WILMINGTON, New York — A strong gust of wind was to blame Saturday afternoon when a quadruple chair became entangled with a communications line at Whiteface Mountain resulting in a derailment and subsequent automatic stoppage of the lift.
The incident occurred on the Summit Quad Chair at approximately 3:20 p.m., and saw 47 skiers and snowboarders evacuated safely by trained Whiteface personnel. The process calls for the evacuees to be lowered to safety by rope.
Jay Rand, Whiteface Mountain Manager, reported that all guests were off the lift by 5:20 and in the base lodge by 6 p.m.
Rand continued to state that 80 Whiteface staff members were involved in the procedure, which extended from employees who practice evacuation procedures, to administrators, to the mountain’s marketing department and concessionaire.
Ski Patrol, Host Patrol and Snowsports School were also involved in securing the safety and comfort of those affected.
A number of the visitors were lowered to the snow before dark and opted to ski and ride down ??вЂњ some escorted – to the base lodge. However, the remainder, who were removed after dark, was transported to the base area by snow cats.
Once inside, the guests were fed and served warm drinks.
The Summit Quad delivers skiers and riders to the uppermost reaches of the venue, and is widely acclaimed for its views and varied terrain.
The chair is expected to be closed for several days while mountain crews restore the cable.
The mishap occurred 10 minutes prior to the Summit Quad’s daily 3:30 closing.