Chairlift Derailment Sends Two Dozen Skiers Plummetting

One of the worst nightmares for any skier or snowboarder occurred over the weekend in West Virginia when a chairlift derailed sending roughly two dozen people to the ground below. 

The incident took place at the Timberline Four Seasons Resort in Davis, West Virginia where engineers were still trying to figure out what happened on Monday, according to Reuters. In a post to the resort’s Facebook page, it said that nine skiers were injured, two of whom were sent to the hospital where they were treated and released. 

“Thankfully, their injuries were not serious. An insurance investigator is at the resort today, and lift engineers are scheduled to arrive shortly to determine the cause of the lift failure,” the post stated.

Whatever they discover, it’s fairly obvious that some sort of mechanical failure took place on the chairlift. Some of the commenters to the post suggested the lift may not have been in the best shape.

“Skied there Thursday for locals day. About halfway through the afternoon I heard that tower making unusual, deep rumbling & vibrating noises,” wrote Benjamina Grant. “Didn’t think much about it until I remembered being there & Timberline closing the lift 3-4 yrs ago for reported funny noises from that tower.”

Another man who was on the lift with his 9-year-old son when the accident occurred thanked the rescue workers but wondered whether the problem could have been avoided. 

“The bouncing was really scary,” wrote Robert Padgette. “Last year the lifts had lots of problem (the other one primarily) with an evacuation at least once. Staff was great in getting us down but I think it is beyond the time to spend money for a modern lift.”

In the Facebook post, the resort defended its record.

“All of Timberline’s lifts undergo thorough and rigorous inspection in a timely fashion and are in compliance with all applicable safety standards, including federal guidelines for maintenance and annual mechanical inspection and the strict safety requirements of Timberline’s insurance provider. Daily maintenance checks are performed each morning by resort staff, and ski patrol rides the lifts and completes a visual inspection of Timberline’s lifts before they are opened to the public.”