Seven months after eight skiers were injured in a chairlift accident at Sugarloaf Mountain, it appears that Sugarloaf will not be face disciplinary action from the state for December’s ski lift. The Maine Elevator and Tramway Safety Board met Monday to hear Chief Inspector John Burpee explain the report he submitted last month. Burpee told the board he didn’t think Sugarloaf made any mistakes with malice, and that he did not recommend disciplinary action.
The state’s chief ski lift safety inspector presented his accident report to the state’s elevator and tramway safety board Monday. While he said there is no one factor that contributed to the chair lift’s collapse, they point to a series of training and maintenance failures. The team of safety inspectors will be visiting every mountain this summer to make sure all chairlifts are up to code.
Sugarloaf’s aging ski lift is being replaced by a new, $3 million quad lift that will be ready in time for ski season. The board is considering more regulation of the ski industry when it comes to safety. Burpee told the board that a lack of proper training of mechanics and inadequate maintenance were among the factors leading to the accident on December 28. Safety inspections this summer have revealed that many other ski areas, like Sugarloaf, do not have quality assurance programs that include a set way of inspecting lifts. The state code requires ski areas to have a proper quality assurance program. The board voted to ask the Commissioner of Professional and Financial Regulation to push for a bill in the legislature that would require ski lift mechanics to be licensed by the state.