A ski lift helps to transport skiers up a mountain slope from where they can begin their skiing adventure. You would have to pay for ski lifts at most resorts usually. They come in all shapes and sizes- each having different technicalities. They are crucial as, without them, reaching the mountain top on your own would be cumbersome. Depending on the type of ski terrain, they are of three main types:
Aerial Lifts, Cable Railways, and Surface Lifts.
Aerial Lifts, as the name suggests, transport skiers off the ground. Cable railways work on rails tethered to a cable. Finally, the last category transports skiers over very short distances while their skis are touching the ground.
Now let’s read in detail about the various kinds of lifts in the categories mentioned above.
Chairlifts are one of the oldest ski lifts. This ski lift moves round the slope from top to bottom on a single cable with “chairs” attached. Modern-day chairlifts have seats for around six to eight skiers. The skiers hop on the always moving lift and pull down a safety bar to prevent from falling. It moves at a constant, slow speed so be quick to get on and off.
Gondola Ski Lift
While Gondolas work the same way as chairlifts, they have closed cabins instead of seats. Cabins protect the passengers from the frigid weather outside. The cabins are detachable from the cables and have a capacity of about 20 passengers. With the added advantage of a coupling technique, boarding and exiting these lifts is very secure. Also, they can transport around 3,000 passengers per hour between stations.
Funitels offer excellent wind stability. These lifts can easily tolerate wind speeds up to 100 kilometers per hour. These have pneumatic shock absorbers and a cabin capacity of 24 passengers, ensuring a very comfortable journey. Additionally, this ski lift can transport anywhere between 3,200 to 4,000 passengers/hr at speeds of 7m/s.
Funicular Ski Lift
This ski lift is the most weatherproof wind stable of lifts. Funiculars are a type of cable railways which go over steep inclines at relatively high speeds. A hauling cable, powered by a mountain station, connects the carriages. However, we can have only two railway lifts operating on the same track at a time. While one funicular goes up, the other comes down. As a result, passengers may have to wait for a little longer, although their seating capacities are high. The transportation speed also is around 14m/s, allowing rapid rides uphill.
Towing ski lifts are a type of surface lifts in the sense that the skier never leaves the ground. These lifts operate over small distances. The skier either hangs onto a support or gets dragged to his/her destination.
It is, however, important to listen to all instructions carefully before boarding a ski lift to prevent any injury. We wish you a safe ride to your favorite slope.