Thursday’s gondola closure left 219 guests stranded for nearly two hours

Lift mechanics worked quickly to resolve the issue

The gondola at Steamboat Resort shut down Thursday, March 31 due to a mechanical issue. It took nearly two hours using auxiliary power to unload the 219 guests. The lift, which was replaced in the summer of 2019, is the fastest eight-passenger gondola in North America.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The Steamboat Gondola experienced a mechanical issue on Thursday, March 31, that left 219 guests stuck for up to two hours.

The issue was detected and the gondola stopped at about 9:20 a.m., according to Loryn Duke, director of communications at Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Lift mechanics determined that auxiliary power, a source of backup power for the gondola, would need to be used to get the lift moving again to unload the guests before fixing the issue.

“The problem yesterday, that’s not normal, is that the auxiliary power had a delay in turning on,” said Duke. “So, guests were on the gondola for about an hour before the lift started moving again with auxiliary power.”

With the backup source of power, the lift moves much slower, so it took another hour before the last of the 219 guests could unload at Thunderhead.

Once all passengers were unloaded, mechanics went to work resolving the issue, and the gondola was running and open again by 3 p.m.

Steamboat Ambassadors were stationed at the base of the gondola to communicate that it was closed. There were also employees at the top to engage with guests and collect contact information so the Resort could follow up with everyone.

Duke also said that there was communication with the stranded guests via social media.

“We were hearing from people they were on there and we were trying to respond to let them know that we were working on it and we would get them off quickly,” Duke said. “But there’s no real way for us to get in touch with the people in the cabin.”

The Resort always updates its app and website with lift closures, but for people stuck on a lift, it’s hard to get updates of the situation. Duke suggests messaging through Facebook or Instagram to get the latest information.

“Reach out via our social media channels,” she said. “We are always monitoring them.”

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