Dozens of guests, staff stuck at Jenolan Caves during snow-in

SNOWED IN: Housekeeper Kana was among 22 staff at Caves House who have been snowed in along with 90 guests since Saturday morning. Photo: JENOLAN CAVES
SNOWED IN: Housekeeper Kana was among 22 staff at Caves House who have been snowed in along with 90 guests since Saturday morning. Photo: JENOLAN CAVES

BEING stuck at work for almost 72 hours straight with 90 customers might sounds like a nightmare for some, but the dedicated staff at Jenolan Caves have taken it all in their stride.

Widespread snowfalls were predicted from Friday until Sunday and it certainly delivered in the NSW Blue Mountains.

From early Saturday morning roads to this world-famous tourist site were closed and by 2pm on Monday they had only just reopened.

The closures left 90 guests and 22 staff trapped in a winter wonderland.

At 12.30pm on Monday a special convoy organised by the Roads and Maritime Service allowed some of the stranded guests to make an exit.

Deputy manager of cave operations Gordon Mills said while no food had run out the bars were "semi arid".

"We can cater for up to 300 guests so we have a fair amount [of food] in cold storage," he said.

Despite so many people being being stranded and only "skeleton staff" on duty, Mr Mills said workers went above and beyond to keep guests happy during the snow-in.

"One of our guides Jacob, of his own volition, got activity books for the kids staying at Caves House and put on movies for them," he said.

People made the most of it and for the kids there was a great sense of fun.

Deputy manager of cave operations Gordon Mills

"People were very understanding and I think people were appreciative of the efforts."

Staff were also able to run a couple of caves tours on Saturday and one on Sunday.

"One of our staff members, Charles Degotardi, found a ghost hunting app on his phone and conducted a ghost hunt in Caves House and the guests loved it," Mr Mills said.

"They found several ghosts in the process. People made the most of it and for the kids there was a great sense of fun."

On Saturday Santa himself paid an unexpected visit to guests at Cave House when staff member Jacob designed to go to extra lengths to entertain the children.

Despite the widespread road closures, Mr Mills said staff had to field many phone calls from people outside the region who were keen to find a way in to check out the snow.

In his 14 years of work at the site, Mr Mills cannot remember another time that so many people had been trapped there for so long due to the weather.

I was really impressed by the efforts that staff made and the understanding of our guests.

Deputy manager of cave operations Gordon Mills

"Most winters we'll get a lot of snow on the top of the hills at around 1100 or 1200 metres, but to get it down in the valley near the caves and Cave House is really unusual," he said.

"I was really impressed by the efforts that staff made and the understanding of our guests."

By 2pm on Monday an alpine alert remained in place for roads around Jenolan Caves with motorists urged to reduce their speed and drive to the conditions.

This story Imagine being stuck at work for three days straight first appeared on Lithgow Mercury.