A worker inspects a ski lift tower at a resort in B.C. ((CBC))

The B.C. Safety Authority has issued a safety order to ski lift operators across the province in the wake of the partial collapse of a gondola tower in Blackcomb Mountain earlier this week.

About 30 ski resorts have to inspect all their ski lift towers for any potential risk of structural failure due to ice jacking.

"We have asked … they get out and check all their towers within the next four days, said Greg Paddon, a safety manager with the authority, an independent, self-funded corporation that partners with business, industry, institutions and the general public to enhance the safety of technical systems, products, equipment and work.

"By the end of the month they will have responded back to us in writing that they have completed that task," he said.


Greg Paddon, a safety manager with the B.C. Safety Authority, says ski lift operators have four days to complete their inspections beginning Friday. ((CBC))

The Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort has said Tuesday's collapse of an Excalibur Gondola tower was caused by ice jacking, a situation where the water inside the tower tube froze, expanded and caused the tower splice to rupture.

Thirteen 13 people were injured when several of the gondola cars fell to the ground. Dozens of others were stranded for hours inside the remaining cars.

The safety order issued Friday requires ski operators to visually check every gondola tower with tube construction to see whether there was water inside that had turned into ice.

If that is the case, they have to contact the manufacturer or an engineer for advice on a course of action. The lifts have to be shut down when there is proven damage to the structure of the towers.

Paddon said many ski resorts have already finished their inspections, although it meant opening delays.

Jikke Stegeman, sales and marketing manager of Mount Seymour Resort, said inspection work delayed the opening of its Mystery Chair lift for several hours on Friday.

"Early this morning, we have been inspecting the Mystery Chair lift that was scheduled to open at 9:30 a.m. this morning. And we have just completed our inspection," Stegeman said.

In another development, Whistler Blackcomb has been given the go-ahead to reopen the upper section of the Excalibur Gondola.

Built in 1994, the Excalibur Gondola has an upper and lower section. The failed tower was on the lower section. The upper section, which is independent of the lower section, was unaffected by the incident.