Letter from the General Manager
RE: The Skyline Lift Breakdown on March 12th
First off, I would personally like to thank all of you for your continued support, understanding and comments this entire season and especially over the past week as we worked diligently to fix the driveline issue on Skyline Lift.
As most of you know, last Friday, the 12th, Skyline Lift stopped shortly after 12:30 p.m. The problem was identified (we thought), and the decision was made to evacuate the lift utilizing the Auxiliary Power Unit. While this is a slow process it is still much faster and safer than doing a rope evacuation. Once unloaded, our Lift Maintenance Crew went to work on the issue. Bluewood stocks backup parts for all of our lifts, and we had what we thought were the parts needed. Those were replaced by 7 p.m. that evening, and then the real cause of the issue became apparent when we started the lift again. At that point we had to make the hard decision to close for the weekend so we could concentrate on the repairs needed with all available maintenance and operations staff.
The part that failed is unique to our lift and had a life expectancy of many, many more years of service. Arrangements were made to have multiple parts for different components air freighted out from the East Coast and the Midwest. The repairs were completed, and we resumed normal operations of the lift on Thursday, the 18th.
We have had several comments, both thanking us for our efforts as well as suggestions on how to remedy this from ever happening again in the near future by replacing the lift with a new one. While a new lift would be nice, the capital outlay of $2 million to $3 million could well be spent on adding new amenities.
Each year all of our lifts are inspected by both the State of Washington and our insurance carrier under Federal Guidelines to meet operational standards, and all of our lifts have received a clean bill of health. It is not uncommon for a well-maintained chair lift like ours to operate for 50 to 60 years. With that said, chairlifts are complex mechanical and electrical machines, and machines break down, sometimes regardless of age. In the Pacific Northwest Region just two weeks ago a less than one-year-old chairlift stopped mysteriously and had to be rope-evacuated and was down for repairs. All things mechanical will eventually break down, and all we can do is try to be as prepared as possible. In fact, we even lost 24 hours on this repair as the overnight cargo plane bringing the primary part had a mechanical issue after it was loaded and was grounded for 24 hours.
Once again, I want to say Thank You to every one of our Bluewood Family for your thoughts, suggestions, and mostly your continued support. We will be operating through April 4th, and we hope to see you up here for some great spring skiing and riding.