Tesuque Peak lift at Ski Santa Fe to reopen following mechanical issue
SANTA FE, N.M. — One of Ski Santa Fe’s lifts is still closed tonight after a mechanical issue caused a sudden stoppage Saturday.
Ski Santa Fe confirms human error is to blame for a chair slipping and hitting the one behind it on its Tesuque Peak lift – known as Lift 3 on the upper mountain. Dozens of skiers and snowboarders watched as ski patrol safely evacuated them.
“We just felt like this really kind of sudden jerk and really loud noise, followed by people screaming bloody murder,” said Lynsey Storm, who was skiing that day.
Storm and her friend were three chairs in front of the chair that slipped.
Ski Santa Fe General Manager Ben Abruzzo says their inspection of the affected chair proved it was human error that caused the slip.
“We have procedures, we have checks, we have the slip test – all of that was done, but, you know, in this instance, there was a mistake that was made,” Abruzzo said. “There’s a spring pack, which is part of the mechanism that keeps it on there, and it was installed incorrectly. 20% of the chairs are taken apart and put back together every year by code. This was one of the ones that was taken apart this year, and put back together incorrectly this year.”
Ski patrol responded with an evacuation kit, using ropes to get the skiers and snowboarders from the affected chair down safely. A few people went to the hospital but had minor injuries, like bruising.
“Sitting in a situation like that, nothing feels quick necessarily, but I think that the ski patrol and ski safety did a really great job,” Storm said. “They’re a great group of people up there.”
Abruzzo says their team trains for chairlift evacuations during the preseason and in-season.
“There’s a number of reasons why you may have to use it, from mechanical issues to unforeseen things like, you know, weather issues, who knows?” Abruzzo said.
Abruzzo says they inspected all other lifts before running them normally Sunday, and they are still inspecting the Tesuque Peak chair. Once it’s done, Abruzzo says skiers and snowboarders should have no fears about getting back on.
“I’ll be riding the chair with my children,” Abruzzo said.
Storm says she will be back in the lift line next weekend.
“I don’t know that I won’t like, not think about this time I get on the triple, but no, we’re not gonna let it hold us back,” Storm said.
The Tesuque Peak chair will be up and running at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Abruzzo says replacing Lift 3 with a high-speed chair is part of their long-term 10 to 15-year plan, but only for convenience and speed, not because of age or safety issues.