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Scariest chairlift ride - Page 2

post #31 of 54
post #32 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

As a Baker local I'm trying to make sense of this.  To what lights are you referring?  There are no lights for night skiing (there's never been any night skiing at Baker) and none for any other purpose on the lift towers. If you were out of sight of the lift shack you couldn't have seen any light they might have had there either, which isn't much if it exists at all.  Since the ski area is off the grid they don't pump electricity just any old where.  They close at 3:30 and even at the darkest time of year you would have decent light until after 4:00.  There is ALWAYS a sweep by patrol after the lift is closed.  Was this chair 6  or chair 2 and were you trying to get back to Heather Meadows Lodge?  White Salmon Lodge didn't exist in the 80s.
 

post #33 of 54


LMAO!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post

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

 


Related to the topic:

 

About couple of years ago my then 6yo boy and me went skiing while my better half stayed at home with the sick younger daughter. At the resort I booked the all day ski school for the boy, checked him in, stayed long enough for him to nudge me on the side and grunt "Come on dad, go away now" and went to get some quality time on the slopes enjoying fast single lanes. Needless to say, best terrain on Mt Hood Meadows has zero cell phone reception no matter the provider.

 

At lunch time I'm getting down to the lodge, getting to the bar, asking for the tequila shot and the glass of stout, and notice that my cell phone starts vibrating marking unanswered calls and voice mail messages. When the vibration became so long that I started to wander about possible non-call related application of the cell phones it also downed on me that something is wrong. I'm calling back to my wife and that's what she tells me (rather screams though)

 

While she is at home concierge girl from the resort is calling her and tells that our son just fell from the chair and since they can't reach me over the cell phone they decided to call her. The concierge has no details to share except the fact that he is in the clinic and tells that she'll call back with more details. The picture my wife draws in her mind is rather ugly since she immediately recollects which of the chairs has the highest tower at the resort... the second thought of course - where the hell is the father (me)? Being of the eastern-European descent she reaches for the stiff drink first, gets the phone and keeps calling until she reaches me. Now i'm sitting at the bar, listening to all that and getting my own share of fear... By the time she is done I've gulped down all the drinks and with pictures of the broken bones in mind rushing to the clinic.

 

First thing i see there is my boy running around, looking at the medical equipment, monitors and such. I notice no bandages or anything of that sort. Then he sees me, yells "dad, dad - wanna see my skull?" and rushes to the near by display to show me the x-ray picture. That's where I see the ski instructor, sitting in the corner with the shaking hands clutching a cup of hot beverage... He tells me that they were riding the "Easy Rider" chair and he was with my kid. He notices that just after the take off the dude starts to slide down. He grabs his hand but it was kinda wet this day so he felt that he is sliding off the chair as well. Afraid of falling on top of the kid making things worse he looked down, noticed that it's just couple of feet between the kid's skis and the snow, he released him. Nothing special, but he kind of hit the relatively soft snow with the head (helmet was on, no issues). The patroller took the kid to the clinic since he hit his head falling from the chair...

 

The most scary part was the call from the concierge with no details at all (plus on my wife's side magnified by me being out of reach). No hard fillings to the instructor, he did his best. Just poor situation handling...

post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post



As a Baker local I'm trying to make sense of this.  To what lights are you referring?  There are no lights for night skiing (there's never been any night skiing at Baker) and none for any other purpose on the lift towers. If you were out of sight of the lift shack you couldn't have seen any light they might have had there either, which isn't much if it exists at all.  Since the ski area is off the grid they don't pump electricity just any old where.  They close at 3:30 and even at the darkest time of year you would have decent light until after 4:00.  There is ALWAYS a sweep by patrol after the lift is closed.  Was this chair 6  or chair 2 and were you trying to get back to Heather Meadows Lodge?  White Salmon Lodge didn't exist in the 80s.
 

 

I agree, it sounds like he might have confused some other ski area. There's no where at Baker that fits his description, and never has been.
 

post #35 of 54

My first chairlift ride was a bit of a nervous one for me. I was nine years old, and it was the final lesson of a six week never-ever class. For whatever reason, we had a substitute instructor who didn't look as cool as the usual guy. When it was time to board the lift I scuttled quickly into position, but my instructor got hung up somehow, I think someone had pushed up behind him and was standing on his skis and he ejected, all I know for sure is that I got on the lift by myself.

 

I don't recall being too afraid during the lift ride, but when I got to the top I realized that I had no idea how to get off the thing. I crossed the unloading ramp, and heard my parents and older sister (who just happened to be there standing with my little brother, who was in my class, and who'd ridden up ahead of me) yelling at me to stand up, but it was too late, and I was back off the ground. At Skibowl, the unloading ramp is rather steep, so I was quickly well off the ground, and about fifty feet from the bullwheel, I knew I didn't want to ride around the corner so I jumped when my skis were six to eight feet off of the ground. I landed in a heap, but was uninjured.

 

My brother compensated for my lack of injury by breaking his leg a few minutes later, on his first run off the chair lift.

post #36 of 54

In regards to a post from earlier I didnt feel like scrolling back to quote...I just can't see the scariest lift ever being a lift that had no safety bar.  People rode 2 person Riblets for years and years without safety bars.  How is this scary?

post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

In regards to a post from earlier I didnt feel like scrolling back to quote...I just can't see the scariest lift ever being a lift that had no safety bar.  People rode 2 person Riblets for years and years without safety bars.  How is this scary?


People still ride 2 person Riblets and plenty of three and four person fixed grip chairs without safety bars.  I imagine the scary part is when you've learned to rely on the bar and never been without one, then it's not there.

post #38 of 54
post #39 of 54

Sometimes it is tough when you are acrophobic and you just need to close your eyes.  I remember the one lift at snowmass (forgot the name but it is the closest one after the 5 mile trail) goes over the deep gulley and it fells like your a couple hundred feet up.

 

One other thing is when you're used to skiing east coast where safety bars are mandatory and you go out to UT/CO where they are optional.

post #40 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post




People still ride 2 person Riblets and plenty of three and four person fixed grip chairs without safety bars.  I imagine the scary part is when you've learned to rely on the bar and never been without one, then it's not there.


Exactly! I like my safety bar and preferably the foot bar to prevent slipping through. :)  

post #41 of 54

Didn't the old original chairs at Sun Valley have the funky swing-out safety bars with the foot rests and snow capes?  Those suckers had towers that looked like they were made from an Erector Set.  http://img.groundspeak.com/waymarking/ccdfb59a-f92c-4ceb-a125-bccbff9f4bb3.jpg  These were interesting to ride, and slooooow.  Tried to find a photo to paste in here but best I could do was a link to one of the original chairs.  I had ridden many chairs when I first got on one of these in 65 at Sun Valley, it would get your undivided attention.  Had heard that the capes were put on out of necessary for protection of the riders; from grease drips and when the lift BROKE DOWN.  When those things stopped it was like a carnival ride. 

 

Can you imagine some young Hollywood starlet trying to be cool on that thing in the 30's when it stopped?  Bet that was a death grip, and may have made Americas Funniest Videos.  One of the original SV chairs is still in use up in Cordova, AK serving Mt. Eyak; they don't build them like they used to.  ( Thank God!)

post #42 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by evaino View Post


Exactly! I like my safety bar and preferably the foot bar to prevent slipping through. 

Honestly, the only way to slip off a chair is to press your back against the back of the chair while pressing your hips forward, otherwise, the weight of your skis and boots pulls your lower legs down at a right angle to your upper legs, and your upper legs press at a right angle to the seat. There is no force that would cause one to slide forward, except leaning back. Gravity doesn't cause lateral movement, people do.

 

 

 



 

post #43 of 54

:

Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

As a Baker local I'm trying to make sense of this.  To what lights are you referring?  There are no lights for night skiing (there's never been any night skiing at Baker) and none for any other purpose on the lift towers. If you were out of sight of the lift shack you couldn't have seen any light they might have had there either, which isn't much if it exists at all.  Since the ski area is off the grid they don't pump electricity just any old where.  They close at 3:30 and even at the darkest time of year you would have decent light until after 4:00.  There is ALWAYS a sweep by patrol after the lift is closed.  Was this chair 6  or chair 2 and were you trying to get back to Heather Meadows Lodge?  White Salmon Lodge didn't exist in the 80s.
 


Kinda wondered if you'd chime in.  It was in fact Mt. Baker and back in the mid or late '80s. 

 

The lights I refer to were on a couple of lift towers going up the hill ahead of us.  Nope, they've never had night skiing at Baker but there were lights on at least some of the towers and I clearly remember the moment those lights went off as it triggered a distinct change in our level of concern...  Those lights were probably on the same power lines as the lower lift shack.

 

Not sure what chair number it was.   As I recall, you could ski down slope to a location where you had to ride a lift to get back to the lodge/parking area. That was the chair we were on heading back.  I don't remember what particular lodge was near the lift landing but it was an uphill run to the right for the fellow that scurried off.

 

Not sure what time we actually loaded the chair and it may well have at or been a bit beyond regular closing time.  It was a dark and cloudy evening and being down in the low spot between hills/trees it got dark rather quickly.  I'm no longer sure of the exact timing of things as this was a long time ago so we might well have sat there longer than I posted.   By 4:15pm it gets pretty dark in the mountains around Christmas, especially down in the valleys.    Heck, on cloudy days it's dark at my house by 4:30 that time of year!  I do remember we could see the white snow below us quite clearly, just not the trees, towers or cables which were all of a dark color.

 

It's possible a Patrol person was patrolling somewhere they could hear us hollering (but we couldn't see them) and that's why they started the lift up again.   No doubt Patrollers might have been out looking for straggler skiers - but would they normally think to look for people still on the chairs?  Wouldn't that have been the lifty's responsibility?

 

I'm sure liability concerns have forced policies and procedures that make these things a lot less likely (at all ski areas) but I still hear periodic stories of people being left on chairs overnight.  Again, even back then I didn't blame the Area itself, just the individuals who dropped the ball.

 

.ma

post #44 of 54

Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post

Honestly, the only way to slip off a chair is to press your back against the back of the chair while pressing your hips forward, otherwise, the weight of your skis and boots pulls your lower legs down at a right angle to your upper legs, and your upper legs press at a right angle to the seat. There is no force that would cause one to slide forward, except leaning back. Gravity doesn't cause lateral movement, people do.

 


Actually, I've seen a snowboarder slide off a chair because he was wearing slippery pants while leaning forward to mess with his bindings.  With his legs and upper body so far forward the chair had rocked backward a bit more causing the seat to be tilted forward a bit - and he went splat about eight feet below.  As I watched, the chair itself slipped backward out from under him at the same time he slid forward.

 

.ma

post #45 of 54


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post


Actually, I've seen a snowboarder slide off a chair because he was wearing slippery pants while leaning forward to mess with his bindings.  With his legs and upper body so far forward the chair had rocked backward a bit more causing the seat to be tilted forward a bit - and he went splat about eight feet below.  As I watched, the chair itself slipped backward out from under him at the same time he slid forward.

 

.ma


OK you proved me wrong, there is more than one way for a people to cause themselves to fall off a chair lift, but to do it either way, the person has to be a dumbass who could just as easily fall off a chair in the lodge.

 

post #46 of 54

Baker's old double Chair 1 used to be really slippery for some reason.  When you got on at the mid station the chair would bounce and sway and it felt like you would fall off, though I never saw anyone who actually did.

 

I remember taking a toboggan up the 7th Heaven chair at Stevens Pass during a strong wind.  This is a double and the toboggan was balanced on the chair back and a little metal bar that was attached to the center bar of the chair.  The wind was catching the toboggan and I was trying to hold it on. I felt like I was going to be swept off at any moment.  I figured I would need to let the sled go and was afraid it would sweep me off with it.  Somehow  I made it to the top, but it sure got my attention.

post #47 of 54
Thread Starter 

Ok, helped with disabled skiing for a couple of winter, and this guy was in a monoski - where you sit down and have two outriggers on the end of your poles. Anyway, at the end of the lift ride, he tries to get off and has forgotten to unlatch the safety clip, and he shoots forward and is hanging upside down, about 10cm off the ground. Not worried about height from ground, but he about to hit the landing head first upside down. The lifty halted the lift real quick. He was so strapped into his device he didn't fall out of it.

post #48 of 54

The Lessieres Express lift in Val d'Isere is a good one for giving you a bit of a surprise. It goes up over a ridge and down again (you wouldn't want to get off at the top without full climbing gear), start and finish are about the same height, however one side is really steep and as you approach it from the other side it looks like the lift is just disappearing; you pop over this ridge and head straight down a really steep face. It's like that moment when you just tip over the top of a roller coaster.

post #49 of 54

Following the exact description of the physical phenomena below, the event of slipping off the chair happens automatically when you are younger than say 7 or so... First they sit firmly back then the gravity takes over and pulls the feet down. Since the legs are too short to form the nice right angle while the back is pressed against the back of the chair the leverage might be just good enough to get the butt sliding forward, especially when the chair seat is wet. Then they try wiggle their way back but since gravity force is stronger than the but wiggling they keep sliding forward. What happens next - see my previous post...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post



Honestly, the only way to slip off a chair is to press your back against the back of the chair while pressing your hips forward, otherwise, the weight of your skis and boots pulls your lower legs down at a right angle to your upper legs, and your upper legs press at a right angle to the seat. There is no force that would cause one to slide forward, except leaning back. Gravity doesn't cause lateral movement, people do.

 

 

 



 

post #50 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by VladL View Post

Following the exact description of the physical phenomena below, the event of slipping off the chair happens automatically when you are younger than say 7 or so... First they sit firmly back then the gravity takes over and pulls the feet down. Since the legs are too short to form the nice right angle while the back is pressed against the back of the chair the leverage might be just good enough to get the butt sliding forward, especially when the chair seat is wet. Then they try wiggle their way back but since gravity force is stronger than the but wiggling they keep sliding forward. What happens next - see my previous post...

 


 

 

Thanks for making my point for me, people who do dangerous things on chairlifts make them dangerous; it takes effort and movement to shift one's weight over the edge of the chair.

 

Kids need to be taught to be safe. Who would tell a small child to lean back to scoot to the back of the chair? What parent doesn't teach their kid about riding a chair lift before allowing the tyke to get in line? I'll tell you who, a dumbass.

 

I ride chairlifts with kids most weekends on lifts with no bars or footrests. I explain the physics of chair riding to kids if they are doing something dangerous, don't you? The kids always listen, adjust their posture and become more comfortable with their situation. They've invariably heard "sit up straight" before.

 

Oh and BTW, kids so small that the chair seat is much deeper than the length of their femurs, can easily slip under idiot bars if they do what you describe, and as they attempt to scoot back, their feet are moving away from the footrests.

 

 

post #51 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post



Honestly, the only way to slip off a chair is to press your back against the back of the chair while pressing your hips forward, otherwise, the weight of your skis and boots pulls your lower legs down at a right angle to your upper legs, and your upper legs press at a right angle to the seat. There is no force that would cause one to slide forward, except leaning back. Gravity doesn't cause lateral movement, people do.

 

 

 



 


I never claimed it was rational. :)

post #52 of 54

 

:
Originally Posted by VladL View Post

... First they sit firmly back then the gravity takes over and pulls the feet down. Since the legs are too short to form the nice right angle while the back is pressed against the back of the chair the leverage might be just good enough to get the butt sliding forward, especially when the chair seat is wet.

 

Little buggers *frequently* end up executing the exact scenario you describe above.  I had a small gal in a one-piece snowsuit nearly slide off the beginner chair while sitting beside me.  Barely managed to poke an arm in front of her and lever her back into the seat before her rump cleared the seat edge.   I'm getting to like those safety bars a bit more but nope, they don't stop tykes from slipping under them.  At least kids can hold onto them (or grab them as they slide under...)

 

Seems like they always make kids ski bibs and one-piece snowsuits out of a slippery material.  Maybe we should start a consumer campaign advocating the idea of non-slip rumps in those things.

 

 

.ma

 

post #53 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post

 

Kids need to be taught to be safe. Who would tell a small child to lean back to scoot to the back of the chair? What parent doesn't teach their kid about riding a chair lift before allowing the tyke to get in line? I'll tell you who, a dumbass.

 

 


Hey, easy... That wasn't his first or last ride on that chair, just poor combination of all factors... I wish every kid would be the one who understands AND executes exactly what parents tell them. Unfortunately sometimes words are just words until the reality forces the deep understanding.

But one thing is sure - the safety bar wouldn't help at all since the described situation happened at the take off when the bar is up by definition. But I think i'm deviating from the OP's theme... so i'm out

 

VL

post #54 of 54

Seeing a kid fall from a lift only to be caught by his boxers on the bottom of the chair. Granted it was only about 15 feet in the air since the lift just started, but god damn you should of seen the look on the kids face when he is hanging upside down from the lift his pants nearly fully down for everyone to see.

 

good times lol

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