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Magnetic Particle Testing for the Ski and Snowboard Industry

The ski and snowboard industries continue to improve the safety designs for the production, construction, and service of steel tramways. Chairlifts, gondolas, and aerial trams now move people up the hill faster with a level of comfort that by far exceeds the old wooden beam towers and slat seats. With the increased number of installations comes an increased need for nondestructive testing (NDT). Gone are the days of sending a dozen or so chair clips downtown in the back of the boss’s pickup to be dropped off at the local NDT lab. With the invention of the detachable grip came more grip components and chair welds requiring magnetic particle testing (MT). In this case study of a small family-owned ski resort located in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah, the local NDT labs couldn’t schedule a sufficient amount of technicians to travel up the canyons fast enough to conduct the necessary onsite inspections during the summer maintenance window between ski season operations. As a result, ski area and resort management took a giant step to establish in-house NDT inspection programs with equipment and facilities to be operated by lift maintenance personnel who were trained and qualified by an ASNT NDT Level III. This has allowed for MT to be conducted as part of the lift maintenance schedule without any waiting, and has dramatically altered the resort’s approach to how they conduct these tests.


ANSI, 2017, ANSI B77.1: Passenger Ropeways – Aerial Tramways, Aerial Lifts, Surface Lifts, Tows and Conveyors – Safety Standard, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Washington, DC.

ASNT, 2016, Recommended Practice No. SNT-TC-1A: Personnel Qualification and Certification in Nondestructive Testing, American Society for Nondestructive Testing Inc., Columbus, OH.

ASTM, 2015, ASTM E709-15: Standard Guide for Magnetic Particle Testing, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA.

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