Catch of the Day - Scenic Surface Lifts
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JimK - DCSki Columnist
September 26, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Here's a classic shot of a poma/platter lift at Lake Louise ski area in Alberta, Canada. While surface lifts in general are an endangered species, this type is probably the most prevalent still utilized in the US: http://community.webshots.com/photo/299567823/299586724orqMLD

Shot of a T-bar at Engelberg, Switzerland. You can ride alone or with a partner on each side of the "T". It takes a little teamwork and balance when two people ride one of these together. T-bars are very rare in the US now. I rode one 35 years ago at Stowe and a couple years ago in Austria. http://community.webshots.com/photo/228055542/228058772pisQUZ

Surface lifts can be used for various purposes; beginner lift, connector between two other major lifts, or to service expert terrain. The "Roca Jack", a famed lift at Portillo, Chile, falls into the latter category and is known for its thrilling five person slingshot-like launch up steep avalanche-prone terrain: http://community.webshots.com/photo/428939851/428959861WRalKS

Here's a photo of a J-bar (sort of a half of a T-bar) in use on the beginner hill at Burke ski area in Vermont. I thought J-bars were somewhat boarder friendly, but not according to the caption for this shot. Note that the rider appears to be holding onto the bar rather than placing it behind the legs for a much easier pull up the hill.
http://community.webshots.com/photo/241473681/242279117bUHUXD

Rope tows are hard on the gloves, but perhaps a little more versatile for boarders than pomas or t-bars. Here's a fantastic shot of a rope tow in heavy use at Whakapapa/Turoa Ski Area in the central part of the north Island of New Zealand. Mount Ruapehu is seen in the background. It was used as Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Ring films: http://community.webshots.com/photo/296389473/296408097ZUqUHD
More info on this region of NZ: http://www.tourism.net.nz/new-zealand/about-new-zealand/regions/ruapehu.html
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
September 26, 2005
Member since 02/23/2005
830 posts
Thanks. that was fun. like many, i learned on a little rope tow slope and I have never been so miserable - I hated that thing, but for some strange reason kept at it until I could get to the double chair. thank god for youth.
jimboc
September 26, 2005
Member since 03/30/2004
259 posts
Dont forget about the T-Bar at the top of Peak 8 in Breckenridge. They can keep that thing going even when the wind is howling - and it acesses some nice terrian as well.
Reisen
September 26, 2005
Member since 01/25/2005
343 posts
I grew up with T-Bars over in Europe, and it's being back in the US and not having them. They can be VERY difficult to learn on, and even experienced skiers sometimes still fall off (carelessness, goofing off). Further, they often go up extremely steep terrain, so a fall at certain points could be dangerous, both for the faller, and the riders behind him.

I still remember my father putting the T Bar behind his knees while it was halfway up my back (he's 6-4). It was an "unbalanced ride", but still possible.
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kennedy
September 26, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
Does Liberty still have the J bar serving the terrain park??

Poma tows on a board are kind of painful especially for guys. You put it through your legs and it yanks up and to the side. I fell off one on my first board trip and ripped the new pair of pants I had just bought right along the crotch and had to ride back with them held closed, sucked.

Rode the rope tow and 7 springs last year. Got to sort of pick the line up off the ground and let it feed through your hands, soot a little to get going then grip hard to get going. Sucks for Goofy footers because you have to sort of hop over the line so you can face it on the way up.

The surface tow I hate most is when the use the same type of little hooks they use for snow tubes. The shoe uses them and when I've been on beginner terrain helping my newbie friends I've had to use them. The trick there is to sort of hook it low on your hip and let it push you up.
Roy
September 27, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Liberty still has the J Bar.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
September 27, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Quote:

Liberty still has the J Bar.




Yeah, I thought they did and that is part of why I thought jbars were "boarder friendly".
Here's a shot of the tbar at Breck: http://community.webshots.com/photo/276372497/276376259izxtys
Did they put in a new lift up Imperial?
jimboc
September 27, 2005
Member since 03/30/2004
259 posts
Breck Peak 8 chair - It is supposed to be ready for the upcoming season - some cool pics of it on their web site. I wonder how much trouble they are going to have with the wind. I guess it will be similar to loveland chair that goes up to 13,000+
Norsk
September 27, 2005
Member since 05/13/2003
315 posts
Count me a surface lift fan. They are fantastic for windy, exposed terrain or short stretches where the cost of a chairlift really doesn't make sense. IMO, the disappearance of surface lifts in the USA is an unfortunate symptom of the evolution of skiing in the USA from outdoor adventure to sanitized winter recreation for the wealthy.
kennedy
September 27, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
They have their purpose but I don't call having the wedding tackle damaged by a poma "adventure". I want high speed quads with heated seats dammit.
JohnL
September 27, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

Dont forget about the T-Bar at the top of Peak 8 in Breckenridge. They can keep that thing going even when the wind is howling - and it acesses some nice terrian as well.




Man do I have some frigid memories of that lift on wind-blown powder days. The ride down was sweet but the ride up could be miserable, especially the section above the dogleg. The track often alternates between wind scoured ice and foot high powder mounds, with gale force winds blowing in your face. I think the new summit chair will be on windhold quite a bit...

Some other surface lifts which come to mind besides the ones already mentioned include the Poma and T-Bars on Horstmann Glacier at Blackcomb, the Poma lift to the Mongolia Bowls at Vail, the Poma lift at the top of Powder Mountain, the Poma at the bottom of the Hobacks in Jackson Hole. Any others Pomas and T-Bars I'm missing in North America? The glacier on Mount Hood must have one ...

Quote:

I still remember my father putting the T Bar behind his knees while it was halfway up my back (he's 6-4). It was an "unbalanced ride", but still possible.





I had similar rides up with my dad growing up. I'm amazed I didn't cross my skis and take him out. Instant father-son bonding. I believe the lift was at Otis Ridge in Massachusetts. Wonder if that lift still is around?

The area I learned to ski at didn't have any chair lifts at the time, so I had to learn on Poma lifts. The very first season I graduated to the lift (versus side-stepping up the bunny slope), I think I made it to the top of the mountain about 50 percent of the time.

Thinking back on it, the only beginner lift option I had besides a relatively intimidating Poma lift, was yourself. No Magic Carpets, rope tows, etc. Man has the sport changed.
JohnL
September 27, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

They have their purpose but I don't call having the wedding tackle damaged by a poma "adventure".




Maybe it's different for a snowboarder, but you're not supposed to get too "friendly" with the lift. Instant flashback to one of boarderbabe's posts.
kennedy
September 28, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
read my post previous to that. As a skier I'm guessing it's not too bad but as a boarder there is a chance for some serious damage. One of the benfeits of a poma though is getting off wherever you want. Part of a trail looks good, don't want to go the whole way just slide to the side and let go.
Chad
September 28, 2005
Member since 12/12/2000
270 posts
Quote:

Any others Pomas and T-Bars I'm missing in North America?




sleeping giant (cody, wyoming) has a t-bar on the "expert" part of the mountain. anyone else been there?
nakedskier
September 28, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
91 posts
Quote:

Any others Pomas and T-Bars I'm missing in North America?




The second time I ever went skiing was at a Boy Scout Camporee up at Loring AFB in northern Maine. Their winters are desolate, cold and very uninviting. In order to amuse themselves in the winter, they had a hill in which they cut down the trees to make one ski trail and two smaller cut off ski trails. To get to the top, they had a rope tow. I hated that thing, I think I only got to the top twice after an afternoon of falling down in the beginning, halfway up and in line.... To this day, I still curse rope tows....
SeaRide
September 28, 2005
Member since 03/11/2004
237 posts
Quote:

Any others Pomas and T-Bars I'm missing in North America?




Now I recall there's one at Telluride in Colorado. It is somewhat a retractable rope (attached to the cable) & pole w/ disc surface lift called "Lynx Lift 13". The Lynx lift provides an egress out of Prospect Bowl to Lifts 1 & 10. I just grab that thing and put it under my arm and let it pull me up and over the ridge on the path thru the forest. For skiers, I am sure the disc part could go between the legs.
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