Woman gets locked on Killington gondola, wins $750,000 in damages

A Vermont woman who got trapped in a gondola at Killington Ski Resort for over five hours, according to WCAX News, was awarded $750,000 in damages by a court on Wednesday after she told a jury the incident left her with post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Nadine Price — a self-described skier from Pittsfield, Vermont — went hiking on Oct. 1, 2011 at Killington.

She got on a gondola at the resort around 3:15 P.M., assuming the lift would close at 5 P.M., per usual. But, on that day, inclement weather forced the mountain to close the gondola at 3:30 P.M. stranding Price midway up the mountain in one of the gondolas.

At around 8:30 P.M., local constables were called to the K-1 Lodge at Killington by one of Price’s friends, who said Price had never returned from a hike she planned to the summit that day.

After searching for Price on the hiking trails to no avail, the constables found her by searching through the cars on the K-1 Express Gondola.

Killington gondola
Price was stuck in the K-1 Express gondola at Kilington for about five hours (note: this is the Skyeship Gondola at Killington, not the K-1 Express) Photo: Courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

Despite suffering what her lawyer, William Meub, described as “torture” Price was not physically injured during the incident.

Meub originally asked the civil court in Rutland County, Vermont to award Price at least $500,000, but after deliberating for over three hours Wednesday, the jury made a unanimous decision to award Price $750,000.

“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,” Meub told the jury, according to the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus.

Meub said his client lost feeling in her hands and feet while waiting in the gondola, and that she frequently suffers nightmares of the ordeal.

Killington gondola
Price alleges that being trapped in the K-1 Express gondola (above) at Killington caused her to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. Photo: Courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

The attorney representing Killington, Andrew Maass, didn’t comment on the ruling after the case, but the Times Argus reports that in his argument to the jury, Maass emphasized the fact that Price needed medical attention following the incident, and that the ski resort had reached out to her following the event to check on her condition.

Beyond claiming emotional distress from the incident, Price also alleged in the lawsuit that Killington had interfered with a contract she had to work as a ski instructor and that the resort had defamed her character, but the jury found she did not prove those claims.

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