UNION DALE, Pa. — Being rescued from a chairlift is not an experience skiers and snowboarders prepare for when they spend a day on the slopes, but that was the case over the weekend at Elk Mountain in Susquehanna County.
Samuel and Susan Gordon and their family were doing just that, only to spend a chunk of their day stuck on one of the lifts.
"We were waiting for an unusually long time. But then quickly after, the ski patrol showed up and let us know what was going on," Samuel Gordon said.
Managers at the ski resort say an equipment failure brought the lift to a halt with 170 people on the chairs.
John Nebzydoski and his family were also stuck on the lift. They watched ski patrollers set up to get everyone down to safety.
"Once they got to us, and I got to watch them do like, I don't know eight people ahead of us, I felt a lot better about it. Because I was originally envisioning having to like hang on to a rope and be lowered," Nebzydoski said.
While ski patrollers evacuated the lift, ski instructors also jumped in to help. The top section of this chairlift goes over an expert trail, and people with less experience needed help getting down the slope.
"If I was in that position, I'm not even sure which one would be the bigger freakout— being evacuated from the lift or then having to get back down the mountain. The instructors came to help the ski patrol. They just really worked well together, and they were truly concerned for the skiers' predicament," Susan Gordon said.
Being rescued from several feet above the ground was scary for some, but they also said skiing is an adventure. This was just an unexpected one.
"When I first said they were going to evacuate us, I said, 'Well, this might be my last time skiing.' But then, once I actually did it, we skied down and got right back on the other lift and kept going. So I guess I feel a little better now having experienced it," Nebzydoski said.
Managers at Elk Mountain say they are working to get the chairlift fixed and hope to have it back up and running soon.
Check out WNEP's YouTube page.