An Entire Chair—and a Skier—Fell Off an Australian Lift
The entire chair fell from one gust of wind, which makes us feel totally safe and not at all concerned
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
For many, falling on a powder day is par for the course. But falling three stories along with a chairlift? Less so. For one skier at Australia’s Thredbo Resort, that unexpected scenario became reality on Monday.
According to a statement released by Thredbo, a “freak gust of wind” along the Gunbarrel Chairlift dislodged one chair, skier and all, and sent both plummeting 30 feet to the ground below. The unidentified skier fell into powder and sustained minor bruising. His chair, the only one affected by the wind, landed a few feet away.
The resort reported the incident—which mirrors one in 2016 in which an (empty) chair was also blown off the Gunbarrel Chairlift at Thredbo—to SafeWork NSW, a workplace safety agency in New South Wales. According to a SafeWork spokesperson, the lift was shut down to determine whether it or the wind, which topped out at almost 70 miles per hour on Monday, was to blame.
“The chairlift has been inspected by SafeWork inspectors, supported by their engineer and an independent engineer,” the spokesperson said. “Control has been returned to Thredbo. SafeWork will continue to work on improvements with site operators and third-party engineers.”
According to SafeWork, the investigation is still ongoing. As for the lift, it was cleared to run again on Wednesday.