Investigation underway after woman gets stuck overnight on gondola at Tahoe ski resort

A woman spent Thursday night stuck in a gondola cart in below-freezing temperatures at South Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Ski Resort.

South Lake Tahoe Fire and Rescue officials responded to the woman Friday morning and offered medical transport, which she declined. Thursday’s night low in the South Lake Tahoe area was 23 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Kim George, fire marshal for South Lake Tahoe Fire and Rescue, said this is the first time her crew has responded to such an incident in her 23-year career. George, who was formerly a ski patrol, said resorts have comprehensive procedures to avoid these types of incidents.

“I’ve never even heard of it happening on any mountain, anywhere,” George said.

A spokesperson for the resort confirmed the incident, but declined to comment if a similar incident occurred in the resort’s past.

“The safety and well-being of our guests is our top priority at Heavenly Mountain Resort,” Tom Fortune, vice president of Heavenly Mountain Resort and the Tahoe Region, said in a provided statement. “We are investigating this situation with the utmost seriousness.”

KCRA first reported that the woman, Monica Laso, was the same person reported missing Thursday night to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office after her friends couldn’t find her. Laso told KCRA that Thursday was her first day at the resort and she spent most of the day snowboarding.

Near the end of the day, Laso told KRCA, she fell behind her friend and approached a worker after she was too tired to continue down the hill. That worker guided her to a gondola around 4:58 p.m. and it stopped two minutes later.

George’s crew arrived to check on her 15 hours later.