Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Chamonix prepares to reopen Aiguille du Midi after accident

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The Aiguille du Midi, second highest cablecar in the Alps, has been out of action for two months since workers literally dropped a main cable during routine maintenance to shorten it. Thankfully the disaster cost no lives, but the financial cost has run into millions for recovery of the system and loss of ticket revenue. The cablecar is scheduled to reopen on 16 July.

This accident was the latest in a series of cablecar problems in France, including a helicopter crash into the nearby Grand Montets, a crash of the new Vanoise Express between La Plagne and Les Arcs, and an incident 18 months ago on the Grande Motte (Tignes) when heavy ice fell from the cables and damaged the system. Avalanche damage and subsidence problems have also hit gondolas operating above Val Thorens.

Here's a report on the situation on the Aiguille du Midi, in French, from Tribune de Geneve.

And here are reports on the background to the problem from PisteHors.com and MountEverest.net.
PisteHors.com also has reports on the incidents mentioned in the second paragraph.
latest report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The Vanoise Express accident which damaged one cabin by hitting the bumpers was while it was being tested and was apparently an operator error while in manual control mode. It normally runs fully-auto. AFAIK, it has been incident free since it was opened to the paying public.
latest report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
kuwait_ian, That would be an ex-operator, no doubt!
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Was Aguille di Midi stll accessible from Punta Helbronna? That's one hell of a cable car journey...I assume, I've never actually made it onto it but it looks impressive from below.
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
David Goldsmith, I'm going to have to get that guy spanking the chairlift onto you. You're being naughty again. In the political arena it would be called "spin".
You wrote:
This accident was the latest in a series of cablecar problems in France
You list 3 accidents over an 18 month period (2 seasons). How many ski-lifts are there in France? I would think a few thousand. Three accidents in 2 seasons hardly seems a "series of problems". Or are you getting in training for a job at The Sun? Madeye-Smiley
snow conditions     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Jonpim, actually I listed 4 serious incidents over 18 months.

Now, you find me another 18-month period in which more than one or two incidents of this magnitude occurred. Looking back, one could mention the huge new cablecar that fell off its cable during inaugural tests in 1989 in Vaujany near Alpe d'Huez. That killed 8 people. Ten years later, a cablecar at St Etienne-en-Devoluy (which serviced an observatory) crashed, killing 20 people.

France does, I'm afraid, have a poor record compared to other Alpine countries when it comes to cablecar accidents. 4 incidents in 18 months is pretty significant, in my experience.
latest report     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:
France does, I'm afraid, have a poor record compared to other Alpine countries when it comes to cablecar accidents. 4 incidents in 18 months is pretty significant, in my experience

To put this into perspective, if you are really trying to compare the record of different alpine nations, you do need to take a number of factors into consideration, look at lift security as a whole, compare the total number of passenger movements and individual lifts in the countries concerned, etc.

This piece appeared in L’Humanité in 2000:
Quote:
During the last thirty years, the majority of cablecar accidents around the world involved falling cablecars. However, according to the SNTF (National Association of French Cablecar Operators), the risk of accident involving French lift equipment (all types) is extremely low: over the past ten years it works out at 1 for every 2.7 million individual passenger usages. Since 1989, despite the increase in the number of installations and overall traffic (673 million usages in 1997-1998 over 4038 lifts), the global annual accident figure is close to 200 per year. Explanation: according to the SNTF, French equipment is the most efficient in the world. Indeed; "French cablecar safety legislation concerning the carriage of passengers is one of the strictest, says Alain Soury-Lavergne, SNTF technical director. It is subsidiary to the ‘Mountain Act’, and supplemented by an abundance of ministerial decrees and government white papers specifying in detail the obligations and requirements for both manufacturers and operators”.

In 2002-2003 there were 729 million passenger movements over 4,006 items of lift equipment in France. The ten years up to 2002/2003 has seen a gradual and continuous reduction in the serious accident rate, taking the increase in traffic into account.



ie for the 2002/2003 season this represented a risk of serious injury of 1 per approximately 48.6 million individual passenger movements (a 40% decrease of the risk factor over 4 seasons). It should also be remembered the 2 out of every 3 of these accidents is a consequence of inappropriate passenger behaviour.
snow report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
That's an internal French study of all types of lift. An international comparison of cablecar/gondola accidents specifically would, I believe, support the point I made. I can't recall any Swiss or Austrian incidents for a long time. There was a disaster in Italy, but it was the fault of a US fighter pilot.

But, agreed, cablecars and gondolas are very safe ways to travel, and I wasn't trying to put anyone off riding one in France.
snow report     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Internal yes, but we do really need to be able to compare the accident rate figures in line 3 between the skiing nations, rather than speak about 'poor records' without providing the stats to back up such a claim. I shall try to find similar details for other countries.

But more importantly, the point I was trying to make is that even if the accident rate on similar equipment in, say, Slovakia is zero, you simply wouldn't be comparing like with like, unless you took into account the number of individual movements p.a., as well as the number of actual lifts of this type. If there is only one such lift, carrying merely a few thousand passengers each year, whether it has a zero accident record or not, I'd still feel a lot safer in France!
snow conditions     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Actually, you shouldn't use passenger movements, but cable car journies. If there are larger cable cars in a particular country then it can move more passengers in less trips. As a cable car falling off the cable is more dependant on other factors than loading, it would be reasonable to assume that this can occur whether the car is carrying 1 or 100 passengers.

It's like airlines using passenger miles for safety comparisons. Most crashes occur during take off or landing and every flight has at least one of each of these, regardless of distance flown. So distance flown in a flight does not have such a great effect on the chances of a crash as in say, car travel.
snow report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
skanky wrote:
Most crashes occur during take off or landing and every flight has at least one of each of these, regardless of distance flown.


Are you sure about that Skanky? - last time I fly in that case Shocked
snow conditions     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Mark Hunter, Very Happy At least one take off and landing (more if there's refuelling stops).
snow conditions     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
skanky, thank God for that, for a moment I thought you were referring to crashes Skullie
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
skanky, Of course assuming the take off is succesful there is always a landing even if it isn't controlled Skullie
latest report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks, guys, for getting to the crux of the matter - should we fly in things with wings, or things without wings?
snow report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
There's very few, catastrophic, failures that can cause a cable car to crash (or result in deaths), there's plenty that can result in a plane to have a Unplanned Ground Interface incident.

No one's answered my question, can you get to AdM from the Italian side, does anybody know?
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
skanky, the MountEverest.net link above gives useful guidance on that. Apparently, people have been driving through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Courmayeur and the access lifts to those bubbles.
latest report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
David Goldsmith, you're right, sorry I hadn't spotted that. Embarassed

That route can be quite crowded (I once failed to get to AdM that way due to the length of the queues at each station and ran out of time), so I imagine it's a nightmare this summer.
ski holidays     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
skanky wrote:


No one's answered my question, can you get to AdM from the Italian side, does anybody know?


yes
ski holidays     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
David Goldsmith wrote:
The Aiguille du Midi, second highest cablecar in the Alps, has been out of action for two months since workers literally dropped a main cable during routine maintenance to shorten it.


aggh... no, no, wait a minute, its closed again after the cable car hit the top station on the 1st troncon. 3 Million Euros of lost revenue and closed thru' August.

report here....

The photograph is priceless!

what was Pete saying about the French drinking less?
snow report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Maybe lesser quantity but better quality and higher alcoholic strength, n'est pas?
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
davidof, yes, the photo's a classic!

Maybe they should borrow the experts from the other end of the Haute Route in Zermatt, where there are 9 cablecars (most of any ski resort?), and no problems I can recall (or maybe the Swiss are better at keeping mum?).
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
They probably dont have computer control - but mechanical safety stops! Hmmm that was intended to be flippant but if they run at a slower speed then mechanical stops would probably be fine!
ski holidays     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Hmm they don't seem to be having much luck there do they ! On a note of other countries the Cablecar station in Wengen was wipped out by snow ! More specifically an avalanche straight into the front of the building which crushed the cablecar at the bottom as effectively as a car crusher, That was the second time it had occured so the insurers said that was enough, only good news for the punters though as the new cable car station is now in the center of the village not half a mile away. How long did it take I hear you ask, They got planning permission in July and had it opperating by Christmas, that means building the bottom station, plus 1 new cable car, a new pylon halfway up the mountain and new cables (and the counterweight pit is something like 20M deep under the building. Not bad Shocked

The last point to note is that the locals knew the avalanche was coming so had stopped the use of the cablecar as a result
snow report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
davidof, wonderful photo!
About 6 years ago I was in Zermatt in the summer and rode the first leg of the cable car in the old one. The operator told me it was built in 1961 and still going strong - very small and slow though! Toofy Grin

However, if we're talking about lift safety at least her and in Tignes the funiculars are in enclosed tunnels. It may be in bad taste, but Austria has had some problems as well.
latest report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
easiski wrote:

However, if we're talking about lift safety at least here and in Tignes the funiculars are in enclosed tunnels. It may be in bad taste, but Austria has had some problems as well.


I believe the lifties call them cheminées rather than tunnels?
ski holidays     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy