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Spillway East chairlift undergoes dynamic load test

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine (Feb 18, 2011)– Sugarloaf lift maintenance staff, along with independent lift engineers and members of the Maine State Board of Elevator and Tramway Safety (Tramway Board), performed a dynamic load test of the Spillway East lift this afternoon. Today’s test revealed no mechanical concerns, and the resort expects to complete testing and work on the lift this weekend.  

Completion of the testing, and the subsequent reopening of the lift, will be largely dependant upon weather conditions this weekend.  

Once the testing has been completed, the Tramway Board will need to reinstate the operating license for Spillway East before it can be reopened to the public.  

Dynamic load tests simulate the operation of a fully loaded lift, and today’s test was one of the final steps prior to Spillway East’s reopening. The lift has been closed since it was damaged when it deroped from tower number eight on December 28, 2010.  

To perform the test, lift technicians used plastic-lined boxes filled with water to simulate passenger weight on each chair. The lift was loaded to 100 percent of a standard load weight, with approximately 368 pounds per chair in 74 chairs on the lift’s uphill side.  

With the lift loaded, technicians tested the lift’s drive, electrical, and brake systems and monitored the lift’s machinery (including sheave trains, bullwheel carriage, and counterweights) while in operation.  

The test was overseen by lift inspectors from the Tramway Board and engineers from Sugarloaf’s insurance provider, and performed according to load test guidelines from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  

Since December 28, Sugarloaf’s staff and numerous lift engineers and state inspectors have performed thorough inspections of all of the lift’s machinery. In addition, components that were damaged during the deropement, including the Tower 8 sheave assembly and five individual chairs, were replaced with newly manufactured parts. Several sheaves were also replaced on the uphill and downhill sides with new sheaves, and some maintenance items were addressed in the carriage and counterweight. 

The final report on the investigation into the cause of the December 28 deropement has not yet been released by the Tramway Board. At this time Sugarloaf does not have an estimated date for when that report will be released.