There are about 7 different types of ski lifts, and if you have never been skiing before the concept of using a ski lift may either excite or scare you. Don’t panic – we’re here to help and you’ll be a ski lift expert in no time! Familiarise yourself with these types of lifts and you’ll know exactly how to use them:
T-Bar, Magic Carpet, Rope Tows and Button lifts are all varieties of ‘drag’ lift. In beginner areas, drag lifts are used to get the skiers up the slope. The main reason for this is that the slopes are too small to warrant installing bigger chair lift systems.
T-Bar – A T-Bar lift is shaped like an upside down T. The seats are suspended from the cable and can seat two people.
Magic Carpet – Similar to a travelator, this is a conveyor belt type lift which skiers can stand on and get transported up the slope with ease.
Rope Tows – Not as comfy as the T-Bar (where you can sit down), the rope tow lift is a cable which runs up and down the slope with rope hanging from it. To get to the top, you must grab the rope and hold on!
Buttons – Similar to the T-Bar lift, the button lift can seat more people where the poles are suspended from the cable and at the end is a button shaped seat which skiers sit on, keeping the pole between their legs.
For long and steep slopes, gondolas are used to carry usually between 4 and 30 people. The gondola is a covered cabin type lift which has glass sides and some even have seating areas (depending on the size of course).
The cable which the gondola is suspended from moves in one direction on a loop and the smaller ones often have seating areas with outside racks to store your equipment. Larger ones on the other hand allow skiers to stand with their equipment. Great for protecting against cold winds up on the high slopes, unfortunately the irony is that these weather proofed lifts are unlikely to run in bad weather conditions.
The most common type of lift on the slopes is the chair lift. It is simply a chair used to seat between 2 and 8 people. The cable which the chair lift is attached to moves at a constant speed all day and this means that skiers need to get ready to jump on and off when the attendant tells you to do so. Some chair lifts are more luxurious that others, but the basic components of this type of lift are a seat and a safety bar to pull down around your waist.
- Lifts aren’t always the quickest way from place toplace – check out local resort transport too if you want to go a long way over the mountains.
- Chair lifts aren’t that bad and due to their lack of popularity, you won’t be queueing all day – which means more skiing time!