Predictive Maintenance for Ski Lifts

Predictive Maintenance for Ski Lifts

A scene we don’t like to see and yes in almost all cases the outcome is nothing more than a disruption in operations and experience for guest to talk about for years to come.
However, the goal of lift maintenance teams at ski areas is to prevent such happenings. The recent expansion and development of AI (Artificial Intelligence) makes one wonder if the ability to do more predictive maintenance will further enable lift maintenance teams to further reduce the likelihood of scenes like this.
I will be bold and say it is right on the cusp of happening. I can share this thought as I am speaking from my own personal experience of being in conversations where this is being discussed and the feasibility is being explored.
My personal experience is based on conversations with Dave Herman and Kurt Castor of Steamboat Ski Corp. Both these individuals are forward thinkers and have consistently demonstrated their ability to look long-term and take steps necessary to gain the advantage in their lift maintenance duties. Under their leadership, the Steamboat lift maintenance team has connected all of their lifts to the network, installed software to read all the sensors on the lifts and collect the data. Their choice was the Ignition system from Inductive Automation. Ignition software is the first truly universal industrial application platform for connecting all your data, and designing and deploying industrial applications throughout an enterprise, without limits.
I was further enlightened by a conversation with a data scientist in Spain. This person is working with DataPeak to create advanced analytics based on ML and DL, within a BIG DATA framework, in the context of ski resorts. Here’s a sample of the thought: A Day in a Ski Resort in the Future. Yes, a bit out there but perfectly imaginable.
My conversation with this scientist revolved around his concept of developing predictive algorithms based on data collected via a system similar to what Steamboat is utilizing currently and then depositing that data in MountainOffice, where the data would be analyzed, stored by component of the lift with work orders written by the system when appropriate to address prediction resulting from the data analysis. No, this will not be available tomorrow, but I can easily see it being available in the not too distant future. Yes, there are big hurdles; the connectivity of each lift to a network or cloud, the cost associated with software such as Ignition, albeit that the cost today here is fairly reasonable.
Exciting stuff, stay tuned. I hope MountainOffice will be part of this next step as it relates to ski lifts. I say this as MountainOffice is the only CMMS dedicated to cable car systems and has a history deep in the cable car industry worldwide.

Data and Information

Database of record: Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Rapid, intuitive retrieval of current and historical data (accessible on or offsite) improves decision making at all levels of management.

Simple report generation.

Reduces risk and potential lawsuits.

Supports visualization of current and future mountain infrastructure (e.g. Gazex explosives locations, forest thinning, designing new runs, parking, etc.).


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Ski Patrol

  • Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).
  • Use of common language allows for consistent communication and information sharing.
  • Increases safety by minimizing accidents through pattern analysis of incidents.
  • Accident Investigation and Risk Management.
  • Snow Safety (Ski Patrol) Training.

The web and mobile application suite will provide editing and data collection tools for mapping incidents (wrecks, accidents) of any kind.

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Avalanche Module


Ability to document, track and analyze slope conditions with one tool.

Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).

 Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Provides detailed current and historical weather patterns for visualizing/predicting.

Saves money through more precise use of explosives. 

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The dispatch and risk module leverage Esri’s Survey 123 for ArcGIS, providing an intuitive survey-form, data-driven workflow for point feature collection and reporting. Data collected with SmartMountain Survey apps, which are available for both web browsers and native desktop and mobile apps for standard operating systems, are integrated with one or more SmartMountain modules, providing real-time or disconnected and later synchronized workflows for data collection and integration.

Each ski resort decided what they wish to display on the Dispatch Dashboard including on-hill incidents, walk-in incidents, on-hill refusals,  missing persons, work details for different departments, ski patrol rosters for the day, clearances, and sweeps.

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  • Logs for Lift Maintenance, Lift Operations, and Groomer inspections, as well as building inspections.
  • Logs can record data and signatures, can record stops, station assignments.
  • Logs are tracked by calendar.


  • Management review made easy through the use of Excel – reviewing a major grouping of assets or a single component of an asset such as a drive or a gearbox.
  • All information related to a system(asset) is in one place whether it be a lift inspection report, a manual, oil analysis, a service bulletin, or a letter from a vendor.


  • Every user has a unique dashboard.
  • Dashboards can be customized to reflect a user’s specific needs.
  • Quick access to the status of work and cost .


  • The schedule function in MountainOffice provides for detailed instructions by task, recording of data such as the temperature of a gearbox, and service bulletins.
  • All schedules can have a time or counter trigger.