WINTER PARK, Colo. (KDVR) — On Sunday, the Pioneer Express Lift at Winter Park Resort stopped working due to a “mechanical component issue.”
Some guests reported to FOX31 they were left sitting on the lift for three hours, waiting to be lowered by ski patrol. One hundred forty-three guests were on the lift at the time of the breakdown. No injuries were reported.
“Our Ski Patrol is highly trained in mountain and lift safety, including manual lift evacuation,” said Jen Miller with Winter Park. “All affected guests were safely evacuated and provided with a voucher to make up for their experience, which has instructions on how to redeem.”
Resort communication staff didn’t go into detail about what exactly caused the lift to break down.
“All lifts at Winter Park Resort go through required annual maintenance and inspection with the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board,” said Miller. “Once lifts pass inspection, they are licensed for use for the season. The Pioneer Express went through its required maintenance and passed inspection for this season.”
Resort teams are still working to repair the mechanical issue, and the Pioneer Express will remain closed on Monday.
One man who was rescued by ski patrol posted online about his experience. He wants to remain anonymous but did provide FOX31 video of the rescue.
“My [significant other] and I got caught on this lift for 3 hours. The sun was not out, and we both started shivering. Lost feeling in our feet. It was miserable. After an hour, ski patrol comes over to yell at each chair that ‘rescue is coming and compensation will be provided,’” said the man in a Reddit post. “When we got lowered off, they gave us each a $5 voucher for Winter Park food. They said they couldn’t do anything more since we are Ikon pass holders. We are both extremely frustrated at Winter Park.”
The man later emailed Winter Park about the lack of reimbursement and tells FOX31 he was given two free lift passes.
It’s unclear if the other visitors stuck on the lift were also given free lift passes, or just the $5 voucher.
An incident report about the stalled ski lift was filed, according to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, which provided more information on exactly what went wrong with the lift. The department said the main conveyor drive shaft in the tension terminal failed.
The lift will resume operations and open to the public as soon as repairs are completed, according to the department.
This is a developing story.