Empty ski lift chairs
Pas de la Casa ski resort of Andorra in Grandvalira sector (Photo: iStock/Getty)

Three People Were Injured When a Chairlift Detached at This Ski Resort

An sudden and powerful wind gust caused the freak accident

Empty ski lift chairs
Jamie Aranoff

from Ski

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An unexpected gust of wind forced a chair to detach from a lift at Thredbo Ski Resort in New South Wales, Australia on the afternoon of Aug.18, injuring three snowboarders.

A “freak gust of wind” on the Kosciuszko Quad Express close to the top of the lift station caused one chair to fall several meters into the snow below, according to the Australian Broadcasting Company. The ABC also reported that wind gusts were measured at around 33 miles per hour at the top of the lift several minutes before the accident took place.

Three riders in their 20s and 30s were hurt. They were taken in for medical care for both back and facial injuries, one requiring a helicopter lift.

In an Instagram story, the resort stated that “Thredbo is committed to the safety of our guests and our people. The incident is being thoroughly investigated by Safework NSW and independent experts.

The Kosciuszko quad express is Australia’s longest lift, and is 33 years old, the ABC reported. Saturday’s incident is not the first for the resort. A chair snapped off of the line in 2019, causing a rider to fall approximately 30 feet. The cause was also a freak gust of wind. On that day, some gusts were clocked at up to 70 mph with an average of 50 mph, according to the resort. In 2016, a similar event occurred when an empty chairlift on the Gunbarrel Chairlift was also blown off by wind gusts.

Screenshot from Thredbo Resort
(Photo: Courtesy Thredbo Resort)

The resort reopened the lift the following day, and full mountain operations have resumed.

Lead Photo: iStock/Getty