Copper Mountain announced Tuesday that it expects to open its new American Eagle lift Saturday..
The announcement, which came via a Facebook post, comes one day after an empty gondola malfunctioned and fell to the ground during testing.
The new American Eagle lift at Copper mixes chairs with gondola cabins. Crews have been setting up for several days of safety load tests and have been filling hundreds of boxes of water to add weight to the lift.
Before they could start, one of the empty gondolas malfunctioned. A spokesperson for Leitner-Poma, the company that installed the lift, said the gondola popped off the cable after hitting a piece of construction material.
This is something the company said would not have happened if the lift weren't under construction, and said the gondola would not have popped off during normal circumstances.
"So the lift is still under construction and inadvertently a loose piece or unattached piece of building slipped in front of the grip when it was launched, we are already well into the repair," said Jon Mauch with Leitner-Poma. "There’s only minor damage to the lift and it’s not going to set us back at all."
If the lift checks out, it will be ready for the weekend and safe to ride, the resort said.
The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board issued a statement saying that the lift has not yet been inspected on their end, and that testing will be commenced when it is repaired.
Copper released the following statement:
At approximately 11 a.m. on Nov. 26, a gondola cabin from the American Eagle lift, currently under construction, detached from its cable resulting in the cabin falling to the ground just after exiting the base terminal. The incident occurred during the testing process. The lift was not open to the public and no one was harmed.
A review by Leitner-Poma, the manufacturer and construction contractor, indicated that no critical components were damaged and we do not anticipate additional delays as a result of this incident.
The safety of our employees, contractors and guests is our number one priority. Copper is working closely with the Leitner-Poma team and the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board to ensure that, once completed, the American Eagle lift will operate safely and reliably.