After mechanical issues occurred mid-day yesterday on Chairlift 5 at Whitefish Mountain Resort, chairlift and rescue personnel worked together to evacuate some 140 guests from the lift.
White Fish Resort issued the following statement about the event.
“At approximately 12:15 p.m., the East Rim/Chair 5 lift at Whitefish Mountain Resort was stopped due to an issue will the chairlift’s bullwheel liner. Lift Maintenance teams responded immediately to repair the lift and get the passengers unloaded.
Ski Patrol also responded immediately to communicate to passengers and get in position for a possible lift evacuation. Because the repair was not expected to be timely and for the comfort and safety of our guests we decided to evacuate the lift. There were approximately 140 passengers on the lift at the time. Ski patrol teams began the process of getting the passengers safely to the ground at approximately 1:00 p.m.
We were in constant communication with the passengers and kept them informed on the issues and evacuation process. We brought hand warmers, blankets and warm drinks. At the time of the incident, temperatures were in the high teens winds were at 10 miles per hour with occasional gusts. The last passenger was evacuated at 3:37 p.m. and there were no injuries.”
The evacuation effort was notable for the steep terrain that lies beneath Chair 5, also known as the ‘East Rim’ chair. The primarily expert ski terrain required patrollers and lift mechanics to navigate dangerous cliff bands to lower guests safely to the ground. East Rim chairlift has only been in its current location for one season, after moving across the mountain just last year.
Good job Whitefish Mountain Resort!