An inspection this week of the gear boxes and drive shaft on the Timberline ski lift convinced Sugarloaf Mountain Resort officials to shut down the lift on Thursday.

A statement posted Thursday on the resort’s website said, of all the lifts at the resort, the Timberline is most similar in design to the King Pine lift, which malfunctioned March 21, sliding backward for 460 feet. Seven skiers suffered minor injuries.

A drive shaft between the motor and bullwheel that haul the lift’s steel cable broke so that two braking systems failed and an emergency braking system also failed to engage.

“Many of the components in the Timberline lift, including the braking systems, were updated to newer designs when Timberline moved to its current location, but the gear boxes remain essentially identical to those found in the King Pine lift,” Sugarloaf’s statement says.

The Timberline inspection revealed “an abnormal level of wear and tear to the drive shaft. As a precautionary measure, our lift maintenance team has elected to take the lift out of service until a new drive shaft can be installed.”

Timberline will likely be closed this weekend, and remain closed until the drive shaft is installed.

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