Two teens injured in Montana ski lift accident

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 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 at the resort about 60 miles southwest of Billings, 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 resort spokesman Jeff Carroll said the winds had not been blowing as strongly on the lower lift. "Wind is always a concern. We monitor it very closely, especially in regard to our lift operations. We were monitoring wind throughout the day, and I would say at mid-mountain, where this lift operates, our wind conditions were moderate," Carroll said in an interview with The Times. "With the conditions we were seeing, we thought it was not a problem." 

The double chair lift did not break but became separated from the haul rope, resort officials said in a statement.

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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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