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Hank slowly began to inch his way toward the first swinging chair. It was only fifty feet, but in the wind and snow, it took twenty minutes to reach the first chair.The two men in their twenties were crouched forward shielding their exposed faces from the wind. It had been more than an hour since the chair came to a halt.Hi, I'm Hank. It's a little windy, we'll get you down.Little windy, I have only been in a blizzard once before, this one looks bad.It's the second blizzard we've had since last Friday. Must be global warming.Yeah, they say the weather gets colder because of the ocean currents changing with all the icebergs breaking off.That's what they say. Put these harnesses on and fasten them securely.Have you done this before, the younger man asked.Yeah, once on a clear day last summer in training. Snow and wind make it a little dicey. When you are secure, I am going to tie off a heavy rope. One at a time, you will be lowered to the ground. You're lucky; its only about a twenty-five foot drop from where you are. The other two chairs are higher off the ground. Keep the tips of your skis pointed up as you descend. I need you to drop your poles first.What's your name, Hank yelled over the sound of the wind.I'm Frank and this is my brother Nick.Are you good skiers?Yeah.Good, if you think you can ski down the mountain once you are lowered, just head to the lodge, you've been swinging up here for an hour, the cold will get to you and you'll develop hypothermia. If you're not up to skiing, the ski patrol has two sleds and will get you down.No, I'd rather ski down. Broke my leg once and the sled ride was terrifying.Okay, Nick, you go first. Inch toward the front of the chair and slowly slide off. The rope will hold you and the descender will gradually let you down. Jim is the big guy on the ground holding the line. He'll try to stop you from swinging as much as possible.Nick edged forward while looking down. It looked like more than a twenty-five foot drop. He felt the line tighten under his weight as he slipped free of the chair. A gust of wind caught him and slammed him into the chair.You alright? Hank yelled.Yes, Im okay.Nick was shaken. The pulley over his head whirred and once again, he was safely on the ground. Thanks man, what a ride. I'll wait for my brother and we'll ski down together.Frank soon joined his brother. Jim, the ground crew, and ski patrol applauded.You are certain skiing down by yourselves won't be a problem, you look awfully cold.We're okay. Last year we were in Vermont and were the last tram to the top of Mount Snow. We skied down in minus twenty five degree weather.The wind stirred up clouds of snow making it difficult to see. Jim shielded his eyes and looked up at the white sky searching for Hank.How's it going Hank? This is the tricky part, getting past that first chair with the second roll cab.Good you're a tall man with a long reach, Jim shouted.Yeah, want to trade places with me, it's cold as hell up here and its blowing like a bitch, I have to clear my goggles every couple of minutes just to see what I'm doing.Chief Higgins arrived at the scene with a crew of six firefighters. Their bright yellow parkas and fire helmets stood out against the blinding white landscape. Higgins asked for Hank and was directed to the top of the lift.The firemen arrived and dragged their net with them. It was a large canvas with a large red dot in the center.Hank, if we have to, we should be able to catch a person if they panic and fall. Used it once before, the person was on the third floor, he got a broken leg, but survived the jump. shouted Jake the fire chief.Hope you don't have to play catch today. Those chairs are really swinging.Hank almost made it past the first chair and was on his way to the second when his foot slipped on the icy bar and he was left dangling from the cable.Can you pull yourself up, or do you want me to come up after you? shouted Jim.The men and women on the ground gas

December 8
Xlibris US

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