The Inertia for Good Editor
Photo: Lesli Whitecotton / Unsplash

Photo: Lesli Whitecotton / Unsplash

The Inertia

Tahoe’s Heavenly ski resort made national headlines for a PR nightmare earlier this week when it was revealed a guest had been stranded on a gondola overnight and discovered at 8:30 a.m. the next day. Monica Laso was let onto a gondola just minutes before closing time, telling an employee of the mountain she was too tired to snowboard down. Just two minutes later the gondolas were shut down and Laso was left in her cable car with no way of contacting the friends she’d separated from or calling for help.

In the immediate aftermath, Heavenly Lake Tahoe said they were going to conduct an internal investigation and assured the public that the safety of their guests is a top priority. One local first responder did tell local news that in over 20 years in fire safety, she’d never responded to a report of a person being left or stranded on a gondola overnight. So while all of us can see how easy it would be to end up in Laso’s circumstances, it’s definitely a rarity for people to find themselves in that nightmare.

Well earlier this week, rather than brushing it all off and finding a scapegoat somewhere down the totem pole, Heavenly COO Tom Fortune ended up speaking to a local news station and taking responsibility for the entire ordeal.

“As the chief operating officer of Heavenly Mountain Resort, I am responsible for all aspects of mountain operations, including the safety of our guests,” Fortune told KCRA. “We have rigorous protocols to ensure our gondola and chairlifts are fully unloaded each day. I have reviewed our investigation, and it is clear there was a breakdown in those protocols that day.”

Those protocols haven’t been shared nor have the details of the internal investigation or specifics of the breakdown.


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