Vail: Skier in air for about 7 minutes
January 6, 2009
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail Resorts has released more information about the skier who ended up hanging upside-down and partially naked on Vail’s Skyline Express Lift in the Blue Sky Basin area of the Colorado ski resort.
The 48-year-old man, who has not been identified, was attempting to load the chair at 10:12 a.m. Thursday when he got caught and was suspended for about seven minutes, Vail Resorts said in a press release.
Lift operators immediately stopped the lift, and mechanics reversed the lift about 10-12 feet, lowering the man to the ground, Vail Resort said. The man was not injured.
Vail Resorts spokeswoman Liz Biebl declined to answer further questions about the incident.
Photos taken by bystanders show the man’s buttocks were bared in the incident. Another skier sits upright on the chair as the man hangs by one leg.
International media has taken notice of the photos of the incident, which were posted Tuesday on prominent Web sites thesmokinggun.com and http://www.drudgereport.com.
The photos appear to show that the folding chair seat was in the upright position, though Vail Resorts would not comment on the report.
The Forest Service, which owns the land on which the incident occurs, has not received notice of the incident, said Snow Ranger Don Dressler.
Dressler called chairlift incidents of this type “rare.”
“We do have incidents every year, whether it’s people loading or unloading,” he said.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over Vail Mountain, didn’t receive a report of the incident, either, a spokeswoman said.
Officials from the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board said the incident was not reported to the agency because it was a loading incident.
“Per the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board rules, an area only has to log loading and unloading incidents, not report them to the Board directly,” wrote Nicki Cochrell of the safety board in an e-mail.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.