Poma back to work

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE - By JUSTIN JENVEY

FALLS Creek’s In­ter­na­tional Poma is up and run­ning again af­ter the lift was tem­po­rar­ily closed fol­low­ing the de­rail­ing of its ca­ble at the in­fa­mous Tower 9 bend known as “The Cor­ner”.

The Poma was de­railed just af­ter lunch on Sun­day, Au­gust 2, when about 280 me­tres of ca­ble was dam­aged af­ter a user at­tempted to pro­pel them­selves through the air and around the cor­ner; an ac­tion that is not per­mit­ted on the moun­tain’s po­mas.

As a re­sult the Poma was closed for al­most two weeks as Falls Creek Lifts were forced to source a re­place­ment sec­tion of ca­ble from Swe­den as the dam­age sus­tained was more than the length of ca­ble that is kept in re­serve for gen­eral main­te­nance.

Falls Creek Lifts’ An­thony O’Shea said the ca­ble ar­rived on the moun­tain by air freight on Mon­day, Au­gust 10, and re­pairs were com­pleted by the end of that week with the lift re­open­ing on the Satur­day morn­ing.

“It took us a day or two to source and then a cou­ple more days to get freight or­gan­ised, but by the time it ar­rived we had things ready to go,” he said.

“There was a fair bit of work in it, the dam­aged ca­ble had to be de-ten­sioned and taken down be­fore it could all be rigged back up.

“We started test­ing it on Thurs­day and had it all go­ing prop­erly by the end of Fri­day.”

Mr O’Shea said that although the Poma has the abil­ity to sling­shot smaller statured folk around its tight cor­ner the speed in which it now op­er­ates was the rea­son for it de­rail­ing.

“It’s not un­com­mon for sur­face lifts to be de­railed but to do this much dam­age about 280 me­tres is quite a lot,” he said.

“It used to be eas­ier to get air around the cor­ner but we have ac­tu­ally slowed the speed of the Poma.

“It used to run at about five me­tres per sec­ond but it runs at about 3-3.5 me­tres now.

“From all re­ports it was an hon­est mis­take, there are signs along the Poma ask­ing peo­ple to stay in their tracks and this is an ex­am­ple of why peo­ple shouldn’t try it.”

With just un­der a month re­main­ing in the ski sea­son Mr O’Shea said it was good the Poma was op­er­at­ing again af­ter fears it would be out of ac­tion for some time.

“It’s the peo­ple’s favourite sur­face lift, it’s the first thing peo­ple ask be­fore they come up or when they get here,” he said.

“It’s usu­ally a barom­e­ter for a great sea­son so if it’s op­er­at­ing you know there is plenty of snow.”

BACK TO WORK: Falls Creeks In­ter­na­tional Poma was de­railed in early Au­gust but is now up op­er­at­ing once more fol­low­ing re­pairs.

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