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Chairlift rides from hell?

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'm sure all of us at some point have experienced a chairlift ride that you wish had never occurred. Got stuck a long time, got paired up with somebody "unique", was really cold, etc... Anyone have a story they're willing to share?

I'll start off the festivities with my entry:

I was skiing Loon (New Hampshire) back in January, 2000 on one of those arctic-blast cold days. Temperatures were in the -20 Fahrenheit range type of cold day. I was riding their fixed-grip triple and got paired up with two other singles for the ride up. Half-way up or so the chair stops and we begin The Long Wait. As the minutes drag on, the woman I was riding with begins to complain, non-stop, about the cold, about a circulatory disorder that she has in her feet, about how her doctor doesn't think she should be skiing unless it's 25 or above (which prompted me to reply that "25 above" is signifigantly warmer then "20 below"), about how she was going to sue Loon if her feet were frostbitten from this wait, about possible evacuation procedures, about... She aired all of her grievances during that 45 minute wait. :

I was seriously contemplating either jumping off or pushing her off (I had decided she would break her legs, but she would live...). Thankfully they got the chair started again before I had to act. Even more thankfully, I discovered Cannon shortly thereafter, and have never gone back.
post #2 of 69
About 6 years ago I was skiing in Val d'Isere. It was a windy day, and myself and one of my friends decide to take the Tommeuses chair from the La Daille side up over towards Tignes. As we got onto the lift, the snow which had been falling seemed to get icier. So, we travelled about half way up the lift when it stopped. Probably due to the high winds which were now almost horizontal. We are well above the tree line, with no mountains to protect us, so the wind is blowing the icy snow at us, and whipping up the snow from the piste, and blowing into me, cause I was on the windward side of the chair. We sat there swinging quite violently from side to side, freezing, and getting our faces pounded relentlessly by the ice. We considered jumping, but we were at quite a height from the ground, and the way the chair was swinging, couldn't have guaranteed what we would have landed on. Eventually, after over half an hour, the lift moved very slowly to the top. When we got there, we just decided to get down the mountain as quickly as possible, and get warmed up in a bar.
So, myself, who at this stage was still very tentative on anything above blue runs, and my friend, who skied most pistes, took the most direct route down. I was bitterly cold, and didn't feel up to much, but the day finished with me taking the direct route down. This gave me my first experience of mogul skiing on a red (blue/black) run which was icy, due to the wind blowing most of the snow off it.
The story probably has a happy ending to it, but I can't remember it, cause when I made it to the bar I had a few drinks to warm up, and then a few more to calm my nerves, and then a few more...

post #3 of 69
Kevin... Kevin... next time you post stories like this one, please let the people know ahead of time... I almost choked on a piece of banana bread

[ February 23, 2003, 11:47 PM: Message edited by: Euclide ]
post #4 of 69
I had the misfortune of being at alta in november '01 when utah power decided to cut power to the mountian. It was freezing cold and all but collins and wildcat lifts had been closed due to high wind. I took the wokers close to and hour to get the diesel backup generators up and going. I was about 6 chairs from the top when the lift stopped. When we finally did get off It was near white out conditions and took us forever to get back to the base. when all was said and done the day was awesome.

post #5 of 69
One of the most unnerving things I have ever seen happened during a ride on a high speed quad. I was riding with three others and had reached the second or third lift tower when one of the other riders shouted "Oh, my God!" as she looked backwards. There we saw a boy hanging by one hand, while the adults on the chair screamed. Then he dropped, probably 30 feet, and lay still on the ground. His father (?) on the chair then yelled that he was going to jump down,and appeared to be about to do so. I yelled back at him not to. The chair stopped momentarily, and then kept going to the top, where we were met by the patrol. The patrol took the parent down and questioned us about what we'd witnessed.

Fortunately the kid was OK after a night in the hospital. He was wearing a helmet. I bought one the next day.
post #6 of 69
Magic Mountain - 12/26/02

[ February 23, 2003, 06:30 PM: Message edited by: Jaws ]
post #7 of 69
a few years back i was skiing with a couple of friends mt rose, little locals mnt, nevermind the gale force winds, ski or be damned, aye?... coming up the norhtwest lift, which passes over 'the chutes', a super steep highly avy prone area that usually claims a few lives a year, and the lift shuts down. the chair was swinging like a cradle, rocking out from side to side with nothing under us but the side chutes... 3 hours later, ski patrol comes by and yells to us to sit tight, as if we are going somewhere?,they are going to rope evacuate us, down into what i wasn't quite sure. as we sit there pondering this great feat that is about to take place, and after about 3.5 hours of rockin' and rollin' on that lift, and the patrol sitting there trying to figure out the logistics of getting us down, at long last, the lift started!! we got off the mountain and into the bar, to warm our toes and spirits [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #8 of 69
Riding up the Whistler gondola with a ski school class of five 7 year old boys. All of them were screaming and shouting for the entire 20 minute ride. I still think I have some loss of use in my left ear.
post #9 of 69
At Smugglers' Notch we have the notorious "Reverend", who spends the trip up trying to get you right with God. He asked me if I'd found Jesus and I told him no and if the bastard had gone past the ski area boundary he was going to get charged for the rescue.

[img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #10 of 69
Two incidents come to mind.

The first, and more comical, was the lesson with a group of 3 7-8 year olds. The 7 year old boy did nothing but hit me on the head the whole ride up. I was wearing a helmet. I guess, had I not worn a helmet, the whole situation never would have happened. But I got so PO'ed at him, that the next ride up, the 2 girls were in the chair in front of us, and when he did something obnoxious (I think he hit me in the head again), I told him that the girls were laughing at him, and they think he's a real jerk. The poor little twerp cried the whole rest of the ride up. I felt bad, but it felt sooooo good. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

The more memorable, and insanely scary ride, was on Pallivichini chair at A-Basin. I was skiing by myself on my day off, and the wind was blowing pretty hard. The wind seemed to calm a bit, and they opened the chair, so I got on (first mistake!). The wind started blowing very hard again, and they slowed the lift to an absolute crawl. I was swinging around pretty violently, and holding (hugging) the side pole of the chair with a death grip, when I heard and felt a huge "twaannngggg"! I thought it was all over - that the cable came off a tower or something. But nothing immediately bad happened, and as I was looking up, I saw the chair in front of me get blown back so hard that the back of the chair hit the cable - "twaannngggg!". : I was so scared that I don't even remember being cold (I was probably sweating bullets). I finally got to the top, and made my way down through the trees, and promptly took off my skis and went home.
post #11 of 69
I didn't experiencing this first hand, but I've heard it from numerous people that were in Utah a few weeks ago. The chairlift rides from hell all start out the same. A guy who was single joins the groups. Once they are all comfortably in the chair he turns to them and says, "Hi, I'm Stewart. I'm originally from Belfast but now live in London. I've got some jokes my sister sent me....."
post #12 of 69
Chairlift from hell?

Try this.
post #13 of 69
Hey Rio,
That would be a ride from hell...
...for me!


[ February 25, 2003, 09:31 AM: Message edited by: Wear the fox hat ]
post #14 of 69
I had almost the same thing happen to me Kevin... back in the winter of 2001 a friend and I caught one of the last chairs of the day on the quad at Loon after a long day of hard skiing. An older woman happened to get thrown in with us as we got on. Everything is going smooth until about a four chairs from the unloading point the lift stops and the waiting begins.

45 minutes later I am eyeing the jump to the ground. Not only is it bitterly cold, as the sun is going down now, but this woman WOULD NOT SHUT UP about how cold she is, and how can the mountain do this to her, and don't they know she has dinner plans (like they plan this??). The worst part was how close the unloading area was. Ten more feet and it was easily jumpable. In the end they restart the lift and we all got coupons worth $3 at any Loon lodge. Yay. So of course I'm pissed that all I got was $3, but hey it least it is something.

The next day when I went to use it I was told they had to be used the day they were issued. Riiiight.. because at 5:00 after sitting on a lift in the cold with psycho woman I was planning on enjoying an overpriced cheeseburger. I'm surprised I knew that many swears, let alone could use them in one sentance. Poor cafeteria person who was just trying to do their job.

[ February 25, 2003, 09:57 AM: Message edited by: Llama ]
post #15 of 69
post #16 of 69

Last weekend my wife skied at Mt. Hood Meadows. She said one of the chairs came around the Bull Wheel with the safety bar down and cleared a group of four into the "skier deposit" just after the lift zone. I had to smile about that.

post #17 of 69
Bear Valley, CA. Ancient lifts with fast motors; short steep unloading platforms; you miss your moment - and your skis are 5' above the unloading hill. Loading is not better either: the chair comes up at a slant forward, so that you don't know if you are going to make it; then it scoops you up if you are lucky. My dad ended up losing his ski when loading; all attempts to get the operator on top to slow down as we were approaching were useless: he was shoveling the snow outside the "skier depository". Couldn't they have radioed from the bottom that there was an elderly man without one ski coming up??? :

Perhaps that's the reason they drive kids schools in snowmobile trailers over there?

[ February 25, 2003, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: AlexG ]
post #18 of 69
Thread Starter 
Llama -- wow. Maybe they throw that woman onto the chairs every now and then and just hit the "stop" button. You never know, some psychology grad student could be doing their thesis on "chairlift insanity" or some such.
post #19 of 69
A couple of years ago we were at our local hill and the second chair in front of ours slid back and bumped the chair in front of us, knocked the people in front of us off-balance and one of the young kids almost fell off. He was hanging off the seat until his friends could pull him back into a seating position. It took them over an hour to get everyone off and it was a cold, windy night.
I was still fairly close to the loading area, only about 8-10' off the ground, so I released my skis and jumped. I got yelled at by the resort employees, but after sitting there for 1/2 hr. and freezing my butt off, I had enough.
post #20 of 69
Last year I was at Vail on a weekday. I got on the lift with a lady boarder. We made some small talk on the way up, and she told me she was in sales. She said she usually didn't ride on Tuesdays, but her "product" hadn't shown up, so she decided to come on up. After a few minutes of chit-chat, she looked at me and said, "You're not a cop or FBI, are you?" I said nope, so she proceeded to whip out a crack pipe, and started smoking!! All I could think was, "Yikes!!" :
post #21 of 69
Originally posted by Hevy:
Last year I was at Vail on a weekday. I got on the lift with a lady boarder. We made some small talk on the way up, and she told me she was in sales. She said she usually didn't ride on Tuesdays, but her "product" hadn't shown up, so she decided to come on up. After a few minutes of chit-chat, she looked at me and said, "You're not a cop or FBI, are you?" I said nope, so she proceeded to whip out a crack pipe, and started smoking!! All I could think was, "Yikes!!" :
The correct answer to the question is, YES!!!
post #22 of 69
Not the ride from hell but I remember riding the lift with Christofer Reeves at ABasin quite a few years ago. I remember him telling me how much he enjoyed skiing. The feeling , the rush it gave him. It was on the Pali lift. Didn't even know who it was till he got off. Kind of sad huh?

The worst lift ride for me was at Aspen Highlands. A double chair that went to the ridge. Hangs you out over a thousand foot drop and it isn't fun on a windy day. No restraint bar. Scared the bejesus out of me.
post #23 of 69
The worst ride I have ever had was at Whitecap Wisconsin. I was still relatively new to skiing and the lifts gave me the creeps. At whitecap there is a lift that goes across the two peaks and it is incredibly far down. This freaked me out, then things go worse. The lift stopped for what seemed like and hour (probably only 10 min.) I was pretty young and staying at the worst part of the lift for that long had me scared. However after that I was never scared of lifts ever again.
post #24 of 69
Thread Starter 
I dunno what it is about me and chairlift rides... I was at Sugarloaf, Maine on Saturday, and the King Pine chair (a high-speed quad) derailed . Luckily the derailment was to the inside (i.e., the cable was just resting on the lift tower) so there wasn't any drop in cable height. I was about 2/3rds of the way up, and the derailment was about 1/3rd of the way up, so I didn't really feel anything -- the chairlift just ground to a halt. Meanwhile, snowmobile after snowmobile is converging around tower 4 (which we could see below us), and there was a little party of about a dozen people standing on top of the lift tower -- not a good sign. The ski patrol is skiing down under the lift telling us "not to jump, you're higher then you look" (I was seriously contemplating it -- big piles of fluff underneath us). They somehow got the lift started again (albeit really slowly), and once they got everyone off, they shut the lift down for the day. All told we were stuck for about 40, 45 minutes or so. It was mid 30s and sunny with no wind though, so at least we weren't cold...
post #25 of 69
Mte Ste Anne, warm temperature for the day -45F, North side poma not running so I had to take the chair up. Stayed on the south side from that point on so I could ride the Tbar. Gondola was shut down because it was too windy. The craziest thing I saw was a local with a season pass skiing with nothing on his head at all. No idea why he did not get frost bit. One piece of exposed skin on that day and it would be white when you got one run in.
post #26 of 69
Ski Apache, when I was about 9. It was my first time skiing, first time to see any mountain, and on this second day the first time I was riding a lift alone. Looking back it wasn't REALLY high, but I was on a tripple alone and it was windy, cold, and it stopped when I was between the two tallest towers. I remember praying I would meet up with my brother (supposed to meet at the top of the lift anyways) so I wouldn't have to ride alone again. Never been scared of a lift since, in fact I am a pilot now. But looking straight down while swinging is never fun-
post #27 of 69
I think it was the season before last when the girl was killed at Mohawk (?) in Connecticut. This is a very small area. The kids used to jump off the lift before the end where it wasn't that high. Well two girls were riding the lift and decided to jump off. The first pushed the bar up and slid off. As the second started to slide off the bar came down and caught her helmet. She hung there by her head. They had to move the lift to the top to get her off as quickly as possible. She was barely alive when the ambulance showed up but died on the way. I think she was 11.
post #28 of 69
That's why I hate chairs. Regular lifts are so much better in that if they stop, you can just get off them (in most places; some go through some scary terrain). Chairs are a step backwards.

post #29 of 69
Just had my scarriest lift ride last week (3/13) at Whistler/Blackomb. Our group of 8 or so were the last ones to load on Franz chair over at whistler. The chair stopped for 30 mins about 1/2 way up due to 65+ mph winds. Spend most of that time looking straight down at the snow from about 30ft. up. Jumping was definitley an option. They ran the chair when possible but had to stop for each unload since the wind was blowing people right back into their seats. Finally made it into Roundhouse lodge and heard some gondola horror stories from others (kids screaming, vomiting, wind blowing the doors open). A 50ft. pine tree snapped and fell right next to the lodge, everyone felt it. Talked to one guy whose chair was getting batted around by a tree blowing in the wind. After the storm went through we skiied down...looked like the mountain had been shelled. And btw, we were comped tix for that day!
post #30 of 69
Back bowl of Snowbird last month. Made the mistake of getting on the lift between a late fortyish woman and her male companion. Chairlift stops (10 minutes total, sunny day). This woman goes into panic mode in under 30 seconds. She laid out the first ten questions faster than Sgt. Carter could bark out orders for Private Pyle. I took a moment before I could decide if an answer would help or continue the interrogation.

Why did the lift stop?
Do the lifts stop often here?
Is a sensor damaged?
Is this an old lift?
Do they have mechanics that can fix these problems?
Will they give us food vouchers if we stay here long?
How do they evacuate lifts here?
Have you ever been rescued off of a lift?
Will they give us hot chocolate?
Will they use ropes to evacuate us?
Will people come for us on snowmobiles?
Why do they let this happen?
Is this normal?

Foolishly I took the bait and replied "Snowbird is a world class resort that has staff ready to repsond to any mechanical problems." Another 20 questions from her followed and her companion looked at me like he finally had a peaceful moment for the day - poor chap.

With that statement her intensity redlined and she went off for another barrage about how "Mammoth would never let this happen and that it exists on a higher plane than Snowbird with respect to responsiveness to lift malfunction. Why,... I was rescued within two hours at Mammoth when the lift shut down." She was wearing a Mammoth senior ski team racing jacket.

I will self impose a 200 mile restraining order around Mammoth on the off chance that astronomical odds might make me ride the lift with this chatterbox.
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