Update on the Bonaventure Quad
January 28, 2022 UPDATE-
After a lot of inspections and testing of the parts of the Bonnie gearbox that were damaged almost two weeks ago, here’ the latest. As it turns out, the damaged input shaft needed more work than initially thought. We are pleased to say that the work was completed yesterday at the machine shop in Connecticut and our driver brought it to Jay peak last night. We started re-installing the parts this morning, working with a gear specialist and performing tests to ensure it is ready to go.
As much as we’d like to say when we think it will be ready to load, we feel it is important to focus on the lift’s readiness before making any statements about schedule. We do know for sure however that the Bonnie will not spin tomorrow, Saturday January 29. We will continue to do our best to keep everyone informed.
Thanks everyone for your understanding.
Originally posted January 20, 2022-
Aerial ski lifts are complicated machines, but they can be described in everyday terms as there are only a few major components. There is an electric motor, there are gears in a gearbox (like in the transmission of a car), there are brakes, there is an electric control system, and there is the ropeway (the cable with the chairs on it). We had an issue this past Sunday with the Bonaventure Quad gearbox.
The component in the gearbox that failed on Sunday was brand new in 2015. That year, Jay Peak replaced every component in this gearbox. We did it because it was, according to the manufacturer's recommendations, ‘time to do it.’ The part wasn’t broken but it was time to do it. That’s the strategy we employ across all our lifts and all our mechanicals everywhere at the resort. Generally waiting for things to break before you replace them (like in, say, relationships or coffee pots) is a poor strategy.
The Bonnie gearbox issue occurred this past Sunday morning at early:30 and in wind chills approaching -50F, because the excessive cold caused a small bit of moisture that had found its way into the line to, unsuprisingly, freeze. Without the free-flowing, lubricating oil, some moving parts (bearings and gears) became excessively hot and were damaged.
In response to this situation, we started removing the failed parts the same day (Sunday) and we brought in a gear specialist on Monday morning. By Tuesday afternoon we had shipped the damaged parts to a specialized machine shop in Barre, VT. By Wednesday AM we brought in another international gearbox specialist firm to get the compromised parts replaced and/or fixed and to ensure that the new parts will meet the ANSI standards and industry regulations. Our lift maintenance staff and the machine shop contractors have been working almost non-stop this week to get this resolved.
Today is Thursday. We already have some of the new parts in hand. We are expecting the rest of the new or refurbished parts to be delivered to Jay Peak Friday or Saturday. It will take a few days to install the new parts and to ensure that everything is ready to be brought back into service. Craig Parrish, Jay Peak’s Lift Maintenance Director, is working closely with all contractors and regulators to bring the Bonnie back online as soon as humanly and safely possible. We are hoping to resume Bonnie operations by, at the latest, the weekend of January 29/30.
Our plan, as it has been all year, is to run every lift every day so long as there’s available terrain accessed by it. This week, although loaded with natural snow, has also seen the all-too typical heavy winds that go with it, and although the Tram, is still being impacted today, the Flyer is back online (just barely and it isn’t hot up there, but it’s rolling).
We’ll put out updates as they become available, and we look forward to seeing you this weekend. With the weather looking good and manageable winds, expect every lift running but the Bonnie. Standard caveats apply.