Chairlift Nightmare —65 Skiers Left Stranded for Hours

Brittany Jones-Cooper

After a chair on the lift crashed to the ground, skiers at a Lake Tahoe resort had to wait two hours to be rescued. (Photo: Thinkstock)

When it comes to skiing, riding the ski lift is usually the easiest part of the day.

But for dozens of people in Lake Tahoe, their ride up the mountain left them on edge.

The SF Gate reports that 65 skiers had to be rescued after a chair on the lift detached and fell to the ground at the Heavenly Mountain Resort.

The incident happened near the resort’s North Bowl at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Operators shut down the lift after the incident, leaving riders with their feet dangling in the air.

Many riders had to wait for upwards of two hours until the ski patrol could safely get them down using a rope-and-pully system.

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Christopher Strunk was sitting just behind the fallen chair with his 12-year-old daughter who is afraid of heights. He says his main focus was keeping her calm.

“The thing that scared me the most was we had to sit on the lift for hours, looking at the chair in front of us, wondering if the chair we’re sitting on was going to fall next,” he told SF Gate.

“The idea a chair could just fall off like that, I mean, my God. It was really frightening,” he said. “I’ve been skiing for 35 years, and it’s never happened before.”

Kevin Cooper, spokesperson for the resort, confirmed the incident. He says they are doing everything they can to investigate what led to the malfunction.

“The chair is inoperative at the time,” said Cooper. “We want to make sure our guests are safe.”

No injuries were reported.

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