Officials at state-owned Cannon Mountain, N.H., said late Sunday that a problem with the drive motor on the historic Tramway caused it to break down on Valentine's Day, stranding 48 people for between 90 minutes and three hours in subzero temperatures.
No one was injured in the incident, which began at 1:50 p.m., when the tram’s two cars suddenly stopped just 50-75 feet after leaving the top and bottom terminals. All 48 passengers, including seven in the car departing from the summit and 41 in the car departing from the base, were safely lowered to the ground by patrollers and rescuers. Evacuation of the top car was complete by 3:45, Cannon said in a press release. The last passenger had been safely lowered from the bottom car by 4:45 p.m.
Officials reported on the Franconia Notch resort’s Facebook page that motor failure was the reason for the stoppage. “The issue within the motor caused the brakes to engage as a safety measure. It worked as it should have and the root of the problem was within the motor.”
In another post, Cannon fans learned that the Tram would not be operating for at least two days and probably no sooner than this weekend. “We cannot fix the problem on site, which will delay re-opening. Our best estimate is that the Tram may be operational for the weekend..."
Cannon general manager John DeVivo told SKI on Tuesday that given the bitterly cold tempertures he was thankful the breakdown occurred on the Tram, which offers its riders shelter from the wind, and not another lift. "Had it been an open-air chairlift, we would have certainly kicked into evac mode within 15 to 20 minutes at those temperatures."
DiVivo added: "Our training, troublshooting, mechanical diligence, guest service, and evac execution were all top-notch on Sunday, and I'm proud of our team's performance."