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Power outage leaves skiers stranded in Big Cottonwood Canyon resorts

Published: Thursday, Dec. 23 2010 11:25 p.m. MST

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON — A power outage that affected both resorts in Big Cottonwood Canyon Thursday left some skiers stranded on chair lifts.

About 300 people were on the chair lifts at Brighton and Solitude resorts when the power went out at about 1:20 p.m. Thursday. Lift operations were shut down at both resorts and night skiing was canceled at Brighton.

Unified Police officials said Brighton used auxiliary power to get people off its ski lifts. Solitude was also able to get everyone off except for those on the Eagle Express and Sunrise lifts. About 50 people had to be rescued using a pulley system.

Kelli Mezziani and her husband were stranded on the Eagle Express lift for an hour and a half when she spoke with KSL. She said they heard an explosion when the power went out.

"They are throwing ropes up over the line and they got some little wood chair that people are sitting on and they are lowering them down," Mezziani said.

Unified Police said a downed tree broke a line that services the resort areas.

A spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Power said the heavy snow could be to blame, and it could take some time to fix the problems.

Telephone service to Solitude was also affected. Phone calls to the main switchboard at Solitude were not connecting.

Power was also out Thursday in the Cedar Mountain area near Zion National Park because of heavy snowfall. As much as 7 feet of new, wet snow had fallen in the area.

Even healthy evergreens can't take the weight, and many of them have snapped and fallen into power lines and equipment, officials reported.

Power has been out to some residents of the area since Monday and will likely be off through Christmas, officials said.

Contributing: Molly Farmer

e-mail: syi@desnews.com

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