PLUM BORO (KDKA) – Sunday provided another perfect winter day to go skiing and snowboarding at Boyce Park, but the chairlift was again out of commission.
For the third time this month, the ski lift broke down, stranding dozens of people for more than an hour last night.
“There was a mechanical glitch,” said Tom Mettrick, the ski lodge manager. “One of the wheels where the cable… it came off the wheel. We were worried that if we continued to run the lift, the cable would come down.”
No one was hurt as the ski patrol used ropes and harnesses to lower about 50 people to the ground.
On the two occasions the chairlift broke earlier this month, it was fixed, inspected and reopened almost immediately. However, after Saturday’s break down, no one knows for sure when it will be put back into use this season.
Allegheny County owns the chairlift and a company called Dopplemeyer, which services ski lifts around the world, does monthly maintenance. Also, the county performs daily and weekly maintenance.
“It’s three sets of maintenance that are done throughout the year, and there’s also maintenance throughout the summer,” said Joe Olczak, of the Allegheny County Department of Public Works. “So, it’s not like it’s being poorly maintained. What’s failing, we have no idea.”
Meanwhile, some skiers think the lift should remain shut down until it’s fixed permanently.
“I think that’s a safety hazard,” said skier Kris Laukus. “I wouldn’t want my kids on there; I wouldn’t want to be on there.”
While the lift is down, the county is losing money on ski rentals and lift tickets, but Olczak says it probably won’t reopen until they get some guarantees that the problem has been solved.