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Okay, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know and I don’t want to be a dick. Does anyone have any info or ideas about why evacuating 150+ people from what looks like a somewhat low double lift would take over 3 hours on a weekend (figuring most chairs were full?)? Weather, staffing, equipment?
https://unofficialnetworks.com/2019/01/28/150-skiers-evacuated-from-stowe-chairlift/

Not having been there, my impression is that Stowe is a pretty big ski area.
 

KevinF

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Well, I was at Stowe that day, but I wasn't on the lift when it needed evacuation.

First, it didn't take over three hours; the article stated that they started at 10:45AM and were down by 1:00PM, which is two hours, 15 minutes. Still a long time; I have no idea if they started roping people down at 10:45 or if it was sometime later.

It was very windy that day, although most of that chair is fairly sheltered. The top (exposed) part could have been brutally cold. The only way up there would have been via snowmobile as there were no other lifts running that get you high enough (the only chairlift that goes higher was on windhold). I'm not familiar with what's involved with a lift-evacuation (i.e., how many people, equipment, etc. is needed to start).

Most of the terrain under the double is a double-black bump run with a short "not a trail" section that the lift goes over as well. It was probably icy on Sunday given that there was a thaw-rain-refreeze event on Thursday. It had icy areas on Monday and that was with a fresh foot of snow on it from a storm on Sunday night.
 

LKLA

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Okay, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know and I don’t want to be a dick. Does anyone have any info or ideas about why evacuating 150+ people from what looks like a somewhat low double lift would take over 3 hours on a weekend (figuring most chairs were full?)? Weather, staffing, equipment?
https://unofficialnetworks.com/2019/01/28/150-skiers-evacuated-from-stowe-chairlift/

Not having been there, my impression is that Stowe is a pretty big ski area.
I was not there either (and even if I was I would likely not be riding the Lookout Double) but my sense is that it is fairly challenging to evacuate 160 skiers from a chairlift in much less 135 minutes (10:45 am - 1:00 pm = 135 minutes). That is a pace of evacuating more than one skier per minute!

And, I am sure not all 160 skiers were 18-50 year old fearless folks. One young child, one older person, one person afraid/very hesitant could easily have taken the crew much longer than a minute to bring down.

I am actually surprised they started the process barely 15 minutes after the incident occurred and that they were able to get everyone off safely in barely two hours.
 

Dave Petersen

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This just happened to me in the Midwest on MLK day — the gearbox went out. The lift had just opened so only 3 riders. Temps were in the low teens — probably took a 1/2 hour to get lowered down.
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…First, it didn't take over three hours; the article stated that they started at 10:45AM and were down by 1:00PM, which is two hours, 15 minutes. …
Ah, right! I was wrong, I miscounted. That makes a difference.

The only way up there would have been via snowmobile as there were no other lifts running that get you high enough (the only chairlift that goes higher was on windhold).
Do you know if there is a patrol station at the top of that lift?
 

Coach13

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It happens. The good news is they dealt with it as quickly as they could and no one got hurt. We were on a lift at Loveland several years ago when it went down. We sat in super cold and windy weather for about an hour before they got it running. A lot of folks were unhappy but I look at it as it ended well with nothing other than some inconvenience on our part. Like I said, it happens.
 

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Do you know if there is a patrol station at the top of that lift?
There isn’t atop the double; there is atop the wind-held quad (which is higher). The two lifts are pretty close to each other; even skiing leisurely you could cover the distance in a minute.

For what it’s worth, the double has about 220 chairs on it, so the uphill side has about 110. 160 people needing rescue means about 75% capacity. Some apparently jumped, but I can’t imagine so many jumped that the lift was at full capacity.
 

newfydog

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The lift at Stowe broke down on March 5 1943. My father was there and wrote home:

Well I had finished two runs and was waiting in line to go up again when it happened. The lift stopped short. At first the report was that it would start again in ten minutes, then one hour, then the next day. My lunch was up on top of the mountain and I was down below. SO what did I do? That's right, I started climbing. A fellow I had met named Bob and I started up the nose dive. Well after 2 hours and a half we finally reached the top, much more dead than alive. I didn't have the right equipment to climb, skis are made to go down hill anyway. It was by far the hardest mile and a quarter that I have ever seen, but somehow we made it although I'll never be sure just how. On the top was a very selected group of people. Most of them had been on the lift when it stopped. They had jumped off and climbed up. Some of the jumps were 30 ft. and the people that had jumped there had sunk down in the snow up to their shoulders. A few timid persons had to be rescued from the lift by rope ladders. All in all it was a lot of fun.
 

LKLA

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They had 37 staff on the scene. And, for what little it is worth to those freezing folks, Stowe gave them one day lift ticket voucher.
 
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KevinF

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I am sure not all 160 skiers were 18-50 year old fearless folks. One young child, one older person, one person afraid/very hesitant could easily have taken the crew much longer than a minute to bring down.
If I had been on that lift patrol would still be trying to talk me down. :eek: Just send up pizza and blankets, I’ll stay here until you get it started.
 

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I guessed it was lookout. Sometimes when it's windy that's all that's open. When it's really cold or the other lifts are closed it's fun to ski the lookout trails and glades and warm up by the fire and listen to the band.

There was a lady on the news who had a good attitude about the ordeal but wished they had at least had some communication with the opps after the lift stopped. Since it's bad etiquette to suggest jumping a lift I'll say the lift goes up a steep pitch so it wouldn't be an easy landing. You could see there was a nice ice crust under the snow.

I've considered carrying a rope in a backpack in case I ever have to offload, but since I'm usually with my kids it's not very realistic anyways. That's a cool story about the people in 1943 but I doubt many people jumped 30 feet.
 

graham418

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On the top was a very selected group of people. Most of them had been on the lift when it stopped. They had jumped off and climbed up. Some of the jumps were 30 ft. and the people that had jumped there had sunk down in the snow up to their shoulders. A few timid persons had to be rescued from the lift by rope ladders. All in all it was a lot of fun.
:roflmao::roflmao: I guess that was back when men were men!!! 30ft jumps!! A lot of Fun!!
 
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Well, my eyebrows first went up because of how long I thought it took, but with @Kevin F's kind help, I have now learned how to count to three. :doh:

I'm interested in people's experiences and expectations with lift stops, and I'm also hoping to hear from patrollers on their thoughts, and what the preparation, goals, and expectations are like where they are.

Where I work lift evac is a big deal, a whole lot of time is spent training and planning for it and refreshing. Especially since it doesn't happen very often. And one thing that got me wondering is that, unless there were some extenuating circumstances, two hours to evacuate a lift that seemed like that one does to me would raise some questions as to how it could be improved. I wondered what there was that I might not be seeing.
 

KevinF

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I can remember two instances of being stuck on a lift for around 30 minutes, but both times they were able to get it restarted.

The first time was at Loon, NH on a day where it was 20-something below. I was close enough to the bottom that I could see the lift mechanics scrambling up the ladders and having a conference; that's sort of when I knew we were in for a long wait. I don't remember anybody coming below giving us a status update. The woman I was stuck with on the lift would not shut up about the cold. I had determined that the fall / jump was high enough to guarantee an injury, but that she would (probably) survive if she were pushed. I think they gave us hot chocolate coupons when we finally got off. :rolleyes: I skied down to the lodge and just sat in front of the fire. I was frozen.

There was a time at Sugarloaf when the haul rope came off the pulleys and they were somehow able to lift it back on. That was a warm-ish spring day (or at least what passes for "spring" in Maine), so the wait wasn't that bad. We were contemplating jumping when a patroller came by to give us an update and asked us to stay put as "we have enough problems right now". Fair enough.

Based off of those experiences, I figured that going through an evacuation was the last-ditch option. i.e., it's much faster to jury-rig / fix / patch things together enough to offload everybody than it is to rope evacuate everyone.

@pais alto , what sort of time-frame would you expect for evacuating 160 people?
 

LKLA

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If I had been on that lift patrol would still be trying to talk me down. :eek: Just send up pizza and blankets, I’ll stay here until you get it started.
I did not know you were over 50 :)
 

neonorchid

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I've considered carrying a rope in a backpack in case I ever have to offload,
-
Whoa, thought I was the only one with that hair brained idea (fantasy), but yeah, any climbers or ex-stunt men here with advice on the lightest rope and ratcheting handle's to lower oneself if such a thing exists outside of Hollywood ... @pais alto????
:huh:
 

KevinF

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I did not know you were over 50 :)
I'm not... I'm 48. I am, however, a total wuss when it comes to heights, where "height" is defined as any distance above ground greater than 2".

I like Stowe's lifts as they're mostly quite low to the ground. This is a good thing.
 

Wilhelmson

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Whoa, thought I was the only one with that hair brained idea (fantasy), but yeah, any climbers or ex-stunt men here with advice on the lightest rope and ratcheting handle's to lower oneself if such a thing exists outside of Hollywood ... @pais alto????
:huh:
I'll see if I can even get up my kids' 1" cotton rope swing with climbing knots in ski boots, although all you have to do is slide down enough to break the fall. With rocks below no way.
 

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