More than 150 evacuated from stuck chairlift at ski resort

STOWE, Vt. — State regulators are looking into why a chairlift stopped running at a Vermont ski resort, prompting the evacuation of approximately 160 skiers and snowboarders.

The Lookout Double lift stopped operating around 10:30 a.m. Sunday because of an interruption in the electrical system, Stowe Mountain Resort spokesman Jeff Wise said in a written statement. An auxiliary engine also did not work so the ski patrol started evacuating the lift at 10:45 a.m. using rope to rappel people down. All guests were safely off the lift by about 1 p.m., Wise said. Two people were treated for minor cold-related issues, he said.

Some were stranded for hours. Keri Crafts, of Burlington, and her two daughters were about halfway up when the lift stopped. She told WCAX-TV they sat there for about 2 ½ hours, and at one point, she saw people start to jump from chairs to the ground.

"We got off and we were so frozen, it was probably 20 degrees, maybe," she said. "With the winds and snow, many people we talked to were like, we can't even ski down," said Keri Crafts of Burlington."

A state inspector visited Stowe on Monday, according to Stephen Monahan, the Labor Department's director of workers' compensation and safety.

The lift was built in 1979, Monahan said.

Stowe said this is the first year in nearly a decade that it has had a lift evacuation. "The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority," the resort said, adding that it has "a maintenance and inspection schedule for the proper operation and safety" of its lifts.

The resort expects to have the lift repaired and ready to operate this weekend, Wise said.

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