Things are back on track at Ober Gatlinburg after the ski resort experienced
what's being described as a major power failure late Friday night. The icy winter storm that hit East Tennessee earlier in the day is believed to have caused the outage.
John Cossaboom, Winter Sports Director, said, "In our 50 years, this
has probably happened three or four times."
Cossaboom said there were about 100 guests at the Gatlinburg attraction when
the electricity went out all of a sudden. Thirty to forty people were on the
ground while more than 50 were sitting high above the ground in the resort's
two chair lifts.
Ober Gatlinburg's ski patrol quickly slid into action.
"They walked the chair lift lines to ensure people that we were working
on the situation. They also dropped glow sticks down the center of two of our
main trails so people would be able to find their way down. We did ask them to
remove their equipment and walk down," said Cossaboom.
The Winter Sports Director also said staff members turned on the backup
power supply to the chair lifts and those guests were able to safely get down
to the ground.
It's estimated all guests were at the base of the mountain within 30 minutes
of the power failure, while the blackout is said to have lasted much longer.
Although there's no official cause of the failure, Cossaboom believes it could
have been caused by an icy tree falling onto a power line.
Cossaboom says all guests who were at Ober Gatlinburg at the time of
the blackout received a ticket for another session at the ski resort.