Ski patrol evacuates 21 off chairlift

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The lift malfunctioned after sustaining an electrical problem Jan. 1

By John Severance

Twenty-one skiers and snowboarders had to be rescued after the beginner chairlift malfunctioned Jan. 1 at Pajarito Mountain in Los Alamos.
“We were waiting in line when the lift stopped. We waited for a while and we walked to the top and took a photo,” said Barbara Wendelberger, who was ski boarding that day.
Wendelberger said she is a regular at Pajarito Mountain.
“I have seen the lift stop but then move again,” she said. “I have never seen them rescue people.”
Pajarito Mountain general manager Tom Long said there was an electrical problem with the chairlift and the decision was made to evacuate the passengers off the lift because it was uncertain how long it would take to make the repairs.
 “The evacuation was conducted by our ski patrol members flawlessly,” Long said. “The electrical problem was solved and the lift was placed back in service later in the afternoon.”
Bill Somers, the director of the Pajarito Ski Patrol, said he and his staff practice and train all summer to maintain their lift evacuation skills.

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