Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gondola Evacuation

About a week and a half ago, my husband and I joined about 150 other volunteers to help the Breckenridge Mountain ski patrollers practice evacuating people (and dogs and kids) from gondola cars, in case of breakdown. We lined up at 8:30 AM to sign waivers, eat donuts, and get assigned to groups of 4-5 people per gondola car. Then we loaded into the cars, were sent up the mountain, and the lift attendants stopped the gondola when we were all in place. Then we waited while ski patrollers climbed up the nearest up hill tower then worked their way down the cable to the gondola cars below that tower. Our car was the third one evacuated by our team of patrollers. We were suspended above the Cucumber Gulch wetlands in the Breckenridge Nordic Center grounds.

In the first photo below, a ski patroller is standing on top of the gondola car uphill of us. He has finished evacuating that car, is hooked onto the gondola cable, and is about to slide down that cable to our car. In the second photo, I'm being lowered to the ground in the "diaper". The last two photos show my husband being lowered.

After we were gently lowered to the ground, we walked out on the hiking/snowshoe trail to the road, then back down to the base of the gondola, where we were served a delicious barbecue lunch as a thank-you for our volunteer service. A great way to spend the morning!


Ricky Bush said...

Sounds like a very worthwhile project that pay dividends if the moment ever arises.

Beth Groundwater said...

Yes, it is, Ricky. We want our ski patrol to be well-trained at all times!