Woman Gets Forgotten On The Ski Lift Overnight In The Freezing Cold Weather

In a harrowing ordeal that unfolded at the Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, California, a snowboarder named Monica Laso found herself trapped inside a ski lift gondola for an excruciating 15 hours, enduring freezing temperatures and isolation overnight. The incident occurred on a Thursday evening when Laso decided to take the gondola ride down the mountain due to her exhaustion from snowboarding.

Laso’s unfortunate ordeal began shortly after she boarded the gondola around 5 pm. Unexpectedly, the gondola came to a complete halt, leaving her suspended in the air, hundreds of feet above the ground. Panic set in as she realized her predicament, and she started yelling for help, but her cries went unheard, with no one on the ground able to hear her desperate pleas for assistance. Adding to her distress, she did not have her cellphone with her, making it impossible to call for help.

In an interview with KCRA, Laso recalled the terrifying experience, saying, “I screamed desperately until I lost my voice.” With temperatures dropping to a bone-chilling 23 degrees, she resorted to rubbing her hands and feet together in a desperate attempt to stave off the cold.

Fortunately, Laso had been at the ski resort with friends, who eventually reported her as missing to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. She explained her sense of helplessness, stating, “I didn’t have a phone, a light, or anything. I felt very frustrated.”

It wasn’t until the gondola started operating again on Friday morning that the resort staff realized Laso had been trapped overnight. The Heavenly Ski Resort, situated on the southeastern side of Lake Tahoe near the California-Nevada border, has initiated a thorough investigation into the incident, emphasizing their commitment to the safety and well-being of their guests.

Tom Fortune, the resort’s vice president and chief operating officer, stated, “The safety and wellbeing of our guests is our top priority at Heavenly Mountain Resort.” The incident left many curious, as Kim George, a battalion chief and spokesperson for South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue, admitted, “In her 23 years with the fire department, ‘we’ve never responded to anything like that.’ I’m very curious to hear the story.”

This alarming incident evokes memories of a similar situation in 2016 when a jury ordered a Vermont ski resort to pay $750,000 in damages to a woman who had been stranded on a gondola lift for over five hours. Nadine Price had boarded a gondola at Killington ski resort, intending to reach the mountain’s summit. However, she was left trapped when the resort shut down the slopes due to inclement weather. The jury unanimously agreed that she deserved more than the initial $500,000 requested by her lawyer.

The incident involving Monica Laso sheds light on the importance of safety measures and vigilance at ski resorts, especially in areas prone to extreme weather conditions. It serves as a reminder of the potential risks associated with winter sports and the need for comprehensive rescue protocols in such situations.

Interestingly, Heavenly Ski Resort has witnessed other remarkable incidents in recent times, including a 16-car pile-up on the road outside the resort as skiers rushed to enjoy fresh snow. Terrifying footage captured the tense moments as cars slid uncontrollably down the icy roads, highlighting the challenges of navigating winter conditions in the region.

In another incident, skiers at Heavenly Ski Resort encountered a massive black bear crossing a busy slope. The bear emerged from the woods and sprinted across the trail, leaving startled skiers in awe but fortunately avoiding any collisions or harm.

Monica Laso’s 15-hour ordeal inside the ski lift gondola serves as a testament to the resilience of individuals faced with extreme circumstances and the importance of safety measures and preparedness at winter resorts. Her survival and the subsequent investigation into the incident underline the significance of continuous efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of all visitors to ski resorts, even in the face of unforeseen challenges.