Tram passengers were stuck on the lift for nearly three hours during record cold temperatures.
Sunday, February 14, 2016, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
48 people were evacuated from the Cannon Mountain tramway during bitter cold weather on Sunday afternoon.
Initial reports of a tram incident were sent to NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News shortly after 2 PM. According to a Cannon Mountain press release, the brakes on the lift became stuck with the cars 50 to 75 feet from the terminals. WMUR reporter Paula Tracy observed a "severe jolt" before the lift came to a stop.
The lift halted at 1:50 PM and the evacuation began 90 minutes later. The evacuation was completed at 4:45 PM, nearly 3 hours after the stoppage. Passengers included sightseers wearing jeans and an 8 month old baby. Passengers had to be lowered through the bottom of the tram cars to the ground by cable. According to Tracy, "[i]t was a bit harrowing, especially to be lowered from the floor of the tram on a cable."
The local Whitefield Airport weather station reported the base temperature at -2F at the start of the incident. The daily low at the airport was -20F, recorded shortly before the tram opened for the day.
The 36 year old lift opened during the 1979-80 ski season, replacing the original 41 year old American Steel & Wire lift. The State of New Hampshire spent $1 million in repairs and upgrades on the lift in 2001. In recent years, the lift has operated on a part time basis during ski season.
The 70 passenger tram is one of only two such lifts in New England.
The lift is expected to reopen "as soon as possible."