When there is only one operating chairlift, no one wants to see it go down. Having that happen during the holiday week is even worse. But that’s exactly what did happen Sunday.
Vermont’s Magic Mountain in Londonderry broke down at the height of the vacation peak (Dec. 30). The problem meant finding the needed replacement parts across in Utah, getting them to Londonderry, installing them, and getting an additional inspection and load test before re-opening. That re-opening, hopefully, could happen as early as Saturday.
Magic President Jim Sullivan took the ultimate blame for the problem, apologizing on the ski area’s Facebook page:
“I would like to apologize to the friends and fans of Magic. We have been hit with some extremely bad luck in terms of the Red Chair failure, but ultimately I am responsible for delivering a reliable product, and on that front I have failed. I understand the level of frustration and disappointment that people are feeling, and will assure you all that I and my team will make every effort to repair the lifts and get the mountain open again as soon as possible,” Sullivan posted.
He sent further word Wednesday (Jan. 2): “I want to advise you all as to the progress on the lift front the past two days. On Monday we pursued five different leads throughout the country for the necessary part on the Red Chair, and were able to get it shipped from Detroit to Boston on New Year’s Eve with the part eventually arriving at Magic at 2:30 a.m. yesterday.
“We arranged for a mechanical engineer in Springfield, Vt. to come in on New Year’s Day. He worked all day removing the faulty parts, milling news fasteners, and installing the new part on the shaft. The shaft and braking mechanism are being installed this morning.
“The lift inspector will review the installation as soon as it is completed and thereafter he has required that we load test the lift. A load test consists of putting weight on every chair by filling barrels of water on each chair and then executing a complete battery of tests. As part of the test, an electrical engineer will be on site making any necessary adjustments to the electrical and safety systems.
“On the Black chair, we arranged for a cable inspection which occurred yesterday with a positive result. Also, the lift inspector approved a process to be performed on each grip which will allow the chairs to swing freely (a requirement for the lift to pass inspection). With approval of that process the work on that task has begun on every chair…
“All hands are on deck in an effort to get the Red Chair, Beginner Handle Tow and Tube Park tow prepared to run on Saturday.”
UPDATED: Saturday, Jan. 5. The Red Chair is now back in operation.
Photo: Uphill climb with lift not operating (Magic Mountain/Facebook)