March 21, 2015: A lift at Sugarloaf ski resort in Carrabassett Valley stops and rolls backward, injuring seven adults, four of whom require hospital treatment. The incident strands about 200 skiers and snowboarders on the lift for about 90 minutes.

On June 25, Sugarloaf announces $1.3 million in upgrades to lift safety, including a new Doppelmayr drive terminal for the lift involved in the rollback.

Hank Margolis of Marlborough, Mass., is evacuated from a chairlift at Sugarloaf in March 2015. Photo courtesy WCSH6-TV/Hank Margolis

It is the resort’s second such incident in five years. On Dec. 29, 2010, the Spillway East double chairlift at Sugarloaf derailed from a 30-foot tower and five chairs dropped to the ground, sending eight people to hospitals.

The 35-year-old lift was required to undergo a comprehensive safety test every seven years. At the time of the 2010 accident, the seven-year deadline had passed a few weeks earlier without the lift undergoing such a test. The state tramway board’s chief inspector had approved the testing delay. The last legal claim stemming from that accident is settled in 2015.

The ski resort’s owner, CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc., sells the resort to New York hedge fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management in 2016. Och-Ziff sells it in 2018 to Michigan-based Boyne Resorts, which had managed it previously. New plans for capital improvements are announced in 2019.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: [email protected]


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