GIRDWOOD - The tram at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood remains closed after high winds caused it to crash into a support tower on New Year’s Eve.
Sales Director Jason Lott said the resort usually shuts down tram operations during high winds, but said the weather on Monday was calm.
“We had very mild winds all throughout the evening and the afternoon, so we didn't expect this to happen. Obviously if we knew it we wouldn't have been having these things run at the time they were,” said Lott.
Wednesday was another soggy day, but that didn’t deter skiers at Alyeska, even though conditions weren’t ideal.
“It would be better if it was colder out, there would be more powder,” said Seth Hard from Eagle River.
“This is somewhat typical to me of December,” said Lisa Hubert, also from Eagle River. “You just never know, it's a crapshoot in December. I'm really hoping January brings a real winter.”
Mother Nature hasn’t been kind to the resort so far this winter. First there wasn’t enough snow. When snow finally came it was followed by freezing rain.
The tram is closed while repair crews assess the damage, but that hasn’t been easy.
“We had some pretty significant winds yesterday that didn't allow us to get up there in the timely manner we wanted to. We're trying to make sure everyone is safe and secure, foremost and that by the time we get everything up and running everyone's going to be safe. That's really our main concern,” said Lott.
Alyeska delayed opening some chairlifts earlier this week due to strong winds in the morning. About 25 percent of the mountain remains closed, but, Lott said, hopefully not for much longer.
“We hope to have upper portions of the mountain and Chair 6 opened shortly as we continue to address what Mother Nature has done to us over the past couple of days. We've gotten a lot of snow, which has been a great relief for us. Now it's a matter of making sure the mountain is safe.”
Dozens of people were evacuated from the Seven Glaciers Restaurant at the top of the tram. Many were taken down Chair One while others went down on snow cats. Seven Glaciers will be closed until further notice.