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 Ski Resources | Ski Lifts
Aerial Tramway Chairlift Detachable Chairlift
Funitel Funicular Gondola Lift
Ski Tow Platter Lift T-bar Lift
Telemix Magic Carpet  


 Aerial Tramway


An aerial tramway is a special type of aerial transport, usually, we know it like ropeway or cable car, and sometimes erroneously called as a gondola. Aerial tramway is a aerial system, the passenger cabins are connected by a one or more fixed cables. The fixed cables give support for the cabins. The ropes are solidly connected to the tramway. The aerial tramway is elevated or transported by the support cables. The haulage cable is generally driven by an electric motor and being connected to the cabins, moves them up or down the mountain.
An aerial tramway and a gondola lift aren't the same thing, The aerial tramway have larger cabins, in some cases able to carry more than 100 people. In addition, because the cabins are permanently attached to the drive cable, the cable must come to a complete stop to allow passengers to enter and leave. In a gondola lift system, the cable keeps moving while the cabins detach to allow passenger access.
Between advantages of aerial tramways we have the need for few cabins and relatively few towers. Between disadvantages we can see their susceptibility to wind disturbance and their limited hourly capacity.
A long time ago the original version was known as telpherage, and was invented by Scottish engineer Fleeming Jenkin. Many aerial tramways were built by Von Roll Ltd. of Switzerland, which has since been acquired by Austrian lift manufacturer Doppelmayr.




The chairlifts are a type of aerial lift, more exactly known as an elevated passenger ropeway. The chairlift consists of a continuously circulating steel cable strung in a loop between two end terminals and generally over intermediate towers. They are found at many ski areas, amusement parks, at various tourist attractions, and increasingly, in urban transport.
The chairlifts are efficient and safe; taking as reference the carrier size and load efficiency, a passenger ropeway can transport up 4000 people per hour, and the fastest lifts get operating speeds of up to 12 m/s. The two-person double chair, which for many years was the workhorse of the North American Ski industry can move roughly 1200 people per hour at line speeds of up to 2.5 m/s. The four person detachable chair (or high speed quad), can transport 2400 people per hour with an average line speed of 5 m/s. Some bi and tri cable elevated-ropeways and reversible tramways achieve operating speeds much greater than this. Fixed-grip lifts are usually shorter and than detachable-grip lifts due to increased line load; the standard vertical rise for a fixed grip chairlift is in the range of 300-400m and usually under 1200 meters in length, while detachable quads can service a vertical rise of over 600 m and a line length of 2000m.

Functions and Design
  • Line Speed: The speed in meters per sec or feet per minute that a lift can run.
  • Interval: The distance between carriers in either time or distance. Often referred to like load interval, or the difference in time that two carriers pass a certain point (usually the loading point).
  • Capacity: Number of persons or passengers a lift can transport per hour.
  • Efficiency: A percentage which represents how many carriers can be fully loaded during period of operation.
  • Fixed Grip: The grip is fixed on the line; it should not move during regular operation.
  • Detachable Grip: The grip is able to open and close during regular operation allowing carriers to detach from the line and travel at a different speed. Detachable grips allow a greater line speed to be used, usually twice that of a fixed grip chair. There is a limit to how fast passengers can load a lift; a lift moving at greater than 2.5 m/s is very difficult to load, and a load interval of less than 5 seconds forces passengers to rush, and creates potential misload situations.


 Detachable Chairlift


The High Speed chairlift, also, we know it like Detachable chairlift is a special type of aerial lift, which, like a chairlift, consists of numerous chairs that are connected to a constantly moving steel cable that is strung between two terminals over intermediate towers. They are now commonplace at even the smallest of ski areas. Some can even be found at tourist attractions.
The difference between one detachable chairlift and Standard chairlift is the speed. Detachable chairlifts are far faster than their fixed-grip brethren. Because the cable is usually moving faster than most skiers would be able to get on and off the chair, the chairs must be taken off the cable and slowed down substantially to allow patrons to get on and off.
One detachable chairlift can hold between 2 and 8 people, and these are connected to the rope or cable by means of spring loaded grips. These grips permit for the cabin to be detached from the moving cable and slowed down in the terminals, to allow passengers to board and disembark. Some detachable chairlifts have bubble chairs, which are ordinary chairlifts but with an additional plexiglass bubble covering to protect skiers in bad weather from the wind.



We have the Funitels, which are a special type of aerial lift used to transport and bring skiiers. Funitels have not only been used as a means to transport skiers, there is one used to transport finished cars between different areas of a factory. Recently, more and more funitels have been added to ski areas. The Funitel word is a conjunction between the French words funicular and telepherique.
The funitels have one or two loops of rope or cable strung between two terminals over intermediate towers. In order to maximize the stability of the passenger cabins, the cables are arranged in two pairs moving in separate directions. Although it might appear that there are four cables, most of the time there is actually only one.
The cabins are subject to a pair of cables with four spring loaded grips, two in each cable. Because the cable runs at a speed faster than that at which most people would care to board or disembark, the cabins must be slowed down while in the terminals to allow skiers to get on and off. This is accomplished by detaching the cabin from the cable and slowing it down with progressively slower rotating tires mounted on the ceiling of the terminal. Once the cabin has reached a speed at which it is safe to load or unload passengers, the cabin is moved about the end turnaround by tires mounted on the floor. The cabin is then accelerated to line speed with a second set of rotating tires.




A funicular uses the technology of an elevator, it have a cable pulling a car up and the technology of a railroad, a car on a track. Created in the 15th century as a way of getting people and things up steep hillsides, the funicular now is more likely to carry skiers to the top of a mountain. In the United States, they are often referred to as incline railways. The common trains could never travel up such a steep incline because the steel train wheels don't have enough traction against steel rails. Trains that do climb mountains go up tracks that spiral around the mountain or go through many switchbacks.
The Funicular works of the following way. First, the car is pulled up the mountain by a cable. The wheels just guide the car up the mountain. They don't provide any of the pulling power. But the true genius of the funicular is that it uses two cars at the same time, one on each side of the top pulley. At any one time one car is balancing the weight of the other. The descending car's weight helps pull the ascending car up the mountain, and the ascending train keeps the speed of the descending train from going out of control. There is still a motor powering the pulley but it only has to provide enough force to overcome the difference in weight between the two cars (the weight of the passengers) and to overcome the friction in the system. Building a funicular is absolutely a feat because a track has to be laid either on steep mountain or on a trestle that rises from the side of the mountain.


 Gondola Lift


The gondola lift is a certain type of aerial lift, its second name is cable car or aerial lift, consists of a long steel cable hooked to two turning points, with a number of passenger cabins carried along by the cable. For longer stretches, a number of supports are placed between the two main points to hold the cable up and provide additional stability. An electric bullwheel pulls the cable through, bringing the gondolas along. This system allows for the speed at which the gondolas move to be varied, so it may be slowed down for passengers to disembark or to take pictures, for example. Gondola lifts are most common at ski resorts, though they are also found over many scenic areas, where they are often called sky rides.
There are some systems the passenger cabins, which can hold between four and 16 people, are connected to the cable by means of spring-loaded grips. These grips allow the cabin to be detached from the moving cable and slowed down in the terminals, to allow passengers to board and disembark. Doors are almost always automatic and controlled by a lever on the roof or on the undercarriage that is pushed up or down. Cabins are driven through the terminals either by rotating tires, or by a chain system. To be accelerated to and decelerated from line speed, cabins are driven along by progressively faster (or slower) rotating tires until they reach line or terminal speed. Gondola lifts can have intermediate stops that allow for uploading and downloading on the lift. Examples of a lift with three stops instead of the standard two are the Village Gondola and the Excalibur Gondolas at Whistler, while an example of a lift with four terminals is the Plattieres Gondola at Meribel.
Also, there are a systems where the cable is slowed down intermittently to allow passengers to disembark and embark the cabins at stations, and to allow people in the cars along the route to take photographs. A system like this, or when a train of gondolas in a row stops at a station is called a pulse gondola because the lift stops to load usually three cabins at a terminal and then starts up again. It stops over and over to do this.
Another type of gondola lift is the bi-cable gondola, which has one other stationary cable, besides the main haul rope, that helps support the cabins. Examples of this type of lift include the Cable Car in Singapore and the Sulphur Mountain Gondola in Banff, Canada. There are also tri-cable gondolas that have two stationary cables that support the cabins. They differ from aerial tramways in that the latter consist only of one or two usually larger cabins, moving up and down, not circulating.



 Ski Tow


The Ski tow, also known as a rope tow or handle tow, is a mechanised system for pulling skiers and snowboarders uphill. In its most basic form, it consists of a long rope loop running through a pulley at the bottom and one at the top, powered by an engine at one end. Passengers grab hold of the rope and are pulled along while standing on their skis or snowboards and sliding up the hill. The first ski tow in the United States pulled its first skier to the top of a hillside pasture two miles north of Woodstock. In sophistication, it was nothing like the chairlifts and gondolas carrying skiers to mountain summits today. Powered by a Model-T Ford, this ski tow was little more than 1800 feet of rope spliced into a loop stretching from the bottom to the top of the hill and returning along a series of pulleys. Skiers grabbed a hold of the circulating rope and were hauled up the hill. It was simple, effective and revolutionary.

A cable tow requires a surprising number of skills for successful use:
  • Initial proper positioning to make grabbing the rope easier, avoid falls, and avoid excessive jarring of the rope which might upset uphill riders.
  • Grabbing the moving rope requires a dynamic and strong grip to clamp gradually until matching the rope speed.
  • The rope's pulling force must be counterbalanced by a slightly downhill (or backward) center of gravity which varies with rope speed, slope gradient and surface conditions.
  • The rope is subject to lateral forces, mostly due to other passengers, but occasionally by wind or terrain: the passenger must counter these forces or risk falling sideways.
  • Effectively supporting the rope's weight which can be considerable for long spans.
  • The ground track is followed by actively steering the skis or snowboard.
  • It is useful, though not usually necessary, to successfully avoid obstacles, such as fallen riders and out of control downhill traffic.
  • The release of the rope at the top is a delicate act of balance, timing, propulsion and turning—which take experience to develop.


 Platter Lift


A platter lift, is a mechanised system for pulling skiers uphill. The lift have an aerial steel cable loop running over a series of wheels, powered by an engine at the upper end. Hanging from the rope overhead are equally-spaced vertical cables attached to a plastic button or platter that is placed between the skiers legs and pulls the skier uphill. Snowboarders place the platter behind the top of their front leg and hold it in position with their hands. Attempting to be pulled up just holding on with the arms is tiring and makes balancing more difficult.

In Europe the lift is known as button lift or Poma lift.


 T-bar Lift


The T-bar lift, is a mechanised system for transporting skiers, snowboarders, etc. uphill. It is only used in low capacity situations in large resorts and small local slopes servicing skiers numbered in the dozens rather than in the hundreds or thousands.
The T-Bar lift have an aerial steel cable loop running over a series of wheels, powered by an engine at one end. Hanging from the rope are a series of vertical recoiling cables attached to a T-shaped bar, about a meter in both dimensions, that is placed behind the skier's or snowboarder's buttocks. This pulls the passenger uphill while they slide across the ground. A single T-bar transports a maximum of two people per T-bar unit.

Riding a T-Bar lift
We have to prepare us for the lift. You will glide into the loading area with your back foot out of the binding on your snowboard. This is common for almost all types of lifts so it is a good skill to get used to. An easy way to keep your balance is to rest your rear foot on the anti-slip pad.
First, we have to prepare us for the lift, You will slip into the loading area with your back foot out of the binding on your snowboard. This is made in almost all the types of lift so it is a good skill to get used to. An easy way to keep your balance is to rest your rear foot on the anti-slip pad.
When it is your turn, yourself and your partner will approximate the lift. You will want to try to time your actions to be at about the same time as your partners. This will help to prevent the bar from swinging wildly to one side or the other.
While you stand in the lift circuit reach out with your hand and catch the handle of the T-Bar as it approaches you. Once you have a grip on the handle squat down a little onto the T-Bar and prepare to be pulled up the hill.
The last barrier is the release at the top of the hill. In order to free your self of the T-Bar you will need to stand up and slightly spring yourself forward in order to gently launch yourself out of the lift track. It can be difficult to do this at first so take it slow. The lift operator will slow or even stop the T-Bar in order to get you out of the track safely.
Many of the things that are used for riding a rope tow also are used for riding on the T-Bar. You shouldn't lean back or you could be rolling backwards off the T-Bar and you may hit with the lap of the person behind you. Do not squat down to low as this will cause you to roll forward and out of the lift if the operator stops the lift or if you catch your snowboard on the snow. If you are new to snowboarding it always pays to take a little time to watch other people ride the lift and learn from them.
You should practice and learn the secret of the T-Bar. Everyone at some moment had to learn how to ride the T-Bar and most people had problems the first time they tried too. When you got your first ski instructions your instructor certainly told you how to ride the lifts on that particular hill which may not have included the T-Bar. If this is true for you feel free to ask for advice from either an instructor on the hill or the lift operator. Either person will be happy to tell you what you need to know to safely ride the lift and enjoy your snowboarding experience that much more.




The Telemix is a new type of Ski Lifts. The lift was first introduced by Poma. The Telemix presents the peculiarity of mixer on the same line of seats and cabins which are going to pass in transit in a special type of guide station.
The lift is based around a Detachable chairlift, where chairs are detached from the lift cable in stations to allow a high line speed, but safe loading and unloading in stations. Telemix lifts have both Gondola cabins and detachable six seater chairs operating on the same circuit. This allows beginners, Children and non Skiing visitors to enjoy the benefits of the lift without the hassle of embarking and de-embarking moving chairs.

 Magic Carpet


The Magic Carpet Ski Lift is a new conveyor lift product which provides a high capacity surface lift with a friendly design of virtually any length and for any rider. A magic carpet resembles a conveyor belt in which skiers board at the bottom with skis facing forwards, and are pulled uphill by the moving belt. Keeping snow off of the belt can be a problem.
The ski could be a little slippery when you stand on top of Magic Carpet and the risk of falling backwards, magic carpets are limited to shallow grades. As a result of this, their slow speed, limited distance and capacity they are only ever used on beginner terrain. Magic Carpets are often considered to be the least threatening ski lift by beginners as there is no fear of altitude, and the perceived risk of falling down is less than that of handle tow lifts.




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