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'Amusing' chairlifts

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The Absolute Snow thread made me think about difficult chairlifts and other lifts.

I have two favourites, each with a surprise.

NAX
The homicidal one
This is the non-detachable two-chair from the bottom station. Very normal to get on: auto gates, rolling carpet, whoosh, you're off.
No problem.
Easy ride up, then you face the get off. Remember this is not detachable, so it's moving pretty darn fast. The get off surface is a 10 metre flat wooden deck, with a short steep ramp at the end. No problem, except the chair is following you. Fast. You stand up on the deck and push off the chair...fine...but just as you get to the top of the ramp, the chair has caught up with you and tries to knock you over. If you panic and react by slowing down to see what the hell is going on, the chair suddenly swings to the left and can give you a big swipe on the side of the head, or tried to grab your hood/rucksack to yank you off the mountain. Fitzwilliam.

COURMEYEUR
The big surprise
Button lift of doom. Not the normal 'yank you in the air' or 'haul you round a 90 degree corner' but a lift which is great - smooth and fine, lovely trees, nice view, rumble rumble, oh look at the squirrel, rumble rumble and then suddenly, the last section is a 45 degree wooden ramp straight up in the air, eeeek....steep... which is fine, until you realise you have the time the button release perfectly....as a competent skier, surprising. As a beginner, terrifying.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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.

The liftie took the skis, and put them in a holder in the front of the bucket. If you didn't manage to board 'your' bucket, then there was a risk of unattended skis heading up without their owner. If/when you got in I don't remember if there was a barrier to stop you falling out of the back - there probably was. The sun came out from behind the mountain about half way up, and you could then slowly start to defrost.

Unloading at the top was a leap of faith by stepping out backwards from the bucket. The area regularly resembled an aircraft crash impact site - bodies strewn everywhere.

After that I've no idea how I caught the skiing bug. Should've put me off it for life.
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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?
Good thread. Mürren: Maulerhubel and Allmiboden chairlifts are the same, rolling carpet. Anything less than a very concerted dismount at the top will have the lift try to take your head off. But Mürren's like that - quirky, and wants to kill you.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 9-02-22 0:21; edited 1 time in total
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Hmm, there are a few snowHeads who remember a small contretemps between me and an ancient chairlift in Baqueira. Apparently it was extremely funny watching me being chased by the chair while I tried to work out to which side to jump at the end. rolling eyes
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Not difficult to get on or off, but the old chairlift in Schladming (long since replaced by a gondola I believe) that went through a tunnel perhaps qualifies as 'amusing'. I took a video of it when I used it in the early 1990s....
http://youtube.com/v/XrC4bADo2BE
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Ramsau Zillertal. The (now disused i think) one man chair that trundled on forever over peoples gardens and up. Leather knee cover was quaint. As no snow at bottom usually you had to be loaded with your skis to carry, leading to many catastrophic dismounts of tangled skis.
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Nesiko still has ‘Meat Hook/Pizza Box’ chair lifts at the top, not for those of nervous disposition Shocked
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Not really a chair lift but any Nz club field nutcracker rope tow. Will destroy expensive jackets and gloves in seconds, whilst simultaneously scalping and castrating anybody hanging on to it, with a good chance of a crippled knee or two to just add to the fun.

Particularly fun switch on a snowboard when it’s low tide.
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I still miss the old Tiger chair at Glenshee. A right of passage for many of us. It always seemed to me that if you could get on the chairlift you were probably a good enough skier to manage the slope!

Non-detachable single chairlift that went at quick a lick, many of the seats with broken slates, flimsy "safety" bar to flip over your legs that was often bent/broken and some of the pylons were quite high up. Met at the top by a stout bloke who would grab you firmly and propel you out of the arrival hut, otherwise nearly impossible to dismount. Oh, and often wind scoured blue ice at the top! Good times!

I managed to introduce 3 of my 4 kids to it before they installed the fancy new chair, although had to convince the liftie to allow them on.
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@zikomo, that's the one I'm thinking of! I've only been there once, in 1986, but remember that thing and the arrival hut. Great run down though.
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Another vote for old Tiger chair

Also the recently removed Lac Noir chair on La Masse in Les Menuires, non-detachable seat of the pants take off and unsympathetic dump off at the top followed by a smack upside your head as the chair whizzed round to start it's descent.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
The old return from below Punta Indren (Alagna) was always good for a giggle.

Stand skis of, start running as "pot" approached, jump from platform into pot with skis. Repeat at far end...
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jonathancarty wrote:
Another vote for old Tiger chair.


I have one hanging in my garden which we use for afternoon sundowners in the summer, I used to work there and snaffled it when they took the old Tiger chair down !

Agree with the nutcracker/rope tows in NZ, seen some epic fails, almost did my own when i was day dreaming and forgot to unhook my nutcracker from my climbing harness, was a panic moment for sure !

The other one is that 4 man non detachable in Les Gets outside the Yeti, the place most beginners end up and the least forgiving chair in the whole place
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
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.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
It's gone now but the old one person chair at Sauze along the ridge. Great view but so slow people fell asleep on it and would-be hauled off in a heap at the end if shouting "WAKE UP!" didn't work. I almost dozed off but was woken by snoring from someone going the other way The chairs were basic but about every third chair had what appeared to be a picnic table on the side; This was to lift your child onto and hold onto as there was no back, side or safety bar for them Shocked
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thread wouldn't be complete without these...


http://youtube.com/v/6-6pQwo_9r4


http://youtube.com/v/ISqp9od-C9c
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
under a new name wrote:
The old return from below Punta Indren (Alagna) was always good for a giggle.

Stand skis of, start running as "pot" approached, jump from platform into pot with skis. Repeat at far end...


Hard to beat that one. Added features: the building looked like a chicken shed and if you ran after the lift for too long there was the possibility to fall out of the building and end up in a snowdrift Laughing
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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?
zikomo wrote:
I still miss the old Tiger chair at Glenshee. A right of passage for many of us. It always seemed to me that if you could get on the chairlift you were probably a good enough skier to manage the slope!

Non-detachable single chairlift that went at quick a lick, many of the seats with broken slates, flimsy "safety" bar to flip over your legs that was often bent/broken and some of the pylons were quite high up. Met at the top by a stout bloke who would grab you firmly and propel you out of the arrival hut, otherwise nearly impossible to dismount. Oh, and often wind scoured blue ice at the top! Good times!

I managed to introduce 3 of my 4 kids to it before they installed the fancy new chair, although had to convince the liftie to allow them on.


That's a shame - not been to Glenshee in many years but the Carinwell Tiger was definitely a big bit of the experience.
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There's a old non-detachable chair at Livigno that's been upgraded with a magic carpet. At the gate you're separated by wooden planks and you notice that theres an 18" drop off to the magic carpet Puzzled Then as the gate opens, the whole platform you're on, pitches forward and your launched down the ramp onto the conveyor!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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I always use to find the "up and over" chair above Le Fornet quite amusing. It was always good to watch the face of the person next to you, who had not seen the lift before, when they realised that there was no "top station" at what they had believed was the top. Then they started to go down, which often was a novel experience for them.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Wed 9-02-22 15:19; edited 1 time in total
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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….
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@valais2, It's really funny when you all know the game and are trying to avoid being the one taking the hit.

All sorts of dastardly tactics are employed by my kids, including imaginative distraction techniques, to try and ensure it is their sibling, guide or preferably father who ends up taking it!
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@valais2, Worse than the calf smack is the boot grab where the chair is low enough to jam on the rear spoiler of your boot (usually lazy lifties haven't dug out the load zone enough). Of course combined with the bar slam as your chairmates try to decapitate you while your hoping your ligaments don't pop.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:


That's a shame - not been to Glenshee in many years but the Carinwell Tiger was definitely a big bit of the experience.


For a similar old skool experience, the Cliffhanger at Glencoe is its doppleganger, albeit rather shorter. The difference of course is that the Cairnwell is a destination, whereas the Cliffy at Glencoe is a linking lift providing an alternative to the loathed by snowboarders and novice skiers, Wall T-Bar.

Another quirky lift in Scotland is Cairngorm's mile long Day Lodge button that, because it's so slow and drags you over either slush or rutted ice, seems to go on forever with just an occasional rollercoaster direction switch to keep you alert.
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@adithorp, Kevin is king!
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@Dave of the Marmottes, …agreed… my next post was going to be the ‘calf pinch special’ but you got there first…blimey that can bring water to the eye…and since it can be the weight of 4-6 people and the chair bearing down on that bit of skin….YEEEEOW…..
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Dave of the Marmottes, we also have the ‘pole eater’ at Crans Montana - the National Express 4-packer has a mid station at which it says ‘You must raise the bar’. Some people scoff at this, but the pile of broken poles outside the liftie hut is testament to those who have scoffed, failed to raise the bar, then found their poles are grabbed by the snow, levered against the lowered bar, and instantly snapped in two…
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moffatross wrote:
Another quirky lift in Scotland is Cairngorm's mile long Day Lodge button that, because it's so slow and drags you over either slush or rutted ice, seems to go on forever with just an occasional rollercoaster direction switch to keep you alert.


We once had a very stormy and windy week travelling indie as 17 year olds staying at Loch Morlich YHA. On one of the days we could actually ski I saw a bloke on the button ahead get blown over a 7ft drop off the ice ridge.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I still think that these are more like things you find in an abattoir than on the hill:

https://www.seealpedhuez.com/lifts/ski-system
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I have memories ( notice I didn't say 'fond' ) of an old, slow, bone rattling, safety device lite, single chair that used to go to the top of the Hohe Salve in Soll. It served a black run ( 42 I believe ) that I came to love, but the first time I got off, what had been a fairly terrifying chairlift, and realised that the only way down was to use said black run, made me vow to pay more attention to piste maps in the future Laughing
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
moffatross wrote:
Another quirky lift in Scotland is Cairngorm's mile long Day Lodge button that, because it's so slow and drags you over either slush or rutted ice, seems to go on forever with just an occasional rollercoaster direction switch to keep you alert.


We once had a very stormy and windy week travelling indie as 17 year olds staying at Loch Morlich YHA. On one of the days we could actually ski I saw a bloke on the button ahead get blown over a 7ft drop off the ice ridge.


Almost certainly the Fiacaill Ridge poma, benign for first few hundred metres until it joins the ridge which is the name clue to high wind exposure !

https://www.skiresort.info/ski-resort/cairngorm-mountain/ski-lifts/l99280/
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@moffatross, sounds typically hard and lethal for Scotland…..
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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?
In the 70s, when I was in Livigno, there was a selection of "amusing" lifts. The talk at the time, was they bought the lifts that other more prestigious resorts replaced, as having seen better days.

The old school Double Chairs were a nightmare for a wobbly Intermediate. The problem was at the top of the lift ie. where the "landing zone" snow should have been at the right level to allow you to stand up and ski away. It wasn't. What you had, was a one foot drop onto a steep gradient, covered by boiler plate ice. Either the people in front of you fell off and you joined them on the ground; or you fell over and found yourself introduced to the pair behind, as they fell over you.

There was an Egg Shaped Bubble, which held 2 people and didn't slow down for you to embark. It was accessed by stone steps on the outside of the bottom station - which helpfully lined the bottom of your boots with snow. The Lift Attendant took your skis, while the two passengers ran along side and had to jump in. If the first person fecked about, the second person ran out of road and had to leap like a Flying Squirrel into the Egg. The snow on the bottom of your boots meant losing your balance and taking out your fellow traveller, with a spectacular tackle that would have earned you a Red Card in a game of football.

And not forgetting the interminable Button Drag, that took you up the other side of the Valley. It went along side a steep Black run, that ran through the trees. If you fell off, it was a nightmare ski back to the bottom.

My Final submission, is for a Drag that was near where we stayed in Plagne Village in the early 80s. It had the dubious honour of having the most aggressive start of any other drag in the area, where every journey started with a Long Jump from a standing start, of a good 1.5m. It left such an impression that we came up with this poor effort:

Frappe! Frappe!
Qui est la?
Ger
Ger qui?
Oui; comme le Teleski


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 9-02-22 13:20; edited 6 times in total
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twoodwar wrote:
@adithorp, Kevin is king!


Never gets old, does it?
I wonder if Kevin is still with us, it would be great to get him on the forum!
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Not a chair lift but the Hidden Valley to Armentarola horse and sled tow has to get a mention.
Last time I did it we were being dragged through puddles Eh oh!
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@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….
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And then I remembered this.


http://youtube.com/v/gRN9gKUDNak
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
The up and over chairlift in val d’Isere, Lessieres, got me a good ‘un when I first did it. I was having a lovely chat with my friend next to me, completely oblivious to everything, when suddenly my heart was in my mouth and I was staring down at a huge drop.
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Scotland really has to be the home of this type of lift.

from the legend that is the cliffy, where on a good snow year the seat of the chair can be ankle height and on a bad year requires a little hop on and the reverse at the top, its like trying to get up off a futon sofa while moving at speed and also turning left...and mind that the landing zone is in the middle of an active piste!

To the wall T bar which at the top is near vertical, with a "safe" dismount area of a postage stamp before hitting a wall!

Not forgetting the main basin poma which seems to have been set across a 1 in 4 slope where your left ski is at hip height while your right is in a gulley!

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!

makes me laugh when i hear people on here complain about a shoddy old 2 man chair on their favoured run in the alps of how the "new 10 man gondola" at xxx resort doesnt have wifi and seat heating!!
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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….

I was given a tip, that bending forward at the waist, reduced the Jump from "Olympic Qualifier", to the heroic efforts of a Primary school kid on Sports Day.....and to my utter amazement, it actually worked.
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