A dramatic summer lightning storm stranded about 300 people at the top of Grouse Mountain on Tuesday night.
Staff suspended operation the Skyride, which transports visitors from the base of the North Vancouver peak to the ski resort from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., for safety reasons said Jodi Westbury, a spokeswoman for Grouse Mountain.
“At that time we got a couple of runs of people in, and then it went back on weather standby until after 10 p.m.,” said Westbury.
All of the visitors made it off the mountain by 11 p.m.
The inconvenience was offset by some spectacular views of the storm, according to staff. With clouds low in the sky, guests on top of the mountain were at eye-level with the show.
Forked lightning could be seen over the ocean, said Mike Bowman, a Grouse Mountain patrol manager who was on duty Tuesday night.
“When there would be a big one, there would be kind of a cheer, about it being spectacular . . . it would light up the sky, and the thunder would be quite loud,” said Bowman.
Richard Loat, founder of the charity event Five Hole for Food, had just done the Grouse Grind with his fiancée, Nicole van Zanten. They were planning to head back down in the tram to be back home in time for dinner. Up at the top of the Grind, the pair took in the view — and waited for the Skyride to re-open.
“There was cloud cover all over Vancouver,” said Loat. “You could sort of see the sunset over the clouds . . . There was lightning in the distance, but pretty quickly it came closer.”
Not wanting to risk a walk back down the Grind with darkness falling and a pair of bad knees between them, Loat and van Zanten settled in for a long wait and ended up having dinner at the already-packed restaurant.
The storm hit the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, knocking out power to around 17,000 homes. Two people, one from Coquitlam and the other from Surrey, were taken to hospital after being hit by lightning.