Northstar California Resort says Sunday at 10:41 a.m. the chairlift 'Promised Land Express' stopped operating and left guests in the air for two hours. 

“At one point they said we were going to have to evacuate. At that point, all sorts of things go through your head,” said Gus Alba who was stranded on the chair lift with the other skiers.

Despite the scare of being stranded up in the air hanging from a wire and the feeling of being stuck in the cold for hours, Alba says the mood remained fairly light.

“We all kept each other laughing and keeping everyone focused on the end result which was getting off the mountain,” said Alba.

The ski patrol responded to the incident and attempted to rescue those who were stranded.  

“What we first recognized was people getting on top of the towers. They started working with ropes and harnesses. They created a pulley system with one person on the ground one on top,” said Alba.

According to a press release from Northstar, six people were rescued by rope, the remaining people on the chair lift had to wait. “

Officials came back about two hours later and said we are going to get the lift to start moving,” said Alba.

The chairlift ran at a reduced speed and started bringing those left to the top.

“The only thing I was thinking was don't stop,” said Alba. He says the lift took 15 minutes after it started back up, to get him to the top. His total time on the chairlift was 4 hours.

“You know I say to people, I got this off my bucket list,” said Alba.

There were no reported major injuries reported. The evacuation was reported as completed safely at 2:45 p.m.


Alba says the trick to keeping a smile on his face the entire time was keeping calm and going with the flow, even if means being stranded on a chair lift.