Tree falls on new Vail Chair 5 lift line |

Tree falls on new Vail Chair 5 lift line

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – A tree being cut down near the new Chair 5 fell on the downhill side of the chair lift Tuesday as three employees of the lift’s manufacturer were on the lift just outside of the bottom terminal.

Chair 5, also known as the High Noon Express Lift, will continue to undergo inspections this week for safety. The lift is still scheduled to open this Friday.

Vail Resorts spokeswoman Liz Biebl said in a statement Wednesday that Vail Resorts was removing pre-identified hazard trees in the area, as authorized by the U.S. Forest Service and in consultation with the lift manufacturer, Leitner-Poma.

Employees of both Leitner-Poma and Vail Resorts were testing the new left when the tree “came into contact with the lift line,” Biebl said in the statement.

“The lift was stopped for approximately 45 minutes to allow the lift manufacturer to conduct a thorough inspection and realign the haul rope to continue testing,” according to the statement.

Three Leitner-Poma personnel who were riding the lift were lowered by Vail Ski Patrol as part of normal lift testing and initial inspection, said Larry Smith, supervisory tramway engineer with the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board.

The evacuation was unrelated to the tree falling onto the lift, Biebl said.

Smith was also on site at the time and has remained on site while all equipment involved is being thoroughly inspected by both the engineers of Leitner-Poma and Vail Resorts, the statement said.

“Vail Resorts places the highest value on the safety of its guests and its employees and the High Noon Express Lift will continue to undergo inspection and testing according to normal Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board procedure,” the statement said. “The High Noon Express Lift will open once the required tests and inspections are completed to the satisfaction of all parties and an operating license is issued by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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