Did you know that Union Pacific helped create the first chairlift in the 1930s? Thanks to the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, Americans began to fall in love with skiing and were looking for world-class destinations to shred. Thanks to the work of Union Pacific Railroad Chairman W. A. Harriman and Austrian athlete Count Felix Schaffgotsch found the ultimate spot for skiing in the Western United States: Sun Valley. While gondolas and rope tows had existed before the chairlift’s invention, both had their shares of flaws. W.A. Harriman partnered with engineer Jim Curran of Union Pacific to create an innovative new lift. Prior to working at Union Pacific, Jim had been working on a project that featured cable lifts with hooks that would load bananas onto a boat. They modified the concept, replacing the hooks with chairs. The single chairlift opened up at Sun Valley in 1936, and the rest is history.
Image/Video Credits: Union Pacific, Lake Superior Railroad Museum & NS Scenic Railroad