I witnessed the scariest thing I have ever seen at a ski area yesterday up at Stevens. Lift operator at Hogsback wasn't paying attention, and let the lift continue with a kid who was not able to get seated in time. His father immediately started screaming to stop the lift but the calls were unanswered. I was in the chair directly in front of them, and the lift traveled nearly halfway up line before it finally stopped, all the while the kid was being held on by his arms and screaming for his life (he was maybe 8 years old?). Watching from the chair in front I have never felt so helpless, I was legitimately scared by what I was seeing and thought for sure he was going to fall. His dad was incredibly able to help him hang on (along with the help of what appeared to be two other kids, though slightly older, on the chair with them.)
The dad was able to ditch his skis and the kids skis along the way, and when the lift finally did come to a stop, he was able to secure the boys dangling legs in his arms (the boy was essentially laying across the chair, albeit in front of it.) Once that happened, we sat there for probably five or six minutes waiting for the lift to start again, with our only way of sending word by yelling at the chair in front of us, or the chairs behind them, and the occasional skier that cruised by underneath. Finally a patrol skier came down the lift line and found them, and was able to radio in to get the chair moving again. Luckily for everyone involved, the child made it up to the top safely and the only thing dropped was their skis.
I felt so bad for that kid, I really hope this doesn't ruin skiing for him, though it would be hard to blame him if it did. I certainly hope Stevens Pass investigates what went wrong and rethinks their lift operations staffing, as yesterday seemed very understaffed.