In Adam Green’s ski-lift horror FROZEN, viewers witness the horrifying ordeal of three friends who become stranded on a ski lift. One mistake made by a ski-lift operator changed the lives of the characters forever and forced them to fight for survival against the elements. The film made a simple ride to the top of a mountain seem terrifying, and prompted the question: could this really happen?
The answer is yes. In 2011, one woman lived-out her very own winter nightmare when her trip on a gondola led to a traumatic fight for survival.
Nadine Price enjoyed hiking the snowy trails of the Killington Ski Resort in Vermont, the largest ski area on the east coast. Price was exploring one of many trails on the “Beast of the East” when suddenly, she disappeared.
Several hours passed when one of Price’s friends realized she did not return from her trek. Her car was still parked in the resort parking lot, but there was no sight of the bubbly real estate lawyer at the base of the mountain. Fearing the worst, her friend went to police and reported her missing.
Police rounded up a search party and scanned the trails where Price began her hike. They eventually shined their flashlights on the express gondolas used to bring skiers to and from the mountain summit. Screams filled the air from above, and Price was spotted in a gondola several feet up from the ground.
She was trapped in the ski lift for 5 hours.
Price was understandably outraged over the ordeal, and investigators were shocked. How could something like this happen?
On that fateful day, Price hiked up to the summit. When she reached the top, the weather started to turn bad. At 3:15pm she decided to hop inside a gondola to reach the base of the mountain faster. Simultaneously, the resort was readying to close the mountain early to avoid potentially dangerous weather.
The gondola operators shut the lift down at 3:30pm—while Price was still inside one of the cars. They claim they never saw her get into the car, and were unaware she didn’t make it down to the bottom of the mountain. The resort closed, and Price was left in the air until her rescue.
Price had no cell phone reception, and was unable to call for help. Her life dangled in the air along with high winds and freezing temperatures that numbed her feet—and her sanity. After being rescued, Price suffered from PTSD-like symptoms and often experienced nightmares.
The emotional stress caused by the incident led Price to seek $500,000 in damages from Killington. Her lawyer, William Meub, told press, “This is a case about getting stuck in a gondola and the torture, and I really believe it’s torture, to be stuck up there for five hours. … One minute when nothing is going on is a long time. One minute when you believe you’re going to die is a long time.”
In December 2016, a jury awarded Price with $750,000 for her nightmare, and Killington took the blame for the incident, stating that closing procedures weren’t followed properly that day.