"I screamed until I lost my voice" – how did a California snowboarder get stranded on a gondola for 15 hours?

Cabin Of Cable Car Against Snow Covered Mountain
The woman wasn't discovered until employees turned up to open the resort the following day (Image credit: Bert Hoppe / EyeEm)

A woman has been left stranded on a gondola for 15 hours at Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, leaving resort officials scrambling to figure out what went wrong.

In an interview with KCRA, snowboarder Monica Laso says she became too tired to ride down the mountain at the end of the day last Thursday, and was directed to download by a resort employee. She says she boarded the gondola just before 5 p.m. and after riding it for only a couple of minutes, it stopped, leaving her suspended in the air.

“I didn’t have a phone, a light or anything,” says Laso, who describes screaming for help until she lost her voice, but resort workers below were unable to hear her pleas.

Laso's friends quickly reported her missing when she didn't return to the base, but it wasn't until the following morning when the resort opened that employees realized she had been on board the gondola all night.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue when she was found, but Laso reportedly refused to be treated at the hospital, despite a long, cold night.

Heavenly officials say they have launched an investigation into the incident to try to find out how it happened.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.