Back in the mid to late '80s I was on a double-chair lift at Mt. Baker, WA riding back to the lodge with a lady-friend when ominously, the lift stopped. It was very late in the day when she and I had loaded and we were well out of sight (over a hill) from the loading station. After a few minutes we heard a snowmobile zipping along a run far to the side and saw the lifty on it.
Still sitting there another 10 or 15 minutes ... all the lights suddenly went off. It was late and starting to get dark. We sat there another 10 minutes and finally started hollering - wondering if they even knew we were still on the lift. No one else was on the chair and no skiers could be seen or heard anywhere on the slopes. We sat there for maybe another 20 or 30 minutes, yelling for help every once in a while.
At 35 or 40 feet above the ground we didn't think we could safely jump down but we weren't dressed for a cold night on a windy all-metal chairlift. In the waning light a lift tower could still be seen maybe 18 or 20 feet ahead of us, with a metal ladder going down. Just as it was getting almost too dark to see clearly I finally decided I'd have to make a try for the tower's ladder by going hand-over-hand along the cable. Heck, I was young and it didn't seem all that tough. As I was positioning myself for the climb up to the cable, the lift lights suddenly came back on and about two minutes later the lift started moving again.
We were furious - as the lift operators had clearly shut things down and abandoned their posts without checking to see if everyone was off the chair.
As we neared the top I pointed at the lifty and said, "Hey! We'd like to talk to you..!" Just as our chair reached the platform, the lifty shut off the lift - and ran as fast as he could into a nearby building, locking the door behind him. We tried every door we could find on every building - all were locked and no one could be found as they were all hiding inside.
Didn't return to Mt. Baker again until 2006(?) when all the other local areas were closed due to a lack of snow. I'm sure it was just a couple of irresponsible kids wanting to get in quick for a beer or something (and not an area management thing) but that kind of thing sticks with you for a while. I'd certainly have been in a problematic bind if the lift had started up while I was hanging from the cable.