TULLY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — What started as a normal day on the slopes, quickly slowed to a stop.
Dozens of skiers and snowboarders at Song Mountain ended up stuck on the lifts Sunday afternoon, some for over 2 hours.
Firefighters and ski patrol personnel worked together to bring people down using ropes and harnesses, eventually getting everyone stuck down safe by around 5 p.m.
Peter Harris, the owner of Song Mountain, says he is not sure the exact cause of the chair lifts stopping, but he was pleased with his team’s response.
“We had an issue with one of the chairlifts, and we evacuated everyone off safely, and the ski patrol did a great job, and everyone is down and safe, and a little chilly but were happy that it all worked exactly to plan,” says Harris.
“Most likely it was a swinging chair and once that happened the lift shut itself off exactly like it is supposed to. We still don’t know if that is exactly what happened but that is what we came to infer.”
Laura Rodormer, a season pass holder at Song Mountain was on the lift when it stopped working. She said it was a while before they realized something more serious might be going on.
“When we realized how long we had been sitting there after about half an hour, that’s when we really began to think it was really more than what we initially thought,” She said.
Rodormer, her friend, and their two sons, each got on the lift at 1:40. They were not helped down off the lift until 3:57.
“We’re sitting up on the chair and there was no communication whatsoever,” she said, “We saw some snowmobiles. They were going up some of the other trails, adjacent trails, but nobody came up under our tear lifts to tell us what was happening or give any indication of safety information, trying to handle concerns, worry, fear. And that was really frustrating, I have to say.”
She added that while the lack of communication was frustrating, the biggest concern was what happened after they were helped down.
“When we finally did get down and we skied down to the bottom, nobody said hello. Nobody asked how we were,” She said.
“They didn’t really acknowledge the trauma that they put people through. And I think that people were really emotionally shaken and calling loved ones out of concern because they just had no idea as to what was going on.”