200 stranded by winds at Keystone restaurant | PostIndependent.com

200 stranded by winds at Keystone restaurant

Janice Kurbjun
Summit Daily News
The Associated Press
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

About 200 people spent a night at a Keystone Resort mountain restaurant Friday after wind gusts prevented the gondolas from operating and poor visibility prevented vehicles like snowcats and snowmobiles from being sent up to bring the patrons down.

According to a Vail Resorts press release, winds were higher than predicted, with gusts up to 70 miles per hour.

The group was stuck overnight Friday at The Outpost on top of North Peak, which includes Alpenglow Stube and the Fondue Castle, said Keystone spokeswoman Justine Spence. Patrons told KUSA-TV some people tried sleeping on chairs and on the floors with blankets handed out by the resort.

Stranded patron Carolina Vega-Neff says her children passed some of the time playing board games and talking to people.

“In line with our protocol and safety policies, we made the right decision to cease all gondola and chairlift operations and provided more than 150 guests and staff with a safe and warm place to wait out the storm with blankets, food and water,” the press release stated. Keystone issued an apology and note of thanks to patrons for their patience during the storm.

Winds gusted strongest at around 8 p.m. Friday night, National Weather Service meteorologist Bernie Meier said. Copper Mountain’s weather station is the weather service’s nearest record of wind observations, he added.

From about 7:30 p.m. to midnight, gusts remained more than 50 miles per hour, the strongest gust being 63 mph. Sustained winds were at 35 to 40 mph during that time.

“They slowly tapered off after midnight,” Meier said, with sustained winds dropped to roughly 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. There was some snow, but not much accumulation by morning. Winds died down about 6 a.m. Saturday, allowing the resort to operate the gondolas.

Vail Resorts spokeswoman Amy Kemp couldn’t provide any history of if, when and how guests have been delayed at the restaurants due to storms passing through.

“We do prepare guests for the possibility of weather delays and conditions when they book their reservation for either of our restaurants at The Outpost,” Kemp said.

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