Two teenagers were injured Wednesday at Montana’s Red Lodge Mountain ski resort when the chair on the ski lift they were riding became detached, hurling them about 35 feet to the ground. The resort is at about 60 miles southwest of Billings. The 17-year-old boys were listed as stable and did not appear to have life-threatening injuries, resort officials said. The Willow Creek ski lift, which runs up the middle portion of the mountain, was shut down for inspection after remaining passengers were unloaded.
Lift operators had shut down the lodge’s Grizzly Peak ski lift, which operates on the upper part of the mountain, about two hours before the 2:15 p.m. accident after winds began gusting at more than 35 miles per hour. But a resort spokesman said the winds had not been blowing as strongly on the lower lift.
The double chair lift did not break but became separated from the haul rope, resort officials said in a statement. Both teens were treated and released Wednesday night.
The Willow Creek chairlift is closed indefinitely, as the resort teams up with the U.S. Forest Service to discover the cause. The Willow Creek chairlift is as old as the ski resort itself, installed in 1960 and modified in 1983, and again in 2008.