What is a Chair Lift

A Chairlift is an elevated ropeway for passengers, which is a type of an aerial lift. It is primarily considered as a means of uphill transport to carry skiers up the mountainous areas. However chair lifts which is also termed as “rope way” in many places, are found increasingly in amusement parks and various tourist spots. These chair lifts operate with a moving loop of cables with chair like seats attached permanently to the cable. The cables run between two terminals which constantly moves in a loop and therefore the passengers will have to board out of the chairs while in motion, at their destination terminal.

The earliest form of chairlift was single seated allowing one person to board at a time which gradually upgraded to double chairs carrying two people side by side. Now you can find resorts and amusement parks operating even triples and quads including “six packs” which allows six people to sit at a same time. Chair lifts in the conventional method, operates at a constant speed thereby allowing smooth loading and unloading of passengers. In such lifts, the chairs are fixed at regular intervals to the cables and are known widely as fixed grip lifts. The latest versions have the option to be slowed down at the entry and exit points for the purpose of loading and unloading. These lifts are comparatively operated at an increased speed while climbing up the hill.

The cables or the ropes which are used to operate the chair lifts constitute an important factor. These ropes are constructed using dozens of wires that are wound to form a strand. Such several strands are again wound around a fabric core. The twist could be in the same direction termed as “Lang lay” or in the opposite direction called “regular lay”. There are two terminals, one at each end with a supporting tower in the intermediate and each terminal has a bullwheel which helps in redirecting the rope. The primary mover bullwheel is called the “drive bullwheel” and the other one is called the “return bullwheel”. The whole operation of chair lift is powered electrically either with a gasoline engine or a diesel backup. The braking system of chair lifts is primarily located in the drive terminal and emergency brakes beside the main drive which acts on the bull wheel.

The latest version of detachable chair lifts is slowly replacing the existence of fixed grip lifts in most parts of the ski areas. However it is unable to replace the low maintenance, installation and operation costs offered by the fixed grip lifts.