Skiers left hanging by chairlift breakdown

By DEZRI ROCHIN/Montana State News

Skiers riding on Bridger Bowl’s Virginia City chairlift were left hanging for an hour Sunday afternoon before being evacuated via harness and cable. According to Doug Wales, marketing director at Bridger Bowl, “It took an hour to evacuate the 163 chairs and most were occupied so nearly 326 were evacuated.”

At approximately 1:15 p.m., “The lift came to a stop, then started up and then stopped again for about an hour,” according to Bill Newman a member of the Bridger Bowl Association. Newman was skiing at Bridger Bowl for the day with his two sons Reed, 11 and Hunter, 9. Newman said, “They use the lifts [un]til they can’t use them any more. That’s not a good idea when you’re stringing people up on a cable.”

Young Reed Newman claimed, “The moment of terror [was] when you’re 30 feet in the air and you have to slide into a chair thingy, it’s pretty freaky.”

Reed’s younger brother Hunter Newman added, “The little girl in front of us was talking about being afraid to die.” The kids had to be harnessed and roped down like everyone else on the lift.

Hunter chimed in, “The harness made my butt hurt.”

The Virginia City and Alpine chairlifts are the last of the red double chairlifts at Bridger Bowl. The Alpine lift is scheduled to be replaced by two triple lifts, possibly as soon as next summer.

Edited by David Hoy.

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