I haven’t had time to work on many side projects lately. I think I generally am most effective at programming when I have a long stretch of uninterrupted time (on the order of a few hours or more at a time), and I have found the same at work. These long stretches of time are difficult to find these days.
However this was one opportunity that came up this week. Many of my side projects are born from automating repetitive manual tasks, and this was one of those.
Since picking up skiing last year, I’ve taken some interest in how chairlifts and gondolas work. (For anyone else interested, sites like LiftBlog and Skilifts.org detail lift installation history, specifications and other technical details on lift operations).
According to various news reports, early yesterday morning around 4-5am, staff at the Sea to Sky Gondola heard a loud bang and later discovered the deropement of the system with the haul rope snapped and many cabins fallen to the ground.
Although the Sea to Sky Gondola isn’t a ski hill and I haven’t personally ridden on this gondola, this particular incident hits home because the same type of Doppelmayr gondola system is also used at Whistler Blackcomb where I have skied (and plenty of other ski resorts around the world). So I went out in the afternoon to check out the aftermath, as a catastrophic failure of a gondola haul rope is very rare.