We had our first real lift evac in 20 years. Of course it was Christmas week, it was our main lift and it was fully loaded. It is a 1600 vert foot H.S. Quad with 22 lift towers and about 140 chairs so we had to evac about 280 customers.
We use the evac seat mentioned above connected to 200 feet of 11.5 mil rope. we have throwable light line in each bag and several line launch guns stored separately. We cert every fall and the full timers practice rappelling down the cable every spring. all of the chairs can be evacuated from the ground, where we raise the seat to the customer, he sits on it and we lower him to the ground. Several sections have the lift cable too high off the ground and need to be assisted from the air, where a patroller climbs a lift tower, attaches to the cable and slides down to the chair where he assists us on the ground to get the rope over the cable, and to assist customers if needed. We got 90% of the chairs evacuated in under 2 hours, and the last chair in 2 1/2.
I was lucky to be on top of the mountain when the call came in to evac. I was with 2 other patrollers and we ran into summit and grabbed one of the 8 lift evac bags stored there and the 3 of us started evacuating right at the top bullwheel. By the time we got the 2 top chairs evaced, another team had done the 3rd and working on the 4th. My impromptu team of three then leapfrogged 2 teams and went to the next open section that we can reach by ground. I found out later by this time there was another team working from the bottom, 4 full-timers were harnessed up and climbing lift towers to get to the difficult sections. Snowmakers in sprites and groomers were also out to support us.
I wound up working of 5 sections, and I think I was on the ground for the below video of one of our last chairs dowloaded.
Here's a customer's video of one of our higher chairshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDdjVS1nNok&feature=related
What amazed me was that none of the customers were too much trouble getting talked out of the chairs, and most were great. I guess seeing others do it in front of them helped. The only problem I had was the reverse, occassionally a customer was too eager to get out of the chair and started moving before slack was out of the line and I had to yell at them to stop and wait for instructions.
All in all, it went very smoothly, and we now know what to expect when it happens again in 20 years.