BC Safety Authority releases incident investigation report on Crystal Mountain Resort

New Westminster, BC, June 26, 2015—BC Safety Authority (BCSA) today released their incident investigation report related to an incident that occurred at Crystal Mountain Resort (near Kelowna) on March 1, 2014.  The incident involved the full deropement of a fixed-grip double chairlift where three chairs struck the snow, two of them carrying passengers.  Four people were taken to hospital. 

BCSA’s report includes conclusions and seven recommendations to prevent further occurrences.

According to Jason Gill, BCSA’s Safety Manager of Passenger Ropeways and Amusement Devices, “this incident can be attributed to a number of contributing factors, which is why we have made seven improvement recommendations including an important recommendation towards the development of a Passenger Ropeway Mechanic Certification Program in BC.”

In the report, BC Safety Authority concludes that the primary cause of the incident was low tension within the haul rope system, directly caused by the counterweight being in contact with the ground.

BCSA’s report also discusses in detail how the following factors contributed to the incident:

  • Condition and malfunction of the tensioning system.
  • Configuration of the rope-catching device installed at the tower where the deropement occurred.
  • Operator understanding of haul rope and tensioning system conditions and dynamics.
  • Placement of the tower that experienced the deropement relative to other towers and the loading area.

Seven recommendations are being published by BCSA to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. The recommendations are directed towards the following groups:

  • Owners of Passenger Ropeways Utilizing Suspended Counterweights
  • Owners and Operators of Passenger Ropeways
  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
  • Owners of Passenger Ropeways Manufactured by Mueller Lifts

BC Safety Authority is working with industry and having ongoing discussions with manufacturers and certifying agencies looking towards the best implementation of the recommendations. 

A number of instructions and various requirements have been provided to Crystal Mountain regarding regulated work to be completed in order to resume operation. To BCSA’s knowledge, this work has not yet been completed. Crystal Mountain’s operating permits will be reinstated only once BCSA is satisfied that the resort’s ski lifts meet all required safety standards.

BCSA is mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment in BC, including passenger ropeways such as ski lifts, gondolas, tramways, rope tows and passenger conveyors. 

Incidents like this one are taken very seriously as BCSA continuously reviews standards and processes based on what has been learned to see where there may be opportunities for improvement. 

BCSA’s full report is available here: Crystal Mountain Resort Incident Investigation Report

A special editorial on deropement incidents and hazards was also included in the passenger ropeways section of BCSA’s 2014 State of Safety report, available here:


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BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment.  In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, we work with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research.

Media inquiries:
BC Safety Authority
Media Relations
Tel. 778-396-2164

blue_chair_deropement_investigation_report_june_26.pdf6.75 MB