Wire Rope in the Ski Industry

Every avid skier has pondered this question while riding a chair lift up on a cold winter day: how does a chair lift hold so much weight? Chairlifts are common forms of mountain transportation. Simply put, it is an elevated aerial lift that uses steel wire rope to transport people to the top and bottom of hills and mountains.  The wire rope is the defining feature of a chairlift, and it stretches and contracts as the tension on it increases and decreases.

Every chair lift in the world uses wire rope to transport people because of its tensile strength and reliability. Due to the strength of wire rope, safety records on ski lifts are next to perfect. Statistically speaking, you have a greater chance of injuring yourself when using an escalator than riding a lift.  The strength of the rope is immense, and is meant to bear an incredible amount of weight without snapping.

It is important to have employees on the ski resort who are in charge of maintaining the wire rope on chair lifts. In many places, these people are colloquially referred to as “lifties” and are the heart and soul of the entire operation.  Lifties, or lift operation workers are well trained and know when to repair sections of the wire rope on chairlifts.