FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4) – It should have been one of the best powder days of the season on Sunday. Instead, a power outage shut down the lifts at Copper Mountain.
The power is back on at Copper, but it’s a day skiers would like to forget.
The power went out around 11:30 a.m. Xcel Energy supplies power to the resort..
Some long-time employees told CBS4 they don’t remember a wide-spread outage ever. CBS4 talked to some people who were stuck on the lifts and the shortest time was 1/2 hour exposed to the elements on the cold, windy day.
“We were about half way up and the lift just stopped,” said Alex Churin, who was stuck on a chairlift. “It was very, very cold.”
Every single lift at Copper Mountain came to a halt. A power supply problem to the entire mountain village was tripped and hundreds of people were left waiting.
“We were on the American Eagle and we were there maybe 1/2 hour,” Churin said.
“Nothing was being communicated to us while it was going on,” another skier said.
“It took some time for us to switch to auxiliary power. Each individual lift has auxiliary power that we were able to run on,” Pete Woods with Copper Mountain said.
The mountain says most people were stuck for about 45 minutes. But CBS4 heard from a few people saying it was longer, and they thought about finding their own way down.
“The lift just stopped and we thought it was normal … it was a good hour and 15 minutes we were sitting there and we were cold,” said Michele Pearl, who was stuck on a chairlift.
“I got a rope, getting ready to repel down,” another skier said.
In the early afternoon there was a mass exodus onto busses headed for the parking lot. But CBS4 was hard pressed to find too many upset people on one of the year’s best powder days.
“Oh, it was fantastic; best skiing of the year so far,” snowboarder Jeremy Nash said.
“Kudos to Copper, because despite the pain, they were giving away free lift tickets,” said Matt Laufer, who was stuck on a chairlift.
“We had ski patrol at the top of every lift giving away a free ticket. So they can come back whenever they want, or if they’re a season pass holder, they can bring a friend,” Woods said.
After about 2 hours the mountain stayed open with only four of its 21 lifts running on auxiliary power. The power came back on around 3 p.m.
Xcel says it was a simple trip in the supply line.