Guests rescued by helicopter after gondola breaks down at B.C. resort
A helicopter was used to carry skiers and snowboarders off a broken-down gondola at a B.C. ski resort over the weekend, and one family caught their dramatic rescue on camera.
About 75 people were trapped after the gondola went on the fritz Sunday at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, located just outside the Interior community of Golden.
Emanuel Lapointe was with his wife and son, headed out for what they expected to be one of their last runs of the day, when the gondola stopped – leaving them stranded for about 3.5 hours.
Most guests were roped directly down to the ground, Lapointe said, but his family and other guests whose gondola cars were higher up had a more exciting exit.
“The remaining top few they couldn’t reach so they did it with the heli – which was an awesome ride,” Lapointe said.
Footage taken from the Golden resident’s mounted camera shows a rescuer hopping into their car then attaching a longline to Lapointe and his son before they’re lifted into the sky.
Lapointe said his wife is afraid of heights, but overall the family had few complaints.
“I was kind of excited,” Lapointe said. “We like extreme sports and stuff.”
After everyone was rescued, they were taken up the mountain for refreshments and then driven to the bottom of the hill.
Lapointe said the breakdown happened around 2 p.m., and he estimated everyone was rescued by about 9:30 p.m.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort issued a statement Monday apologizing and blaming the issue on an electrical problem.
“With everyone safe, warm and fed, we apologize to each of you involved for the inconvenience,” the resort said in a Facebook post.
“We are hopeful that the Gondola will be spinning later today, though currently [it’s] still on standby.”
The resort thanked its staff, the Canadian Ski Patrol and the Golden and District Search and Rescue team for helping get all of the guests out safe.
Kicking Horse hasn’t responded to a CTV News request for comment.