Whiteface Gondola Evacuation Practice 

30 November 2004

New York's Whiteface Mountain Ski area hosted the Olympics in 1932 and 1980.  A new 8-passenger gondola was installed in 1999 which goes from base to the summit of Little Whiteface Mountain covering almost 2,500 vertical feet in less than 10 minutes. State safety regulations require the ability to evacuate the gondola within a 2 hour timeframe if necessary, so the mountain's management recruited people from the local climbing community to form an evacuation team. This season (2004-2005) I was asked to join, and I was required to attend two practice sessions.  On the second session I partnered with Steve Amstutz, a friend and timberframing expert (see http://amstutztimberframes.com/) who has been on the evac team since it started and had some excellent tips. I carried a small digital camera and here are some of the photos I took:

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You can learn more about Whiteface Mountain at:  http://www.whiteface.com/