Snowboarder Spent 15 Hours Stuck On Ski Gondola In Freezing Temperatures

Snowboarder Spent 15 Hours Stuck On Ski Gondola In Freezing Temperatures

Photo: George Rose (Getty Images)

Ski gondolas are like cars, but in the sky and full of skiers, which is why we’re bringing you this chilling tale of a snowboarder stuck in a ski gondola overnight for 15 hours at a Lake Tahoe mountain resort. 

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After a long day of fun at Heavenly Ski Resort, Monica Laso was too tired to finish her last run down the hill. She asked a park employee if she could ride a gondola down to the bottom, according to the Associated Press. Laso got on the lift at around 5:00 p.m. last Thursday. The gondola stopped minutes later, and she was not seen again until the next day.

Laso didn’t hit the slopes alone but didn’t have a phone on her person. She couldn’t call anyone for help, and no one could contact her. Eventually, her friends reported her missing to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. Laso told KCRA, “I screamed desperately until I lost my voice.” The gondola’s route is 2.4 miles long, so it’s not surprising that no one could hear or see her inside the airborne car.

As the night dragged on, temperatures plunged as low as 24 degrees. Laso said she rubbed her hands and feet together to try and stay warm. She wasn’t found until the gondola was restarted the next morning. South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue was called to treat Laso and arrived at the resort around 8:30 a.m. on Friday. The AP reported that she was responsive and declined to be hospitalized.

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In a statement, the resort’s chief operating officer said, “The safety and wellbeing of our guests is our top priority at Heavenly Mountain Resort.” Potentially experiencing hypothermia doesn’t seem to run in line with the ski resort’s top priorities. The resort should have been more aware of whether any cars were occupied before the gondola was shut down for the night.