Skiers Lowered From Lift on Ropes at Montana Ski Area
On Saturday, March 30, Showdown Ski Resort’s triple chair lift known as “The Payload” unexpectedly malfunctioned, causing the lift operators to shut it down while roughly 133 skiers were still sitting on it.
Avery Gold, a spokesperson for Showdown, stated that due to the uncertain time
expectancy of the tower repair as well as for the comfort and safety of the guests, a rope evacuation was necessary.
87 skiers were rescued within 70 minutes with no passengers sustaining injuries. The remaining passengers remained on the lift until the tower was finished with repairs around 2:08 p.m.
The temperature of the mountain on Saturday was roughly between 34 and 38 degrees.
The rescue process involved rescuers using a gun to fire a thin rope over the lift cable, then harnesses were lifted up to the skiers. Afterwards, a larger rope was used to lower the harnessed skiers to the ground.
Lucky enough, Showdown was hosting regional training on Saturday, so 30 paid and volunteer patrol members were present to assist in the rescue.
Gold stated that Showdown has never had to fully rope-evacuate a lift before, but they do train for such a situation.