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'Amusing' chairlifts (2), snowHeads ski forum
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'Amusing' chairlifts

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The old T-bar up Triftji in Zermatt - brutal. The only time I was really worried going up a lift, especailly with someone much lighter thatn me.

+1 for the Val D'Isere chair over the top to stop a conversation the first time its done!
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enduroaid wrote:


Throw in basically every lift at Glenshee being a converted medieval catapult, which on take off will launch you 2m in the air and then suddenly ends 20m before the top of the hill sending you into a mad panic trying to stop a backwards slide down the hill!



Haha, do it does ! The mad launches stick in my memory mainly because they were worse the smaller you were, and I regularly took my children to Glenshee. But I'd forgotten about the sudden extension of the telescopic bungee when it gets steeper at the top of Sunnyside etc !

And then there's Nevis Range's Braveheart chairlift which needed ski patrol to literally piss on its control box in the morning in order to warm up and lubricate a requisite solenoid, and which, on the rare occasions it was running, would just as often break down when counted on to get you enough height to get back to the front of the hill without needing to hike/skin for last gondola after late lapping Summit Gulley and Spikes.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
valais2 wrote:
@Old Fartbag, …ah the Long Jump.

There’s a button lift in Grimentz near the park which specialises in the terrifying Quadruple Long Jump.

All seems normal when you enter the lift. Stick the button between your legs, and …. Nothing. The cable just reels out. And out. And out. And you just KNOW what’s going to happen. A sudden explosive pull which attempts to reduce the distance between your hips and shoulders by 50 per cent. And then you are in the air for at least 2 metres, trying to get yourself together from the takeoff and not screw up the landing. BANG…back on the boilerplate surface of the lift path. And suddenly….you realise…that you are barely moving and the cable is reeling out again. And out. And out. And the whole thing is going to happen again…..which it does in a series of relentlessly painful and punctuated squirrel hops. Some people don’t survive the first air launch. Some become a yard sale at the second. Others are weeping by the third….


Been on that lift and it is brutal. It does seem to get easier with practice though not sure what I started to do differently. Lovely ride once things have settled down, with a change of direction and a lovely view if I recall. And fun rollers on the piste it serves.

The button lift in Chandolin up the Illhorn is an east enough ride. But the top half with 112mm underfoot is entertaining, as you catch edges on multiple iced tracks from skinny skis ,its steep, no bail out option and would be a horrendous ski out through the avalanche barriers if you fell off. Closest I can remember coming close to falling off a button lift. But the Illhorn routes are worth it!
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The summit return poma from La Rossiere to La Thuile now springs to mind. It goes on forever and you're hoping you don't fall asleep and fall off it. I remember riding it in the mist and gradually losing the will to live - but survived, as you do. snowHead
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@valais2, I’d completely forgotten about those. The vid does not capture how fast you find yourself going Shocked
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I can also give everyone the ‘twisler crotch breaker’ button at Vercorin.

This has two interesting features.

As usual, starts innocently enough. A long womble on undulating ground which seems about as challenging as falling asleep on a bench. In fact that starts to happen….you drift off either in a doze or a fantasy….then you slowly become aware that the cable is getting increasingly vertical. It also is getting increasingly tight. And then you start to lose contact with the ground…in a subtle way at first (is this really happening?) and then for sure, you are dangling…with the real risk of spinning around…argh…and you are trying to make your legs as long as possible, keep those tips in contact….AARGH….and the pain is increasing as the cable cuts into your crotch….and then suddenly it’s over, the lift is going up a slope, and you notice your rapid panicky breathing and elevated heart rate….phew…time to relax…actually the cable is now REALLY pulling on you, since the slope is getting steeper and steeper. VERY steep in fact. And it is getting steeper. And I can see the top of the lift….SH+T that is a VERY long way away. The cable is tight, it’s fully extended, I am hanging on the end feeling every bump, and each jerk really hurts my lower back…OW….ow…OW….and basically all I can see is sky….and if I fall it is a very very long slide back down the boilerplate….
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@zikomo, …Goodness yes, that back button up from the wood to the top of the Illhorn. That genuinely is a very scary lift. The ruts get very well established and can be hard as … well… ice…..and you find you have zero control on your sine wave legs. Grief hats off if you do that one on 112 waist planks….terrifying.
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Judwin wrote:
Monte Bondone 1980 ish - Bucket lift

First ski trip with the school - I'm told it was Monte Bondone, but not 100% sure. We were frog marched from breakfast to the lift station for 1st lifts at 9am ish. Village completely in the shade of the mountain, ice and snow everywhere and well sub-zero. The only lift out was an old style bucket lift - Basically a non detachable open cage hanging from an overhead cable similar to a chair lift. There was an opening in the cage at the rear, which was the way in/out. The departure and arrival areas were wooden platforms covered in ice.

To get in you waited for the bucket to pass, and then ran after it and 'jumped' in. It didn't stop or slow down at all - just whizzed past at Mach1 and you ran after it. In theory the bucket took 2 people, but it was rare for 2 beginners to time everything correctly and manage to get in one bucket.


There was one of these in the terrain linked from Champoluc in 2000. Perhaps over near Punta Indren. Terrifying, and in a bizarre situation on a blank mountainside, miles from everything else. We were there a quiet week in March, and the liftie must have been very lonely most of the time, stuck there by himself with few punters to say hi to.

Just had a dig and I reckon it was the Balma basket lift mentioned in this route: https://fatmap.com/routeid/13015/La_Balma_Classic And I think we encountered it on the day we went off piste with a guide, had totally forgotten about that.

I also remember an ancient cable-car there somewhere, looked like something out of 60s James Bond: all rivetted aluminium.
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valais2 wrote:
@zikomo, …Goodness yes, that back button up from the wood to the top of the Illhorn. That genuinely is a very scary lift. The ruts get very well established and can be hard as … well… ice…..and you find you have zero control on your sine wave legs. Grief hats off if you do that one on 112 waist planks….terrifying.


Ah but the stuff off the Illhorn is worth it when conditions are good. And if you get a low risk day there is a fantastic couloir up there. It is indeed very scary on the big planks though!
We like the restaurant on the bottom half of the slope next to that lift, we call it the "hippy burger place". Fantastic burgers. So we often end up on the scary poma even when not going off-piste. I am always terrified I will have to rescue on of the kids, but not happened so far (youch wood!).
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@adithorp, the wedgie !! …… I haven’t had a laugh-out-loud moment like that for a long while.
He has to be commended on the (relatively) graceful ‘exit’.
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And , @Alastair Pink, I quite enjoyed the tunnel lift (goes back to my first ‘proper’ skiing holiday in 1992) for quite different reasons. (Also liked the effect captured going over the pylon at the river crossing).
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The West Wall Poma didn’t like kids. Tried to sterilise everyone.
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No mention of the Val d'Isere up and over lift's cousin in Alp d'Huez that goes down and then up that links to Auris.

Been on a few long jump pomas in the past.

Above Courchevel 1600 there is a parallel drag. I followed a group of french kids up there once who were constantly swapping buttons and therefore sides with each other.

I also have vague recollections of the Monte Bondone lift. That was also my first ever ski trip, with school in 1978 or 79.

For old Bond style cable cars, there was one from the valley to Motta above Madesimo, to the Catholic Church run hotel that was used for school ski trips in the early 80s. Fitted maybe 10 people so fun getting coach loads of kids and their bags up and down each change over.
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Marksky wrote:
@adithorp, the wedgie !! …… I haven’t had a laugh-out-loud moment like that for a long while.
He has to be commended on the (relatively) graceful ‘exit’.


I can't work out how he got on. Puzzled
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Not really up to the same standard as the above, but a few well known classics:

Mainly amusing for its age, but did anyone stay at the Hotel Telecabine in Dolonne (Courmayeur) when Mark Warner used to hire it? There's a cabine or two as outside decoration now, but they used to run from the hotel to Chercroit, hugging the contours somewhat closer than the main cable car or newer Dolonne lift.


The hotel itself was a good place to stay and we met the GB ski team back when it was mainly Bells.

Staying in Courmayeur and slow lifts, I think it was the Bertolini (or at least that side) that was long, slow two man that took ages. It wasn't a problem though as you got quite a long way away from the crowds and had great views over the Val Veny and of Monte Bianco where, some times, you could sit there and hear/watch avalanches on its slopes. I assume it's been upgraded so while you'll still be able to, you get considerably less relaxation time, these days?

Also, if someone mentioned the Rosiere jump start button that goes up from the RHS of Front de Niege (I forget its name), that's caused the downfall of many a beginner and taught so many of them the art of imaginative piste map navigation to avoid it.

There is/was a T-bar at Laax that serves mainly beginner slopes, that goes into a steep, v-shaped gully (might be snow depth dependent), that rules out any easy escape for anyone who falls off. This point is not visible from the control hut(s), so you get a steady stream of skiers piling on top of each other until someone manages to get the lift stopped. I imagine it reduced several ski lessons a week, with twenty minutes tidying up the mess, before a slow walk up to the blue to carry on skiing.

Finally, there is the real classic, non-ski lift on the Isle of Wight, the Needles Chairlift which looks more secure and modern than my childhood memory of it - the seats look more comfortable, anyway.
https://www.theneedles.co.uk/attractions/chairlift/
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@skanky, ...that is an exceptionally tiny gondola.

We had tiny aircraft grade gondola in Aminona. We shed quite a few tears when the whole thing was torn down a few years ago. Planning now in place for replacement.


http://youtube.com/v/S0QK5x_9J_k

Long gone...

The days of demontage...

Démontage de la télécabine d'Aminona from Steve Blanc
https://vimeo.com/108043351


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 9-02-22 22:38; edited 1 time in total
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goodness just found this....


http://youtube.com/v/MxgioZVLerc

I am glad the world includes slightly mad obsessive people.

I am saying that as a recognised slightly mad obsessive person.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
valais2 wrote:
goodness just found this....


http://youtube.com/v/MxgioZVLerc

I am glad the world includes slightly mad obsessive people.

I am saying that as a recognised slightly mad obsessive person.

That Blue egg-shaped jobbie with the white roof and marked 60 - that you see near the beginning and at the end - looks suspiciously like what I was referring to in Livigno. You can even see the "Bin" at the side where the Liftie dumped our skis before we tried to get in. It wasn't unknown for your skis to make it up the mountain before you did.
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@Old Fartbag, ..excellent....!
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@valais2, IIRC it was a single seater. But it was the mid/late '80s, so memory is a bit vague.
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@JDL65, ah yes the Alpauris, which amusingly goes under the altiport runway before diving into the valley. Happy days snowHead
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The little stand-up telecabin thing in Flaine which we dubbed the Flying Urinal thanks to a waist height privacy screen and open bottom, dripping on those below
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@skanky, it’s Peindent and it’s still there, and as slow as slow thing going slow, but there is a lovely hut Pre Pascal just below the top, 1960’s orange Formica tables, but great views and food.
@Richard_Sideways, We called them yogurt pots, always felt a bit weird stepping off backwards to me.
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First year they put the Bouchet chair in in the 4th valley there was a steep drop off ramp, a very narrow sorting out area and then a steep cliff behind a flimsy fence. Not very inspiring. Following year they had improved it.
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@geoffknight, that'll be the one, thanks! It's been way too long since I was back there - about 20 years, I think (in winter, anyway). I'm pretty sure I fell asleep on it once, for a few seconds.

Pre de Pascal was our main base usually as we tended to go from Val Veny most days.
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
The little stand-up telecabin thing in Flaine which we dubbed the Flying Urinal thanks to a waist height privacy screen and open bottom, dripping on those below


Isn't there still one of those in LesMenuires?
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…one of my least amusing lift experiences was at Arolla…on the North side of the valley…no wind. But high pressure so great sun…and COLD. So we trucked over to Arolla. Avi 4 - drat. Oh well. Shaded and really cold in the car park. It’s all buttons at Arolla and they are not fast. No money in the Commune to do an upgrade. But that’s OK.

First button up, very icy, very shaded very cold. The top peaks had spindrift billowing off, so somewhere there was some wind. Did I say that it was cold? It was very cold.

The moment we got out of the wind shadow of the wood and valley the wind hit us. And I mean hit. BAM!!!
Spindrift at knee height everywhere. Being determined (aka stupid) we pressed on. Second lift is slow, but slightly protected for the first half by a snow bank.

This is when you hunker down inside your coat and try to close every gap. That’s the problem of long buttons….no body heat being generated from activity - you are just standing, being pulled along.

On….and on….and on….

I had forgotten that it was 40 mins on buttons to get to the top. By now, I was worried about my nose and cheeks - ice building up on my beard and nostrils and really very, very cold all over even in really good gear. But the route of the button has few bail out points, so we are really committed. The higher we go, the stronger the wind…wind chill maybe 10-15 degrees.

The five of us finally top out, all of us aching to get moving. ‘You’ve got frostnip on your nose…’ ‘yep so have you’….’you’ve got a patch of ice on your cheek…’ Argh…we high tail it down the hill to get some heat in us….
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valais2 wrote:
I also find amusing the ‘calf smack shuffle’ - which is when you know the chair is one which whacks you in the calves - and you have the moral dilemma of whether to shuffle forward and let some other person take the hit, or take one for the team - even if the team is a bunch of strangers - but I have had a situation where everyone know that the Big Hit is coming - particularly with a 6-packer and so all begin to shuffle forward in a weird self-serving dance….


Are you thinking of the crappy 3 out of Lac de Vaux ?? That's a classic last second shuffle chair.
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Some of the drags at Risoul take some beating, especially the Homme de Pierre drag. Man of Stone? You'd need to be made of stone for that lift not to give you a bit of a bruise behind...
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@valais2,

Completely the opposite type of lift but it just goes to show that superlux lifts can get you in trouble too:

I remember getting the funicular to the Gd Motte in Tignes when the kids were small. We knew the weather was a bit suspect but decided we'd "have a look". First two adults out the door of the lift station were blown onto their backsides. We had a nice chuckle., about turned and got the train down again.

On the super lux side, I was in Engelberg a couple fo years ago and my daughter and I were impressed in a slightly disbelieving way with a brand new 6 man detachable that had
a) a hood (always a nice touch)
b) padded seats with headrests (pretty cushy)
c) an automatic bar lower and raise (new to us!)
and most amazingly .....
d) HEATED SEATS!!!!

God only knows what our Scottish skiing aficionados would make of it! Reckon their heads would explode
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@jedster, ….Gd Motte….great picture you have conjured up…and boy can it blow up there.

Superlux….i can hear the outrage from North of the Border already - padded seats?!!! You want PADDING??

We have mock Superlux in CM - the new 6pack from Arnouva also has a hood. Comes down nicely, albeit with a bit of a thud (ooopss sorry about your bent sticks Alex) but then you find it needs the strength of Xerxes to lift the d++m thing as you approach the top station … yes it is supposed to go up automatically but that doesn’t always happen….


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Fri 11-02-22 0:33; edited 1 time in total
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@jedster, there's a chair lift in Laax which not only has heated padded seats, but each seat automatically swivels round nearly 45 degrees after departure to ensure you got the best view.

There was quite a lot that could go wrong with it, and being the only way out of the valley it was a bit of a nuisance them having to stop it pretty frequently. Good trade for the snack bar near the lift station though.
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valais2 wrote:

Superlux….i can hear the outrage from North of the Border already - padded seats?!!! You want

Actually, I love 'em, and heated too as jedster mentions. Although I do recollect somewhere near Zug on the Lech-Zurs arena, chuckling at the incongruity of getting off of a high speed, covered, heated seat equipped, six or eight person chairlift, which was immediately followed by a hundred or so metres of rope tow across a windy ridge.
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j b wrote:
@jedster, there's a chair lift in Laax which not only has heated padded seats, but each seat automatically swivels round nearly 45 degrees after departure to ensure you got the best view.

There was quite a lot that could go wrong with it, and being the only way out of the valley it was a bit of a nuisance them having to stop it pretty frequently. Good trade for the snack bar near the lift station though.


Yep that well and truly trumped mine! That's a little bonkers
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moffatross wrote:
valais2 wrote:

Superlux….i can hear the outrage from North of the Border already - padded seats?!!! You want

Actually, I love 'em, and heated too as jedster mentions. Although I do recollect somewhere near Zug on the Lech-Zurs arena, chuckling at the incongruity of getting off of a high speed, covered, heated seat equipped, six or eight person chairlift, which was immediately followed by a hundred or so metres of rope tow across a windy ridge.


Talk about lulling in to a false sense of security!

You kind of expect a bit of luxury in Lech or Laax don't you. Something not quite right about heated seats and automatic bars in Engleberg though Very Happy
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massistar wrote:
There's one in Pas de la Casa that we called the chairlift of doom. Super fast arrival and whips round really quickly and you're faced with a very steep ramp straight away. Bodies strewn everywhere and people would hang around to watch others fail after they had. It was so bad that I used to choose the bloody adjacent T-Bar with my snowboard rather than face it every day.


That’s the Cubil linking between Encamp and Grau Roig. It does whip round pretty sharpish at the top.

I was on that chair last week when I noticed someone clinging onto the t-bar. They must’ve been holding on being dragged along for about 200 metres. Fair play though, they clung on all the way to the top. It was like something from a cowboy film. We gave her a big cheer and a round of applause!
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I learnt to ski with a friend of mine who doesnt like heights and has never really mastered chairs, thank goodness for helmets as his arms often short up in the air when chairs hit him from behind as he was completely unaware it was coming, he went to sleep on a long one once, luckily I was on the one in front and all I heard was our other friends shouting at him to wake up so they could lift the bar up, it didnt matter which side of the chair he was on he always seemed to ski towards the middle of it as soon as he got off and into others, worse one was the chair coming out of orrelle which goes into the mountain and you all need to turn right or ski into rock, it was always pete turn right pete turn right now!!, I soon learnt to wait till he had left the chair before I got off to avoid being dragged down by him
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Not too scary but an interesting one none the less is ‘Alpauris’ at AdH. Goes past the airport, then face first down the valley and up the other side. Something about going down chairlifts makes it feel a lot less safe
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Tommyw wrote:
Not too scary but an interesting one none the less is ‘Alpauris’ at AdH. Goes past the airport, then face first down the valley and up the other side. Something about going down chairlifts makes it feel a lot less safe


Keep up at the back! Already mentioned up thread. Laughing NehNeh
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Of course there is the ‘amusing’ scenario on almost all steep button lifts, of the sudden failure at a very steep section, and you find yourself slowly sliding backwards, with weary resignation, as the cable slowly reels out, knowing that the re-start will occur at the very end of the cable travel, with the jerk trying to separate your hips from the rest of your body. A quick look behind, and there’s no way to bail out due to the steepness, narrowness and the awful, chossy icy sugar peaks all around, and the person beginning to get into a terrible tangle just below you. If it’s in the sun, you can grab a warm five minutes. If it’s in an icy, shady gulley, time to hunker down and think warm thoughts….
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