Aspen gondola shut down Monday
December 1, 2008
ASPEN ” The Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain is out of service and will be shut down all day Monday.
The gondola was inoperable all day on Sunday, forcing people to use the Little Nell, Bell Mountain and Ajax Express chairlifts to reach the summit. That same uphill route will be used to access terrain Monday. Crews discovered a problem during a system check early Sunday morning, according to Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle.
It’s not known when the gondola will be repaired or how long it will be closed down.
Here is the Skico’s technical explanation of what happened: “Some time during Saturday night, high winds (up to 75 miles per hour) wrapped the Silver Queen Gondola communication line over grip on a cabin. Crews began normal pre-operation procedures and safety checks at 6:30 [a.m. Sunday] and were moving the line slowly. A tower safety fault was recorded and a visual inspection showed a cabin out of alignment along the sheave train (wheels on the tower). Because the gondola haul rope was moving slowly, the communication line held and twisted the cabin. Crews stabilized the cabin and are working to return the cabin to its normal alignment and assessing the damage to the communication line. We do not know how long it will take to return the gondola to operation at this time. Extreme wind, heavy snow and limited visibility continue to hamper the repair.”
The Gentlemen’s Ridge Chair on Aspen Mountain will be open. The ski patrol will assess snow conditions on both Aspen and Snowmass, which may have changed because of the high winds.