Training to evacuate the Catskill Thunder gondola
How would ski patrol evacuate the gondola if it ever became necessary?
Unlike chairlift evacuations which are performed by a ski patrol team on the ground, lifting a harness to the chair occupants, we use a very specialized harness to reach each gondola cabin. To imagine what that looks like, envision yourself in a gondola cabin, looking up the cable to see a ski patroller tethered to the cable coming towards your cabin.
Belleayre Ski Patrol has a specially trained team to evacuate the gondola if such a need should arise. As the gondola is new to Belleayre, our team learned and trained throughout the summer at our sister mountain patrols: Gore and Whiteface.
The gondola has more than one backup that guards against the need for an evacuation in the case of a mechanical issue. There is a large diesel backup system that can very comfortably run the lift and a second backup is (another) diesel with hydrostatic drive that enables us to turn the bull wheel even in the event of a gearbox failure.
Catskill Thunder Layout:
Catskill Thunder Lift Evacuation Training/Operations: