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Lift evacuation stories

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ever been evacuated from a lift?

It happened once to me back in the early 1990's at Burke Mountain, VT. I was in middle school at the time, IIRC and it took place during February vacation.

Myself, a buddy of mine and a random guy were on the quad (fixed grip) that takes you to the summit. The weather had been strange for most of the day; windy, sunny, then a squall would roll in, then back to sun.

It was some time after lunch and we were almost to the top of the lift when a really large squall rolled in. The wind picked up and it was snowing and icing at the same time. Suddenly, there was a large flash, and a really loud noise...which turned out to be thunder. Then the lift stopped. Uh oh!

Now, I guess there's a law in VT that states chairlifts can't be run when there's lightning in the area. (Which seems like a fairly logical law to me)I don't know if it's true or not and can't say I've ever looked it up. Regardless, they stopped running lift and patrollers skied under and told everyone we'd be evacuated.

I'd say we were a good 40 feet off the ground. The lift wasn't too full, so we didn't have to sit around that long. But we were able to at least see occupants of the chairs in front of us being removed from the lift.

It was a fairly simple process. A line was thrown over the cable. I believe there was some sort of clamp to keep the rope from fraying against the cable. Attached to one end is something that looks like a t-bar, but is bowed out slightly so you could straddle it. A few patrollers were on the other end of the rope and would slowly let you down. You had to toss your skis and poles first. I think one of my buddies skis ended up in a tree.

We made it down fine. It was a bit unnerving to push off the chair...your common sense says: "uhhh, aren't we supposed to stay here?" We collected our gear and skied down a completely empty mountain. Despite the fact that it was weather related, they gave everyone who was on the lift a free lift ticket.
post #2 of 10
That lift is so sloooow to begin with that I think most other quads in VT could be evacuated quicker than it actually takes to ride that thing up.

That law seems strange, it seems to me that it would be safer to have a law that said you can't load a lift if there is lightning. That would give you a safe and quick way to get people off of the lift until it is empty. manually picking people off seems like it would take way longer and subject the riders to more danger. Then again on that lift, maybe not.

For the record I'm actually a huge fan of Burke.
post #3 of 10
I was a test subject for a lift evac training session a 5 summers ago when I was a liftie at the local ski/bike hill. It was pretty similar to Glenn's setup: little seat on a rope with a waist belt, and I agree that pushing off the chair seemed a bit unnerving. It was especially tricky for me at 220lbs being lowered by my boss Tina, who weighed probably less than 140. I survived though.

Thought I might have been evacuated this summer when high wind forced the stoppage of my chairlift, but after they fixed the initial stoppage they stopped loading and let those who were stuck off. I was more concerned for my bike, teetering on the brink of disaster for 5 minutes on the bike chair in front of me.
post #4 of 10
I've been evaced twice. Once, it was after dark. Once, I was the first chair to get rescued.
post #5 of 10
My Dad's buddy jumped off the Emigrant chair at Squaw Valley once.
post #6 of 10
I was riding the Grizzly chair with a friend last season when the lift stopped. The chair ahead had the owner and the mountain manager; two chairs ahead was the ski patrol director and a representative of the insurance company.

Anyway, after not too long the mountain manager and the patrol director busted out ropes and lowered themselves down. The patroller to start evac, and the manager to get the lift started.

My friend who was riding with me has a moderate case of acrophobia, and tends to hug the bars while riding the chair. We happened to stop at the point where the chair were the farthest off of the ground. My friend was NOT comfortable and started flatulating uncontrollably.

Eventually, after 43 minutes the lift started, and my friend took the rest of the day off.
post #7 of 10
about 5 years ago i was riding a lift in Slovakia.Nice Slovakian day. -22 degres C,with sharp gusts of wind.The lift stops.There were no one in the vicinity.After 20 minutes we decided to jump before succumbing to slow death by freesing.Landed from approx.12 feet on pure ice and started sliding on our asses.This very moment the lift started moving! Never returned to Slovakia
since then!
post #8 of 10
I had to be evacuated from a platter pull once.

It took two tranquilizer darts before patrol got me to let go!
post #9 of 10
The only time I got stuck on a lift, I was only about 15 feet off the ground, above a nice roped off spot with a nice slope and freshies- it was probably my first drop-in to be honest... Getting my newbie brother to follow me was another thing altogether...
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
How do they get people off of gondolas? Same manner I'd assume? Just a bit more realestate to deal with.....
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