Maintenance and Operation of Ski lifts

Most popular recreation destinations especially during winter are ski resorts which offer various activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. Earlier, these activities in ski resorts were offered only during winter, but now-a-days ski resorts offer these activities for 12 months. The ski areas are usually mountainous areas which have pistes (ski runs), ski trails, and a ski lift system. Ski lifts are used for uphill transportation in these ski areas. It is a motor-driven conveyor system used to safely and reliably transport people up a slope to the top of a run, and consists of a series of bars or seats attached to an overhead moving cable.

The operating cost of the ski lifts depends on different factors.

Firstly Installation cost of ski lifts is based on type, configuration, and installation method. Secondly, the maintenance and service cost of running base lodges. Thirdly, purchase, replacement, and labor costs of snow grooming tractors which move and recondition the snow each night. Other important expenses are purchase and energy cost of snowmaking equipment and energy costs required to run equipment and lifts, and to heat the base facilities. Apart from that, labor costs for lift and grooming operators, rental shop technicians, instructors and patrollers, accounting, road maintenance personnel, marketers, snowmakers, IT, and administrative support are also essential.

Some regulations to follow after installation:

Regulations and test are to be conducted before ski lift operation.
Firstly, a qualified personnel shall thoroughly test and verify compliance with the plans and specifications of the designer/manufacturer. Secondly, designers or manufacturers shall propose and submit an acceptance test procedure.

The ski lifts should satisfy following conditions:

All parts and structural connections of the ski lift should be tight enough. 
All moving components in aerial lifts and surface lifts should have enough lubrication.
The alignment and clearances of all open gearing should be perfectly done.
All drive systems components should be properly installed and aligned.
The counterweights or other tension systems and carriages should be mounted in an appropriate position with expected freedom of movement. 
There should be a haul rope alignment at the entrance to bull wheels. 
There must be proper operation of all electrical components, including circuit protection and grounding.
The brakes should have adjustment to design deceleration rates and baseline brake torque testing.
A minimum clearances should be provided for carriers, track cables, and haul rope sags under the most adverse static loadings.
There should be proper alignment of track cable saddles and haul rope sheave units and unhindered inline motion of track cable in saddles as applicable.
For aerial lifts actual testing of evacuation equipment and procedures at the most difficult location.
The location of towers and terminals should be in accordance with the plans and specifications. 

Common types of failures in ski lifts

There are mainly 4 types of failures seen in ski lifts such as

  1. Deropement failures

The rope may come off the tower due to several reasons. Excess or lack of friction between the haul rope and wheels, misalignment of sheave train, track rope system failures, bullwheel failures, and excess or lack of tension in the haul rope and some common causes of deropement failures. Derailment of any one rope can also lead to deropement failure.

  1. Rollback failures

Rollback failures are due to the loss of circuit connections such as the electrical circuit, brakes, etc, motor failures of  gearbox, the prime mover drive, and auxiliary motor, and brake failures of gearbox and the anti-rollback brake.

  1. Detachment failures

Carrier detachment failures are mainly due to misalignment of the sheave train, track rope system failure, or carrier failure. The carriers can collide and detach while carrier failures.

  1. Safety system failures

Safety system failures may stop a ski lift which can result in emergency brake failure, service brake failure, rollback brake failure or electrical failures.

Among all ski lifts, T-bar ski lifts has the least maintenance and operation expenses. It also helps the beginners and kids to learn skiing from small slopes. Contact Boardie to get very comfortable, ergonomic, wider and smooth T-bar ski lift.
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