Skico: Lift 1A expected to be back in service by weekend at Aspen Mountain |

Skico: Lift 1A expected to be back in service by weekend at Aspen Mountain

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Crews from Aspen Mountain lift maintenance and Leitner-Poma of America enlisted a crane Tuesday to hoist the replacement gearbox for Lift 1A into place. More work will be performed on Wednesday and the lift will likely be tested Thursday. It is anticipated to be back in operation by the weekend, according to Skico.
Aubree Dallas | Aubree Dallas/The Aspen Times

Crews from Aspen Skiing Co. and Leitner-Poma of America replaced the gearbox on Lift 1A on Tuesday and anticipate having the chairlift at Aspen Mountain back in service by the weekend, according to Rich Burkley, vice president of mountain operations.

The crews used a crane to lift the old gearbox out of the building at the base of the mountain Tuesday morning. They salvaged equipment from the old gearbox, such as a sleeve on an output shaft, for use on the replacement gearbox, Burkley said. Crews were preparing the replacement gearbox for service Tuesday afternoon and anticipated getting it hoisted back into the lift terminal later in the day, he said.

More preparation work will be performed Wednesday, such as reattaching the bull wheel, applying tension to the wire rope and hooking up the motor and brakes.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the tentative timeline was to have the lift spinning by Wednesday afternoon, then testing would be undertaken on Thursday, Burkley said. If all goes as planned, the lift will be ready for service Friday or Saturday, he said.

The lift broke down Dec. 31 when a lift maintenance worker discovered a broken tooth on a gear. Skico cranked up a search for a replacement part for the old lift over the next few days and ultimately found one in Grand Junction. It appears the replacement gearbox is one that Skico purchased in the early 1970s for use when Snowmass infrastructure was being added at a rapid rate. That gearbox wasn’t used and was somehow returned to lift manufacturer Poma, which has a plant in Grand Junction.

Leitner-Poma donated its old facility and yard to Mesa State College, now known as Colorado Mesa University, some years ago, according to Burkley. The gearbox ended up in the university’s hands. Workers from Leitner-Poma discovered it in great shape despite being mothballed for years. The 7-ton gearbox was hauled to Aspen on a flatbed trailer.

Lift 1A was installed in 1972.