Lift types – Everything about ski lifts

Descriptions of the most important lift types, ski lift types and types of lifts in ski resorts.

8-person chairlifts

This extremely comfortable and modern lift system with 8 seats enables a very high transport capacity of up to 4,000 passengers/hours. This system is especially popular in winter sports areas because skis, snowboards, etc. need not be removed to board the lift again for repeat runs. The coupling technique perfected by Doppelmayr, enables safe boarding and exiting at a very slow speed in the lift station and up to 5 m/s on the lift route. There are Bubbles (weather protection covers), Bubble Orange, chairs with seat heating and automatic closing available. Since the 1997/1998 season, the first 8-person chairlift in the world has been in operation in Vrådal (Norway). The world’s second 8-person chairlift went into operation in the Alps in Nauders in the 1999/2000 season. In Ischgl, the first 8-person chairlift with weather protectors has been in operation since the 2001/2002 season.

All 8-person chairlifts worldwide

6-person chairlift

This lift system with 6 seats enables a very high transport capacity of up to 3,200 passengers/hour and is extremely comfortable and modern. The first detachable 6-person chairlifts have been in operation since the 1990/1991 season. The first one went into operation on Mont Orignal (Canada). The first detachable 6-person chairlift with weather protectors opened in 1994/1995 in Flachau (Austria) and a fixed-grip 6-person chairlift first opened in Hintertux in 1995/1996.


All 6-person chairlifts worldwide

Gondola lifts

This comfortable ropeway system is especially suitable as a feeder lift in winter sports areas, for tourism centers and for urban applications. A particular highlight is the family and senior friendliness of the Doppelmayr installations of this system. Due to the closed cabin, passengers are also protected from wind and weather. The cabins, with a capacity of up to 20 passengers, are connected to the haul rope by detachable grips.


The coupling technique enables a very comfortable and secure boarding and exiting of the lift at very slow speeds in the lift station and up to 6 m/s on the lift route. Depending on the cabin size, transport capacities of up to 3,600 passengers/hour can be achieved.


All gondola lifts (as of 8 persons) worldwide

Combined lift

This innovative ropeway system combines the advantages of a detachable gondola lift with those of a detachable chairlift. Gondolas and chairs are used simultaneously, whereby the boarding and exiting areas are separate and the requirements of the individual lift types are met.


Due to the high level of flexibility, this system is very suitable for areas with both winter and summer tourism. Depending on the season, weather or client preference, the “mixture ratio” can be adjusted flexibly.


In the summer, the combined lift offers wheelchair users comfortable transportation by gondola. In the winter, the gondolas are much appreciated by families with children, while the “speedy” winter sports fans prefer the chairs because they need not take off their skis, snowboards, etc.


All combined lifts worldwide

3-S ropeway lifts

3-S ropeway lifts combine the benefits of a gondola lift with those of a reversible aerial tramway. These are detachable circulating ropeway lifts with a capacity of 30 passengers per cabin and a transport capacity of up to 6,000 passengers/hour. This system features high wind stability, low energy consumption and the possibility of very long rope spans. It can travel at speeds of up to 7.5 m/s. The first 3-S lift went into operation in Saas-Fee (Switzerland) in 1991.


All 3-S lifts worldwide


The Funitel - State of the Art ropeway technology. This system, perfected by Doppelmayr, is extremely wind stable and can withstand wind speeds of over 100 km/h. Due to the special feature of two haul ropes at a distance of 3.2 m, very long rope spans can be overcome. Thanks to a special pneumatic suspension system, the 24 passenger cabin offers a very high level of comfort. Transport capacities ranging from 3,200 – 4,000 passengers/hour are achieved at speeds of up to 7.5 m/s.


The inventor of the Funitel was Denis Creissels and the first Funitel went into operation in the 1990/1991 season in Val Thorens in Trois Vallees (France).


All Funitels worldwide


The Funifor ropeway lift is a patented system from Doppelmayr. The special feature of this lift is the wide rope gauge of the haul rope. The haul rope is connected to the cabin with 4 horizontal cable sheaves.


The most important features:

- Wide rope gauge, extremely high wind stability

- Short hanger allows compact and low station buildings

- Independent drives for each cabin eliminate the need for a rescue ropeway

- Spliced haul rope loop is very maintenance-friendly


The first Funifor went into operation in the year 2000 at Stelvio Pass/Passo dello Stelvio/Stilfser Joch in Italy


All Funifors worldwide

Reversible aerial tramways/aerial ropeway lifts

The classic reversible aerial tramway/aerial ropeway lift features one or two carriers, consisting of a track rope, hangers and cabins, which travel back and forth between the stations. They are transported by a haul rope along one or two track ropes. These are anchored at the mountain station and led along the route via rope saddles on the supports and are either anchored in the base station or tension is provided with weights. The cabins travelling along the track ropes are connected to each other via the upper and lower haul rope. In one of the stations, the rope is propelled by a drive system; in the other station, it is weighed down by a counterweight in order to achieve the necessary tension.


The transport capacity of the aerial ropeway lift ranges from 4 to 200 passengers (depending on the cabin size), the speed is up to 12 m/s and capacity along the lift length ranges between 500 and 2,000 passengers per hour.


Reversible aerial tramways/ aerial ropeway lifts worldwide

Funicular railways

Funicular railways are particularly unaffected by weather conditions and very wind stable. One or two vehicles travel on a stationary carriageway (predominantly on tracks). The vehicles are propelled by a haul rope, usually via a reversible system. On short routes; it is possible to have two parallel track lengths, while on longer routes, a single track with a passing track in the middle is often used.


The vehicles travelling on the track are connected to each other by the haul rope, which is usually powered in the mountain station. Depending on the steepness of the route and the location of the propulsion system, sometimes systems with a counter rope are implemented. This is then weighted in the counter station with a hydraulic cylinder or with a tension weight in order to achieve the required tension level.


Passenger carriages and carriage compositions accommodating up to hundreds of passengers and speeds of up to 14 m/s enable high transport capacities.


All funicular railways worldwide

Cog railways

Cog railways are trains with racked railways that are used to overcome inclines of up to 48%. These trains are normally used as feeder lifts across long routes in ski resorts. The individual trains can be moved independently of one another.


All cog railways in ski resorts worldwide


A Cabriolet is an open gondola lift and is the successor model of the basket lift. The Cabriolets of today are modern lifts that slow down during boarding and exiting and usually transport winter sports fans from the parking lots or from one part of the village to another. Cabriolets are also very suitable for crossing over roads or streams in order to shorten travel distances.


All Cabriolets worldwide

Single chairlifts

The list of single chairlifts is constantly becoming shorter because they are usually replaced by lifts with higher performance levels. The transport capacity of a single chairlift is usually very low and is therefore no longer economically feasible. There are (almost) no more single chairlifts being built at this time.


All single chairlifts worldwide

Basket lifts/Cage lifts

A basket lift/cage lift is a reversible ropeway with a reversible haul rope upon which fixed-grip baskets (sometimes with a roof) are fastened. The basket usually offers space for two passengers and (usually) does not slow down during boarding or exiting. For this reason, it is not very suitable for children or the elderly. Basket lifts are being replaced by lifts with higher performance levels and there are (almost) no more being built.


All basket lifts/cage lifts worldwide