The Charm Of Fixed-Grip Chairlifts Will Never Fade

The Charm Of Fixed-Grip Chairlifts Will Never Fade


The Charm Of Fixed-Grip Chairlifts Will Never Fade


Fixed Grip Chairlifts | Leitner-Poma of America

^Arapahoe Basin’s New Pali Lift: Credit: Leitner-Poma

Now, more than ever, ski resorts are starting to replace fixed-grip lifts with larger capacity high-speed lifts.

With more people skiing, and the introduction of mega passes like the Ikon and Epic pass, resorts need more up-hill capacity.

High-speed lifts are costly, but barring the installation of a tram or gondola, they are only the only viable option to ramp up a resort’s uphill capacity.

You and I both know that high-speed lifts are great for what they are.

They’re quick (obviously), they’re efficient, and the loading/unloading process is much smoother at slower speeds.

I get why resorts are turning to them, but I can’t help but feel an attachment to fixed-grip lifts.

Call me lame, but Kendrick Lamar said it best, “That’s just how I feel”.

Kendrick also said “B*tch don’t kill my vibe”.

My vibe is riding a nice two-seat fixed-gripper. Why? You might ask. Maybe it’s the nostalgia.

^Madonna II chairlift at Smugglers’ Notch. Credit: Matt Lorelli/Unofficial Networks

I grew up skiing Smuggler’s Notch, VT which is notorious for only having fixed-grip doubles that run up to it’s peaks.

There’s something special about the peaceful ride up a slow lift. You have time to soak up the scenery and enjoy the moment.

Riding a slow lift can be the perfect opportunity for making friends on the hill. I can’t tell you the amount of times that being stuck on a 15-minute chair ride led to amazing conversations.

I feel like I may be losing people at this point…

Look, I am a 70-year-old man stuck in the body of a mid-20 year old. I like things the way they are, I enjoy a nice documentary, and I am dreadfully fearful of change… is that such a crazy thing?

There’s so much we owe to fixed-gripped chairlifts. They revolutionized up-hill mountain travel.

North America's Last Authentic Skiing Experience- Mad River Glen | Unofficial Networks

^Mad River Glen’s iconic Single Chair

I am not saying that every fixed-gripper should remain, but let’s appreciate the one’s that are still out there.

Let this quick rant serve as an ode to those slow beauties.

Check out my favorite fixed-gripped chairs left in the US:

Madonna I Chairlift- Smuggler’s Notch, VT

^Credit: Smuggs Media Photos

Vertical Served: 2,150 ft.

Year Installed: 1963

Number of Riders Per Chair: 2

Pallavicini Lift- Arapahoe Basin, CO

^New Pali. Credit: Matt Lorelli/Unofficial Networks

Vertical Served: 1,328 ft.

Year Installed: 1978, new lift installed in 2020

Number of Riders Per Chair: 2

Jupiter Lift- Park City Mountain Resort, UT

^Credit: u/gLovejoy on r/skiing

Vertical Served: 1000 ft.

Year Installed: 1976

Number of Riders Per Chair: 2

Which chairs did I miss?

Featured Image Credit: Smuggs Media Photos

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