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That "other" chair at Hyak.

January 25 2004 at 8:22 PM
Chip  (Login velocity8)
from IP address

I spent this Sunday morning at Hyak (the gladed runs are great when the other places are crowded on a powder day). While standing there during a routine 15 minute chair breakdown of Keechelus, my brother and I were discussing that other purple/pink chair on the East side of the mountain. Rumors were abound and we were told the brake snapped in 1976 and started going backwards, throwing people from the lift. It has never run since. I love urband legends as much as the next guy, but can anybody link me to the true story?

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(Premier Login hyak)


January 26 2004, 8:21 AM 

You are lucky, you were in line.  I was lucky enough to be sitting on the chair during the breakdown and by the time I got off my leg was numb from my hanging snowboard.....  I sure hope they get that piece of crap chair in working order. I don't remember any other year where it has had so many mechanical problems, or actually I don't ever remember that chair having mechanical problems before this year.

As far as the Dinosaur chiar, it was originally designed to go forward and backwards. In 1971 some woman had her ski come loose and wanted the operator to reverse the chair so she could fix her ski and in doing so the chair went out of control. I guess it had something to do with too many people loaded on the backside compared to the frontside and the result was by the time the chair was stopped people had been thrown off, once person was injured serious.  The chair operated until somewhere around 1988 when it was then considered to need too much $$$ invested to keep it in proper operational order and was shut down.  Also, PakWest was going through another lawsuit at that time having to do with a ski racer who lost control and hit a rope-tow shack so money was not plentiful.  Here is an article on the 1971 accident that was printed in 1972.


This message has been edited by hyak from IP address on Jan 27, 2004 8:58 AM

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(Login velocity8)


January 26 2004, 5:09 PM 

Ouch, you were on the chair? I saw (I assume your) picture of the long line from the lift. I am the guy two people from the front of the line, so I suppose I was lucky. We saw two people jump from the chair after a while (about 15 feet) and the patrollers at the station made a feable threat of "if you do that again, we will cut your tickets!"

Thanks for the information on the Dinosaur chair. It is great to get the factual local history.

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(no login)

Re: Thanks!

January 26 2004, 9:53 PM 

wtf is wrong with that piece of **** chair, it sounds like it breaks every weekend. they just replaced the haul rope, would they replace a rope like that if they just planned to replace the whole damn chair the next season?

is that the plan, that hyak gets a new chair this summer?

i had no idea it continued operation til 1988. i thought replacement parts were the issue for it to be decommisioned...

that link to the article is not working for me jack

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(no login)

Dino Blues

January 26 2004, 11:14 PM 

I rode that chair back in the 70s. There was a sign right on the bottom that warned people the chair could go backwards and forwards.

The story (as told to me by the ownership at the time) was that the lifty had backed the chair down, as per plan, but got a little distracted. When that happened the chair started going faster than planned. They threw the emergency brake into the system to stop it (people were starting to go around the bull wheel). When I say "throw" the brake, I do mean throw it, as it resembles a large bar most closely (and by the way, I've been up in the gear shacks at Baker, and the system is pretty similar). Anyway, this caused the chair to stop VERY suddenly, which sling-shoted the people on the chair. Have you ever noticed how long some of those spans are? The chairs could hang really low some times.

The reason that Ski Lifts Inc. (Owner of the summit areas before Booth Creek bought them) never has run the lift is because right before their first season of operation (as new owners), they examined the lift and found that the upper ramp was collapsing. By the time they could have fixed it, it had been so long since it had last been run that they came up against additional requirement in the Washington State laws governing trams and lifts. Essentially, use it or lose it. The reason the lift stays (rusting away) is that the EIS laws treat existing lifts differently than a new one.

Clear as mud right?

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(Login skyerkayjay)

when did dino run last

February 21 2017, 11:45 AM 

I know that lift ran in the early 80's - I was taking ski lessons from Husky (UW) sports and we used that lift - Wikipedia says 1971, I started skiing in 74, so I know that is wrong. I am thinking it was run by PacWest

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Dino Article Link

January 27 2004, 8:16 AM 

For the article on the lift accident, try this link:

If that doesn't work, goto HOME, then HISTORY, then scroll down to 1971 for the link.

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(Premier Login hyak)

Re: Dino Article Link

January 27 2004, 9:01 AM 

I guess I should test my links after I put them up.....I've fixed it now.....you can view it there now and I'll re-post it here.  Sorry about that..


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Thanks for the real story

January 27 2004, 1:05 PM 

Over the years I have heard many different stories about the accident. It's nice to finally know what happend.

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