Squaw Cable Car Accident 30 Year Anniversary

On a stormy April afternoon in 1978, the Cable Car at Squaw Valley came off of one of its cables, dropped 75 feet and then bounced back up, colliding with a cable which sheared through the car. Four people were killed and thirty-one were injured. Robert Frohlich tells the full story of the Squaw Cable Car tragedy and the heroic rescue effort in this Moonshine article >>

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  • Gail Geiger

    As a survivor I would love to contact Gina Wisnewski, she was a very strong little girl. I held her and another little boy thru the whole thing.

  • Tricia Best

    it is April 14, 2011 and looming tomorrow is the day of “The Accident”-I am a survivor and I lost my husband that day-I could not believe that it happened and that I lived-I did not expect to. The young man who dropped into the car-it was only afterwards that I knew his name and met most of the rescue teams-I do remember that all of the people who came to our rescue were skilled professionals with a great deal of compassion-I wish I knew the name of the volunteer fireman who held my hand for so long at Truckee Hospital -until he was called out to Donner Pass-fire on the rails, if I remember rightly. My whole life changed that day, along with all the rest of us and I often wonder what became of all those folks and I hope and pray that they had enough faith to see themselves through to the other side and take the chance given them for a good and productive and JOYFUL life-may all of them be blessed by grace and faith for all of their lives.

  • Dan Oelschlager

    Why I stood at the door of the tram, Trish and Mark telling me come on get in, then turned to ski down I’ll never know. It haunts me to this day. I just know that I was spared a life changing event or worse. I hope everyone that remembers that day is doing well.

  • My future wife and I were not skiing that day, but rode up for a lunch. I was in a spot in the cafe where I could see the car loading up. I was finishing a cup of coffee and said to her, “let’s go”. We did. I honestly can’t remember if it were the blue or the red tram that we rode at around 4pm, but the next morning at brunch, the headlines were clear. The timing was exact. We rode the tram before, got in our car and left. The opposite color, I think blue, was the one that was severed. I almost stayed to kick around the lodge and enjoy the storm. Quite possibly, it was the luckiest day of my life. Randall, age 60. Boise.

  • Benjamin Falls

    I was there in 78. I was in a group called the pathfinders.(Seventh-Day Adventist boyscouts!) I am glad that there weren’t more people hurt! For those who survived, God bless you and just remember, you were saved for a reason! Ben. Falls

  • Eloise Tencher

    I saw the whole thing. I had been skiing that day, typically went up in the tram/car and quit early. Later I could see the car dangling from my house, I lived right in Squaw. Every day I saw the car and just couldn’t believe it. Very tragic. Now I’m afraid of those cars fully loaded on windy days. I too was spared a horrific experience.

  • D. Mills

    I was there that day with a large group of Mormon youth, who had spent the weekend on a retreat. We all went up to the restaurant on the tram that morning and were often frightened of the winds that were blowing quite hard against the tram and it was rocking a lot. It also stopped and stood still for no apparent reason, quite frequently. At one point, the tram doors slid open and we grabbed someone away from standing too near. We were incredulous that the doors weren’t secured and all hugged the poles after that.

    In the afternoon, if my memory serves me right, we were having a testimony meeting in the lodge cafeteria when we were asked to vacate so they could use the room as a triage space.

    When we heard what had happened, none of us were surprised because of our own experience on the tram earlier that day. That sad sad day.

  • Deanna Wisniewski

    To Gail Geiger: This is Deanna Wisniewski, the little girl you held. Gina was my mother’s name, and she died in the accident along with my dad that day. I’ve never remembered your name or your face, but I’ve never forgotten your loving and reassuring presence. I remember singing little kids’ songs with you and you telling me things would be ok. In retrospect, you were my personal angel .

    I was 6 when the accident happened and I had no real understanding of what was truly going on at the time — I just remember desperately wanting my parents, particularly my dad. I remember the accident vividly, I saw awful and scary things, but as a little kid, I didn’t appropriately understand the context of the situation. In the years since, as I’ve grown up and been capable of putting my memories into proper context, I know how fortunate I was to have been in your arms for HOURS and HOURS, as you tried to distract me and keep me warm and make me feel safe. I know now that I should’ve been way more freaked out than I was, but I wasn’t totally freaked out that day, and I know that’s because of you! I am grateful to you beyond measure!

    I don’t know how we would ever make contact again — I’m not sure you’ll ever see this. But, I, too, would love if we could somehow connect after all these years. If we never connect, but you at least see this, THANK YOU.

  • John Bovio

    35 years ago….
    I am a survivor, as is my sister. I was 15 and she was 14 at the time. It is nice to see some others here.
    To the other survivors and those that did not, I think of you often.
    Blessings
    John

  • D. Mills

    Yesterday, 4/12/15, after 37 years, the Squaw Valley Property Owners Association held a symposium of the tragedy. Appropriately held at the resort, near the base of the tram, key persons involved on that fateful day FINALLY spoke freely of the their experience. As someone who was there that day, I traveled from Phoenix, AZ to take in the the information and fill in the blanks in my knowledge and memory.

    I am grateful to all those who organized the event and those who courageously, and at times tearfully, spoke of their own experience(s) that day.

    D. Mills