Wolf Laurel Ski Patrol Perform Rescue of Stranded Chairlift Riders

Yesterday was a busy day at Wolf Laurel and it was made even busier by a derailed chairlift.  Dana Bolden, a brand new On-Snow Reporter was there and submitted a full story, complete with photos (see the link below).  Dana spoke with Wolf Laurel Ski Slopes manager Jonny Goin who told him that the derailment happened when a skier had fallen getting on the lift.  To keep the chair from hitting the fallen skier, the lift attendant pulled the lift hard to the side, which subsequently caused the derailment.

Dana reported that he spoke with many lift riders who had been stranded on the lift for more than an hour. See the link at the bottom of this story to read the complete story including full sized photos! 

Wolf Laurel Ski Patrol Rescue Stranded Lift Riders after Lift Derailment: by Dana Bolden

My Son and I skied Wolf Laurel today.  We have spent most of this season at Cataloochee (it’s only 20 minutes from home) and did a long weekend at Snowshoe, so we wanted to try somewhere different.  I learned to ski at Wolf Laurel about 25 years ago, but haven’t been there in many years – they didn’t have but one lift, the double, the last time I was there!

We arrived at approximately 10:00 am.  There was no line for lift tickets.  The rental area looked pretty busy, but we had no trouble renting a locker in the same area.  When we hit the snow only the quad lift was open.  The double was running, but not being loaded.  Just as we were getting in line, they started loading the double, so we switched to it.  Lift lines weren’t too bad for the first part of the morning.  I didn’t time them, but I doubt we waited more than 3 – 4 minutes all morning.  I did notice that both lifts seem to move very slowly compared any other lifts I’ve ridden over the last few years, but they seemed to generally keep pace with the lines.

There were a LOT of beginners in the ski school area and just generally milling around in the lift loading areas.  Conditions on The Howling, Southern Express, Lower Streak and Broadway were very nice.  Eagle had nice snow but was absolutely littered with fallen beginners every time we tried it.  As the day wore on, the lift lines gradually increased, but remained tolerable.  The slow lifts did make for a long ride to the top, though.

Just after lunch the double lift was derailed.  I talked with skiers who had spent an hour to an hour and a half sitting on the lift waiting to be rescued.  I talked with manager Johnny Goin and was told that a skier had fallen loading the lift and that the attendant had pulled the chair to the side to prevent it from hitting her and caused the cable to derail at that point.  It was unclear when the lift would begin operating again.  Three teams of rescuers were at work lowering skiers and boarders from the stranded chairs.

With the double lift out of operation, the line for the quad lift became extremely long and by this point in the afternoon the crowd had grown so large that it was pretty much impossible to actually enjoy any skiing so we left for the day at about 2:00.  As we left, there were still a lot of people arriving for the afternoon/evening session.  While conditions were quite good, the crowd and slow lifts make it unlikely that we’ll try Wolf Laurel again anytime soon.

Click here for FULL STORY complete with Photos

SkiNC / SkiSoutheast