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Stuck on a Ski Lift

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♫ "Quand te reverrais-je
Pays merveilleux..." ♫

A common Sitcom Trope. The protagonist(s) take a ski lift (most often of the chairlift kind) and, somewhere in mid-trip, the cableway stops — typically with the passengers too high to safely drop.

In Real Life such incidents hardly ever last very long, since ski patrol usually responds instantly to either restart the lift / use ropes to lower guests to the ground. But in comedy or drama, there's always some complications.

Contrast with Cable-Car Action Sequence. Compare Elevator Failure.


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  • One ad for Columbia Sportswear has some of the employees demonstrating their winter coats by being stuck on a ski lift for hours. When someone shows up it's not a rescue, but the company's chairwoman dropping off a pizza.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Being stuck on a ski lift turns into an opportunity for murder in Case Closed.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played for drama in the Rock Hudson disaster movie Avalanche. Well, it would have been if the rescue team hadn't been so astoundingly incompetent.
  • Played for Laughs in the French comedy movie French Fried Vacation 2 (pictured): character Jean-Claude Dusse (who's pretty much Born Unlucky and the movie's most prominent Butt-Monkey) thinks the lift has just stopped because of an accident (while it's actually closing time, and he was the last person to take the ski lift, and the ski lift operator didn't notice him) and tries to pass the time by singing — by the time he finally decides to jump off, night has fallen. The scene is so well-known in France that when your ski lift stops, there's almost always someone around to whistle or hum the song.
  • Frozen (2010), about three snowboarders stuck on a lift...for the next four days, since the resort is closed for the week. Also, there are wolves prowling below. Also also, for better or worse, it wasn't forgotten for once that you'd have to go to the bathroom eventually.
  • Happens in Out Cold, wherein Pig Pen, while sleeping on the job, dreams that he's a James Bond-style action hero, charged with rescuing the Solid Gold Dancers, who are trapped in a stalled gondola. Cut to reality, where Rick and Luke are actually stuck in a gondola as they wait for Pig Pen to wake up and let them out.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Absolutely Fabulous "The Last Shout, Part 1", this happens to Patsy.
  • Used in the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode "The Ski Lift" to force Larry and an orthodox Jewish woman to be "alone" together after sundown; since this isn't allowed under Jewish law if they're not married, she tells Larry he has to jump off if he's truly Orthodox (which he's pretending to be). When he refuses, she does it instead.
  • In Good Luck Charlie, it happens to Teddy and Spencer.
  • Happens in How I Met Your Mother to Barney and Robin while they were dating. They'd just started having a fight before the ski lift stopped, making their usual strategies for avoiding a fight (Barney leaves the room and/or Robin gets naked) useless.
  • Murr and Sal were punished this way on Impractical Jokers. They were pelted with snowballs and paintballs, then left stuck in the air.
  • Invoked in an episode of Leverage, where the gang intentionally stops the lift while Parker is on it in order to distract the mark.
  • In the The X-Files, Agent Mulder is trapped on a ski lift by his then-partner Krycek.

    Video Games 
  • Celeste: In the cutscene at the end of Chapter 4, the cable car Madeline and Theo are riding suddenly jams in midair, causing Madeline to have a panic attack.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer: In the episode "Swiss Miss", Ray gets stuck on a ski lift when he's supposed to be protecting the daughter of a wealthy German dignitary.
  • Subverted/invoked in As Told by Ginger; it happens but there are other forces at work. Ginger's brother paid off the operator to stop it in order to break the world record for the longest time stuck on a ski lift.
  • Happens to Scoutmaster Lumpus in the Camp Lazlo episode "Snow Beans".
  • In Fish Hooks, this happens to Oscar in one episode, with various things keeping him from getting out. He manages to get out of it in the big race, but something happens later that makes him get stuck on the chairlift again. At the end of the episode, he's still on the chairlift.
  • In Futurama's first Christmas Episode, this happens to Hermes and Zoidberg. It only lasts long enough for Zoidberg to complain about his status as a cold-blooded alien.
  • The Simpsons: Happens to Homer Simpson, of course. He tries to get off but ends up hanging upside down. ("Come on, gravity! You used to be cool!")
  • Happens in a season 2 episode of Winx Club to the Winx and the Specialists. Since magic doesn't work where they are, they have to sew a glider made out of jackets to get out safely.