Vail Resorts Reports Why 20 of 24 Bolts Were LOOSE on Vail Gondola Tower

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20 of 24 bolts holding together a gondola tower at Vail Ski Resort, CO were loose leading to an evacuation of that gondola on July 3rd, 2019.

74 Vail employes were riding the Eagle Bahn Gondola to work on July 3rd, 2019 when the gondola was stopped and all passengers were evacuated by rope.

The Eagle Bahn Gondola was closed for 5-days following this incident.

Investigators are reporting that the 20 bolts were loose due to the ground having shifted over time in a way that put extra stress on that tower and that that issue was not detected in inspections.

Image showing 20 loose lift tower bolts on the Eagle Bahn Gondola on July 3rd, 2019.
Vail trail map showing Eagle Bahn Gondola location.
Eagle Bahn Gondola. image: vail resorts
Map showing location of Vail, CO.

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9 thoughts on “Vail Resorts Reports Why 20 of 24 Bolts Were LOOSE on Vail Gondola Tower

  1. That’s not really an answer, though. How was this missed during inspections?

    And, when you agree to disclaim liability for losses and expenses arising from negligence when buying an Epic pass (among many other things; always read the contract), does that include injury due to being dropped by an improperly functioning gondola?

  2. This doesn’t really answer the question, though. Why was this missed during inspections?

    And when you “agree … to waive any and all claims against and to hold harmless, release, indemnify, and agree not to sue Vail Resorts, Inc. … for any injury, including death, loss, property damage or expense … including, but not limited to, those claims based on any released party’s alleged or actual negligence or breach of contract” when buying an Epic pass, does that include injury due to being dropped by an improperly functioning gondola?

  3. it seems like the gondola on the Lionshead side is bad luck. I was in Vail in 1976 when two cars dropped from the original Lionshead gondola. Apparently, an inspection revealed that some strands were broken on the rope–I don’t recall if the number and spacing of the breaks were below or above the acceptable limit for number and spacing. A decision was made to run the gondola through spring break but that was the wrong decision.
    It took Vail 15+ years to replace that original gondola but the inspection process is probably what needs to be buffed up quite a bit now.

  4. How do 20 of 24 bolts loosen from the ground shifting? If the ground shifted the tower would have moved and the bolts would have remained tight if they were tight to start with. They probably were not tight to begin with and the vibration of the lift running loosened them.

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