200 Skiers Rescued At Ober Gatlinburg

Report by SkiSoutheast.com and Photos by David Long

(See link at bottom of this story for link to enlarged images.)

For the second time in two weekends, skiers had to be lowered from a chairlift at a Southeast Ski Area.  Last weekend it was Wolf Laurel (see archives) and this weekend it was Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee.

The lift that services Ober Chute, Mogul Ridge and Bear Run malfunctioned and stranded nearly 200 people for several hours on Sunday.  Not one person was injured and all were lowered to safety by rescue workers and ski patrol.

Keith Robinson, the General Manager at Ober said, “It has definitely happened before but never during a huge crowd like today.”

The malfunction took place when the cables that move the lift came off track at about 2pm on Sunday.  It is being speculated that the reason it came off was when a small group of kids were “bouncing” the chairs to the point that it simply came off track. It took the rescue workers who were from the local fire department nearly two and a half hours to lower nearly 200 skiers from lift chairs.  Like the Wolf Laurel rescue, they used ropes and a small seat with safety straps to lower them one at a time.

As each was lowered down, some people clapped and other were seen kissing the ground!  Most laughed and some squealed that they wanted to do it again. Yes, there were a few disgruntled screamers, but all in all everyone seemed to be happy they were off and skiing again.  Of course, a few said they’d never ride a chair again!  After visitors were lowered they either skied or walked down where they were treated to free food, drinks, blankets and some free passes to ski again “on the house”.

Until Next time…

SkiNC / SkiSoutheast.com

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 (see enlarged versions of these images by clicking HERE! and then click on PHOTOS OF THE DAY.)