WILMINGTON - On Wednesday, Dec. 29, there was a lift malfunction on Lift I (Freeway Lift) on Little Whiteface Mountain, in Wilmington, N.Y. Seventy-six people were on the lift at the time of the incident and one employee injury was reported.
An investigation is underway as to the cause of the incident, but it has been determined that the malfunction was not caused by wind and the lift line and chairs were never in danger of falling to the ground.
"First, our thoughts are with those affected and we are thankful that there were no serious injuries. One ski patrol staff member suffered an injury during the evacuation and is being evaluated," said New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) president/CEO Ted Blazer. "The Whiteface crew and responders did an outstanding job following procedure and evacuating the lift, ensuring everyone's safety."
The malfunction occurred at 10:58 a.m. and immediately Whiteface ski patrol began skiing the lift line, notifying the people on the lift about the situation. The lift was fully evacuated by 12:45 p.m. The ski industry's standard for a lift evacuation is two hours from the time of the incident.
Lift I was built in 1978 and passed inspection in November 2010. The lift has 121 chairs, 23 towers and measures 4,100 feet in length. The lift's vertical rise is 1,458 feet and can carry as many as 800 skiers and riders to its top per hour.