WHITEFISH, MONT. – Whitefish Mountain Resort has reported Chair One, used for Scenic Lift Rides and carrying mountain bikes, will be closed indefinitely due to repair work needed for tower six. Hence, all hiking and mountain biking trails under Chair One are also closed until further notice, which includes the Danny On Memorial Hiking Trail and upper sections of the Go Fish and Gopher biking trails. The Summit House at the top of Chair One is also closed.
On Saturday, Whitefish Mountain Resort’s lift maintenance crew noticed a slump in the ground 25 feet above tower six likely caused by heavy moisture this spring. Chair One is a detachable quad lift and is equipped with safety mechanisms, auto-stop modes and alarms that warn operators. The lift ran until close at 6 P.M. without any significant warnings. Lift maintenance and lift operators continued to monitor the area and the lift throughout the day. In the afternoon, the area around the slump was marked with flags.
On Sunday, the area was re-inspected in the morning and the slump had grown overnight. During a visual inspection of the lift it was determined tower six was about four inches out of plumb. Chairs and gondola cars were removed in order to release tension on the lift cable to enable crews to tie back and secure the tower.
“We will be putting all necessary resources towards assessing the situation, finding a solution, and getting our Scenic Lift up and running as soon as the lift is back to engineering standards,” said Dan Graves, president, Whitefish Mountain Resort. “Our main concern is for the safety of our customers and employees.”
The lift manufacturer, hydrologist and a soil engineer have been contacted. We will know more about the solution after their analysis. A helicopter will arrive this afternoon or tomorrow morning to remove the tower.
The following activities are still available: Alpine Slide, Zip Line Tours, Walk in the Treetops and lower-mountain cross-country biking trails. Chair 6 and Chair 9 running and the Base Lodge Café, the Base Lodge Bar also are open.