Live Blog With Sean Riley on "Rocky Mountain Rigging"

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The live blog is now over, but read what Riley had to say below!

Saddle up and get ready to visit Cody, Wyoming in tonight’s season premiere of World’s Toughest FixesRocky Mountain Rigging.”

Sean Riley is with us here online and will be sharing his comments on the show throughout. He is also available to answer your questions live! So please comment here with your questions and we’ll get in answered as soon as we can.

NGC Question:

What was the coolest thing you learned or saw?


It would take forever to tell you everything you I learned…  but it you watched closely, you saw pretty much everything I saw.

(9:55) Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

Seriously one of the hardest days I’ve ever had on WTF.

NGC Question:

What was the most difficult situation during this build?


Definitely landing the cross arms on the top of the steel towers. That’s a crazy operation!

NGC Question:

How long did this project take from design to completion?


About 6-8 months.

NGC Question:

Do the physics change the project as you get higher on the mountain?


Good Question! Yes, as the elevation increases the air gets thinner and the helicopter, which requires lift from its rotors to carry a load, can carry less weight. The max load at the valley floor is actually a bit heavier than what the KMAX can carry to the top of the mountain, and this has to be accounted for in the lift plan.

(9:46) Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

I really thought he had done this many times before. What a time to find out!

(9:44) Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

Over the course of this fix we all had to climb the mountian over and over again. It got even worse in the snow!

NGC Question:

Had you ever worked with a helicopter for rigging before? If so, share the story. If not, were you excited to be doing so and what was most interesting to you about it?


I’ve worked in and around helicopters a fair bit, but this was my time using one for a heavy lift application and I was very excited to work with the KMAX, and I have to say, it did not disappoint.

NGC Question:

Do the guys who work on these ski lift projects specialize just on ski lifts and travel and work on these around the world? Or do their skills translate to working on other similar but different projects?


All these guys can do a bit of everything, and while they predominantly work on ski lifts, they also tackle other projects as well. Like building funiculars, look it up!

NGC Question:

How do you gain the respect of the project crew at each site you visit for each show? How did these guys respond to you?


The same way anyone gets respect anywhere else, with hard work, sincerity, and by giving respect in the first place. Summit Lift is a great bunch of guys, we all got on great.

NGC Question:

What did you think of Cody, Wyoming and the people there?


Cody is a beautiful area, full of warm friendly and very capable people. I felt very welcomed during my time out there, everybody went out of their way to make the episode as good as possible. Thanks Cody!

(9:27) Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

This tree turned out to be a little bit bigger than we thought it was going to be, and a whole lot heavier.

(9:25) Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

This terrain park is going to be a blast to ride! Very unique and well thought out because it’s built by a rider for riders!

(9:23) Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

The local highschool ski team has been traveling about an hour away to train. They, among many others are very excited about having a ski hill in their back yard.

Viewer Question:

Is a ski lift made out of recycled/reengineered parts safe? I already get freaked by ski lifts.


Absolutely! It’s not that uncommon. Every piece is carefully inspected, and anything worn or unserviceable is replaced. No worries about this lift, I would put my family on it tomorrow without thinking twice.

(9:18) Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

Flying the hook into my hand was a challenge that I dreamed up for the helicopter pilot, and he really did pull that off on his first try.

(9:16) Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

The trouble with filming fishing is: there is just NO way to fake it. We had to fish for real and hope for the best!

Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

Kyle is a fishing madman. I had a really great time on that gorgeous river.

NGC Question:

Are you a skier or snowboarder and did you have any knowledge of what it takes to build a ski lift?


I didn’t grow up on the snow, so I’m not what you might call graceful on the slopes, but I love to get out there. Yes, I did know a bit about how ski lifts and ariel tramways work before starting, but I know a whole lot more now!

(9:04) Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

Later, after the snow, one of our camera men fell down this same stretch of mountain, breaking the camera in half and completely destroying it. Don’t worry, he’s fine.

(9:02) Riley watching “Rocky Mountain Rigging”:

It took me about two hours to rig up a system for this flying camera shot. The first time we tried it the angle was so steep it knocked me off the tower cutting my arm and almost breaking the camera.


  1. oldtimer
    May 7, 2010, 1:12 am

    is a ski lift made out of recycled/reengineered parts safe? I already get freaked by ski lifts

  2. oldtimer
    May 7, 2010, 1:25 am

    Not sure I could do that work with that scenery out there – absolutely gorgeous

  3. oldtimer
    May 7, 2010, 1:51 am

    Great episode, welcome back Sean!

  4. passportpocket
    May 14, 2010, 1:45 am

    Hey Sean, love the show. It is truly amazing how high you all are at the first drop – and with the additional camera equipment, it looks truly terrifying. Are you ever afraid while on the job?

  5. passportpocket
    May 14, 2010, 1:50 am

    Lead paint…. ! Is that a common problem here in the United States too? I’ve never thought of that before.