Helicopter Drops Large Tower Head During Chairlift Installation at Cypress Mountain, BC

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Sky Chair
The original Sky Chair.

A helicopter pilot transporting a large tower head for Cypress Mountain, BC’s, new chairlift was forced to drop the load when fog moved quickly and unexpectedly into the work zone, according to a resort statement.

“The emergency release occurred when a fog bank moved “quickly and unexpectedly” into the work zone, causing a helicopter pilot to exit the fog and jettison the load so it was able to safely reposition to an area with greater visibility.”

– Resort statement

The tower head, for the new SkyQuad chairlift, plummeted to the ground and will need to be replaced. Nobody was injured in the incident.

“Due to the pilot’s quick actions and experienced response during the emergency situation, no injuries were experienced. Work on the site was temporarily suspended and due to the nature of the incident, WorkSafeBC and aviation authorities are performing follow-up investigations.”

– Resort statement

Russell Chamberlain, president and general manager of Cypress Mountain, said the incident will affect the schedule, but will not delay the opening of the new lift. Construction began in April after Cypress Mountain closed for the winter season and is expected to be completed ready for opening day 2022/23. Opening day is usually mid-November.

In March this year, the resort announced it would be replacing its old double chair with a “SkyQuad” Quad Chair. The chair was erected in 1987 from a 1968 vintage Mueller chairlift removed from Apex Alpine Resort, BC.

The new chair will have a loading carpet to automatically guide skiers and riders to the chairs, a four-minute ride time, and a capacity of 1,800 riders per hour. 

cypress mountain
Cypress Mountain, BC, trail map.

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