Difference between revisions of "Australian ski tow directory"

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'''Guthega.''' For an updated history of Guthega and its ski lifts, go to [http://www.christianacapital.com/Text/1201316577093-6700/ Guthega History]. Current Guthega [http://www.perisherblue.com.au/winter/info/gtrail.html trail map].  
'''Guthega.''' For an updated history of Guthega and its ski lifts, go to [http://www.christianacapital.com/Text/1201316577093-6700/ Guthega History]. Current Guthega [http://www.perisherblue.com.au/winter/info/gtrail.html trail map].  
'''Mergers.''' Perisher and Smiggins merged after the 1972 ski season. Blue Cow and Guthega merged in 1991. Both these combined companies merged to become Perisher Blue in 1995.  
'''Mergers.''' Perisher and Smiggins merged after the 1972 ski season. Blue Cow and Guthega merged in 1991. Both these combined companies merged to become Perisher Blue in 1995. The resort later changed name to Perisher in 2009.  
Perisher. Thanks to "VSG", "Ian S" and especially the anonymous person who supplied many of the dates.
Perisher. Thanks to "VSG", "Ian S" and especially the anonymous person who supplied many of the dates.

Revision as of 18:03, 20 June 2009

This article lists all of the roughly 350 Australian ski lifts that have operated, including a few dozen 'ski' lifts away from the snowfields. The dates cited are the ski seasons a lift operated (or if a particular lift didn't run in poor snow seasons, the seasons it was available to operate). Also included are a few planned lifts where details have been published (rather than just the fantasies of posters in chat rooms).

Only the "Big Five" resorts (Buller, Falls, Hotham, Perisher and Thredbo) have quad chairs, the smaller resorts have a combination of drag tows, double chairs and triple chairs. It's worth noting that the big Victorian resorts tend to replace their lifts far more often than their NSW counterparts. In the last 60 years there have been 16 lifts built to serve Bourke Street on Mt Buller. By contrast the Mt Perisher double chair is close to it's 50th birthday and many other lifts at Perisher (and to a lesser extent Thredbo) are not much younger.

Ski lifts outside resorts. Generally the clubs that operate lifts on Mt St Bernard, the Bogong High Plains and at Cabramurra don't permit non members to use their lifts, as their liability insurance doesn't cover outsiders. But if you know someone or even just smile sweetly, you may be able to use their tows. For more detailed information see the separate article non resort ski tows. The pre-war ski resort at Donna Buang had at least four ski lodges, cleared ski runs and wooden ski jumps, but it never had ski tows. Likewise both the Feathertop Bungalow and Mt St Bernard Hospice were very popular commercial ski lodges before they were burnt in the 1939 fires, but no lifts were built at either location until the 1950's when a couple of tows were installed on St Bernard. The present cross country ski resorts at Lake Mountain and Mt Stirling have never had lifts either, a system of chairlifts was proposed for Stirling in the 1990's, but they were not built.

Finally, this sort of research takes time! In particular the Buffalo and Perisher Blue sections need more work. There will be a few more corrections as more accurate information is tracked down. If you notice any errors or omissions, please correct them yourself or email the information to sisson.dave at yahoo.com.au --© David Sisson 01:05, 5 July 2007 (EST)


  • A useful illustrated glossary of ski lift terms. It's American, so some terms may be a little different.

Ski lift directories.

  • A directory of Swiss ski lifts. Despite a basic English interface, much of the text is in German.
  • Lift World includes lifts in most countries, but there are lots of omissions and only two Australian resorts have (incomplete) entries.

Ski lift manufacturers.

  • BMF (Bartholet Maschinenbau AG). A new Swiss entrant in the market. They haven't installed a lift in Australia or New Zealand yet.
  • Logo BMF.jpg . . . . BMF website. BMF ropeways publicity book (big download).
  • . Logo Poma Euro.jpg . . . Poma: Europe.

Types of ski lifts

Chairlifts can seat one, two, three, four, six or eight people per chair. Most chairlifts are fixed grip, with chairs directly attached to the lift cable. Detachable chairlifts remove the chair from the cable at the top and bottom stations, allowing passengers to get on and off a slow moving chair (around 1 metre per second). This means the main cable can move at a much faster speed, around 5 metres per second, compared to an average of 2.3 for fixed grip chairlifts. However they are much more expensive to build and maintain, so the more economical, but slower fixed grip lifts are still being at built at major resorts around the world.

Australia's first single chairlift was built at Falls Creek by Bob Hymans in 1957. The first double chair was Thredbo's Crackenback in 1958. Triple chairs appeared in 1979 when Grimus at Buller and the Mt Perisher Triple were built. 1984 saw the advent of the quad chair with Big D at Hotham and Blue Bullets 1 and 2 at Buller. Australia's only eight seat chairlift is Perisher's Village built in 2003 and the only 'six pack' in the country is the Holden which opened at Buller in 2008. Buller's Blue Bullets were also notable for being the first detachable chairlifts in the country.

Chairlift capacity is determined by the speed of the cable, the number of people per chair and the spacing of chairs. The highest capacity for a quad is 3000 per hour, which would mean a fairly quick 4.8 second chair interval. However most 4CF's have a nominal capacity of around 2400. The real number moved is usually lower due to stoppages and the lift not running at full speed. Some lifts also have 'generously' spaced towers, meaning that chairs have to be spaced further apart to keep the weight on the cable down.

Gondolas. A gondola is an enclosed cabin where passengers walk in and sit down facing each other. There are usually racks on the outside for skis and snowboards. At overseas ski fields and in Australian tourist areas, gondolas are a separate type of lift. While there are no dedicated gondolas in Australian ski fields, Buller's Horse Hill chairlift and Thredbo's Kosciusko Express chairlift have gondola cabins which are attached to the cable between chairs.

Surface lifts. All resorts started out with surface lifts (also called drag tows). They are much cheaper to build and maintain than chairlifts and are not as vulnerable to high winds. However they are not as 'beginner friendly', and they usually have a much lower capacity. They also need a consistent uphill slope. Sadly, surface lifts have been phased out by most major resorts except for areas high above the treeline that are exposed to strong winds. However at Perisher and the smaller resorts, they continue to play an important role.

Carpets. A carpet lift is simply a short conveyor belt. They are used exclusively for beginners on gentle slopes as they do not require any technique to ride them other than the ability to stand up.

Pomas. Pomas are the only detachable grip surface lift. Sticks are stored in a rack at the bottom of the lift. Passengers move to the front of the lift queue, grab the stick and put the button between their legs. At the same time, the grip at the top end of the stick attaches to a moving overhead cable. This can either by manually activated by a liftie or automatically by the skiers tripping a switch as they move past. Because they are detachable, Pomas are by far the fastest drag lift, the legendary International Poma at Falls Creek had a speed of 4.2 metres per second until a new and slower motor was installed. Pomas are the only drag tow found at resorts where self loading works in practice (although this is standard procedure for nutcracker tows at club fields). There have been experiments with self loading T-bars and platters, but skiers and boarders don't seem to be able to cope with them.

Platters. Platter lifts look a bit like Pomas because the skiers are hauled uphill by a button between their legs, but they are fixed grip and the platter has a retractable cord connected to a spring box, so they operate like single seat T-bars.

T-bars. T-bars consist of several parts. The first is a stick with a bar across the bottom which looks a little like an inverted T shape. Skiers and boarders sit on this bar, holding onto the central stick. This is connected to a retractable cord running from a spring box which is permanently attached to the main lift cable. Because they are fixed grip, T-bars tend to run at fairly modest speeds.

J-Bars. Essentially they are single T-bars. A few were built in the early days of ski lifts, but none have been built in Australia for half a century because they cost the same to build and run as T-bars, but only transport half as many people. However after snowboarders experienced difficulties riding the platters at Ben Lomond, some J-bars were added to lifts at that resort for the 2009 season.

Nutcrackers. Some modern skiers who don't venture beyond the main resorts are unfamiliar with nutcracker tows. Most resorts in Australia and New Zealand began with them. While they have been replaced at the big resorts, nutcrackers can still be found at 'club fields'. A nutcracker is a device attached to a belt worn by a skier that clamps onto a moving rope at waist level, allowing the skier to be towed uphill. The height of the rope and the pulleys that support it is adjusted according to snow levels. While it may not be necessary to use a nutcracker on short, gently graded rope tows, it is impossible for skiers to hold onto a rope with their hands on steeper tow lines or where the rope passes over a pulley. Nutcrackers explained

Handle tows. Short portable ski lifts with plastic handles permanently attached to a waist high cable. To move uphill, a skier just grabs one of the handles and holds on!

Rope tows. This term is often used to include nutcrackers and handle tows, but a pure rope tow is one where the skier or boarder simply grasps the rope in their hands. They are only practical for short and very gently graded slopes. Typical examples are the Canyon tows at Buller which assist skiers over slight bumps on a mostly downhill access trail.

Australian Capital Territory

Location Owner Operated Name Notes
Mt Franklin Canberra Alpine Club 1957 - late 60's Brumby Tow Operated on Little Ginini, Slalom Run, Nursery Run
Mt Franklin Canberra Alpine Club 1965 only Austin A40 Tow Operated on Slalom Run
Little Ginini John Dowling 1959 - 1960 - Moved to Mt Selwyn
Mt Ginini RMC Ski Club 1957 - mid 60's - -
Corin Forest Corin Forest 1980's & 90's - May have been upgraded to a Poma, but details are vague.

All A.C.T. ski tows were rope tows, although the Corin Forest tow may have been upgraded to a Poma at some stage. For more detailed information see the non resort tows article. --© David Sisson 01:31, 23 July 2007 (EST)

Ben Lomond

Logo ben lomond.jpg . . Logo-benlomond.gif

Lift name Type Manufacturer Operated Location Notes
Thirty Second Rope tow - 1963 - 1984 Above current Bass tow NTAC. Extended at base 1973, at top 1975
Big Ben Rope tow - 1967 - 1984 B/w Fanny's & Bill's NTAC. Used parts from Mt Buller's Bourke St rope tow
Summit Platter Yac 1973 - 1991 - Alpine Enterprises. 370 m long, 80 m rise
Fanny's Platter Yac 1973 - 1978 - Alpine Enterprises. 300 m long, 73 m rise
Beginners / Village Platter Yac 1973 - present - A.E. 300 m long, 35 m rise. Renamed in 1980's
Giblin Platter Yac 1976 - present - Alpine Enterprises
Fanny's T-bar Doppelmayr 1979 - present - Alpine Enterprises
Creek Run Platter Yac 1979 - present - Relocated Fanny's platter
Bill's T-bar Doppelmayr 1985 - present - Alpine Enterprises
Thirty Second Poma Pomagalski 1985 - 2002? Above current Bass tow NTAC. Formerly on Mt Buller Summit
Big Ben Poma Pomagalski 1985 - 2002? B/w Fanny's & Bill's NTAC. Formerly on Mt Buller Summit
Summit T-bar Doppelmayr 1992 - present - Alpine Enterprises
Bass Poma? - ? - present - Built on lower section of 30 Sec, used some of its parts
Planned lifts .
Creek Inn-base of Bill's 2-Chair-F Doppelmayr c.1990 Thirty Second TSL. Formerly Mt Buller's Bourke St chair. See note below
Village - Thirty Second T-bar Doppelmayr 2009 - Relocate & extend Fannys. Base of Vil - top of Fannys
Big Ben slope Platter Yac 2009 - Relocated Village Platter

In common with Mt Buller and Mt Baw Baw, for a time Ben Lomond's ski tows were run by two companies. Alpine Enterprises (AE) was established in 1973 by Eryl Williams, Brian Hill and Arvids Endelmanis. The Northern Tasmanian Alpine Club's (NTAC) first tow was built by Eddie Hausegger and Bill Mitchell in 1963. In 1990 the lifts were split off from the club to become Tasmanian Ski Lifts (TSL).

Installation of the chairlift was repeatedly delayed by bureaucracy, eventually TSL simply gave up trying to get around the new barriers that were constantly put in the way of installing the lift and abandoned the project. Early this century the chairlift was still stored on a nearby farm, but apparently the drive terminal was then sold to a horse breeder to be used for training purposes while the rest was sold as scrap metal. :(

Some years after the chairlift fiasco, TSL was refused permission to operate their Pomas by the former Ben Lomond Skifield Management Authority and told to remove their lifts. Eventually AE was given salvage rights to them and Thirty Second and Big Ben were removed.

Current trail map. A 3D map showing the former routes of Thirty Second and Big Ben (as black dotted lines).

More on Ben Lomond history.

David M. Harvey. The Ben Lomond Story. The author, 2000.

Thanks to "Ben Lomond Brad" and "Bulldozer" for help with this list. --© David Sisson 20:10, 4 August 2007 (EST)

Charlotte Pass

Logo Charlotte new.jpg . . Logo-charlottepass.gif

Lift name Type Operated Location Notes
Ski Hoist, aka. The Meat Hook J-bar 1938 - 1952 Pulpit Rock 2nd ski tow in Australia. Replaced by rope tow
Sponar's Rope tow 1952? Wood Run Was to operate in '53, but Sponar ill with T.B.
Pulpit Rock Rope tow 1953 - 1963 - Replaced The Hoist
Woodrum Rope tow 1958 - 1963 Chalet Dam-Lit Stillwell 600 metres long, replaced by the double chair
Thredbo Valley-Stillwell Restaurant Double chair 1964 - 1965 - Abandoned due to strong winds & derailing -
Stillwell Restaurant-Charlotte Pass Double chair 1964 - 1965 - - Combined length = 5 km. Cost £1,200,000!
Pulpit Poma 1964 - 1966 - Replaced by a T-bar. Poma moved to Basin
Rope Tow Portable rope 19?? - 2008? - Usually operated between Basin and Kangaroo
Guthries Poma 1964 - present - Occasionally spelt 'Gutheries' on trail maps
Basin Poma 1967 - present - Moved from Pulpit
Pulpit T-bar 1967 - present - Replaced a Poma. May have been duplex T-bar in 1970's
Kangaroo Ridge/Kosciusko Triple chair 1980 - present - Name changed 2009?
Kosci Carpet Carpet 2009?- present B/w Basin & Kosci triple -

Information on the 1960's Pulpit lifts is a bit ambiguous. Sponar's tow had previously run at St Christoph, Austria in 1949, it was the first tow at that resort. Woodrum may have been demolished at the end of the 1962 winter rather than after the 1963 season. Current trail map.

The former Thredbo Valley - Charlotte Pass chairlifts have their own WikiSki page here. Components have been reassembled at Wollongong where the lift still operates. See Section 15 Ski lifts away from snowfields at the bottom of this page.

More on Charlotte Pass history.

Rick Walkom. Skiing off the roof: the Kosciusko Chalet at Charlotte Pass and its place in the history of the Australian snowfields. Arlberg Press, 1991. Reprinted by Tabletop Press, 2000. --© David Sisson 15:22, 16 July 2007 (EST)

1963 map of Charlotte Pass and Guthega showing the ski lifts of the day and the proposed Kosciusko hydro reservoir and power station which were never built. Click to enlarge.
The mid station of the ill fated chairlift between Thredbo Valley and Charlotte Pass
Views of Australia's second ski lift, the Charlotte Pass ski hoist or Meathook J-bar built in 1938
Another view of the CP "Meathook". Click to enlarge

Falls Creek

Logo-fallscreek.gif . . Logo Falls old.jpg . . Logo Falls older.jpg

Lift name Type Operated Location Notes
Nissen Rope tow Hamilton 1951 - 1960 Summit Toni St Elmo. Capacity 5. 6/- day in 1951
Myrtleford Ski Club lift Rope tow 1951 - ?  ? Designed and built by Gordon Mulder
Hymans Skyline Rope tow 1950's - Bob Hymans
Hymans Chair 1-Chair-F 1957 - 1960? Near Grand Couer run. 1st chairlift in Aust. 40 chairs, 375 metres
Village Rope tow 1958 - 1960 Lower Village run Jock Wilson & co
Collis (?) Rope tow 1958 - 1960 Left of Nissen, Summit area Marsh Collis and others
Summit T-bar 1961 - 1991 - Alpine Developments run by Bill Bridgeford
Village / Spur T-bar 1961 - 1999 - Replaced and extended Village rope tow
Gully 2-Chair-F 1964 - 1981 - 456 m long, 76 m vertical
Nursery / Baby Poma 1964 -2001? Near current Tube lift Still in operation 1998
Sun Valley T-bar 1967 - 1988 - Replaced by Scott quad chair
International Poma 1969 - present - 1,216 m long, 278 m vertical
Saddle / Link Lift T-bar 1969 - 2000? - Still operating '98, towers still standing '08
Nursery (baby) duplicate Poma 1972 - 2000? - -
Ruined Castle Poma 1973 - 1994 - -
Mighty Mite Portable handle tow 1970's Various. Unsure of precise name and dates
Lakeside Poma 1976 - present - -
Dogpatch Poma 1979 - 1992? B/w Nursery and Summit -
Panorama Poma 1979 - 2003? - -
Playground / Monkey Bar Poma 1980 - present - Slightly repositioned & renamed in 2006
Eagle Triple chair 1980 - present - -
Headwater Poma 1980 - 2003? B/w Summit & Ruined Cas Still operating in 1998
Towers Twin T-bar 1981 - 1998 - -
Gully 3-Chair-F 1982 - present - Replaced Gully double chairlift
Big Dipper Twin T-bar 1983 - 1999? South west of Ruined Castle Possibly gone by 1998
Playground duplicate Poma 1984 - 2005? Between Scott & Lakeside. -
Tom Thumb Poma 1986 - 2005 Present Mouse Trap site -
Halleys Comet/ Bilia/ Express 4-Chair-D 1986 - present - Bilia Bullet '02?-'04, Falls Express '06 -
Scott Quad chair 1989 - present - Replaced Sun Valley T-bar
Summit Quad chair 1992 - present - Replaced Summit T-bar
Ruined Castle Quad chair 1995 - present - Replaced Ruined Castle Poma
Towers Quad chair 1999 - present - Replaced Towers twin T-bar
Boardwalk Carpet lift 2004 - present - -
The Tube Carpet lift 2004 - present Site of Nursery Poma -
Drover's Dream Quad chair 2004 - present - Replaced Panorama Poma
Mouse Trap Enclosed carpet 2006 - present Site of Tom Thumb Poma Replaced Tom Thumb poma
Planned tows .
Rocky Knolls "Chairlift" ??? Beyond old Big Dipper T-bar Approved circa 2004, 587 m long
Damsite "Surface lift" ??? West of Rocky Knolls Approved circa 2004, 750 m long.
Mt McKay lifts Chairlift system "Before 2012" - Mentioned in E.E.S. for above in 2002
Falls Creek in 1961 showing the location of eight former lifts. Click to enlarge.
The removal of the Big Dipper, Headwaters and Village lifts has greatly reduced the amount of easily accessible lifted terrain compared to the 1990's. Recent trail map.

It appears it was intended to build Damsite from components of Big Dipper that were in storage. The storage shed was burnt in the 2003 fires and since then the rumour has been that if Damsite is ever built, it will be a chairlift.

International Poma. The 'Inter' is a unique lift and even has it's own fan page on Facebook. The International Poma was built in 1969 and was equipped with a V12 diesel engine. It could have sticks attached every 6 metres along it's 1216 metre length and run at up to 4.2 metres a second, making it the fastest drag tow in the southern hemisphere. Kids could get serious air time going around the corner... whee!

The combination of high speed and loading punters close together gave the Inter a similar capacity to duplex T-bars such as Towers and Big Dipper. Now the (single speed) electric drive only powers the tow at 2.4 metres per second, so it's much slower and slightly less fun. But it remains the longest cornered Poma this side of the equator and even with a much lower speed, it's lifting capacity still matches that of some chairlifts, which is probably why it hasn't been replaced despite it's extreme age.

More on Falls Creek history:

Julian Newton Brown. Falls Creek: how it came to be. Janby Productions, 2005.

Bob Howe. Melting tracks: history and memories of Albury Ski Club and early Falls Creek. The author, 2004. --© David Sisson 14:17, 9 July 2007 (EST)

Bob Hymans' single chair at Falls Creek in the late 1950's.
Another view of Bob Hyman's chairlift. Click to enlarge.

Mt Baw Baw

Logo BawBaw old.jpg . . Logo-bawbaw.gif

Lift name Type Operated Location Notes
Hut Rope tow 1955 - 1976 - Baw Baw Ski Club. Cost £200. Replaced by a platter.
Painted Run Rope tow Early 60's - ? - Baw Baw Ski Club. East of T-bar that replaced it. Later duplicated
Access 2-Chair-F 1970 - 1999 - Gippsland Chairlift Co. Access to village from carpark, also for skiing
Maltese Cross T-bar 1971,2 or 3-present - Dartos Ltd.
Hut Run Platter 1975 or 77-present - Baw Baw Ski Tows. (formerly Baw Baw Ski Club).
Beginners? Rope tow 1977 - >1981 B/w Hut & Maltese BBST. Short tow from Base of Hut Run Platter towards Old Hut Run
Summit T-bar 1979 - present - Baw Baw Ski Tows
Big Hill Platter 1980 - c.2002 - Dartos Ltd.
Big Hill Access Poma 78><86 - present - Dartos. Used as tubing lift from 2002? until 2007. Now for skiers
Tank Hill Platter 1983 - present - -
Painted Run T-bar 1985 - present - B.B.S.T. Now nicknamed Fawlty Towers due to chronic unreliability
Magic Carpet Carpet 2004 - present Behind Skiosk -

From 1971 - 1980 skiers had to choose between two lift companies. The chairlift merged with the combined tow company in 1988. In the dates operated field "78><86" indicates that the lift was installed at some time between 1978 and 1986.

The Access chairlift is still in storage at Drouin, but a chair from the lift is on display on the veranda of Kelly's Cafe. The latest gossip is that it may have been sold to Charlotte Pass, although what they would want to do with a 40 year old double chair is anyone's guess!

Current trail map. Thanks to Ray Chapman, "HiLo", "sooty68" and Andrew Graham for help. --© David Sisson 12:15, 22 July 2007 (EST)

Mt Buffalo, Draft

Logo-mtbuffalo.gif . . Logo Buffalo old.jpg

Lift name Type Operated Location Notes
Cresta area .
Cresta Rope tow 1937 - 1938 - 1937 = 108 m, ext to 180 m in '38. built from old train tracks, burnt Jan '39
? Double chair 196? - ? Cresta Saddle Part of Ollie Polasek’s Tatra development
? T-bar 196? - <1984 - Part of Ollie Polasek’s Tatra development
? Poma 196? - ? - Part of Ollie Polasek’s Tatra development
? Double chair >1984 - ? - Cost $200,000, many teething problems
Operating in '06 .
Cresta Poma ? - 2006 - Some of these are original 1960's Tatra tows
Gully Poma ? - 2006 - Some of these are original 1960's Tatra tows
Cresta Valley Double chair ? - 2006 - Some of these are original 1960's Tatra tows
Valley Double chair ? - 2006 - Some of these are original 1960's Tatra tows
Novice Poma ? - 2006 - Some of these are original 1960's Tatra tows
Dingo Dell area .
The Nutcracker Rope tow 1949 - >1962 - £300. Built by Canadians Herb Hall & Paul Heikkila. 6d ride, 10/- week
? Poma? 196? - ? - Cost $20,000

Dingo Dell’s last season was probably 1988, at the time there was a rope tow and two Pomas there. Cresta’s last season was 2006 when five lifts remained. It is unlikely they will ever run again. Final (2006) map for the Cresta area before it closed for ever.

None of the histories of Mt Buffalo pay much attention to the precise dates, location or names of ski tows, so the information in this table is rather vague. Any accurate information would be appreciated. Please email sisson.dave at yahoo.com.au

In December 2006, The Buffalo Lodge (Tatra Inn) burnt down and the lessees relinquished their lease of the Buffalo Chalet in January 2007. The Chalet still stands. At the moment it is still fairly structurally sound, but it is unlikely to operate again, as the state government is unwilling to grant a lease long enough to justify the huge expenditure required to make it attractive to guests. Unless the Chalet is occupied and maintained, it is only a matter of time until a storm or fire damages it irreparably. It all makes a sad end to Victoria’s first ski resort, Australia's oldest surviving ski lodge and the site of Australia's first ski tow.

Thanks to "Wangaratta_bloke" for info on Dingo Dell. --© David Sisson 14:17, 3 August 2007 (EST)

Mt Buller

Logo Buller new.jpg . . Logo-buller.gif . . Logo Buller old.jpg

Lift name Type Manufacturer Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Bourke St Rope tow Home made 1949 - 1958 270 / 180 - Ski Club of Victoria.
Bull Run Nutcracker - 1953 - 1954 - - Blue. Relocated to Mt St Bernard, still operates
Bull Run Nutcracker - 1955 - 1961 - - Blue (John Hilton-Wood)
Baldy Portable rope tow - 1957 - 1961 - - Blue (Ernest & Aurel Forras, John Hilton-Wood)
Tyrol / Little Baldy Rope tow - 1957 - 1962 c.300/??? Tyrol Maurice Selle
Skyline / Little Collins St Rope tow - 1959 - 1961 - Skyline Blue Lifts (then named Bull Run Enterprises)
Koflers / Transportation Nutcracker - 1959 - 1963 - - Orange (then named Ski Lifts Mt Buller)
Bourke St T-bar Locally made 1959 - 1968 - Bourke St Orange. Parts later used at either Guthega or Ben Lomond
Federation T-bar - 1959 - 1980 - Federation Orange Lifts
Bourke St Double rope tow - 1961 - 1963 - Bourke St Orange Lifts
Chamois Rope tow - 1961 - 1963 - - Konrad Koch, bought by Blue and replaced with a Poma
Bull Run T-bar - 1962 - 1984 638 / 240 Bull Run Blue Lifts
Skyline T-bar - 1963 -present 480 / 90 - Blue Lifts
Shaky Knees/Swanston St T-bar - 1963 - 2004 - - Orange. Replaced by Northside/Emirates quad chair
Bourke St 2-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1964 - 1983 - Bourke St Blue Lifts. First Doppelmayr double chair in the world
Summit Poma Pomagalski 1964 - 1983 - - Orange, rebuilt at Ben Lomond as 30 Sec & Big Ben
Summit Access/Howqua Poma Pomagalski 1964 - 1983 - - Orange. Loaded at both ends. Replaced Koflers / Transportation
Chamois Poma Pomagalski 1965 - 1987 - - Blue Lifts, extended in 1968
Boggy Creek T-bar - 1967 -present - - Orange Lifts.
Summit duplicate Poma Pomagalski 1968 - 1983 - - Orange, rebuilt at Ben Lomond as 30 Sec & Big Ben
Whittaker Poma Pomagalski 1969 - 1981 - near Village run Blue. Replaced by Village T-bar
Baldy Duplex Poma - 1969 - 1985 - Heli Flat-Baldy Orange Lifts
Tyrol / Tirol T-bar - 1972 -present - Orig to Baldy Orange. Shortened in '87. Spelling change c.2004
Beginners / Ski School T-bar - 1974 - 2003 - Mid Bourke St Orange. Replaced by Carpet
Baldy 2-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1974 - 1983 - - Blue Lifts.
Beginners Carousel - 1976 - 1977 - Helicopter Flat Orange Lifts
Koflers T-bar - 1977 -present - - Orange Lifts
Enzian Poma Pomagalski 1979 - 1996 - Upper Chamois Blue Lifts
Grimus 3-Chair-F - 1979 -present 800 / 192 - Orange Lifts
Burnt Hut Spur 3-Chair-F - 1980 -present 310 / 105 - Orange Lifts
Sun Valley Poma Pomagalski 1980 - 1985 - B/w Bull & Fed Blue Lifts
Federation 3-Chair-F - 1981 -present 1000/ 332 - Orange Lifts. Replaced & extended T-bar
Horse Hill 3-Chair-F - 1982 - 1985 - - Orange Lifts. Moved to Helicopter Flat in 1986
Village T-bar - 1982 - 2003 - - Blue Lifts. Replaced & extended Whittaker Poma
Playground Poma Pomagalski 1983 - 1991 - West of Skyline Blue Lifts
Blue Bullet 1 4-Chair-D Doppelmayr 1984 -present - Lowr Bourke St Not oldest remaining detach quad operating, some Euro '83 lifts still
Blue Bullet 2 4-Chair-D Doppelmayr 1984 - 2007 - Baldy Blue Lifts.
Summit 4-Chair-F - 1984 -present - - Orange Lifts
Howqua 4-Chair-F - 1984 -present - - Orange. Eng, twr heads & bullwheels are for triple, other parts are quad
Spurs / Trainer T-bar - 1984 -present - - Orange Lifts
Bull Run 4-Chair-F - 1985 -present - - Blue Lifts
Horse Hill 4/4-Chair/Gond-D Doppelmayr 1986 -present - - 106 chairs, 20 gondolas. First ski gondola in Australia
Helicopter Flat / ABOM 3-Chair-F - 1986 - 2007 - - Replaced Baldy, moved from Horse Hill. Renamed 03. Sold to Selwyn
Dam Rope tow - 1987 -present - Near Spurs -
Southside 4-Chair-F - 1990 -present - Federation area -
Ski Kindy No. 1 Rope tow - 1991 -present - - _
Wombat 4-Chair-F - 1993 -present - - -
Chamois 2-Chair-F - 1993 -present - - -
Canyon Rope Tows Two rope tows - 1997 -present - S of bus station Very gentle grade, link between Chamois & Bull
Tube Park Rope tow - 1998 -present - - -
Bluff View Rope tow - 2001 -present - - -
Cattleman's 1 & 2 Carpets - 2003 -present - - -
Bourke St Carpet Carpet - 2004 -present - - -
Northside / Emirates 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 2005 -present 633 / 151 - 2.3 m/s. Replaced Shakey Knees. Renamed 2006
Holden 6-Chair-D Doppelmayr 2008 -present 997 / 127 Heli Flat - Baldy Speed 5.0 m/s. Replaced BB2 & Heli/ABOM Initial press release

In common with Ben Lomond and Mt Baw Baw, Mt Buller had two lift companies for many years. They issued a joint ticket in 1984 and merged in 1985 when Bull Run Enterprises (Blue Lifts) took over Ski Lifts Mt Buller (Orange Lifts). The company is now called Buller Ski Lifts. Current trail maps for northern slopes and southern slopes.

At least seven old ski lifts from Mt Buller were relocated to other Australian mountains. Buller seems to be the only Australian resort with a strong record of selling its discarded lifts.

  • Ben Lomond bought several lifts including the Bourke St rope tow, both summit Pomas and the Bourke St double chairlift.
  • The original 1953 Bull Run nutcracker tow still operates on Mt St Bernard and is one of the oldest ski lifts still operating in the world.
  • Guthega bought a T-bar from Orange Lifts in the mid 1970's, (possibly the Bourke St T-bar, as both had arch type frames).
  • Most recently, the Helicopter / ABOM triple chair was sold to Selwyn Snowfields.

More on Buller history:

Jim Darby. Mt Buller: the story of a mountain. tSm Publishing, 2008.

Ann Crawford. A proud achievement: 50 years of YHA on Mt Buller 1947 - 1997. YHA, 1997. 58 page booklet.

David Joss. Mt Buller: a history. Alpine Resorts Commission, n.d. (1995?). 36 page booklet.

Ernest Forras, Jan Henderson. Ernest escapades, or seriously for fun only: the autobiography of Ernest Forras. Ernest Forras, 1994.

--© David Sisson 13:28, 10 July 2007 (EST)

Mt Hotham

Logo-hotham.gif . . Logo Hotham older.jpg . . Logo Hotham old.jpg

Lift name Type Manufacturer Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Blue Ribbon Nutcracker Hamilton 1952 -72, 3 or 4? 560 / 235 - Cost £3000, capacity 12 at a time
Higginbotham Rope tow - 1958? - >1965 - Davenport Probably owned by Ski Tows Ltd.
Basin Rope tow - 1959 - ? - Basin Run Ski Tows Ltd. Replaced by a Poma
Jack Hedley's Rope tow - 1962? - ? -  ? -
Jack's Tow J-bar - 1965?-1968? - Sun Run -
Basin Poma - 1964 - 1970 - Today's Basin Run Ski Tows Ltd. Moved to Davenport
Pole Line / Summit Poma - 1966 - 1987 790 / 95 Summit Ski Tows Ltd.
Playground 2-Chair-F Poma 1969 - present 614 / 199 - Orig planned for Aust Drift. Shortened c.1992? 1000 p/hr
Davenport Poma - 1971 - 1983 - - Moved from Basin, replaced by a quad chair
Brockhoff Poma - 1973 - 1986 820 / 245 North of Heavenly Valley -
Basin Platter - 1974 - 1992 - - Moved to Koala Park?
Sun Run T-bar - 1977 - 1994 - Nth side of present Sun Run -
Summit T-bar - 1979 - 1994 - - Moved to Australia Drift
Blue Ribbon 3-Chair-F - 1981 - present 710 / 271 - Capacity 1600 per hour
Plains of Heaven Platter - 1981 - 1983 - Lower Blue Ribbon Moved to Dinner Plain
Big D 4-Chair-F - 1984 - present 396 / 64 Davenport Replaced a Poma. Capacity 2400 per hr
Heavenly Valley 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1987 - present 845/314or395? - Replaced Brockoff Poma. Capacity 2400 per hr
Summit 4-Chair-F - 1988 - present 595 / 98 - Capacity 2400 per hour
Village 4-Chair-F - 1993 - present 800 / 275 - Capacity 2400 per hour
Koala Park Platter - 1993 - 1997 - B/w Zirky's & White Crystal Moved to summit. Renamed Summit Trainer
Road Runner 4-Chair-F - 1995 - present 671 / 153 - Capacity 2400 per hour
Australia Drift T-bar - 1995 - present 370 / 88 - Moved from Summit. Capacity 1285 per hr
Gotcha 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1997 - present 472 / 140 - Capacity 2400 per hour
Keogh's 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1997 - present 383 / 188 - Capacity 2400 per hr
Orchard 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1997 - present 573 / 154 - Capacity 2400 per hour
Summit Trainer Platter - 1998 - present 132 / 22 - Formerly at Koala Park. Capacity 500 per hour
Big D Trainer Rope tow - 1999 - present - - -
Pups Playground Carpet - ? - present 17 / ? Davenport -
Harry's Hideaway Carpet - ? - present 50 / ? Davenport -

Ski Tows Limited was operated on a cost recovery basis by members of the University Ski Club and the Alpine Club of Victoria. It never paid a dividend. It's lack of capital hampered further development of the mountain. After the 1965 season it was sold to Desmond Schuman who later built the Playground double chair. --© David Sisson 14:49, 19 July 2007 (EST)

Recent trail map.

More on Hotham history:

Donald Bennett. Hotham horizon: the Alpine Club of Victoria. The author, 1987.

Jennifer McLennan. Not below 5000: a history of the Ski Club of East Gippsland. S.C.E.G., 2001.

Lynette Sheridan. University Ski Club: 1929 - 1979. U.S.C., 1988.

Hotham in 1967 showing the locations of lodges and the Blue Ribbon nutcracker tow, Basin Poma, Jack's Tow and the Pole Line (later Summit) Poma. Click to enlarge.
Advertisement for the Blue Ribbon nutcracker tow, the only lift at Hotham in 1953. Click to enlarge.

Ticket prices in 1965. A 7 day ticket for all tows cost £7. Blue Ribbon nutcracker cost 30 shillings for 10 rides or 5/- for a single ride. Basin Poma and Higginbotham rope tow: 30/- for 40 rides or 1/- for a single ride.

A few details on the Blue Ribbon nutcracker tow.

Hamilton 'Type B' rope tow. Cost of purchase and construction £3,000. 1836 feet (560 metres) long, vertical lift 770' (235 m.), average slope 25 degrees. Powered by a 28 horsepower (21 kilowatt) Bedford Truck engine which was housed in a hut at the top of the tow near the road. The tow rope was 1 inch ( 2.54 cm) sisal. It was supported on 9 poles with waist height pulleys that could be raised or lowered according to the depth of snow. Capacity 12 at a time. The trip took four minutes at a speed of 6.8 miles per hour (11 kph) compared to a 40 minute walk up the slope. A canteen was added to the tow hut in 1957.

Building the Blue Ribbon nutcracker tow. An extract from: Donald Bennett. Hotham horizon: the Alpine Club of Victoria: reminiscence. Pages 95 - 97.

The first ski tow on Hotham was a major development. This too was conceived and brought about by the joint efforts of the University Ski Club and the Alpine Club of Victoria...

... The subject of tows was first raised during a... meeting on 22nd June 1950. The minutes... state, 'George Chisholm opened the subject of a ski tow for Mt. Hotham and produced detailed information of the Hamilton tow widely used in New Zealand. A meeting of a group of interested people was arranged for Monday, 3rd July 1950, to discuss the type of tow and the financing of the project'.

George Chisholm had visited New Zealand in 1949 as Captain of the Australian Inter Dominion Team. He had been most impressed by the Hamilton rope tow manufacturers at Littleton near Christchurch. This rope tow was used at Coronet Peak and gave George ample opportunity to assess the practicability of the device.

A company, rejoicing in the name of Ski Tows Ltd., was formed in 1950 with four U.S.C. and three Alpine members earlier mentioned as directors. We determined to purchase a Hamilton Tow and, as usual, the immediate problem was finance. This elusive commodity was acquired by our joint contributions and the practice of a polite species of highway robbery, brow beating and moral suasion on our unfortunate friends. In all there were over fifty shareholders of touching faith.

Nobody ever expected that the company would pay a dividend. Their expectations were absolutely correct.

The Hamilton tow consisted of an endless one inch diameter sisal rope passing over pulleys, mounted on brackets adjustable in height to cope with varying snow depths. The pulley brackets were attached to nine inch steel pipes some 20 feet high, set at appropriate intervals down the slope. A 'nut cracker' attached to a waist belt, clipped onto the moving rope. These waist belts were fabricated from old war time aircraft belts. Power was derived from a 28 Horsepower, 6 cylinder, Bedford Truck motor, located in an engine house just below the road. The engine house also provided accommodation for the tow operator in separate living quarters.

A certain skill was required whilst stationary and awaiting uphill transport to clip the nut cracker onto the moving rope. Failure to adequately connect, or careless ski orientation, resulted in undignified collapse or being dragged up the slope on your posterior. Another hazard was the possibility of loose clothing being wrapped up in the moving rope. On its upward journey the rope sometimes revolved slowly compounded with forward motion. Legend has it that a lady of superb physical charms became thus caught up. First the parka was shed, then the pullover and finally the shirt. The tow operator, a man of rigid moral principles, is alleged to have stopped the tow some distance from the expectant uphill onlookers. This allowed the deprived damsel to fade gracefully into the bushes. Topless skiers were rare in those days.

Despite these hazards the ascent out of the Drag was reduced from 40 minutes on climbing skins to about 4 minutes over 770 vertical feet, the rope tow carrying ten skiers upwards at a time. Initially, there was much debate amongst the directors on a suitable location. After all, the tow was to be the longest in Australia at that time and the first at Hotham. The chosen site was on a slope now occupied by the Blue Ribbon chair lift and effectively serviced the Drag, Blue Ribbon and the Wood Run downhill descents. The final location was surveyed and cleared during the weekend of 16th and 17th February 1952.

An alternative site was considered near the later situation of the Brockhoff Tow. This was ruled out partly because of doubts if a rope tow and passengers could negotiate a bend in the tow line, obviously needed at this location because of the terrain. It is of interest to note that during our explorations in the valley around this area we discovered a small grass grown flat on which could still be seen the outline of a log cabin. The outline was nothing more than moss lines with cross-over points at four corners. We surmised that it had once been an overseer's quarters when the water race to Brandy Creek Mine was under construction in the sixties of the last [19th] century. Today, of course, the water race, partly dug into the hillside and partly supported by stone escarpments, is a convenient track for skiers passing between runs off Loch Spur.

The company was unique in that the Directors were also the installation engineers, fabricators and general labourers. A shop steward of the Builders Labourers Federation would have been completely non-plussed. A major labour was pole erection, much of it over a rock scree slope. In some locations base holes had to be blasted out of the rocky soil. Hamish Pearson was O/C gelignite and he developed a playful habit of letting off a charge with scant warning. If one was working down the pole line the drill, on hearing the explosion, was to immediately cease all activities and gaze intently at the blue sky. Thus the observer skipped nimbly aside to avoid falling rocks descending out of the heavens.

To assist in correct installation, we imported a New Zealander, one Snowy Hansen, to supervise the project. Snowy was a man of iron nerve, having been in a Bomb Disposal unit at the Middle East Front during the 1939-1945 war. However, like many New Zealanders, he had somewhat of a complex about snakes - New Zealand is free from these reptiles. On arriving at Melbourne Airport his anxious queries concerning snakes at Hotham were soothed by soft and oblique answers. Even we did not then know that the Blue Ribbon scree slope housed a significant number of tiger snakes and copperheads.

Snowy was installed at Hotham and all was peace and joy until one day he noticed various directors at work down the scree slope suddenly leaping downward or sideways for no apparent reason. Naturally he queried this eccentric behaviour and, perforce, we had to tell him about the snakes. His immediate reaction was to arm himself with a pale blue broom handle as a defensive weapon. This never left his side and rumour has it that he even took the broom handle to bed with him! Our duplicity pained him and he sorrowfully stated that 'if he had known he would not have left New Zealand'. Fortunately nobody was bitten and it is probable Hamish Pearson's mighty gelignite blasts dispersed the snakes to more peaceful quarters.

The tow commenced operation in the winter of 1952 and gave many years of service until 1965. Subsequently Ski Tows Ltd. was disposed of to Desmond Schuman. It was the forerunner of the network of chairlifts, pomas and T-bars now reticulating over Hotham slopes.

Mt Mawson

Logo Mt Mawson.jpg . . Logo-mtmawson.gif

Lift name Type Operated Location Notes
Cuming Rope tow 1958 - 1959 - Harold Cuming. Burnt January 1960
Mawson Rope tow 1963 - present - Extended in 1982. Most southern tow in Aust
University Rope tow 1968 - present - -
Rodway Rope tow 1973 - present - Reputedly the steepest tow in Australia.
Beginners Rope tow 19?? - present - -
The Mawson Tow.

Unlike Ben Lomond in northern Tasmania, Mt Mawson never developed into a full scale ski resort. It is the last 'club field' in Australia that is still open to the public, (although there are still three private, club run, nutcracker rope tows in Victoria, a club owned Poma and rope tow at Cabramurra in NSW and plenty of club fields in New Zealand).

The tows are operated by volunteers drawn from the seven clubs with lodges on the mountain. In recent years the lifts have only operated on weekends and midweek during school holidays. The Rodway Tow is the steepest in Australia, but due to a shortage of volunteers, it often doesn't operate even when other lifts are open. --© David Sisson 14:39, 25 July 2007 (EST)

Click for "resort" map showing the day shelters, four lifts and seven club lodges.

New South Wales, outside resorts

Location Owner Operated Name Notes
Main Range Ski Tourers Assoc. 1953 - 1956 Northcote Tow Burnt, parts used in Crackenback rope tow
Diggers Creek Hotel Kosciusko Late 1940's?-51? - Dates uncertain, near Hotel Kosciusko
Diggers Creek Tony Sponar Early 1960's Poma Dates uncertain, near Sponar's Lakeside Inn
Kiandra Wally Reed c1950 - 1957? - Township Hill
Kiandra Colin Myers 1958-late 70's T-bar Two locations, moved to Selwyn
Kiandra Colin Myers ?60's-late 70's Rope tow -
Kiandra Colin Myers ?60's -late 70's Rope tow -
4 km SW of Kiandra Tumut Ski Club c.1960 - c.1970 - -
Kings Cross ? ? - < 1973 Rope tow Half way between Kiandra & Selwyn
Cabramurra SMHEA (Snowy Hydro) 1956 - ? - -
Cabramurra Cabramurra School? 1960's - present Rope tow Now operated by Cabramurra Ski Club
Cabramurra Cabramurra Ski Club ? - present Poma -
Round Mountain Corryong Ski Club? 1960's? - 1970's? - Some poles remain
Tooma Dam: Montagues Hut ? 1960's? - 1970's? - Pulleys attached to trees, dismantled each year

All non resort tows in NSW are/were nutcracker rope tows except Sponar's Poma, the Cabramurra Poma and the Kiandra T-bar. Thanks to Craig Doubleday for his reports on sites near Selwyn Snowfields and the Northcote Tow. For more detailed information see the non resort tows article. --© David Sisson 14:52, 24 July 2007 (EST)

Perisher Blue

Perisher new.jpg . . Logo Perisher oldish.jpg . . Logo PB old.jpg

Lift name Type Operated Location Notes
Perisher Valley .
Village Rope tow 1956 - ? ? Johnny Abbotsmith, moved from Smiggins
? Rope tow 1958 - ? North Perisher Svere Kaaten
? T-bar 1959 - ? Below Sundeck Hotel Ken Murray’s “Murray Publishers”
No. 2 T-bar 1960 - ? - Either Lawson or Blaxland, see note on numbering system
Eyre T-bar 1974 - present On Mt Perisher The furthest west lift in Perisher
International T-bar 1977 - present Mt P b/w Eyre & Mt P double -
Mt Perisher Double Double chair 1961 - present - Aust's highest and oldest chairlift 2034 m
Mt Perisher Triple Triple chair 1979 - present On Mt Perisher -
Sun Valley T-bar 1969 - present - -
Olympic T-bar 1973 - present Above Sun Valley Curved T-Bar, accessing some of the hardest terrain
Happy Valley T-bar 1979 - present - -
Leichhardt T-bar 1976 - present - Called The Self Loader by older folk who recall when it was
Home Rope Tow 1982 - present - -
Lawson T-bar 1963 - present - -
Blaxland Duplex T-bar 1963 - present - Duplex with Wentworth
Wentworth Duplex T-bar 1969 - present - Duplex with Blaxland
Freelander/Forester Exp Quad chair 1986 - present - Originally Perisher Express
Pretty Valley Double Chair 1978 - present - -
Telemark T-bar 1982 - present - There may have been a Poma on this site
Piper T-bar 1982 - present - There may have been a Poma on this site
North Perisher T-bar 1968 - present - -
Flat T-bar ? - c.1975 Perisher Creek Used to access North Perisher
Interceptor Quad chair 1995 - present - -
Sturt T-bar 1964 - present - -
Flinders Duplex T-bar <1976 - 2002 - Duplex with Bass, replaced by Village 8
Bass Duplex T-bar <1976 - 2002 - Duplex with Flinders, replaced by Village 8
Village 8 Express Det Octuple chair 2003 - present - Replaced Flinders and Bass T-bars
Mitchell T-bar 1968 - present - -
Ski Carpet Carpet ? - present - -
Tom Thumb J-bar 1977 - present - -
Ski School Rope Tow ? - present - -
Kids Carpet 1 Carpet ? - present - -
Kids Carpet 2 Carpet ? - present - -
Smiggin Holes .
? Rope tow 1953 - 55? ? Johnny Abbotsmith, moved to Back Perisher
Link T-bar 1964 - present - 610 m long, 130 m vertical
Burke Duplex T-bar 1968 - present - Duplex with Wills
Wills Duplex T-bar 1969 - present - Duplex with Burke
Kaaten Triple chair 1979 - present - -
Hume T-bar 1964 - present - 520 m long, 80 m vertical
Captain Cook J-bar 1975 - present - Converted from a Poma. 275m, 35 m vertical
Scott J-bar 1973 - present - Converted from a Poma. 280m, 35 m vertical
Ski School ? ? - ? - -
Harry’s Rope tow ? - 2007 - -
Herman’s Rope tow ? - 2007 - -
Zappy’s Rope tow ? - present - -
Zoe’s Carpet ? - present - -
Harry's & Herman's Carpet 2008 - present - -
Guthega .
SMA Tow Rope tow 1957 - 1965 Mt Tate East Ridge Island Bend Ski Club. Burnt 1965. 213m long
Beginners Tow Rope Tow 1961 - 1975 Above Walter's Hut YMCA S.C. then Walter Spanring. Short
Blue Calf T-bar 1965 - 1980? Western Blue Calf slopes Poma brand T-bar. Walter Spanring
Powder Valley? Rope tow 1976 - 1981 Near Cow Pastures Bruckschloegl Austrian tow
Blue Cow T-bar 1976 - 1980 Mt Blue Cow Ex Mt Buller. Replaced in 1981
Blue Cow T-bar 1981 - present Mt Blue Cow Doppelmayr. Replaced the 1976 T-bar
Cow Pastures J-bar 1981 - present Cowpastures basin Doppelmayr J-Bar
Blue Calf T-bar 1981 - present - Built as a duplex T-bar
Beginners Rope tow 1982 - ? Top of chair (Saddle area) Cowpastures tow relocated after J-Bar built
Rope Tow 1 - <1992 - 1993? - -
Rope Tow 2 - <1992 - 1993? - -
Carpark Double chair 1982 - present Carpark-base Mt Blue Cow Doppelmayr chairlift
Blue Cow .
Ridge Quad chair 1987 - present - -
Summit Quad chair 1987 - present - -
Early Starter Double chair 1987 - present - -
Terminal Quad chair 1987 - present - -
Brumby T-bar 88><92 - present - Moved from Guthega - formerly ½ of Blue Calf Duplex
Pony Ride 1 Rope tow 88><92 - present - -
Pony Ride 2 Rope tow >92 - present - Previously named Ski School?
Donkey Ride ? >92 - ? - -
Pleasant Valley Detach quad chair 1987 - present - -

This still needs more work, an early tow or two may be missing.

Perisher Valley Unlike many resorts that have replaced lifts on the same location several times, Perisher has mostly stuck with the original lifts and some of them are approaching 50 years old. By 1964 Perisher had 12 lifts and by 1972 there were 14 lifts. Ken Murray sold the resort to Australian Consolidated Press after the 1972 ski season. Originally, the Perisher T-bars on Front and Centre Valleys were not named. Number 1 was Wentworth on Front Valley, and they were numbered consecutively westward to what is now Leichhardt. The Mt Perisher T-bars, Sun Valley, International, Olympic and Eyre have always had those names. Current Perisher trail maps.

Guthega. For an updated history of Guthega and its ski lifts, go to Guthega History. Current Guthega trail map.

Mergers. Perisher and Smiggins merged after the 1972 ski season. Blue Cow and Guthega merged in 1991. Both these combined companies merged to become Perisher Blue in 1995. The resort later changed name to Perisher in 2009.

Perisher. Thanks to "VSG", "Ian S" and especially the anonymous person who supplied many of the dates.

Guthega. thanks to "Atlantisau" for contributions that helped to untangle the confusion of hearsay and conflicting information. --© David Sisson 14:00, 20 August 2007 (EST)

Selwyn Snowfields


Lift name Type Operated Location Notes
? Rope tow 1961? - ? - John and Helen Dowling, tow formerly ran in the A.C.T.
The Quarry Rope tow 1966 - ? Township run Colin Myers.
Township 1 T-bar 1972 - 2008 - Moved from Perisher. Replaced by Township chair in 2009
Township 2 T-bar 1978 - 2008 - Moved from Kiandra. Replaced by Township chair in 2009
Racecourse T-bar <1984 - present - -
Ski School Rope tow <1984 - present - -
New Chum Double chair 1988 - present - -
Powerline Poma ? - present - Was to be replaced by triple chair, but still intact
Homerun Poma ? - present - -
Boomerang Platter ? - present - -
Home Run Poma <1984 - present - -
Snowflake Snowtube 19 - present - -
Wombat T-bar <1984 - present - Converted to snowtube circa 2003, back to T-bar 2009
Gentle Annie Carpet ? - present - -
unknown ? <1998 - ? B/w Ski Sch & Home Run -
Township 3-Chair-F 2009 - present Township Buller's Helicopter Flat/ABOM chair relocated. 709 metres

Either Powerline or Homerun Poma was moved from Smiggins. There may be a couple of rope tows that aren't on this list yet. Colin Myers and his family have built and operated all tows on Mt Selwyn since 1966. More information on dates of lift construction would be appreciated. Current trail map.

In the past there were 11 other lifts nearby at: Kiandra (4), Tumut Ski Club (1) Kings Cross (1), Cabramurra (3), Round Mountain (1) and Tooma Dam (1). All were removed long ago except the Poma and a handle tow at Cabramurra which still operate. For details see the article non resort ski tows. --© David Sisson 15:41, 12 August 2007 (EST)


Logo Thredbo newish.jpg . . Logo-thredbo.gif . . Logo Thredbo old.jpg

Lift name Type Operated Location Notes
Crackenback Rope tow 1957 only Mid half of Kosci Express Cost £1870, used parts of Northcote Tow. 270 m rise
Gam Tow T-bar 1957 - ? Below C/back rope tow Light & underpowered. Probably 1957 only
Crackenback 2-Chair-F 1958 - 1989 Same as Kosci Express Originally to Kareela, lengthened 1962
? Rope tow 1958 - 1963 Kareela - Upper C/back Relocated 1957 Crackenback rope tow
Middle T-bar 1962 - 1967 Middle Snowgums Later moved to Merrits, renamed 'Ski School'
? Rope tow 1963? Upper Snowgums Original Crackenback rope tow moved again
Basin T-bar 1963 - present In Basin, top of mountain 650 metres long x 145 metre rise
Ramshead 2-Chair-F 1963 - present Base to bottom of Basin 2nd oldest chairlift operating in Aust. 1770x480
? Rope tow 1964 - 1967 B/w Kosi Exp & Ramshead 4th location for 1957 Crackenback rope tow
Merritts 2-Chair-F 1968 - present Base area to Merritts 1350 metres long x 299 metre rise
Merritts Duplex T-bars 1968 - 1994 Merritts, Walkabout run Replaced by Cruiser Chair
Ski School / Easy Rider T-bar 1968 - present Merritts Spur Shortened & renamed in 1995. Now 275m x 65
Anton's T-bar 1977 - present Central Spur area Originally self-loading (chaos). 800 x 230
Harusch? Rope tow 1978 - 1995 Merritts Spur Located under the Merritts Chair top station
Harusch? Rope tow 1978 - 1995 Valley Terminal -
Harusch 500? Rope tow <1982> Top C/back - top of Basin -
Harusch 1000? Rope tow <1982> Beyond Harusch 500 -
Mitey Mite Rope tow <1982> Merritts Spur -
Karel's T-bar 1979 - present - Highest remaining ski tow in Aust. 464 x 83
Sponar's T-bar 1979 - present Central Spur area 942 metres long x 260 metre rise
Snowgums 2-Chair-F 1980 - present Parallels Kosci Express Fastest chair in Aust when opened 1735 x 472
Gunbarrel Express 4-Chair-D 1988 - present - 1679 metres long x 560 metre rise
Easy Does It 4-Chair-D 1988 - present - 448 metres long x 49 metre rise
Crackenback/Kosciusko Exp 4/4-Chair/Gond-D 1990 - present - Replaced Crackenback, renamed 2001. 1860 x 560
Cruiser 4-Chair-D 1994 - present Merritts Spur Superseded Merrits duplex T Bar. 1000 x 214
Snowrunner 1 Carpet 2000 - present Friday Flat 80 metres long x 13 metre rise
Snowrunner 2 Carpet 2000 - present Friday Flat 85 metres long x 10 metre rise
Planned tows .
Twin Valleys ? Planned 1983 Nth east of Friday Flat -
High Noon Sextuple chair Recent plan Upper slopes -
Golf Course Bowl Chairlift Recent plan Upper slopes c.1820 - c.2030 metres
Lower Golf Course Chairlift Recent plan 9th hole-mid Ramshd Chair -
Golf Course Beginners ? Recent plan - -
Fiveways T-bar Recent plan 500 m west of Sponars -
New Kosciusko Express Sextuple chair Recent plan - Replace & extend current quad

See the Charlotte Pass entry for details of the two chairlifts that operated between Thredbo Valley and Charlotte Pass in 1964 and 1965.

A few things are still incomplete. Names are missing for some Thredbo rope tows and dates for a few lifts on the same sites overlap, so they may be a year out. Current trail map. Thanks to "Ian S" for help.

More on Thredbo history.

Jim Darby. Thredbo 50: 1957 to 2007. tSm Publishing, 2006.

Helen Swinbourne. Accordions in the snow gums: Thredbo's early years. Thredbo Historical Society Inc., 2006.

Geoffrey Hughes. Starting Thredbo. The author, 2008. pp. 28 - 33.

Proposed new lifts at Thredbo. 2006. Click to enlarge

. --© David Sisson 15:29, 31 July 2007 (EST)

Readers comment. The changes in lift names and locations reveal a lot about how long someone has been skiing a resort, and their familiarity with it. This contributor knows people who call Merrits, 'Falls' (and it is probably called something else now) at Thredbo Merritts (no Falls), because that is what it was called before the Merrits Chair was put in. And there is Little Merrits. I call what is now called 'Meadows' at Thredbo, the 'Middle Slopes', because that is what they were called when the old Crackenback Double had a middle station. And I still call the quad chair Crackenback. In the same way, at Perisher, the people who have been skiing the place forever always call the T bars by the numbers, not the explorer names.

Victoria, outside resorts

Location Owner Operated Name Notes
Mt St Bernard Wangaratta Ski Club 1955 - present Mt St Bernard Tow was originally at Bull Run on Mt Buller
Mt St Bernard Wangaratta Ski Club 1958 - present Nursery Tow -
Bogong High Plains Rover Scouts 1968 - present - Langford West Aqueduct. Didn't operate 2003 - 2005
Mt Wills Tallangatta Ski Club 1950's - c.2000 - 2 km north of summit near the lodge
Dinner Plain Dinner Plain 1985? - present Cobungra Platter 175 m, 18 m rise. Capacity 731 p/h. Formerly at Plains of Heaven, Hotham
Mt St Gwinear Resort 2009 - present Portable Australia's newest ski lift! (Well probably, installation not confirmed)

All lifts are nutcracker tows except the Cobungra Platter at Dinner Plain and the St Gwinear tow. For more detailed information see the non resort tows article. --© David Sisson 10:55, 30 July 2007 (EST)

Ski lifts away from the snowfields

Area Name Type of lift Dates Notes
New South Wales .
Sydney Taronga Zoo Gondola 2000?-present Sky Safari Cableway. Web page. Photo gallery on Poma website.
Sydney Former showgrounds Gondola ? Reinstalled at Wonderland.
Sydney Former showgrounds Double? chair ? -
Sydney Wonderland Gondola 1999 - 2002 Ex showgrounds, renamed Skyrider.
Sydney Moore Park grass ski Rope tow ? -
Kurrajong Grass ski & cart Drag tow? ? - present Now only carting. link
Port Macquarie Grass ski Drag tow? ? -
Katoomba Skyway Cable car 1958 - 2004 Amusement park directory.
Katoomba Skyway Cable car 2004 - present Web page. Amusement park directory.
Katoomba Cableway Cableway 2000 - present Web page. Amusement park listing.
Wollongong Jamberoo Action Park Double chair 1980 - present Ex Thredbo-Charlotte Pass. Lift history & Amusement park directory
Victoria .
Melbourne Showgrounds Double chair 19?? - 200? -
Montrose Fox's Point Scenic Railway Funicular r/way 1950's 3 rail with passing loop, powered by 1927 Oldsmobile, 110' vertical
Dromana Arthur's Seat Double chair 1960 - 2006 The website is still available.
Portsea Back Beach Double chair 1960's - ? Photo.
Scoresby Carribean Gardens Double chair ? - present -
Torquay Grass ski area Handle tow? 1980's -
South of Moe Grass ski area Rope tow? 1970's -
Tasmania .
Hobart Showgrounds Double chair ? - present -
Launceston Cataract Gorge Double chair 1972 - present Claims to have longest chairlift span in world Web page.
Stanley The Nut Double chair ? - present Web page.
South Australia .
Adelaide Mt Thebarton Conveyor/carpet 1980's-90's? Indoor ski slope
Adelaide Showgrounds Double chair 1980's-? -
Adelaide 2 x grass ski parks Drag tows? 1980's? Unconfirmed
Victor Harbour Granite Island Double chair ? - present -
Western Australia .
Perth Showgrounds Double chair ? - present -
Perth Adventure World Double chair 1993 - present Sky Lift. Amusement park directory.
Queensland .
Brisbane Showgrounds Double chair ? - 2008 -
Brisbane Samford grass ski ? 1984 - 1993 link.
Gold Coast Magic Mountain Double chair 1962 - 1987 Reinstalled at Dreamworld
Gold Coast Dreamworld Double chair 1989 - 2005 Skylink ex Magic Mountain Web page.
Gold Coast Seaworld Open gondola 1989 - present Sky High Skyway. Web page.
Cairns - Kuranda Skyrail 6 seat gondola 1995 - present 2 separate cableways, total 114 cars, capacity 700 hour. website.

Thanks to these posters from forums.ski.com.au for help: SnowAndrew, ians 158, HiLo, jt-ski, Heinz, Dive, BLB, cashie, SAL, Claude Cat, pigface, Rowdy, PolePlant, K10.

In addition to these passenger lifts, there were dozens of aerial freight cableways and hundreds of tracked steep cable haulages built for dam construction, timber harvesting, mining, hydro electricity, etc.