PARK CITY, Utah — A mechanical issue forced a ski lift at the Deer Valley resort to be evacuated Friday, forcing crews to bring down hundreds of skiers one by one.
According to resort officials, the Carpenter Express Chairlift experienced a "mechanical failure" at 2:38 p.m.
Evacuation procedures were implemented a half hour later to get skiers off the lift. As of 5:20 p.m, 167 skiers were evacuated during the operation that had been completed as the skies darkened.
“People seemed to be much more calm than I would have expected," said Sophie Park. "I wasn’t able to get super close, I wanted to give them space because I am sure they were pretty rattled. I think if anything they were just focused on getting down it seemed and the spectators
Video below shot by Jamie Schapiro shows the chairlift evacuation
"Deer Valley ski patrol was amazing during the evacuation and handled it well from what I saw early on," Jamie Schapiro tweeted.
According to those who work on the slopes, the lift malfunction was extremely rare.
”To do an evacuation like that is not typical … I mean we have incidents where lifts will fail mechanically, but we can generally work our way through them because there are multiple redundancies,” said volunteer ski patroller Kameron Were.
A resort maintenance team will be on-site through the night to repair the lift in hopes of resuming operations Saturday.
Video below shot by Ricardo Kolteniuk shows the chairlift evacuation
"We sincerely apologize to our guests who were impacted by the chairlift failure today and thank them for trusting us to make the best decision for their safety by implementing our evacuation procedures. To our staff that were involved in getting everyone off the chairlift safely, your efforts today were heroic. Your dedication, experience, and training for situations like this were apparent in your gallant effort today. We cannot thank you enough for all you did today, and every day," the resort said in a statement.
The resort's mountain operations staff are currently unable to get the chairlift moving again.