Gondola teams rehearse rescue | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Gondola teams rehearse rescue

As a patroller at Heavenly Ski Resort you not only have to know how to ski, you also need to be able to fly, sort of.

Ski patrollers have spent the past few days training for evacuation of the new gondola in the event of an emergency.

“Our main goal is to keep the patrollers and skiers safe during the entire evacuation operation,” said Christian Smith, Heavenly Ski Patrol.

Using a device called a moot-cycle, patrollers can ride the cable between cars before entering the gondola.

“The moot-cycle is the latest technology for this type of rescue,” Smith said. “It allows us to get to the cars quickly and safely.”

The cycle – equipped with a bicycle seat, foot rest and two small wheels – fits over the cable and has a hand brake to control descent. Once reaching the gondola, patrollers enter the car, establish a secure drop line and begin lowering riders to the ground.

With 138 cars holding up to eight riders each, Heavenly is training patrollers to expedite the evacuation of more than 1,000 people, winter or summer.

The gondola is scheduled to open Thursday.

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