Some nostalgic thoughts about ski lifts

T-Bar Ski Lift - Courtesy of skiliftfotos.ch

Having recently spent a day skiing in the Swiss Alps, it occurred to me how drastically technology has changed since my childhood. Most traditional ski lifts have now been replaced by high-speed, six eight-place chairlifts with a throughput of as many as 4000 passengers per hour.

Flumserberg Chair Lift
 

Ski Lift Nostalgia

I wanted to reflect on this observation and travel back in time with you. Remember how the ski lift operator would hand you the T-bar, holding a cigar in his other hand? And the "Ländler" folk music blaring from a radio nearby, or the small conversations with friends or random strangers on the way to the top? Sometimes, the lift would stop half-way because of teenagers horsing around and falling off their T-bars...

Ski Lift in Armenia (Wikipedia)

For the most part, this is history now. The latest chairlifts feature six eight seats, go at insane speeds and are plastered with advertisements for local hotels and bars. Privacy is pretty much a thing of the past, as you have to share your ride with all these strangers eavesdropping on your conversations.

I wonder how much longer it will take for the iLift, a Google powered touchscreen informing about slope conditions while delivering ads for sunscreen!
 
 
 
 
Swiss T-Bar Ski Nostalgia
 
Maybe it helps to get over the drawbacks and accept these technological marvels for what they are, as your butt is now being kept nice and toasty on the way to the top...

Please share your memories and thoughts in the comments!

(Photos courtesy of Wikipedia, skiliftfotos.ch)

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Dimitri Burkhard

Founder, Editor-in-Chief at Newly Swissed GmbH
As the founder, editor and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of the Swiss Travelwriters Club.

Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.
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4 replies
  1. HJ
    HJ says:

    Dear Dimitri;
    Sorry to bother you but I need to correct you on the Swiss ski lifts: 6 seats is quite old fashioned, we now run 8 seaters up our mountains. Don’t believe? Just count the skiers on the picture ;-)
    Dad

    Reply
  2. Andi
    Andi says:

    Guess what, there’s a crazy bunch of people taking care of the swiss t-bar heritage – besides my own site skiliftfotos.ch there’s our biggest collector Jakob (skilift-nostalgie.ch), our chief historian Claude (seilbahn-nostalgie.ch) and our youngster Dani (seilbahnbilder.ch). Unfortunately, one of the specialists for the Toggenburg in eastern Switzerland died two weeks ago but you can still see his beautiful photos and even videos on jwalker.ch.

    Reply
  3. Alex "Otto" Gardos
    Alex "Otto" Gardos says:

    T-Bar up Chaux de Mont in Leysin was a test of skills, balance and determination during the early days of snowboarding in the late ’80’s. Especially on icy sparce snow in the Spring. One would actually get air-bourne twisting in the wind at times with inner thigh burns. Those Darwinian survivors who made it to the top were rewarded with the best views and a chance to go scurrying behind the Tour d’Ai for one of the top hors piste runs in the Alps. Primitive technology created a natural filter for the trulydedicated…

    Reply

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  1. […] winter, a nostalgic T-bar lift feeds several ski slopes, from adrenaline pumping racing tracks to relaxing paths winding through […]

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