Thankfully the chair that was ripped from the line at Montana Snowbowl on Wednesday was empty, although many people did have to be evacuated from the Lavelle chairlift. According to The Missoulian, the fixed-grip chair had just come around the bull wheel after unloading two skiers when it caught on part of the lift and tore away from the cable.
An unreported number of riders, some of them in chairs as high as 30 feet off the ground, had to be evacuated by ropes and harnesses. No one was injured during the whole event.
A portion of the cable was frayed after the chair was ripped completely from the cable, and it will likely be at least a week before the chair reopens.
A similar incident occurred in 2011 when a double-seat chair struck a lift operator in the loading zone causing the chair to swing off the same lift cable and land in the snow, authorities said.