Best backup for power outages

Reading about power outages here and there.

What ski area has the best backup power sources to keep lifts spinning with outages?

Comments

  • Most lift have basically a car engine for back up. They run very slow but they do run
  • We lost power at two on Tuesday--- so I went into the boot room to change. After flipping the switches everywhere trying to get the darkened room to light, the dispatcher in the next room asked me "Remind me what you do for a living again..." Um.... teach.... ;-)
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • You can run a lift on diesel.... Doesn't mean that you can also run ticket sales, a cafeteria, etc on diesel....
  • Generators?
  • I was told that most lifts that run on electric have a diesel as first backup and a way to connect a snow cat to the drive should the diesel fail. However, the backup modes are used to get the passengers off the lift without an evacuation. I am not aware of lifts with a primary electric motor continuing to operate during a power outage.
  • edited November 30
    Yes think about the HP lift drives are and the amount of Kw that would need to be needed to generated to power on electric. Its feasible but that's a lot of generating capacity sitting there idle most of the time.
  • Newpylong can certainly feel free to correct me on this, but if I recall correctly, in a power outage, when a lift needs to go onto diesel back up to get folks off the lift, once the folks are off the lift, that lift can't be used for regular service until the electricity is restored and the primary electric motor is once again available for use since the lift needs to have a back up motor available at all times. There are some exceptions to this, such as some lift, Mount Snow's Bluebird Bubble Six for example, that have 2 back up diesels, so if the primary electric goes down, they can continue to operate the lift in a relatively normal way (the line speed is a bit slower than with the electric), and still have a back up motor available (the 2nd diesel) just in case something happens to the 1st diesel
  • Drjeff-- that is correct-- though the diesel engine doesn't drive a HSQ anywhere near the speed it would take to operate it at usual speeds so it can only be used to get people off of the lift. I'm not sure of the actual hp of such a motor but I am sure it's not enough to spin the lift and power the systems that regulate the spacing of the chairs and other electronics associated with it.
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • edited November 30
    Yes, a distinction needs to be made between evacuation drives (which are mandated by ANSI B77.1) and auxiliary drives. In common parlance, the term "APU" (auxiliary power unit) or "Auxiliary Drive" is often used to refer to either the evacuation or the auxiliary drive. But, in fact, the two are not synonymous.

    An Evacuation Drive is a power unit capable of driving the ropeway to run passengers off the line the event of a failure of the prime mover (whether due to power outage, or other problems).

    An Auxiliary Drive (also APU or Standby Drive) is a full-capacity secondary drive which can be used to operate the lift normally.

    In short, all lifts must have an Evacuation Drive. Some lifts also have Auxiliary Drives. Most people, including us industry folk, use the terms "APU" and "Auxiliary" more loosely than we perhaps ought.

    That doesn't answer OP's question. But maybe it's a helpful distinction.
  • btw bmwskier - over on the other side of your stomping grounds, GMX is an interesting lift from an historical standpoint. The original GMX (now Northridge Express) was the first lift in the US to operate at 1100fpm. The new GMX (installed 2002) was one of the first (maybe the first?) lifts installed in the US with an AC Variable Frequency Drive. The prime mover in the current GMX is 700hp, and it's sticking in my mind that it has a full-capacity APU. I'll have to check on that.
  • edited November 30
    As Patrick summarized well, yes there are two types of "Backup" drives and we typically call both APUs wrongly. When a lift has to use its evacuation drive ie the last option (before no propulsion available) it is just to get people off the lift then it must be shutdown. The tramway board is also required to be notified of each use of the APU.

    yes there are some lifts with high HP APUs capable of operating at or near line speed. The Loaf Superquad comes to mind? When building a new lift two APUs is an option.
  • Great info, Patrick! I don't get over to MEllen much these days but once we open it, I will check it out.

    There must be dozens of options when a new lift is built by any company for configurations and HP, much less alternative drives. I'm sure the engineering formulas are impressive.
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • Lost power at a small place in western Canada a couple years ago. They continued to run one lift on deisle but wouldn't load 2 chairs in a row. Did they have a backup to the backup, my gut says no, but I'll never really know. Wasn't overly concerned, place was pretty empty so rope evac would take tooooo long.
  • edited November 30
    The URSA HS6 at Stratton ran on diesel the last part of the last ski season. It was not as fast but they were filling every chair when they was a line.
  • I was told that most lifts that run on electric have a diesel as first backup and a way to connect a snow cat to the drive should the diesel fail. However, the backup modes are used to get the passengers off the lift without an evacuation. I am not aware of lifts with a primary electric motor continuing to operate during a power outage.

    Ragged's Six pack was one of the first in the area to have a snow cat hookup. I believe it's a more recent feature, and the word "most" probably doesn't apply here.
  • I think it's interesting most people are speaking of lifts, not slope lighting on areas with night skiing. We've got a box of flares at the summit we'll use to light a path down the easiest path once the lift passengers have been run off.
  • edited December 1
    tedede said:

    I think it's interesting most people are speaking of lifts, not slope lighting on areas with night skiing. We've got a box of flares at the summit we'll use to light a path down the easiest path once the lift passengers have been run off.

    Are areas with night skiing required to have generator back-up for lighting in case of power outages? Converting to modern LED lighting would require much lessor generator sizes I'm thinking. Even if it was only one route down, or the areas adjacent to the liftline, to assist in possible evacs.
  • No they are not.
  • jaytrem said:

    Lost power at a small place in western Canada a couple years ago. They continued to run one lift on deisle but wouldn't load 2 chairs in a row. Did they have a backup to the backup, my gut says no, but I'll never really know. Wasn't overly concerned, place was pretty empty so rope evac would take tooooo long.

    Sounds like the lift was designed for 100% speed / 50% capacity on diesel. As bmwskier said, there are dozens of options, including the opposite of your situation- 50% speed / 100% capacity.
  • edited December 1
    diesel engines were the way to go in the past!
    ~Rich~
  • ADKskier said:

    diesel engines were the way to go in the past!

    Why do you say this? Most ropeways still use diesel power as a back up power source.
  • Used to be that lifts were powered by a Diesel engine as the primary source of power
  • Treilly said:

    Most lift have basically a car engine for back up. They run very slow but they do run

    I remember in the 60's at least one of Seven Springs' double chairs had a VW engine as the backup.
Sign In or Register to comment.