A 2020 chairlift detachment at Red Lodge Mountain will soon have its day in court.
KTVQ reports that two men are suing JMA Ventures (which owns Red Lodge Mountain) over a 2020 chairlift incident that saw one of them separate their shoulder, while the other guy suffered a concussion. This incident occurred while they were loading the Willow Creek chairlift. The lawyer that represents the two men said in the interview with KTVQ that they “don’t know exactly what happened,” but believe that poor safety standards led to the detachment from the haul rope.
They also claim that a 2011 detachment on the same chairlift is proof that the Riblet lift, which opened back in 1959, isn’t safe. This 2011 detachment happened when a wind storm made a chair strike a lift tower, leading to a detachment. Two people were injured from that detachment.
Red Lodge Mountain is arguing that they did know what happened. They claim that one of the snowboarder’s edges got caught on the loading ramp. This led to an excessive amount of pressure, ultimately resulting in the chair twisting and detaching. The ski resort also claims both were on the ground when the chairlift broke off and the people told patrollers that they were fine after the situation. After the incident, Red Lodge inspected the chairlift and started spinning again a couple of minutes later, and has been without incident since.
They also argued that the two guests didn’t abide by Montana law. When you purchase a lift ticket in Montana, you have to ski/ride in control and to your ability, meaning that you should know how to ride a chairlift safely.
For a comprehensive video breakdown of the situation, check out KTVQ’s investigation here.
Image Credits: Red Lodge Mountain