carrier was pushed out while a passenger (snowboarder) was unloading, levering the rope from the groove of the sheave. There was no rope catcher on the assembly. Passenger unloading error Not retained None 0 NA Aerial 26
2013 The carrier swung after the passengers unloaded and caused the deropement of two towers. Two passengers (skiers) unloaded T-bar to the left of the tow path. The spring box and hanger assembly swung to the inside of the lift line as it entered the sheave assembly. Passenger unloading error Not retained T-bar grip and hanger assembly damaged; scuffing on 10 metres of haul rope 0 NA Surface 1
2013 Partial deropement at the unloading station. The rope was retained by the rope catcher. The passenger skied the platter assembly to the outside of the tow path, pulling the haul rope off the guide sheave assembly. The unload operator had not been watching the area prior to the unload to watch for this behaviour. Passenger riding out of tow path Retained None 0 NA Surface 19
2013 The T-bar swung erratically and contacted the Tower 10 assembly. The T-bar was released outside of the tow path. Tower 10 was lightly loaded. Passenger unloading error Not retained None 0 NA Surface 1
2013 A passenger observed a partial deropement of the first sheave on Tower 7 uphill as he was riding up the T-bar. As the passenger's carrier went through Tower 7, the haul rope completely deroped and was retained by the rope catchers. Possibly caused by the passenger not riding in track (tow path). Passenger riding out of tow path Retained None 0 NA Surface 33
2013 When a passenger entered the loading area of the lift, the operator grabbed a platter on the downhill side prior to the guide sheave assembly. The passenger failed to ready himself and the operator reacted by swinging the platter (in an attempt to avoid contacting the passenger). The swing caused the deropement of the incoming load station guide sheave assembly. The haul rope was retained, however, slipped off to the inside of the rope catcher and made contact with the assembly. A platter grip also made contact with the assembly and the grip slid on the haul rope approximately 150mm. The passenger was not ready to load. The lift attendant swung the carrier away from the passenger to avoid contact, causing the deropement. The loading procedure of grabbing the platter on the incoming side of the bull wheel was also a contributing factor. Passenger loading error Retained Minor scuffing to haul rope 0 NA Surface 19
2013 Deropement on Tower 4 down-hill side. The 'rosta' element failed on a two-support one-hold down ('rosta') sheave assembly. The failure caused the compression sheave force to be relieved, allowing the haul rope to leave the centre of the assembly. Sheave assembly component failed Retained 'Rosta' sheave element damaged 0 NA Surface 19
2013 A passenger skied out of the tow path on the platter lift and caused a deropement. The haul rope was retained by the rope catchers. A passenger (snowboarder) disregarded signage and delineators and skied out of the tow path at the mid-unload area at Tower 2. Passenger riding out of tow path Retained None 0 NA Surface 20
2014 A deropement occurred at the unload guide sheave assembly. A passenger (snowboarder) turned his snowboard sideways in a 'snowplow' maneuver on approach to the platter lift unload station. This maneuver added extra tension on the platter. The passenger released the platter and it entered the unload bull wheel swinging and not fully retracted. The residual energy caused the platter to derope at the unload side guide sheave assembly. Irregular carrier retraction Retained None 0 NA Surface 19
2014 Towers 11 and 12 on the uphill side deroped. The haul rope was retained by the rope catchers. This deropement occurred prior to operation. Freezing rain caused ice accumulations on the underside of the sheave assemblies Weather - ice accumulation and freezing rain Retained Eleven carriers damaged; one grip damaged; lead-in four-sheave assembly pin hole in main assembly elongated from Tower 11 (may not be related to incident, possibly previous wear) 0 NA Aerial 45
2014 The haul rope was pulled off Tower 1 uphill side sheave assembly. Two passengers skied outside of the tow path and around a delineation fence intended to keep the passengers in the tow path. Skiing outside the tow path caused a force on the haul rope to pull the rope from the sheave assembly at Tower 1. The resultant bounce of the haul rope caused the load area guide sheave assembly on the uphill side to also derope. Passengers riding out of tow path Not retained Bent lead-in 2-sheave assembly; two lead-in rope guards bent; scuffing on haul rope; possible damage to carrier grip 0 NA Surface 2
2014 An unoccupied gondola carrier travelling downhill became detached from the rope and fell to the ground. The investigation into the failure of the gondola cabin's detachable rope grip to maintain its holding force on the haul rope found that the incident occurred due to operational error. Lack of operational experience in installation location Not retained Damage was limited to passenger carrier 17, the sheave assembly at Tower 7 and the haul rope. 0 NA Aerial 0.25
2014 Two passengers fell after loading the T-bar. The passengers became entangled in the carrier. After releasing themselves from the carrier, the carrier became entangled with a plastic delineation fence pole and the resulting tension pulled the haul rope off the up hill side Tower 1 sheave assembly. After the passengers fell, the lift operator did not stop the lift. The operator was not monitoring the lift line when the T became entangled with delineation fencing. A delineation fence had been erected using snow fencing and plastic poles to the users left hand side Fall on tow path Not retained None 0 NA Surface 2
2014 Deropement of Tower 1 uphill side sheave assembly. The haul rope fell and contacted two passengers, resulting in injuries. A passenger riding the ropeway may have initiated the deropement by causing a side load to the haul rope (by skiing or riding the lift outside of the towpath). However, it is worth noting work was conducted prior to the incident to address rope-sheave alignment issues at the drive station and Tower 1. Based on the operator's report, it can be assumed that poor rope/ sheave alignment, worn sheave liners were a contributing factor to the deropement. The report also indicated that the tensioning system was not functioning as per design, which may also have contributed to the deropement. Passenger riding out of tow path Not retained None 2 1 - Fractured shoulder, Surface 2
2014 Deropement of downhill side of top station bull wheel guide sheaves. A passenger (skier) did not unload correctly and pulled the T to the left, causing the T to slingshot and the carrier to swing exiting the bull wheel. This caused the haul rope to leave the sheaves. Passenger unloading error Retained None 0 NA Surface 27
2014 The haul rope deroped from the incoming two-wheel station sheave assembly. A passenger (snowboarder) pushed away from the carrier (aggressive lateral push) as he was unloading, causing the haul rope to move out of the sheave wheel grove and over the side plate. Passenger unloading error Retained None 0 NA Aerial 27
2014 A full deropement of a fixed-grip double chairlift occurred. A swinging chair struck a tower, causing a full deropement. A non-functioning tensioning system was also discovered. Swinging chair contacted a tower Not retained Five carriers, haul rope, tower sheave assembly components damaged 4 4 - injuries requiring hospital treatment Aerial 47
2014 The haul rope ran out of its normal running position on the tower sheave during morning start up. The ropeway ran 10 to 15 metres at 10% speed. Ice accumulation on an above-surface ropeway. Weather - ice accumulation Retained None 0 NA Aerial 19
2014 A deropement occurred during morning start up and there were no passengers on the ropeway at the time of the incident. High winds caused the haul rope to derope. Weather - wind Retained None 0 NA Surface 27
2014 The return station uphill side portal assembly deroped. A T-bar seat became entangled with a guide sheave assembly. The T-bar seat rope broke and the assembly derailed. The carrier assembly entered the bull wheel at an unusual angle as the lift was stopping and caused the haul rope to leave the bull wheel liner. The haul rope was retained by the carrier guide ring on the bottom of the bull wheel. A passenger may have unloaded improperly, pulled the T outside of the tow path, and released the T very late in an attempt to reach the entrance of a nearby run. This improper unload situation caused the T to retract late and with some force, causing the T rope to swing over the inside of the haul rope and become lodged under the grip. Passenger unloading error Retained Distorted wires in 6 locations, dent in the upper rim of the bull wheel, damage to the T-bar seat, 0 NA Surface 41
2014 Deropement into rope catcher due to bent empty carrier hanger entering into Tower 2 uphill sheave assembly. The hanger made contact somewhere on the assembly or sheave, causing the deropement and subsequent weld failure. The deropement was caused by the carrier impacting the sheave assembly. Passenger riding out of tow path Retained Spring box hanger damaged 0 NA Surface 46
2014 Haul rope deroped from sheave assembly on downhill side of Tower 3. The haul rope was retained by rope catchers and ropeway was stopped by deropement switch. It appears the deropement was caused by a T seat that was over the haul rope. While the cause of T seat being over haul rope is unknown, it may have occurred after a passenger unloaded and was not noticed by the top station operator and did not trip the safety gate. It may have occurred when a passenger skied out of the track above Tower 3 and the uphill carriers rope hooked the downhill carriers seat and caused it to swing over the haul rope. Cable obstructed - T-seat over haul rope Retained None 0 NA Surface 48
2015 An aerial deropement occurred at Tower 14. The haul rope was retained by the rope catcher. Five passengers were evacuated from the chairlift. Tower 14 downhill side combination 8 hold down/4 support assembly deroped due to misalignment of the tower sheave assembly. Maintenance staff indicated to the Safety Officer that routine tower and assembly inspections had not been conducted. Evidence of this lack of routine inspection can be seen on the worn sheave liners and sheave side Equipment - alignment Retained Three outer sheave flanges damaged; scuffing to 3.2m section haul rope 0 NA Aerial 29
2015 A deropement occurred on Tower 1 (uphill side sheave assembly). The haul rope was not retained. The T-bar operator had been instructed to clear ice and snow from the T-bar carriers by lift maintenance personnel. The operator was instructed to pull the Ts and allow them to retract, the operator released a T improperly and it became entangled with a tower pad on Tower 1, causing a deropement. The operator failed to watch Ts retract while performing snow and ice clearing of T's. Maintenance staff may not of stressed the importance of watching the TÕs retract. Carrier swing - irregular retraction Not retained None 0 NA Surface 23
2015 A deropement occurred (two towers) after the winch line became engaged with the carrier's hanger arm. The ropeway was not operating at the time of the incident. A 'winch-cat' was being run downhill in the forward direction under the T-bar lift line in foggy and blowing snow conditions. The winch-cat line was anchored at the top station. Between Towers 7 and 8, the winch-cat operator conducted a turn to the uphill direction. It was at this point, it is suspected, that due to the concave nature of the slope and the winch line whipping as the turn was being conducted, that the winch line became engaged with the hanger arm of carrier #50. The winch-cat operator was not aware the winch line had engaged the carrier due to poor visibility. As the winch line became taut with the winch-cat heading uphill, the carrier was pulled downward by the winch line bight causing damage to the hanger arm. A subsequent sudden release of the winch line bight from the carrier resulted in the deropement. Cable obstructed - winch line and carrier tangled Not retained One carrier damaged 0 NA Surface 28
2015 A deropement occurred on a surface ropeway. The haul rope was retained by the rope catcher. A passenger may have unloaded the T-bar and skied to the side, releasing the T late. The T entered the unload station swinging. The unload station operator of the T-bar failed to notice a T enter the return station bull wheel swinging after a guest had unloaded. Carrier swing - carrier contacted sheave assembly Retained None 0 NA Surface 36
2015 A deropement occurred on a surface ropeway. The haul rope was retained by the rope catcher. A carrier entered the return station bull wheel and exited the bull wheel swinging. The carrier hanger arm made contact with the lead-in rope catcher of the return station downhill side assembly. The impact of the hanger arm contacting the rope catcher caused the assembly to derail. Maintenance staff did not recognize misalignment of haul rope on the bull wheel due to return station downhill side assembly being to low. This misalignment was causing carrier swing which allowed the carrier to make contact with the down hill side lead-in rope catcher causing a deropement. Equipment - alignment Retained None 0 NA Surface 36
2015 A deropement occurred on a surface ropeway. A carrier exited the return station bull wheel and contacted the lead-in rope catcher of the downhill side return station guide sheave assembly. The carrier contacting the lead-in rope catcher caused the return station down hill side sheave assembly to derope. The rope catcher retained the haul rope and the break fork stopped the lift. The bull wheel liner was worn to the bottom rim of the return station bull wheel, and guide sheave adjustment could not correct this. Rope misalignment in bull wheel liner caused rope twist and carrier swing, allowing carriers to make contact with the return station guide sheave assembly lead in rope catcher. Equipment - liner worn to bottom rim Retained None 0 NA Surface 36
2015 A passenger unloaded improperly from a chairlift, causing the carrier to swing into and contact the haul rope support sheaves. When the carrier hanger contacted the sheave assembly, it levered the haul rope off the sheave assembly. The passenger unloading initiated the carrier swing. The deropement was caused due to the carrier hanger contacting the entrance sheaves as it swung. Passenger unloading error Retained Two sheave side plates damaged 0 NA Aerial 37
2015 Deropement of Tower 5 uphill side. A tree fell on the lift line during the overnight period. When the ropeway was started the next morning, the tree was across the haul rope, causing the deropement. Tree fell on lift line Retained None 0 NA Aerial 26
2015 Deropement of top station uphill side sheaves. The passenger released the carrier outside of the towpath, causing it to swing excessively. Carrier swing - Passenger released carrier outside of tow path Retained None 0 NA Surface 44
2015 Deropement of Towers 4 and 5. The ropeway was struck by a falling tree between Towers 4 and 5. The impact from the tree derailed Towers 2, 3, 4, and 5. Cable obstructed - Tree fell on lift line Not retained Communications messenger wire broken 0 NA Surface 40
2016 A deropement occurred on a surface T-bar ropeway. A surface lift T-bar carrier rope was entangled in a tower sheave assembly. Cable obstructed - Carrier rope tangled with sheave assembly Retained None 0 NA Surface 48
2016 Deropement of Tower 4, downhill side. The rope landed in the cable catcher originally, then jumped out and was not retained by the cable catcher. The haul rope fell towards the ground and four additional carriers hit the ground. A carrier was going down hill. The carrier's spring box broke at the point it was connected to the hanger arm and fell off, allowing the broken carrier hanger to swing and contact the tower. Excessive carrier swing - Carrier contacted tower Not retained Five carriers damaged (platter seats damaged) 0 NA Surface 42
2016 A deropment occurred on an aerial ropeway. The haul rope was retained by the rope catcher. A passenger unloaded from the chairlift and swung the carrier excessively. This caused the carrier to swing in and contact the guide sheave assembly. The impact caused the haul rope to derope. Swinging carrier Retained None 0 NA Aerial 38
2016 A deropmement occurred on an aerial ropeway. The haul rope fell off the tower wheel assembly and was retained by the wheel assembly haul rope catcher. The safety switch on the tower stopped the chair lift. Eight passengers were manually evacuated from the stopped chair lift. The ropeway was operating in high wind weather conditions. A gust of wind blowing perpendicular to the lift line blew across the line with enough force to derope the haul rope. Weather - wind Retained None 0 NA Aerial 43
2016 Deropement at Tower 2 uphill assembly. The haul rope was not retained by the rope catchers and the deropement safety switch did not actuate. The haul rope was approximately 10 feet off the snow surface when the lift came to a stop. Between Towers 1 and 2, two passengers attempted to ski out of the platter lift's uphill tow path, around a fence line intended to keep passengers in the tow path. The action of the two passengers caused a pulling force on the moving haul rope significant enough to cause the Tower 2 uphill assembly to derope. The passengers ignored signs and rules to stay within the uphill tow path underneath the tower sheave assemblies. Passenger riding out of tow path Not retained None 0 NA Surface 23
2016 An excavator operating under the lift line came into contact with the haul rope, resulting in the deropement of two towers. The haul rope was not retained by the rope catchers. The excavator operator was focused on conducting the ground-level work (backfilling) and not the haul rope above. Cable obstructed - Heavy equipment (excavator) contacted haul rope Not retained Broken T-seats on multiple carriers; sheave beam and main beam damaged 0 NA Surface 29
2016 A deropement occurred on an aerial ropeway. The haul rope was retained by the guide sheave wheel rope catcher. A passenger attempted to unload from the chairlift. The passenger's backpack became caught on a carrier seat. When the backpack was released, the carrier swung inwards and contacted a guide sheave wheel assembly. Passenger usage Retained None 0 NA Aerial 23
Was this page useful to you?