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Mont-Sainte-Anne - Ongoing issues with the telecabine


Shane
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It has been three years of issue with the main lift at Mont-Sainte-Anne, l'Étoile Filante. Back in 2020 an abrupt stop left a dozen people injured when the gondola snapped to a halt. In 2021, further issues occurred which left the lift out of operation for nearly a year. After spending 1.5$ Million this past year to modernize and do maintenance, the lift once again encountered an issue this past Saturday, just minutes before the first riders of the day boarded. This incident is likely the most concerning as a downhill cabin slipped and fell to the ground. The images shared show the glass shattered, the metal frame twisted and smashed.

There comes a point that the owners need to move on and either let someone else operate the mountain, or finally spend money to replace the old equipment. The gondola is 33 years old and the detachable chairlifts (other than the Panorama, which is only a few years old), are 34-35 years old. Even the fixed grip quad near the summit is 36 years old. They are all long due for replacement and issues will only get worse. In a few years, they will likely all become the oldest detachable lifts in the province.

Mont-Sainte-Anne is such a beautiful mountain and I do hope something changes before the reputation is completely ruined. The views, the trails, the slopeside accommodations, this is what people come for and enjoy. It isn't right to save money at the expense of people's safety or even their enjoyment of being able to visit the entire mountain.

The Quebec government expressed today their concern and dissatisfaction. Hopefully something gives in the very near future and some major concrete changes and investments start being made in the next year.

What are your thoughts, what do you think will be done to restore this amazing mountain to the state it should be?

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I've looked at MSA's terrains and lifts on google maps, and was surpsied that they had 4 detacheable chairlifts. However, I did not realize they were this old! The fact that even the chairlifts at Edelweiss and Mont St Marrie are older (33-35yrs) than MSA's surprises me. Chairs/Gondolas don't just fall from cables, they were either not tested properly, not fitted properly, or took issue from the detach/reatach mechanisms in the lift terminals, and an issue like this definitely casts fear into a skiers worst nightmare! On a side note, I wonder how MSM and Edelweiss will approach this issue as their ancient detacheable lifts will soon reach a point of non-functionality. Edelweiss, being owned by Les Sommets, could put another deteachable in, though I can see them put a fixed grip to cut costs. However, I have a suspicion that Mont St Marie might install fixed gripped lifts to replace their high speeds, as the price tag of a new detacheable is insanely high and likely unaffordable for the hill. This would mean ride times would be around 10-12 minutes, as opposed to 5-7, which is a major inconvinience. What are your thoughts on the matter?

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Edelweiss I feel would remove the detachable and just use the Strief and the Meister. They would be more than enough as the Strief rarely runs as it is. Of course the ride time would increase though but where it ends at the top was reprofiled to access the main summit as well as the expert terrain. I would prefer another detachable though. 
 

Mont Ste Marie does have hotels and condos going up and seems to be slowly changing so anything is possible but yes their lifts date from 1989. Edelweiss detachable is 1987. 

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Personally, here is what they could do in the short term.  The Panorama Express is only 7 years old and works very well. However the access to it from the base of the gondola is about 500m away. They should install a short quad chairlift to shuttle people to the Panorama, thereby creating a quick link to the summit, that avoids people taking the Express du Sud and then Tortue. Or even reinstall a t-bar on the old t-bar line next to the Gondola to create the link to the Panorama. Sure it will have lines but it is better than nothing and sending everyone up by the one and only lift. It would create two paths up to the summit and then allow access to the North side.

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Yes that makes sense for MSA, though they will probably just replace their main gondola with a newer HSQ in the coming year. Edelweiss sees pretty low traffic, an they would work fine with just the two lifts, though the 8-10 minute ride times would not be the funnest for skiiers used to a detacheable. 

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COMMUNIQUÉ - Mont-Sainte-Anne : la RBQ ordonne l’arrêt des remontées mécaniques aériennes

https://www.rbq.gouv.qc.ca/salle-de-presse/les-nouvelles/nouvelles-detail/item/2022-12-16-communique-mont-sainte-anne-la-rbq-ordonne-larret-des-remontees-mecaniques-aeriennes/

16 décembre 2022

La Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) ordonne l’arrêt de fonctionnement des remontées mécaniques aériennes de la station Mont-Sainte-Anne. Cette ordonnance, notifiée aujourd’hui à l’exploitant, fait suite aux inspections réalisées par la RBQ après la chute d’une télécabine de la remontée mécanique R-176 (L’Étoile filante) survenue le samedi 10 décembre 2022. 

L’arrêt concerne les cinq remontées mécaniques suivantes : R-176 (L’Étoile filante), R-168 (L’Express du Sud), R-170 (L’Express du Nord), R-595 (La Panorama Express) et R-169 (La Tortue). 

Motifs de l’ordonnance 

Selon les informations obtenues par la RBQ, lors de la mise en fonction de la remontée mécanique R-176 (L’Étoile filante) samedi dernier, un dysfonctionnement de l’attache de la cabine no 92 au câble de la remontée est survenu. Les vérifications qui ont été faites avant la remise en fonction de la remontée mécanique ne respectent pas les exigences de la norme CSA Z98:19 ni les instructions du fabricant.

Conditions requises pour la remise en fonction des remontées

Pour la remontée mécanique R-176 (L’Étoile filante), la RBQ exige notamment d’obtenir un rapport d’expertise visant à expliquer le dysfonctionnement de l’équipement et d’appliquer les recommandations de ce rapport, en plus d’obtenir une attestation de sécurité signée par un ingénieur. 

Quant aux autres remontées mécaniques de la station qui comportent des attaches débrayables, soit la R-168 (L’Express du Sud), la R-170 (L’Express du Nord) et la R-595 (La Panorama Express), la RBQ ordonne entre autres d’effectuer la vérification des pièces mobiles sur l’ensemble des attaches et d’obtenir une attestation de sécurité signée par un ingénieur.

Pour ces cinq remontées mécaniques, la RBQ ordonne également que lui soit soumis un plan de formation. Elle exige que l’exploitant s’assure que le personnel soit formé et qu’il connaisse, comprenne et applique les procédures et les règles d’exploitation. 

Citation 

Rappelons que les exploitants des stations de ski sont les premiers responsables de la sécurité de leur clientèle. La RBQ s’assure que ceux-ci respectent leurs obligations réglementaires. Notre priorité demeure la sécurité du public. La réouverture des remontées mécaniques dépendra du rythme de réalisation des exigences prévues à l’ordonnance par la station Mont-Sainte-Anne.

Stéphane Petit

Vice-président aux relations avec la clientèle et aux opérations

Pour obtenir plus de détails, consultez l’ordonnance .2022-12-16_Ordonnance_MSA.pdf

Au sujet de la RBQ

Présente partout au Québec, la RBQ a pour mission de veiller à la qualité des travaux de construction et à la sécurité des personnes dans les domaines du bâtiment, de l’électricité, de la plomberie, du gaz, des équipements pétroliers, des installations sous pression, des ascenseurs, des remontées mécaniques, des jeux et manèges, des lieux de baignade et de l’efficacité énergétique. La RBQ surveille l’application de la Loi sur le bâtiment et de la réglementation afférente dans les différents domaines techniques de sa compétence.

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Definitely worth reading the PDF i attached a post above (and attached below again). Very concerning. It was human error, as despite there having been an issue with the grip, had they followed the procedure, it wouldn't have fallen off.

Quote

“During the morning startup of the R-176 (L’Étoile filante) ski lift last Saturday, a malfunction occurred in the attachment of cabin number 92 to the cable of the lift,” the agency wrote in a press release. “The checks that were made before the ski lift was put into operation did not comply with the requirements of the CSA Z98:19 standard or the manufacturer’s instructions.” Z98 is the Canadian equivalent of the ANSI B77.1 standard for passenger ropeways in the United States. Specifically, the agency said the lift stopped itself that morning and displayed an “incorrectly positioned grip lever ± 10%” fault. “The mechanic dispatched to the scene carried out a simple visual inspection and authorized the restart of the lift,” the agency stated. Doppelmayr’s manual instead prescribes running the lift slowly in reverse, removing occupants if applicable and running the affected carrier empty through the switch again. If the same fault repeats, the cabin should be removed from the line immediately. Instead, the lift was quickly restarted in the forward direction and cabin 92 tripped another safety system on towers 23 and 24 before falling to the ground. Even though the system had not opened to the public for the day, employees were on line and had to be evacuated.

So essentially operator error and negligence.

The lift stopped and alerted there was a grip force fault.

They should have reversed the lift to pass that grip back through the terminal to test for grip force and if it failed again, to remove that carrier from the lift before resuming. Instead they did a visual inspection, and decided all was good and restarted the lift in the forward direction and it fell shortly after.

Even without reading this, I had suspected it was a grip force issue. Either a poorly maintained grip or the spring inside broke or was failing, or it had an obstruction and did not allow the cable to line up and seat properly before it closed on it.

2022-12-16_Ordonnance_MSA.pdf

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