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Omar Little
04-02-2012, 04:17 PM
While I was sitting on the ski lift a few weeks ago I was puzzled by the fact that as we moved up the mountain we did so at a consistent speed and at equal spacing between the lift chairs in front of and behind us, but as we neared the top of the lift to exit, our speed slowed down and the spacing between us and the chair in front us tightened up. What type of mechanism allows for the chairs to slow down as they approach the exit but the rest of the chairs moving up and back down the mountain are moving at a much faster speed?

gazpacho
04-02-2012, 04:19 PM
The chairs are disconnected from the cable that goes up the mountain and put on a slower cable for loading and unloading. The mechanism is a spring clamp that hold the chair on the cable.

Hello Again
04-02-2012, 04:30 PM
The chairs are disconnected from the cable that goes up the mountain and put on a slower cable for loading and unloading. If you pay attention you will notice that the chairs are much farther apart going up the mountain than they are during loading and unloading.

Yup. If you pay attention, when you get on, you can feel the moment when the chair latches onto the cable and takes off at the cable's speed. Correcpondingly, you can feel the release when the chair goes into "coast" around the corner.

Maybe you've heard the term "detachable quad" thrown around, referring to this style of high volume, high speed lift. The detachable gives you WAY more time to get lined up and then seated. The smaller, slower, traditional chairs stay connected to the lift at all time maintaining constant speed. They *can* be slowed manually for newbs learning to get off/on (usually confined to 1 specific run or beginner's lift), or to accomodate any untoward events.

One time I was getting on the "regular" lift and the tail of my ski caught a tiny edge of exposed platform and released just as the lift wooshed me away. They slowed the lift at the top manually, so I could hobble off, and sent my ski up with the next guy. But if they had to do this for everyone it would be a slow ride.

snowmaster
04-02-2012, 10:04 PM
While I was sitting on the ski lift a few weeks ago I was puzzled by the fact that as we moved up the mountain we did so at a consistent speed and at equal spacing between the lift chairs in front of and behind us, but as we neared the top of the lift to exit, our speed slowed down and the spacing between us and the chair in front us tightened up. What type of mechanism allows for the chairs to slow down as they approach the exit but the rest of the chairs moving up and back down the mountain are moving at a much faster speed?

Yes, you were on a detachable grip lift. Most gondolas and six-packs are detachable as are most modern quad chairlifts. You can tell a detachable lift by the faster line speed, larger, enclosed terminals and a larger grip attaching your carrier to the cable, often with visible coil springs and some small wheels. Lifts where the chair spacing and speed remians unchanged in terminals are called fixed grip.

Out of curiousity, where were you skiing and which lift were you riding?