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Scariest chairlift ride

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 

Old two man seater, stopped suddenly, full chairlift, swinging like crazy. Not a problem, then it starts rolling backwards, about twenty feet, slowly, but stops. Then starts rolling back again, but this time gaining speed, we've gone about 30-40meters, me and my mate lift up the bar looking for a good place to jump. We were worried that if it kept getting faster and stopped suddenly we'd be screwed. At that moment it jerked to a halt.

What's yours.

post #2 of 54

I grew up in the midwest, so the chairs got 50' or so off the ground and not much higher.

 

About 15yrs ago, I was in Spain and got the chance to take a day trip to Andorra to go skiing (Soldeu).  About mid-day, I needed to get arcoss the mountain.  There was a chair that went across at about mid-mountain.  I get on the chair and am moving along about 50' or so in the air (just like in the midwest). 

 

All of the sudden, the side of the mountain goes WAY down and I am, what looks to me like, 500' in the air...on this rickety old two person chair lift.  It was the first time I had ever experienced any thing like that.  The beginning and end of the lift were on high points and between there was a valley.  

 

Nothing bad happened and there was only a bit of wind, but that initially feeling upon seeing the earth drop away and seeing how high up I was with that little cable keeping me alive...I was pretty frightened.  Prior to that, I never really thought about using the safety bar...the chair didn't have one and (rational or not) I wished it did.

 

-Smarty      

post #3 of 54

Riding DOWN the Magic Mile at Timberline in the Summer is pretty uncomfortable.

 

It seems to me Red Mountain in Canada has a lift that's roughly 900 yards from the surface.  It's been so long since I was there though that I can't remember which lift and how high it is.  Anyone care to elaborate?

 

That double chair that heads up the Peak at Crystal Mountain , WA I thought was pretty scary too.  First time on it this year, mostly rocks and cliffs underneath.

post #4 of 54

Got two.

Years ago I was riding a chair with a seat made of wooden slats. I was wearing an anorak with one of those toggle stops around the waist. When I got up to unload I was suddenly catapulted in to the air, dragged around the wheel and thrown into a warming shack. When the lift finally stopped, I was hanging from that toggle wedged in between the slats. I will no wear anything with that kind of exposed toggle. And I can not remember the last time I saw a chair that did not have a cover on it to prevent such things from happening.

Second one happened to a client. He was going up the chair. He did not know it, but the cable had jumped the wheels on a tower. The chair arm struck the tower arm hard enough so that the clamp on the chair dislodged. This happened on a particularly steep portion. The chair slid backwards on the cable. When it struck the chair behind, it fell off. Fortunately it was only about 15-20'. He and his friend suffered modest injuries. But the guy on the chair it hit may have gotten the worst of it. The state came in and shut the lift down. I remains down to this day, more than five years later.

David

post #5 of 54

I think these people win the award for scariest ride, at least I can't imagine it getting much worse.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CDuMSP6Gws

post #6 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

It seems to me Red Mountain in Canada has a lift that's roughly 900 yards from the surface.  It's been so long since I was there though that I can't remember which lift and how high it is.  Anyone care to elaborate?

 


The OLD Granite Chair at Red Mountain was pretty high up, nowhere near 900 yards or even 900 feet but it was still pretty high.  I remember it had puches strapped to the chair with cord in them that you would be able to lower down to pull an evac line up to you.

post #7 of 54

cstreu1026 --. That is unbelievable. I can't imagine worse except for being further away from the station.

 

On my youngest's first day skiing ever, at Bear Creek in PA, she rode up with our friends about halfway through the day, had a brain fart and just forgot to get off. She was 8. She rode back down with the safety bar up. I skied under her. She was petrified. That was MY scariest too. Tame compared to that video though.

post #8 of 54



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartyiak View Post

I grew up in the midwest, so the chairs got 50' or so off the ground and not much higher.

 

About 15yrs ago, I was in Spain and got the chance to take a day trip to Andorra to go skiing (Soldeu).  About mid-day, I needed to get arcoss the mountain.  There was a chair that went across at about mid-mountain.  I get on the chair and am moving along about 50' or so in the air (just like in the midwest). 

 

All of the sudden, the side of the mountain goes WAY down and I am, what looks to me like, 500' in the air...on this rickety old two person chair lift.  It was the first time I had ever experienced any thing like that.  The beginning and end of the lift were on high points and between there was a valley.  

 

Nothing bad happened and there was only a bit of wind, but that initially feeling upon seeing the earth drop away and seeing how high up I was with that little cable keeping me alive...I was pretty frightened.  Prior to that, I never really thought about using the safety bar...the chair didn't have one and (rational or not) I wished it did.

 

-Smarty      

Good story Smarty.  Can you track down a picture of that lift?

 

Here's an old thread about steepest chairlifts that has some good pics and stories: http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/52830/steepest-chairlift

 

I've had pretty good luck in 40+ years of riding chairs, so no nasty malfunction type stories. I guess the scariest ride was on the old summit chair at Aspen Highlands in March 1976. First time skiing out west, I was still in college. The air gets thin up there and that double chair had quite a drop off towards the Maroon Bells side of the ridge it climbed.

About ten years later I rode the cable car to the top of the Zugspitze in Germany, climbs ~5000 vertical feet.  My wife, who is a very tentative skier, took that ride without qualms, while I got noticably antsy.  So she held my hand.



 

post #9 of 54
Thread Starter 

That is seriously scary. I'd like to see how they got them down.

post #10 of 54

there was a nasty one at devil's head ski resort last year, couldn't find the good youtube video of it though.  chairs free falling backwards then whipping around the carousel, flinging riders off if they didn't jump.  Pretty nuts.

post #11 of 54

This one was scary because there wasn't a damned thing I could do but sit and watch as the little kid in the chair about five chairs ahead of me fell out of the chair and hit the ground.  He was riding with another child and both of them were about five years old.  They were in a kiddie ski class.  No adult on the chair. Duh, who does that?  I then watched as the instructor skied down to him and picked him up in her arms and walked to the top with him.  He was only about four or five chairs from the top.  Ok, I am an ex-EMT so I'm thinking "don't move him in case he has a spinal cord injury."  I couldn't believe my eyes.  The ski patrol was there when I got to the top so I just waited until I saw a friend who is a patrolman and told him what I had seen.  They wrote it up and now kids in ski class never ride without an adult.  I think that the instructors for kids now also have some first aid training.  No brainer.  The child was ok with no injury.  Kids are so resiliant.  Needless to say, I was about as angry at the instructor's stupidity as a person can be.

post #12 of 54


I know.  The chair gets higher every time I tell the story...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cayuse View Post




The OLD Granite Chair at Red Mountain was pretty high up, nowhere near 900 yards or even 900 feet but it was still pretty high.  I remember it had puches strapped to the chair with cord in them that you would be able to lower down to pull an evac line up to you.

post #13 of 54

I was riding the Grizzly chair at Montana Snowbowl a couple years back, on a day where the wind was gusting up to around 50 mph. We had reached the top of Grizzly Chute to the part of the lift which traverses the slope before heading up the hill again. This is an area which is generally sheltered from the wind, in part by the grove of trees on the up hill side of the slope.

 

Well a huge gust of wind came down the slope, and the largest tree in the grove couldn't take the strain, and we watched in horror as a sixty foot fir, which was rooted about level with the lift cables started falling toward the lift. I recall yelling "Hold on tight!" as it tipped over in slow motion. I watched it hit the cables just in front of the chair ahead of us, and it bounced over the chair (though one of the folks on that chair had the broken off tree top land in her lap. Because the weight of the tree was caught on the downhill cable, it didn't launch anyone out of the chair. The tree rested on the cable and wee passed under it, until, getting slammed by the chairs heading down (which were flung sideways uncomfortably close to the up hill chairs), finally fell to the ground, by this time we were well past it. No one was injured, and the lift wasn't even damaged, though they shut it down for the rest of the day for inspection.

 

The tree that fell snapped off about 8' above the ground where it was about 14" inches in diameter.

post #14 of 54

The old T-Bar at Pico comes to mind. At certain times you felt like you were being pulled straight up a wall directly into the sun

 

There is another one, might be at Whiteface, i forget but it goes along the side of the mountain and you feel you are in the middle of no where. 

post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post

Because the weight of the tree was caught on the downhill cable, it didn't launch anyone out of the chair. The tree rested on the cable and wee passed under it,


I bet it did!

 

 
 

post #16 of 54

The connecting chair between Lincoln Peak & Mt. Ellen (Slide Brook Express) at Sugarbush VT. It goes uphill & downhill several times & gets pretty high up when it goes across a valley in the middle. Just read in another thread that it's the longest chairlift in the U.S. It must take about 15 minutes & it's a high speed quad. Not that it scares me but I know others that won't ride it because they get scared.

post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboat1 View Post

The connecting chair between Lincoln Peak & Mt. Ellen (Slide Brook Express) at Sugarbush VT. It goes uphill & downhill several times & gets pretty high up when it goes across a valley in the middle. Just read in another thread that it's the longest chairlift in the U.S. It must take about 15 minutes & it's a high speed quad. Not that it scares me but I know others that won't ride it because they get scared.


And I think it is the fastest chair in the U.S.

post #18 of 54

 

I recall a chair at Kirkwood that freaked me out as I don't think it had a safety bar. Am I remembering that right? and it was a 3person chair, so the middle guy doesn't get to hold on. I didn't enjoy that.

 

The story above about the kid falling reminds me of a day at the "mountain" where I teach, Camp Fortune.  A few chairs ahead of me there was 1 kid alone - she was in a lesson but missed the chair that her group was on, so the liftee put her on the next chair by herself! Would have been so easy to grab the next couple people in line to ride up with her.  I felt so bad for her as the whole ride up she held onto the side of the chair and kept trying to bring the bar down, but she was too little to reach.  Poor kid must have been terrified.  Thankfully it is a "mountain" and not a mountain.  I wrote in to the ski school director about it as that's an error that should not have happened. Thankfully the kid didn't fall, and I hope she hasn't been scared off skiing.

 

Elsbeth

 
post #19 of 54

the only chair lift that sketched me out was a double chair at Bear Valley that goes up the steepest face there that is almost always icy, can't remember the name.  It may have been a triple chair now that I think about it, but yarn spinnin is yarn spinnin.  Been in a white out at Heavenly that produced sketchy moments 

post #20 of 54

bleh, bleh, bleh. repost.
 

post #21 of 54

I was maybe 8 years old, skiing with my mom and the chair rams me in the back and I cannot get on.  I am hanging on to the slats and my mom has me by the wrist.  By the time the chair stops I am over the creek right in front of the lift and somehow, my mom drags me up and onto the chair.  To this day I have a death grip with both hands and riding the chairs out west freaks me out!!  If there is a tram I am riding it.  Pathetic!

post #22 of 54

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.

 

.ma

post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post

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.

 

.ma


Holy crap! No ski patrol to do a final sweep?  That's crazy!

post #24 of 54

What about this one:

 

http://www.scene.co.nz/271077a1.page

 

 

Quote:
I felt all my ligaments go pop, pop, pop. I knew something really bad had happened
post #25 of 54


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

Riding DOWN the Magic Mile at Timberline in the Summer is pretty uncomfortable.

 

.

Heh, if that wierds you out, you should try downloading on the Grizzly at Snowbowl, it's slower, but it drops almost twice the vertical in just under a mile.

 

post #26 of 54

Wow, on our home turf! That article sounded vicious kiwiski. Glad i never rode that lift when I skiid coronet.

 

Has anybody been on the Summit Platter at Lake Louise? It's the tow on the far skier's right on the front side- it's 1,345ft of vertical! (quite a lot for a short tow i thought). I found that quite scary this year- very hard snow and windy, and it even has knotted ropes each side- presumably for something to grab onto if you fall!

 

I had another scary moment in NZ a few years back at Whakapapa ski field on Mt Ruapehu. I was on the Waterfall Express chair and watched a guy at our chair level, but 80m to our right, skid and slide down a roped off ledge and cliff about 20m or 60-70ft to the flat hard pack below. It was really awful to witness, he was screaming as his board juddered its way down this ledge- failing to grip, falling towards an inevitable horror of a shear cliff! He did not move after the huge thud and was choppered out some time later after the ski patrollers stabilised him etc. Trying to ski after seeing that wasn't easy! Our group just took things slooowwwly...

post #27 of 54

There used to be a chair--three place?--- at Alpine Meadows in CA with no safety bar that had a huge cable span between two towers about half way up the ride.  If they shut off the chair suddenly, you rode down 30-40 feet, back up 50-60 feet and gradually oscillated for shorter and shorter distances.  Scared the heck out of me.

 

I'll never forget the time I was following a kid maybe 12 years old up a chairlift in Michigan when he suddenly stiffened and slid right out of the chair, landing near a tower base.  A patroller coming down the slope stopped immediately.  When I got down to that tower, the patroller told me the kid had experienced a seizure and apparently went limp during the fall, so he experienced no injury.

post #28 of 54

All chairlifts kinda give me the heeby jeebies, but I enjoy the rush I get from it.  Took my acrophobia rush highest by climbing water towers in college.  Back to the topic, there was an older rusty chair at Aspen Highlands strung between two peaks with a pretty sickening drop down to the valley below I recall rising in the 80s several times. 

But, the scariest one for me was the first ever chairlift ride.  I skated up and got on without really thinking about it,... tame little green run at Buck Hill in Minnesota.  As it started going up it hit me that I had better make sure I didn't fall off that thing.   After a few minutes I settled down and enjoyed the ride, but the first 50 feet or so I was pretty scared.

post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post

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. 


Thanks to my GF for reminding me of this...

 

In a somewhat related vein, Frozen is now available on Netflix.

post #30 of 54

I love "Curb", and that seemed somewhat relevant - hope some of you enjoyed it. Nonetheless, as penance for drift, I'll fess up to something more on topic that was momentarily scary but mostly humiliating...

 

I was riding with the GF up High Noon lift at Vail for the (my) first time. Seemed kinda slow and it was a nice day so I was enjoying looking around, checking things out on the way up. Suddenly we were at the top, and I guess I was still out there in the ozone, because before I knew it GF was gone and I was still in the chair doing the really fast u turn. I launched myself into the air at the last moment, and of course ended up in a heap on the ground. I was a little discombobulated, so that added to the amount of time it took for me to get back on my feet. The fact that there were dozens of people hanging around there at the top where the various lifts unload, (all of whom I felt sure were staring/laughing at me), made it seem like an eternity!

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