Australian ski tow directory

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This article lists all 400 ski lifts and passenger ropeways that have operated in Australia, including a few dozen 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 years it was available to operate). Also included are a few planned lifts where details have been published.

Only the "Big Five" resorts (Buller, Falls, Hotham, Perisher and Thredbo) have quad chairs, the smaller resorts have a combination of surface lifts, double chairs and triple chairs. It's worth noting that the major Victorian resorts tend to replace their lifts far more often than their NSW counterparts. In the last 60 years there have been 17 lifts built to serve Bourke Street on Mt Buller. By contrast the Mt Perisher double chair is over 50 years old and many other lifts at Perisher and 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 anyone but members and their guests to use the lifts, as their liability insurance doesn't cover outsiders. But if you know someone or even just smile sweetly, you may be able to hitch a ride. For more detailed information see the separate article non resort ski lifts. 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 lifts. 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 were installed on St Bernard. The present cross country ski resorts have never had lifts either except for the former lift at Corin Forest.

Proposed resorts. A system of chairlifts complete with an access gondola was proposed for Mt Rufus in Tasmania in the early 1970's. At about the same time Florentine Peak (near Mt Mawson) was assessed for it's viability as a modern ski resort, but sadly nothing eventuated at either location. A plan for developing Mt Stirling in Victoria was released in the early 1980's and another was produced in the mid 1990's, but nothing happened there either. A 1950 report on developing Victoria's ski fields recommended development of an 'alpine village' at Mt Wills, but the only things built there were a single lodge, a refuge hut and two lifts. Since Thredbo was established in 1957, the only new lifted ski area has been Mt Blue Cow in New South Wales, now part of Perisher ski resort.

Finally, this sort of research takes time! In particular details of early lifts at Perisher and backcountry lifts in NSW are a little shaky and the Mt Buffalo section needs more information. If you notice any errors or omissions, please correct them yourself or email the information to sisson dot dave at yahoo dot --© David Sisson 01:05, 5 July 2007 (EST)

Types of ski lifts

Aerial 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, which moves at about 2.3 metres per second. 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 much faster, around 5 metres per second (18 km/h). However detachables 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.

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 have a nominal capacity of around 2400. The real number moved is usually lower due to stoppages, not all chairs carrying the maximum number of people 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.

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 Holden which opened at Buller in 2008. Buller's Blue Bullets were also notable for being the first detachable chairlifts in the country.

Australia's longest chairlifts were the two that briefly connected Thredbo Valley to Charlotte Pass in 1964 and 1965 at 4757 and 3323 metres. The longest existing chairlift is the Kosciusko Express (formerly named Crackenback) at Thredbo which at 1860 m is marginally longer than the Horse Hill quad at Mt Buller. The shortest ski chairlift was the Valley chairlift at Mt Buffalo which last ran in 2006. It was under 200 metres long. The shortest existing ski chairlift is probably New Chum at Selwyn.

Gondolas. A gondola is an enclosed cabin where passengers walk in and sit 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, there are a couple of chondolas; detachable chairlifts which can also have gondola cabins attached to the cable. They are Horse Hill at Buller and Thredbo's Kosciusko Express. Buller appears to have abandoned it's gondolas, but Thredbo regularly uses theirs to transport passengers at night to the restaurant at the top of Kosci Express.

In 2009, the Falls Creek resort plan proposed replacing the Gully triple chair with a gondola. Similarly the 2010 Buller master plan included a proposal for a gondola connecting the overnight car parks with the town centre. Finally, in 2009 the local tourist authority proposed putting a gondola on Mt Buffalo, a little to the south of the toll road. However they didn't mention any financial backers for their dream.

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 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.

T-bars. T-bars consist of several parts. The first is a stick with a bar across the bottom which looks like an inverted T shape. Skiers and boarders lean on this bar, holding on to the central stick. This is connected to a retractable cord running from a spring box which is permanently attached to the elevated moving lift cable. Because they are fixed grip, T-bars tend to run at fairly modest speeds. The first T-bar in Australia was the short lived Gam Tow which operated at Thredbo in 1957. The longest was probably the Tyrol T-bar at Buller which was 1,610 metres long before it was shortened.

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. The first J-bar in the country was installed at Charlotte Pass in 1938. It was only the second ski lift in Australia.

Platters. Platter lifts look a bit like Pomas because 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.

Poma lifts. 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 a spring loaded 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 skiers tripping a switch as they move past. Pomas are the only drag tow found at resorts where self loading works in practice (although this is standard procedure for nutcrackers 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.

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. The speed record for any Australian ski lift belongs to the former double ended Howqua - Summit Access Poma at Buller which operated at 6.5 m/s for staff access, but was restricted to 4 m/s when open to the public.

Confusingly, many platters are described as Pomas, presumably because they are both use a button to move skiers uphill, even though they are different types of lifts in every other respect. Pomas are the only type of ski lift that can easily accommodate bends in their path (T-bars and chairs can have bends, but they are awkward and expensive to build). Half the Pomas built in Australia had bends, the Brockhoff Poma at Hotham had two. Pomas were very popular in Victoria and at one stage there were four of them running parallel to each other at Buller. However they never really took off in NSW. The first Pomas in this country made their appearance in 1964 at Buller, Hotham, Charlotte Pass and Falls Creek. The longest Poma to run in Australia is the 1219 metre International at Falls Creek, which is one of only six Pomas still operating in this country.

Nutcrackers. Some modern skiers who don't venture beyond the main resorts are unfamiliar with nutcracker lifts. But all ski 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 (or rope gripper) 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. Riding nutcrackers explained, Powderhound article on nutcrackers.

Most Australian nutcracker lifts were derived from the design perfected by Bill (later Sir William) Hamilton in New Zealand. Hamilton installed his first ski lift at Coronet Peak in 1947 and within a few years had perfected the Hamilton Model B design that has been used ever since. Because it was easily copied and readily available material could be substituted for Hamilton parts, (such as car wheel rims for rope pulleys), many backcountry nutcrackers were home made and built by the groups that ran them. Because they don't have tall towers, nutcracker lifts are easily moved and some Australian tows have operated at four locations. The longest nutcracker was either the Northcote Tow on the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains or the Crackenback tow at Thredbo (as it was in 1957). The newest nutcracker lift in the world also claims to be the longest and steepest. The Heritage Express Tow at Round Hill in New Zealand first ran in 2010. It is 1473 metres long with a 626 m rise.

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 true 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. In this listing most of the old lifts described as rope tows were probably nutcrackers. The first ski lift in Australia was the rope tow made out of recycled railway lines that was built at Buffalo in 1937.

Australian Capital Territory

Location Type Owner Operated Name Notes
Mt Franklin Nutcracker Canberra Alpine Club 1957 - late 60's Brumby Tow Operated on Little Ginini, Slalom Run, Nursery Run
Mt Franklin Hook Tow 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 Handle tow Corin Forest 1980's-c.1995 - May have been upgraded to a platter or Poma, but details are vague

For more detailed information see the non resort tows article. --© David Sisson 01:31, 23 July 2007 (EST)

Ben Lomond

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Lift name Type Manufacturer Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Thirty Second Rope tow - 1963 - 1984 370 / 85 Above current Bass tow NTAC. Extended at base 1973, at top 1975
Big Ben Rope tow - 1967 - 1984 425 / 78 B/w Fanny's & Bill's NTAC. Used parts from Mt Buller's Bourke St rope tow
Summit Platter Yac 1973 - 1991 327 / 86 - 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 260 / 55 - A.E. 300 m long, 35 m rise. Renamed in 1980's
Giblin Platter Yac 1976 - present 245 / 52 - AE. Closed 09, PWS refused maint access to tower by vehicle or heli
Fanny's T-bar Doppelmayr 1979 - present 254 / 68 - Alpine Enterprises
Creek Run Platter Yac 1979 - 2010 325 / 28 - Relocated Fanny's platter. Relocated in 2011 to Big Ben
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
Big E Platter Yac 2011 - present - Big Ben slope Relocated Creek Platter
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 lifts 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, a sad end for what was the first Doppelmayr double chairlift in the world. :(

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.

Run names. Other than runs with the same names as lifts, the only named runs at Ben Lomond are:

Little Slalom to skiers left of summit lift, loops around to the lift line half way down.

Milk Run to skiers left of Fannies to top of Village left.

Coal Mine to skiers right from top of Giblin.

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

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Lift name Type Manufacturer Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Ski Hoist, aka. The Meat Hook J-bar NSW Railways 1938 - 1952 - Pulpit Rock 2nd ski lift in Aust. Replaced by rope tow
Sponar's Rope tow - 1952? - Wood Run Was to operate in '53, but Sponar ill with T.B.
Pulpit Rock Nutcracker - 1953 - 1963 - - Rope tow 1953, converted to nutcracker in '54
Woodrum Nutcracker - 1958 - 1963 600 / ? Chalet Dam-Lit Stillwell 600 metres long, replaced by double chair
Thredbo Valley-Stillwell Restaurant 2-Chair-F Carlevaro or.. 1964 - 1965 4757 / - - Abandoned due to strong winds & derailing -
Stillwell Restaurant-Charlotte Pass 2-Chair-F ...Mueller??? 1964 - 1965 3323 / - - - Combined length = 5 km. Cost £1,200,000!
Pulpit Poma Pomagalski 1964 - 1966 - - Replaced by a T-bar. Poma moved to Basin
Rope Tow Portable rope - 19?? - 2007 - - Usually operated between Basin & Kangaroo
Guthries Poma Pomagalski 1964 - present 580 / 133 - Occasionally spelt 'Gutheries' on trail maps
Basin Poma - 1967 - present 260 / 43 - Moved from Pulpit
Pulpit T-bar - 1967 - present 310 / 95 - Replaced a Poma. Was a duplex T-bar in 1970's
Kangaroo Ridge / Kosciusko 3-Chair-F Pomagalski 1980 - present 670 / 154 - Name changed 2009?
Kosci Carpet Carpet - 2008 - present - B/w Basin & Kosci trip -

The latest news is that there is a double chair stored at Cooma Airport that may be destined for Charlotte Pass. In early 2009 there was a rumour at Mt Baw Baw that their old 960 metre Doppelmayr double chair had been sold to Charlotte Pass, so this may be the origin of the chairlift that has appeared at the airport.

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. Parts of them have been reassembled to make a chairlift at Wollongong which still operates. See Section 17 of this page Other passenger ropeways.

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
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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

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Lift name Type Manufacturer Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Nissen Nutcracker Hamilton 1951 - 1960 - Summit Toni St Elmo-Beveridge. Capacity 5 = long queue. 6/- day in 1951
Myrtleford Ski Club lift Rope tow - 1951 - ? -  ? Designed and built by Gordon Mulder
Hyman's Skyline Portable rope tow - 1950's - - Bob Hyman, operated top left of summit in '57
Hyman's Chair 1-Chair-F Locally made 1957 - 1962? 375 / ? Near Grand Couer run 1st chairlift in Australia. 40 chairs
Village (left side) Nutcracker Jock Wilson 1958 - 1960  ? / 50 Went to Raceline Fred Griffith, Bill Bridgeford & others
Village (right side) Nutcracker Jock Wilson 1958 - 1960 - Village run Fred Griffith et. al. Double the length of left side
Dog Patch / Collis Nutcracker - 1958 - c.1962 - Sth of Nissen on Summit Marsh Collis and others
Nursery Tow [1] Rope tow - 1961 - ? - Below Dogpatch Shown on map below
Nursery Tow [2] Rope tow - 1961 - ? - Site of current Tube lift Shown on map below
Summit T-bar Ron McCallum 1961 - 1991 793 / 204 - Alpine Dev., designed & built by Ron McCallum
Village / Spur T-bar Ron McCallum 1961 - 1999 466 / 122 - Replaced & ext Vil nutcrackers. Length/vert also cited as 470/114
Gully 2-Chair-F McCallum/Dopp 1964 - 1981 456 / 76 - Mostly McCallum but had Dopp drive & other moving parts
Nursery / Baby Poma Poma 1964 -2001? 153 / 30 Near current Tube lift Still in operation 1998. Length/vert also cited as 170 /38
Sun Valley T-bar Ron McCallum 1967 - 1988 826 / 168 - Replaced by Scott quad. Makers name not certain
International Poma Poma 1969 - present 1219/ 277 - See notes below. Length/Vert also cited as 1149/263
Saddle / Link Lift T-bar Ron McCallum 1969 - 2000 265 / 30 Access b/w Summit & Sun Val Still operating '98, towers standing '10
Nursery (Baby) duplicate Poma Poma 1972 - 2000? 170 / 38 - -
Ruined Castle Poma - 1973 - 1994 732 / 140 - Replaced by Ruined Castle quad chair
Mitey Mite Portable handle - 1975 - ? ? /various Various -
Lakeside Poma M/Mautino 1976 - present 737 / 140 - Length/vert also cited as 688/140
Dogpatch Poma - 1979 - 1992? 148 / 27 B/w Nursery & Summit -
Panorama Poma Poma 1979 - 2003? 790 / 135 - Replaced by Drovers Dream quad. Length/vert also cited as 590/71
Playground [1] Platter Schippers 1980 - 2005 278 / 28 - Replaced by Monkey Bar Platter
Playground [2] Poma Poma 1984 - 2005 300 / 28 - Replaced by Monkey Bar Platter
Eagle 3-Chair-F Poma 1980 - present 693 / 190 - Length/vert also cited as 700/193
Headwater Poma Chippers 1980 - 2000 490 / 56 B/w Summit & Ruined C Still operating in 1998. Length/vert also cited as 428/55
Towers Duplex T-bar Leitner 1981 - 1998 692 / 138 - Replaced by Towers quad. Length/vert also cited as 704/134
Gully 3-Chair-F Poma 1982 - present 475 / 76 - Replaced Gully double chair. Length/Vert also cited as 407/70
Big Dipper Duplex T-bar - 1983 - 1999? 800 / 140 South west of Ruined C Possibly gone by 1998
Tom Thumb Platter Shippers 1986 - 2005 124 / 14 Present Mouse Trap site Replaced by Mouse Trap enclosed carpet
Halleys Comet/ Bilia/ FC Express 4-Chair-D Doppelmayr 1986 - present 920 / 207 - Bilia Bullet '02?-'04, Falls Express '06 -
Scott 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1989 - present 758 / 155 - Replaced Sun Valley T-bar
Summit 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1992 - present 587 / 187 - Replaced Summit T-bar
Ruined Castle 4-Chair-F - 1995 - present 650 / 150 - Replaced Poma. Has conveyor to speed loading
Towers 4-Chair-F Garaventa 1999 - present 613 / 137 - Replaced Towers twin T-bar
Boardwalk Carpet lift - 2004 - present - - -
The Tube Carpet lift - 2004 - present - Site of Nursery Poma -
Drover's Dream 4-Chair-F Poma 2004 - present - Replaced Panorama Bought from Leitner-Poma Canada, not Poma Aust
Mouse Trap Enclosed carpet - 2006 - present - Site of Tom Thumb Replaced Tom Thumb poma
Monkey Bar Platter lift - 2006 - present - - Replaced Playground Duplex Platters
Planned lifts . - -
Rocky Knolls "Chairlift" - ? 587 / ? Beyond Big Dipper T-bar Approved circa 2004
Damsite "Surface lift" - ? 750 / ? West of Rocky Knolls Approved circa 2004
Mt McKay lifts Chairlift system - "Before 2012" - - Mentioned in E.E.S. for above in 2002
McKay south Unknown - - c.750 / 380 McKay summit-Pretty Valley Ck Shown on map apparently produced by lift company
Gully Gondola - Proposed 2009 - Site of Gully triple Mentioned in section 2 of resort plan
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 wildfires and afterwards the rumour was that if Damsite is ever built, it will be a chairlift.

Lift companies. In the 1950's every lift had a different owner. In late 1960, Bill Bridgeford's Alpine Developments Holdings (ADH) bought Nissen and Village and by the 1961 season had replaced them with T-bars. ADH continued to expand the lift network until 1983 when the lifts were sold to Transfield. Then in 1996 B.C.R. took over and in 2004 the lift company was sold to MFS Living and Leisure, a listed Gold Coast land developer that also acquired the lift company at Hotham. When MFS L&L went bust, Jamie Packer's leisure industry holding company took over for the 2009 season. As it also owned Perisher, three of Australia's five largest ski resorts are owned by the same company and a season ticket bought at one resort is valid at all three.

The International Poma. was ready to operate in 1969, due to a poor snow season, the 'Inter' didn't open to the public until 1970. It is a unique lift (or 'iconic' as the Falls Creek marketing department calls it) and even has it's own fan page on Facebook. It received it's name because it serviced the area where a F.I.S. international race was held in 1960. The race required 1500 feet of vertical descent, so a ski bridge was built over the road and the race ran from the summit right down to Rocky Valley Creek. The bridge was removed in the mid 1960's, but the name for the area remained. The International Poma could have sticks attached every 6 metres along it's 1216 metre length and it's V12 diesel engine powered it 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 lift 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.

McCallum lifts. Ron McCallum built about 20 chairlifts and T-bars in the 1960's and early 1970's including at least five at Falls Creek. Many of the ealier lifts were hybrids, mostly of McCallum origin, but incorporating parts from other manufacturers. The Village and Summit T-bars had McCallum towers and hydraulic drives but had a few bits from other manufacturers, including Dopp spring boxes (which caused a lot of trouble). The Gully Chair had a Doppelmayr drive, but otherwise was McCallum. Initially the Saddle / Link Lift T-bar had T's hanging from Poma sticks until they were replaced with conventional T-bar spring boxes bought second hand from Buller (possibly of Dopp origin?). The Sun Valley T-bar was 100% McCallum and was one of the most reliable lifts to operate at the resort.

Early buildings at Falls Creek. This list is very incomplete and is still a bit rough. In addition to hydro buildings and mountain cattlemen's huts, the following lodges were built in the early decades of Falls Creek:

St Elmo's hut 1946, Skyline Lodge 1947-1973, S.C.V 1947-1948 (relocated to become Red Hut), Bogong Ski Club 1948, St Elmo's House 1948, Albury Ski Club 1949 (burnt 1959, rebuilt 1960), Myrtleford Ski Club 1949, Red Hut aka Spion Kopje Lodge (½ way b/w Howmans & Falls) c.1950-2003, Dawn Ski Club 1950? (later Rocky Valley S.C.), Grande Coeur 1950? burnt 1961, Nissen Lodge 1952.

Mid and late 1950's buildings include: Snow Crystal (since demolished & rebuilt), Nelse <1958 (extended c.1964, demolished & rebuilt 198?), Gundamurri, St Trinians, Kiewa Valley S.C., T & T (Transport & Trading) store (2 x old SEC huts on Winterhaven site, extended many times in the last 60 years), Diana Lodge, Galleon (ex SEC building, aka Cooroona), Bowna S.C., Mulligatawny (burnt c. 1956, replaced by Limlimbu), Four Seasons, Snowhaven (on site of Freuauf Village), Frying Pan Inn 1958, Arundel 1959 (extended 1964 & 1976, renamed Julian's in 1971), Snowden (later renamed Rim Rock) 1959.

1960's: Wat Thai 1961, Falls Creek Home Units (later renamed Alcatraz), Woomargama S.C. (aka The Roundhouse) c.1961, Rocky Valley Staff Camp (used as ski accom c.1962 until demolished in 1965), Cumming's Ski Hire c.1962, (First) Australian Alpine Club (later Red Onion) 1963, Alpen Rose Flats c.1963, Ripparoo S.C. 1963, Pretty Valley (top floor was former mess building at Rocky Valley hydro camp) c.1963, Runaway Lodge c.1964, Molonys ski hire at base of Gully 1964, Lions Club snack bar (on site of St Elmo's first hut) c.1964, Karingal Flats 1964, Geelong S.C. 1964, Koki c.1965, Avondale (later Feathertop) mid 60's, Pfefferkorn c.1965, Southern Cross Flats 1966, Spargo's (later Halley's) c.1966, The Man 1967 (extended 1978), Kilimanjaro Flats c.1967, Carey Alpine Club c.1967, CSIR S.C. c.1967, Naarilla Flats c.1967, Rainbow Club c.1967, Hukarere (later Alpha) c.1967.

1970's. Haus Innsbruck (called Karelia from '72) 1971, Attunga 1971, Les Chalet flats 1973, (New) Australian Alpine Club c.1972, Vikings S.C., early 1970's, (First) Falls Creek School 1972, The Hub shops 1978, Cedarwood c.1979.

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

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Lift name Type Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Hut Rope tow 1955 - 1976 - - Baw Baw Ski Club. Cost £200. Replaced by a platter.
Painted Run Rope tow Early 60's- >1982 245 / 50 - Baw Baw Ski Club. Later duplicated. East of T-bar that replaced it
Access [1] 2-Chair-F 1970 - 1988? 960 / 320 - Gippsland Chairlift Co. Access from carpark, also for skiing. Prob relocated to Stanley, Tas
Maltese Cross T-bar 1973 - present 460 / 70 - Dartos Ltd.
Hut Run Platter 1975 or 77-present 390 / 55 - Baw Baw Ski Tows. (formerly Baw Baw Ski Club). Extended 2004
Beginners? Rope tow 1977 - >1983 150 / 22 B/w Hut & Maltese BBST. Short tow from Base of Hut Run Platter towards Old Hut Run
Summit T-bar 1979 - present 750 / 90 - Baw Baw Ski Tows
Big Hill Platter 1980 - c.2002 230 / 48 - Dartos Ltd.
Big Hill Access Poma 78><83 - present 250 / 50 - 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
Access [2] 2-Chair-F 1989? - 1999 - - Access to village from carpark, also for skiing. Doppelmayr
Magic Carpet Carpet 2003 - present - Behind Skiosk -

From 1971 to 1980 skiers had to choose between two lift companies, Dartos and Baw Baw Ski Tows. The combined lift company merged with the chairlift in 1988. In 2001 the state government decided to not renew the lease of Mount Baw Baw Ski Enterprises, but as they were unable to find another company to bid for the lease, the lifts have been operated by the government since then. In the dates operated field "78><83" indicates that the lift was installed at some time between 1978 and 1983.

The second Access chairlift was in storage at Drouin for many years, 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 and the owners of Charlotte Pass do have a double chair stored at Cooma airport, although what they would want to do with Baw Baw's 20 year old, fixed grip double chair is anyone's guess! (Note: This chairlift was replaced in 1988 (I think) so it was not so old when it was sold, IRC the old chairlift 1969-1988 went to Tassie. 'djam Aug 2009')

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

Mt Buffalo

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Lift name Type Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Cresta area . -
Cresta Rope tow 1937 - 1938 180 / ? - 1937 = 108 m, ext to 180 m in '38. built from old train tracks, burnt Jan '39
? 2-Chair-F 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
? 2-Chair-F >1984 - ? - - Cost $200,000, many teething problems
Beginners Montaz fixed grip < 1983 > 180 / 27 - -
Operating in '06 . -
Cresta Poma <1983 - 2006 427 / 127 - Some of these are original 1960's Tatra tows
Gully Poma <1983 - 2006 165 / 33 - Some of these are original 1960's Tatra tows
Cresta Valley 2-Chair-F <1983 - 2006 302 / 80 - Some of these are original 1960's Tatra tows
Valley 2-Chair-F >1983 - 2006 - - Some of these are original 1960's Tatra tows
Novice Poma >1983 - 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
Number One Poma 196? - >1983 240 / 40 - Cost $20,000
Number Two Poma ? - >1983 216 / 37 - -
Bambi Portable ? - >1983 .90 / 6 - -
Proposed lift
Skyway Gondola 2009 3 - 4 km - Proposed by tourist assoc. Newspaper article, Local TV news

Dingo Dell’s last season was probably 1988, at the time there was a rope tow and two Pomas there. Map of Dingo Dell showing two pomas. The website says 2003 but the map is defnitely well before that date.

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 lifts, so the information in this table is rather vague. Any accurate information would be appreciated. Please email sisson.dave at

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 lift.

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

Mt Buller

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Lift name Type Manufacturer Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Bourke St Rope tow/Nutcrac Home made 1949 - 1958 270 / 180 - S.C.V & BMW S.C, support towers added & changed to nutcracker 1950
Bull Run Port. nutcracker - 1953 - 1954 - - Blue. Extended in '54, 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 488 / 75 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. Replaced by Federation triple chair
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. May be 610 m long/ 245 m vertical
Skyline T-bar - 1963 -present 480 / 90 South of Bourke St Blue Lifts. Oldest lift still operating at Buller
Shaky Knees/Swanston St T-bar - 1963 - 2004 300/120 - Orange. Replaced by Emirates / Shakey Knees quad chair
Bourke St 2-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1964 - 1983 610 / 90 Bourke St Blue Lifts. First Doppelmayr double chairlift in the world
Summit Poma Pomagalski 1964 - 1983 244 / 68 - Orange, rebuilt at Ben Lomond as 30 Sec & Big Ben
Summit Access/Howqua Poma Pomagalski 1964 - 83/90's 1070/ 136 * * See notes below
Chamois Poma Pomagalski 1965 - 1987 608 / 213 - Blue Lifts. Extended in 1968, originally 548 / 205
Boggy Creek T-bar McCulloch? 1967 -present 410 / 141 - Orange. Made by a local company. Name needs to be confirmed
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 Pomagalski 1969 - 1985 274 / 138 Heli Flat - Baldy Orange Lifts
Tyrol / Tirol T-bar - 1972 -present 1610/ 356 Orig ran to Baldy Orange. Shortened in 1987. Spelling change c.2004
Beginners / Ski School platter - 1974 - 2003 - Mid Bourke St Orange. Replaced by Carpet
Baldy 2-Chair-F Pomagalski 1974 - 1983 792 / 77 - Blue Lifts
Beginners Carousel - 1976 - 1977 - Helicopter Flat Orange Lifts
Koflers T-bar - 1977 -present 300 / 130 - Orange Lifts. Originally to the bottom of Howqua.
Enzian Poma Pomagalski 1979 - 1996 244 / 77 Upper Chamois Blue Lifts
Grimus 3-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1979 -present 800 / 192 Nth side of Summit Orange Lifts
Burnt Hut Spur 3-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1980 - 2009 310 / 105 - Orange. Major damage by lightning strike on 28/02/10. Pic Now dismantled
Sun Valley Poma Pomagalski 1980 - 1985 900 / 300 B/w Bull & Fed Blue. Gave access to Orange's Federation slopes
Federation 3-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1981 -present 1000/ 332 - Orange Lifts. Replaced & extended original T-bar
Horse Hill 3-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1982 - 1985 1700/ 390 - Orange Lifts. Moved to Helicopter Flat in 1986
Village T-bar - 1982 - 2003 853 / 219 - Blue Lifts. Replaced & extended Whittaker Poma
Beginners Poma - 1980 -present 310 / 105 - Orange Lifts
Playground Poma - < 1983 > 100 / 30 Helicopter Flat Orange Lifts
Blue Bullet 1 4-Chair-D Doppelmayr 1984 -present - Lower Bourke St Not oldest detachable quad operating, some Euro '83 lifts still exist
Blue Bullet 2 4-Chair-D Doppelmayr 1984 - 2007 - Baldy Blue Lifts. Replaced Baldy double chair
Summit 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1984 -present - - Orange Lifts. Replaced duplex Pomas
Howqua 4-Chair-F Poma 1984 -present - Howqua/Family - Baldy Orange. Eng, twr heads, bullwheels are for triple, other parts are quad
Spurs / Trainer T-bar - 1984 -present - Top of Horse Hill Orange. Very short, allows easier transverse to Bourke St
Bull Run 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1985 -present - - Blue Lifts. Replaced Bull Run T-bar
Horse Hill 4/4-Chair/Gond-D Doppelmayr 1986 -present - Mid station at Chalet Ck 106 chairs, 20 gondolas. First ski gondola in Australia
Helicopter Flat / ABOM 3-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1986 - 2007 - - Replaced Baldy, moved from Horse Hill. Renamed 03. Sold to Selwyn
Dam Rope tow - 1987 -present - Near Spurs Very short beginners lift
Southside 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1990 -present - Federation area -
Ski Kindy No. 1 Rope tow - 1991 -present - - _
Wombat 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1993 -present - - -
Chamois/ Lydia Lassila 2-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1993 -present - Chamois bowl Has a mid station. Renamed before 2011 season
Canyon Rope Tow [1] Rope tow - 1997 -present - Sth of bus station Very gentle grade, link between Chamois & Bull Run
Canyon Rope Tow [2] Rope tow - 1997 -present - Sth of bus station Simple rope tows, rope gripped in the glove
Tube Park Rope tow - 1998 -present - - -
Bluff View Rope tow - 2001 -present - Baldy rail park -
Cattleman's 1 Carpet - 2003 -present - - -
Cattleman's 2 Carpet - 2003 -present - - -
Bourke St Carpet Carpet - 2004 -present - - -
Emirates / Shakey Knees 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 2005 -present 633 / 151 Upper Tyrol 2.3 m/s. Replaced S. Knees T-bar. Called Northside pre opening, renamed 2011
Holden 6-Chair-D Doppelmayr 2008 -present 997 / 127 Heli Flat - Baldy Cost $7m, speed 5.0 m/s Replaced BB2 & Heli/ABOM Initial press release
Burnt Hut 1 Carpet - 2010 - 2011 160 / ? - Carpet (sourced from NZ?) after lightning destroyed BH chair
Burnt Hut 2 Carpet - 2010 - 2011 160 / ? - To be replaced by new Burnt Hut quad in 2012
Proposed Lifts . . . . . .
Kofler's Rope Tow - 1939 & 1940 - Horse Hill Foundations poured early '39. To be ready for '40 season, stopped by war
Kofler's Funicular rail - 1940 - Mirimbah - Chalet Hybrid of local logging cableways & 1930's European funicular railways
Burnt Hut area 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr? 2012? 530 / 135 - Will extend further uphill than it's predecessor. Courier article 12/9/2011
Village Gondola 2010 plan Horse Hill - town centre Draft masterplan 2010
Playground Unspecified 2010 plan Spurs - Baldy Draft masterplan 2010

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.

* Summit Access / Howqua. This poma replaced the Koflers/Transportation nutcracker lift in 1964. In 1984 it was replaced by the Helicopter / ABOM triple chair and the Howuqa quad. It loaded at both ends and ran from the current base of Holden chair over the hill and down to the where the queue for Howqua now is, the east side was named Summit Access, the west end was Howqua (this section was 536 long / 86 vertical). It holds the speed record for the fastest Australian ski lift of all time (6.5 metres per second) but after a few accidents, it was restricted to 4.0 m/s when open to the public and only operated at full speed for staff. From 1984 to the early 1990's, a truncated Summit Access poma ran from near Fawlty Towers to the top of the Howqua chair.

More on Buller history:

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

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.

Harry Stephenson. Skiing the high plains: a history of the ski exploration of Victoria's alpine area. Graphic Books, 1982. Pages 198 - 219.

I. C. Dillon. Tracks of the morning: a Timbertop history text. Geelong Grammar School, 1989. Pages 323 - 357.

Magazines. Most ski magazines have covered the development of Buller, but two Victorian ski monthlies, Schuss and Ski Horizon were published during the formative years of the mountain.

Club histories. Club histories tend to focus on work parties, lodge construction and administration, but they also give a good idea of skiers experiences over the years.

Lynette Sheridan. University Ski Club 1929 - 1979. U.S.C, 1988. Chapter 9, pages 130 - 161.

Janis Lloyd. Skiing into history: 1924 - 1984. Ski Club of Victoria, 1986. Pages 93 - 197.

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

Early buildings at Buller.

Dates are the first winter of occupation, but a few dates may be a year out. The list is not complete. Blue text indicates a link to a lodge's website.

Not terribly relevant to ski lifts, but since I've compiled it, I may as well put it here as someone may find it useful.

1880's Klingsporn's Hut on Horse Hill, c.1919 Lovick's Hut on Burnt Hut Spur (burnt early 1925), 1925 Mansfield Progress Association Hut on Burnt Hut Spur. Burnt summer 1933, 1929 Horse Hill bark hut used as construction base for Chalet, 1929 Buller Chalet (Horse Hill, extended 1932 and 1939. Had 67 beds. Burnt 1942), 1930 Cow Camp Hut (extended 1946, burnt 1951), 1933 SCV Hut Boggy Creek, (extended 1947, near base of present Grimus chairlift), 1934 Koffler's Hut (near current Koffler's cafe),

1941 First summit fire observers hut (replaced 1969), 1943 ? Junior Ski Club Hut on Chalet site, 1946 CSIR (One Tree Hill. Demolished & replaced at present location 1985), 1946+ There were also several unauthorised huts in the scrub in the late 1940's. Details are understandably vague, but two built in time for the 1946 season were Bogville and Bull Lodge. At least one hut was disguised with war-surplus camouflage nets. 1947 Ivor Whittacker Lodge (S.C.V. Extended 1949, 1953 & 1959, rebuilt 1967 - 1973. Original building demolished 1972), YHA (aka 'Shiver Shanty' replaced at new location 1952), 1948 ... 1949 Apira (formerly Australian Postal Institute. Extended 1959, 1969, 1983), Chamois, Harding (MUSKI from 1961 rebuilt 199?), Moose S.C., Omega, SCV cabins,

1950 Australian Women's S.C., Buller S.C. (burnt 1952 site to Chetwynd), Gray Rocks S.C., Junior S.C., Lazy Eight (to Southern Cross in 1952), University S.C. (cabin moved from Mt Donna Buang, replaced in 1983), Ullr S.C.(rebuilt in 1986), Yurredla S.C. (rebuilt 1979), 1951 Alpine Club of Victoria, Belmore, BMW S.C.(extended 1966 & 1985), Dandenong, Melbourne Walking Club (rebuilt in 1992), Monsanto, Morgan Pattern Social Club, 1952 Benmore, Bull Run Canteen, Gliss (extended 1965), Reindeer, Southern Cross demolished and rebuilt date uncertain, YHA (replaced 1948 shanty), 1953 Kandahar (extended 1960 replaced 1986), Firn, Kooroora (burnt 1961 rebuilt 1965), 1954 Cedar, Geelong, Timberline (replaced in 1986), Twenty Five, 1955 Black Tulip, Chetwynd, Elk, Mawson S.C. (rebuilt as apartments in 1995), SCV Euroa branch cabin, 1956 Akla, Bomborra (replaced 2000), Caribou, Double B (may have been built in 1954), Edelweiss, New Buller Lodge, Royal Australian Navy, Tyrol?, University S.C. (extended 1962 & rebuilt 1986), 1957 Hima, Igloo, Koomerang (rebuilt 1980. Scotch College), Matterhorn, OLOS S.C., 1958 Arlberg House (burnt 1967. Rebuilt 1970), Mulligatawny, 1959 Cortina, Inca, Koffler's Cafe, Old Geelong Grammarians, Sorrento, Spark, St Albans, Wapiti,

1960 Icicles, Mt Buller Lodge, N'Everest (extended 1983), Pontresina / Engadin, SCV family unit 1, 1961 Aleko, Alpha, Bayerland, Benalla (extended 1983), Blizzard, Blue Eyes, Bracken (replaced 2000), Brighton, Candoux (Demolished and rebuilt as apartments in 2001. Club now operates from a unit in apartment block on original site), Cawarra, Down Hill Only, Duff's Ski Hire, Enzian, Etna, Four Winds, Howqua, Kida Hara, Macura, Mark II (rebuilt 1996), Nicholas, Perpetual Snow, Tatry, Planica, Port Phillip, Ringwood, Roos, Royal Childrens Hospital, St Christina, SCV family units 2 - 5 (site of 2 now occupied by Cobbler), Windy Corner, Wombats/Cuckoo, 1962 The Abom (extended 1968), Amber, Blitz, Delatite, Geebung, Heathcote Bus, Hoppers, Sundowner, Telemark, 1963 Anjarra, Auski, Holland, Iltis, Maganni, Mt Buller Home Units, St Bernards, 1964 ABV, Collegians, Coonamar, Currawong, Discobolus, Downhill, Firmow, Glacier, Lantern (later Duck Inn), Mansfield, Meki, Monash University, Neringa, Ski View, Snow Gum, White Star, Yokohama, 1965 Alaska, Alkira (refurbished early 90's), Army (replaced 1988), Avalanche, Corio, Gonzaga, Kooroora (rebuilt after 1953 lodge burnt), Nomad, Nutcracker, Medical Centre (replaced 1995), Schuss S.C., Ski Lib, Snow Down, Terama, 1966 Australian Alpine Club (Patscherkofel, extended 1972, rebuilt 1988), Cristal, Hu'ski, Puringa, 1967 Jungfrau, Opal (extended 2005), 1968 Resort management office, SCV family units, 1969 Bluff Flats, Cedar, Crosscut Flats, Primary School (replaced 1982), Summit fire lookout hut (replaced 1941 hut),

1970 Arlberg (extended 1974), The Avenue, Ivor Whittaker Lodge (SCV. Built in stages over the summers of 1967 - 1973), Pendergast ski patrol hut on Baldy, 1971 Mitre (rebuilt 199?), Twin Towers, 1972 ... 1973 Ajax (extended twice), Beehive Apartments, Snowflake, 1974 Pension Grimus, 1975 Entrance gatehouse at Mirimbah, 1976? Ski patrol base (aka The Chook Shed, replaced 1983), 1977 Preston, 1978 Merrijig, VSL, 1979 17 The Avenue, Eltham, Pol-ski, Star Alpine, Yurredla, The last four of these were all built on the 1950 Yurredla site),

1980 Koomerang (replaced 1957 building), 1981 Breathtaker, 1982 Aeski, Burwood, Molony's, Omski, Shaky Knees Flats, Primary School (replaced 1972 school, moved to La Trobe building c.1997), Summit, 1983 Alpine Retreat, Ski Patrol (replaced 1976 base), University S.C. Cabin (replaced 1950 Cabin) 1984 Medical Centre, 1985 Cresta, CSIR (replaced former lodge at One Tree Hill), 1986 Kandahar (replaced 1953 building), Timberline (replaced 1954 lodge), Ullr (replaced 1950 lodge), University S.C. (replaced 1956 lodge) 1987 Club 25 (later Ace of Clubs), 1988 Apres, Army, Mt Buller Ski Lodge, Noorinya, Number 96, Patscherkofel, Spurs Cafe, 1989 Downhill, Chalet Apartments stage 1,

1990 ... 1991 ... 1992 Duck Inn (former Lantern Lodge), Melbourne Walking Club (replaced 1951 lodge), Winterbrook, 1993 Alpine Chapel, Black Forest, 1994 Chalet Apartments stage II, 1995 Chalet Hotel, Mawson (replaced 1955 lodge), Medical Centre (replaced 1965 centre), Woolybutt, 1996 Christiana, CFA Station, Mark II (replaced 1961 lodge), Whistler, 1997 Elkhorn, La Trobe Uni building (alter R.M.B.), 1998 Bluff View, 1999 ...

The list is incomplete. Some of the buildings with unknown construction dates include: Police station, Snowflake Factory, Clocktower, Corviglia, Winterhaven, Ski School buildings, Chamois race hut, Tyrol Lodge.

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

Mt Hotham

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Lift name Type Manufacturer Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Blue Ribbon Nutcracker Hamilton 1952 -72, 3 or 4? 560or610/235or253 - Cost £3000, capacity 12 at a time. Length & vert figures vary
Higginbotham Rope tow - 1958? - >1965 - Davenport Probably owned by Ski Tows Ltd.
Basin Rope tow - 1958 or 9- 62? 61 / ? Basin Run Ski Tows Ltd. Replaced by a Poma
Jack Hedley's Rope tow - 1962 - 1964? - Pimples - Swindlers -
Basin Poma - 1963 or 4-1970 - Today's Basin Run Ski Tows Ltd. Moved to Davenport
? Rope Tow? - 1963 - ? - Above Blue Ribbon Formerly "Novice tow at Hotham" before being moved
Jack's Tow J-bar - 1962? -1968? - Sun Run May have originally been a rope tow
Pole Line / Summit Poma Poma 1966 - 1987 790 / 95 Summit Ski Tows Ltd.
Playground 2-Chair-F Poma 1969 - present 614 / 199 now < Originally 954 / 300 Initially planned for Aust Drift. Shortened c.1992? 1000 p/hr
Davenport Poma - 1971 - 1983 240 / 43 Big D area Moved from Basin, replaced by a quad chair
Brockhoff Poma Poma 1973 - 1986 790 / 290 North of Heavenly Valley Partly replaced by Heavenly Valley quad
Basin Platter - 1974 - 1992 175 / 44 - Moved to Koala Park?
Sun Run T-bar - 1977 - 1994 350 / 98 North side of present Sun Run -
Summit T-bar - 1979 - 1994 580 / 87 - Moved to Australia Drift
Blue Ribbon 3-Chair-F - 1981 - present 710or560 / 271 - Capacity 1600 per hour
Plains of Heaven/Ski School Platter - 1981 - 1983 153 / 36 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 Poma 1988 - present 595 / 98 - Capacity 2400 per hour
Village 4-Chair-F Poma 1993 - present 800 / 275 - Capacity 2400 per hour
Koala Park Platter - 1993 - 1997 - B/w Zirky's & White Cryst Moved to summit. Renamed Summit Trainer
Road Runner 4-Chair-F Poma 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 - Continues over valley as Orchard, loads in middle. 2400 hr
Orchard 4-Chair-F Doppelmayr 1997 - present 573 / 154 - Continues over valley as Keogh's, loads in middle. 2400 hr
Summit Trainer Platter Doppelmayr 1998 - present 132 / 22 - Formerly at Koala Park. Capacity 500 per hour
Big D Trainer Rope tow - 1999 - 2008? - - -
Pups Playground Carpet - ? - present 17 / ? Davenport -
Harry's Hideaway Carpet - ? - present 50 / ? Davenport -
Former names for Hotham ski runs. Click to enlarge.

Lift companies. 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. Jack Hedley also ran a couple of lifts for a few years. Ski Tows Ltd's lack of capital hampered further development of the mountain. After the 1968 season a controlling interest was sold to Desmond Schumann who built the Playground double chair. It was originally planned for the Australia Drift / Avalanche Gully area, but the location was changed to the current site just before it was installed. In 1995 the Schumann family sold the lift company to BCR Management so they could concentrate on Silver Star and Big White, their ski resorts in B.C. Canada. MFS took over in 2004 and had great plans for expansion of both lifts and buildings. As they also owned the lifts at Falls Creek, a lift ticket was valid at both resorts. However the plans came to nothing when MFS L&L went broke in 2008 and the lift company was taken over by the outfit which runs the ski lifts at Perisher. --© 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.
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

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Lift name Type Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Cuming Rope tow 1958 - 1959 153 / ? Golden Stairs - Picnic Boulder Harold Cuming. May have been open in 1957, burnt Jan 1960
Mawson Nutcracker 1963 - present 198 / 50 - Extended in 1982. Most southerly ski lift in Australia
University Nutcracker 1968 - present 250 / 58 - -
Rodway Nutcracker 1973 - present 275 / 80 - Reputedly the steepest ski lift in Australia
Beginners Rope or Platter? <1982- present .70 / 15 Sitzmark -
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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 still open to the public. (Although there are still three club run nutcracker tows in Victoria, a club owned Poma and handle tow at Cabramurra in NSW and plenty of club fields in New Zealand).

The lifts are operated by volunteers drawn from the seven clubs with lodges on the mountain. In recent years they have only operated on weekends and midweek during school holidays. Rodway is the steepest surface lift 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 Blew up. Parts used to build Crackenback nutcracker at Thredbo
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 Handle 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 lifts in NSW were probably nutcrackers except Sponar's Poma, the Cabramurra Poma and the Kiandra T-bars. 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

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Lift name Type Operated Length/Vert 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”
Mt Perisher Double 2-Chair-F 1961 - present 1075/ 275 - Mueller. Aust's highest & oldest chairlift. Top = 2034 m
Lawson (No. 6) T-bar 1963 - present 540 / 125 - -
Blaxland (No. 5) Duplex T-bar 1963 - present 510 / 110 - Duplex with Wentworth
Sturt (No. 4) T-bar 1964 - present 470 / 50 - -
Flat T-bar ? - c.1976 - Perisher Creek Used to access North Perisher
North Perisher T-bar 1968 - present 565 / 175 - -
Mitchell (No. 1) T-bar 1968 - present 420 / 70 - -
Sun Valley T-bar 1969 - present 530 / 165 - -
Wentworth (No. 5A) Duplex T-bar 1969 - present 510 / 110 - Duplex with Blaxland
Olympic T-bar 1973 - present 345 / 65 Above Sun Valley Curved T-Bar, accessing some of the hardest terrain
Eyre T-bar 1974 - present 735 / 205 On Mt Perisher The furthest west lift in Perisher
Flinders (No. 3) Duplex T-bar <1976 - 2002 545 / 100 - Duplex with Bass, replaced by Village 8
Bass (No. 2) Duplex T-bar <1976 - 2002 420 / 100 - Duplex with Flinders, replaced by Village 8
Leichhardt (No. 7) T-bar 1976 - present 540 / 40 - Called The Self Loader by those who recall when it was
International T-bar 1977 - present 890 / 255 Between Eyre & Mt P double -
Tom Thumb J-bar 1977 - present 140 / 55 - May have been a T-bar circa 1983
Pretty Valley 2-Chair-F 1978 - present 990 / 153 - -
Pretty Valley 3-Chair-F 1978?-1985? 1707/ 264 - Moved to Mt Dobson NZ, replaced by Perisher Exp Photo
Mt Perisher Triple 3-Chair-F 1979 - present 1230/ 280 On Mt Perisher -
Happy Valley T-bar 1979 - present 697 / 111 - Ext by 90m in 2010. Eviro Effect Statement Was 608/96
Home Handle Tow 1982 - present - - -
Telemark Poma <1976 - ? - - -
Telemark T-bar 1982 - present 455 / 65 - -
Piper Poma <1976-1981? - Same as Piper T-bar Marked on '76 trail map, replaced by T-bar
Piper T-bar 1982 - present 640 / 70 - Built on site of a Poma
Perisher Ex/Freelander/Forester 4-Chair-D 1986 - present 1540 / ? - Changes names according to sponsorship
Interceptor 4-Chair-F 1995 - present - - -
Village 8 8-Chair-D 2003 - present - - Doppelmayr. Replaced Flinders and Bass T-bars
Borer Portable rope tow < 1983 > - - -
Ski Carpet Carpet ? - present - - -
Ski School Rope Tow ? - 2007 - - -
Ski School 2 Carpet 2007 - present - - -
Kids Carpet 1 Carpet ? - present - - -
Kids Carpet 2 Carpet ? - present - - -
Planned lift -
Mt Perisher 6 or 8 chair Announced '08 - Mt Perisher To replace 2 old chairs
Smiggin Holes . -
 ? Rope tow 1953 - 55? -  ? Johnny Abbotsmith, moved to Back Perisher
Link T-bar 1964 - present 610 / 130 -
Hume T-bar 1964 - present 520 / 80 -
Burke Duplex T-bar 1968 - present 610 / 155 - Duplex with Wills
Wills Duplex T-bar 1969 - present 610 / 155 - Duplex with Burke
Scott J-bar 1973 - present 280 / 35 - Converted from a Poma pre 1983
Captain Cook J-bar 1975 - present 275 / 35 - Converted from a Poma pre 1983
Kaaten 3-Chair-F 1979 - present 477 / 85 - (Doppelmayr)
Ski School ? ? - ? - - -
Harry’s Rope tow ? - 2007 - - -
Herman’s Rope tow ? - 2007 - - -
Zappy’s Rope tow ? - 2008 - - -
Zoe’s Carpet ? - present - - -
Harry's & Herman's Carpet 2008 - present - - -
Guthega . -
SMA Tow Nutcracker 1957 - 1965 213 / ? Mt Tate East Ridge Island Bend Ski Club. Burnt 1965
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 McCallum brand, ex Mt Buller. Replaced in 1981
Blue Cow T-bar 1981 - present 670 / 149 Mt Blue Cow Doppelmayr. Replaced the 1976 T-bar
Cow Pastures J-bar 1981 - present 320 / 70 Cowpastures basin Doppelmayr J-Bar
Blue Calf T-bar 1981 - present 570 / 133 - Built as a duplex T-bar
Beginners Rope tow 1982 - ? 150 / 10 Top of chair (Saddle area) Cow Pastures tow relocated after J-Bar built
Beginners J-bar < 1983 > 140 / 30 Off home run Served runs named Romeo, Juliet and Fred
Carpark 2-Chair-F 1982 - present 610 / 130 Carpark-base Mt Blue Cow Doppelmayr chairlift
Rope Tow 1 - <1992 - 1993? - - -
Rope Tow 2 - <1992 - 1993? - - -
Planned lift -
Guthega 4-Chair-F 2011 for 2013 - Replace Cow Pastures J-bar Article discussing announcement
Blue Cow . -
Ski Tube Rack railway 1988 - present 8500/ 755 Bullock's Flat - Blue Calf Official webpage, Tunnels webpage, Wikipaedia
Ridge 4-Chair-F 1987 - present 1000 / ? - -
Summit 4-Chair-F 1987 - present - - -
Early Starter 2-Chair-F 1987 - present - - -
Terminal 4-Chair-F 1987 - present - - -
Pleasant Valley 4-Chair-D 1987 - present 1200 / ? - -
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 - ? - - -

Perisher Valley Unlike many resorts that have replaced lifts on the same site several times, Perisher has mostly stuck with the original lifts and some of them are over 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 and Guthega trail maps.

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

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. In 2009 'Blue' was deleted from the resort name and it became just 'Perisher'.

Perisher. Thanks to "VSG", "Ian S", "Golds70", "shadow1" and especially the person who wishes to remain anonymous 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

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Lift name Type Operated Length/Vert 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.
Car park 2 x rope < 1983 > 250 / 27 South of Selwyn Centre -
Beginners 2 x rope < 1983 > 200 / 20 Near New Chum chair site -
Township 1 T-bar 1972 - 2008 500 / 75 - Moved from Perisher. Replaced by Township chair in 2009
Township 2 T-bar 1978 - 2008 500 / 75 - Moved from Kiandra. Replaced by Township chair in 2009
Bullock Head Poma < 1983 > 450 / 90 North of Selwyn Centre -
Racecourse Poma < 1983 > 500 / 110 - -
Racecourse T-bar <1984 - present - - -
Ski School Rope tow <1984 - present - - -
New Chum 2-Chair-F 1988 - present - - -
Powerline Rope tow < 1983 > 300 / 42 - -
Powerline Poma ? - present - - Was to be replaced by the extended triple chair, but still intact
Homerun Poma ? - present - - -
Boomerang Platter ? - present - - -
Home Run Poma <1984 - present - - -
Snowflake Snowtube ? - present - - -
Wombat Rope tow < 1983 > 250 / 35 - -
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 709 / ? Township Buller's Helicopter Flat / ABOM chair relocated

Either Powerline or Homerun Poma was moved from Smiggins. 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)

Tasmania, proposals outside resorts

Location Date Proposed Notes
Mt Rufus Late 1940's Rufus Ski Club. Work began on two lifts but was never completed
Black Bluff 1960 Part of Ellis brothers scheme to build a chalet & 16 Cabins at Lake Lea near Cradle Mtn
Mt Rufus 1971 Planned to include a gondola, 4 chairlifts and 2 pomas. Access from Lake St Clair area
Florentine Peak Early 1970's May have been intended to link with Mt Mawson club field

Despite a number of proposals, there have been no succesful attempts to build ski lifts at locations other than the ski resort at Ben Lomond and the club field at Mt Mawson. For more detailed information and a map of the proposed Rufus resort, see the non resort tows article.


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Lift name Type Manufacturer Operated Length/Vert Location Notes
Crackenback Nutcracker Various 1957 only c.800/c.250 Mid half of Kosci Express Cost £1870, used parts of Northcote Tow *
Gam Tow T-bar John Gam 1957 - ? 275 / 76 Below C/back rope tow Light & underpowered. Probably 1957 only
Crackenback 2-Chair-F Mueller / Riblet 1958 - 1989 1835/ 560 Same as Kosci Express Originally to Kareela, lengthened 1962 *
? Rope tow - 1958 - 1963 . ? / 122 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 650 / 145 In Basin, top of mountain -
Ramshead 2-Chair-F Riblet 1963 - present 1770/ 480 Base to bottom of Basin Top station moved uphill, orig prone to drifting snow
? Rope tow - 1964 - 1967 - B/w Kosi Ex & Ramshead 4th location for 1957 Crackenback rope tow
Merritts 2-Chair-F Riblet 1968 - present 1350/ 299 Base area to Merritts -
Merritts Duplex 1 T-bar - 1968 - 1994 696 / 162 Merritts, Walkabout run Replaced by Cruiser Chair
Merritts Duplex 2 T-bar - 1968 - 1994 753 / 180 Merritts, Walkabout run Replaced by Cruiser Chair
Ski School / Easy Rider T-bar - 1968 - present now 275/65 Merritts Spur Shortened & renamed in 1995. Originally 410/80
Anton's T-bar - 1977 - present 800 / 230 Central Spur Originally self-loading (= chaos)
Harusch? Rope tow - 1978 - 1995 - Valley Terminal -
Harusch 100 Rope tow - < 1982 > 220 / 15 Beyond Harusch 500 -
Harusch 500 Rope tow - < 1982 > 131 / 15 Top C/back - top of Basin -
Harusch 1000 Rope tow - 1978 - 1995 148 / 40 West of Merrits T-bars Under Merritts top station, remains still visible in 2006
Mitey Mite Rope tow - < 1982 > 163 / 28 Merritts Spur -
Karel's T-bar - 1979 - present 464 / 83 - Highest remaining ski lift in Aust
Sponar's T-bar - 1979 - present 942 / 260 Central Spur -
Snowgums 2-Chair-F - 1980 - present 1735/ 472 Parallels Kosci Express Fastest chair in Aust when opened
Gunbarrel Express 4-Chair-D - 1988 - present 1679/ 426 - -
Easy Does It 4-Chair-F - 1988 - present 448 / 49 Friday Flat -
Crackenback/Kosciusko Exp 4/4-Chair/Gond-D Doppelmayr 1990 - present 1860/ 560 - Replaced Crackenback, renamed 2001
Cruiser 4-Chair-D - 1994 - present 1000/ 214 Merritts Spur Superseded Merrits duplex T Bar.
Snowrunner 1 Carpet - 2000 - present . 80 / 13 Friday Flat -
Snowrunner 2 Carpet - 2000 - present . 85 / 10 Friday Flat -
Planned lifts .
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 - Near Crackenback estate -
Fiveways T-bar - Recent plan - 500 m west of Sponars -
New Kosciusko Express 6-Chair-D - 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.

  • The Crackenback nutcracker lift was built from components of the Northcote Tow. Gelignite was used in the Kunama Basin to stop further build up of the avalanche causing snow which had demolished nearby Kunama Lodge. When faulty heating in the Northcote Tow hut caused a minor fire, the occupants bolted outside before the gelignite ignited, blowing the hut to smithereens. But the poles and sheaves were in good condition and these were utilised in the Crackenback tow. The engine for Crackenback was second hand from a rock crusher which had been used on the Snowy Hydro Scheme, the gear wheels and bullwheels were from cranes. The engine was put on a sled and winched itself up to the top station where it was installed in a shed made from bush timber and second hand iron. The lift was designed by Geoffrey Hughes who had been chairman of the Northcote Tow sub-committee. It cost £1870 to buy and install. After it was replaced by the Crackenback chairlift, the nutcracker tow was moved up hill to provide access to the higher slopes.
  • The Crackenback double chair was origninally 100% Mueller product, as was the 1962 extension. The towers and sheaves on the upper section were later replaced with Riblet components due to 'technical issues' including derailing. The lift was built by Transfield with on mountain transport provided by Helicopter Utilities. The cost (before the extension) was £35,000.

A few areas of this listing 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 and to 'Richardo' for details of manufacturers of early chairlifts.

Proposed new lifts at Thredbo. 2006. Click to enlarge

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.

--© 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-late 90's - 2 km north of summit near lodge. Wire rope nutcracker
Mt Wills Tallangatta Ski Club . ? - c.2000 _ Hand help rope tow. Used after unable to get insurance for main lift
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 Planned 2009 Portable rope tow Claimed in Warrigul Gazette article, but no sign of it yet

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

Other passenger ropeways (non snow)

Area Name Type of lift Dates Length/vert Notes
New South Wales .
Sydney Taronga Zoo Gondola 2000?-present Sky Safari Cableway. Web page. Photo gallery on Poma website.
Sydney Former showgrounds Gondola 1970's - 1997 Reinstalled at Wonderland.
Sydney Former showgrounds Double? chair 1960's? -1997 -
Sydney Wonderland Gondola 1999 - 2002 Ex showgrounds, renamed Skyrider
Sydney Moore Park grass ski Rope tow  ? -
Kurrajong Grass ski & cart Drag tow? <1983-present Now only carting. link
Camden Razorback Grass Ski  ? < 1983 > Located on Mt Hercules Road
Fernleigh Fernleigh Grass Ski Pk  ?  ? Located on Fernleigh Road
Port Macquarie Grass ski Drag tow?  ? -
Katoomba Skyway Cable car 1958 - 2004 Amusement park directory
Katoomba Skyway Cable car 2004 - present 380 / - Web page. Amusement park directory
Katoomba Cableway Cableway 2000 - present 545 / - Web page. Amusement park listing
Wollongong Jamberoo Action Park Double chair 1980 - present 500 / 130 Ex Thredbo-Charlotte Lift history & Amusement park directory
near Urunga & Mylestom Grass skiing c.1982 . .
Albury Grass ski ? ? - 2009? At the site now called Great Aussie Resort caravan park.
Victoria .
Melbourne Showgrounds Double chair 19?? - 200? -
Montrose Fox's Point Scenic Railway Funicular r/way 1956 - 1962/3 3 rail & passing loop, 34m vertical, 45° angle. more info
Dromana Arthur's Seat Double chair 1960 - 2003 Made by Australasian Ropeway (Dr Vladimir Hayek). Rebuilt 2003 - 2004
Dromana Arthur's Seat Double chair 2004 - 2006 950 / 225 Speed 0.8 m/s. The website is still available
Dromana proposed Arthur's Seat Quad & gond 2012 Announced 30 Oct 2010 Cost $5 million. Herald Sun article Age article
Portsea Back Beach Double chair 1962- c.1971 Built by Ron McCallum. Article. Photo. Colour promotional photo
Frankston Whistle Stop Amusement Pk Double chair 1969 - 1970 Land in Skye Rd sold & redeveloped, lift relocated to Carribean Gardens
Scoresby Carribean Gardens Double chair c1970-present Built by Ron McCallum. The Frankston chairlift relocated
Torquay Grass Ski Torquay Handle tow? 1980's Located on Duffields Road
Marysville Marysville Fun Park  ? < 1983 > Grass skiing. Located on Buxton Road
Yinnar South Dunalton Grass Ski Rope tow 1970's - >1983 Located on Brewster Road
Tasmania .
Hobart Showgrounds Double chair ? - ? Made by Dr Vladimir Hayek's Australasian Ropeway
Hobart Hobart Grass Ski Centre  ? < 1983 > Austins Ferry
Launceston Cataract Gorge Double chair 1972 - present 457 / - Claimed longest chairlift span in world (308 m), builder Ron McCallum Web page
Stanley The Nut Double chair c1990-present Web page. Lift previously located at Mt Baw Baw
Queenstown Double chair ?<2009>? No website, so no details Photo.
South Australia .
Adelaide Mt Thebarton Conveyor/carpet 1987 - 2005 World's first indoor ski slope
Adelaide Showgrounds Double chair 1980's-? -
Kersbrook Kersbrook Grass Ski Pk Drag tow? < 1983 > Located on Kersbrook Road
Adelaide Grass ski park  ? 1980's? Unconfirmed second grass ski park
Victor Harbour Granite Island Double chair ? - present -
Western Australia .
Perth Showgrounds Double chair ? - present Built by McCallum
Wooroloo El Caballo Blanco Double chair >1974-<1993 Current website. Moved to Adventure World
Bibra Lake Adventure World Double chair 1993 - present Sky Lift, 43 chairs. Amusement park directory
Wanneroo Grass skiing Rope tow 1980's
Queensland .
Brisbane Showgrounds Double chair ? - 2009 Made by Australasian Ropeway. Removed when showgrounds redeveloped
Brisbane Samford Grass Ski Pk  ? 1983 - 1993 link.
Gold Coast Magic Mountain Double chair 1962 - 1987 Reinstalled at Dreamworld
Gold Coast Dreamworld Double chair 1989 - 2005 312 / - Skylink ex Magic Mountain Web page.
Gold Coast Seaworld Open gondola 1989 - present 480 / - Sky High Skyway. Web page. Amusement pk directory
Woombye Grass skiing ? ? Apparently didn't last long. Possibly at Nambour rather than Woombye
Mt Bellenden Ker Telecommunications Open gondola <1972-present 5300 / ? Used by Broadcast Aust. Provides access to antenna on summit. Photo
Kareeya Power Station - ? 1957 - present Near Tully. Used by Stanwell.
Caravonica-Red Peak Skyrail 6 seat gondola 1995 - present Combined 2 separate cableways, total 114 cars, capacity 700 hour. website
Red Peak - Kuranda Skyrail 6 seat gondola 1995 - present = 7.5 km 2 separate cableways, built by Leitner-Poma. website
The Portsea chairlift built by Australian manufacturer Ron McCallum

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.

Thanks to Maurie Copsey for info on FNQ ropeways, these posters from for help with this section: SnowAndrew, ians 158, HiLo, jt-ski, Heinz, Dive, BLB, cashie, SAL, Claude Cat, pigface, Rowdy, PolePlant, K10, TACKIE, Mamabear, kimberlee81, currawong, D-eye, the following from : Johnmc, 2001, watchdog, and these posters from : reanimated35, pinksmile, AlexB

Proposed ski lifts outside snow fields

Location Date Proposed Notes
Perth area, W.A. 2007 - 2010 Proposed indoor 400 m ski slope. website
Kooralbyn, Qld 1990's Proposed outdoor 300m slope on artificial snow. website
Hobart, Tas 2010 Revival of 1990's plan for Mt Wellington cable car with slick video and Facebook page
Sydney, NSW c.2007? Proposed snow dome, now proposed to open in 2016. website

Cross country ski resorts (no lifts)

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. Corin Forest (ACT). No WikiSki page. Resort website.
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. Dinner Plain (Victoria). WikiSki page. Resort website.
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Lake Mountain (Victoria). WikiSki page. Resort website.
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. Mt Donna Buang (Victoria). WikiSki page. No resort website.
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Mt Stirling (Victoria). WikiSki page. Resort website.
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. Mt St Gwinear (Victoria). WikiSki page. Resort website.

WikiSki notes on Australian backcountry ski touring in all states.


  • The Australian page of contains 70 historic lift and run maps of Australian ski resorts.
  • A useful illustrated glossary of ski lift terms. It's American, so some terms may be a little different.
  • Chairlift identifier. Identify the manufacturer and age of lifts by parts such as grips, terminals, sheaves, etc.

Other 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.

  • McCallum. Ron McCallum built about 20 chairlifts and T-bars throughout Australia in the 1960's from a base in Moorabbin, Melbourne. Hoepefully an article will be written soon on his achievements. Lifts built include the Gully chairlift and the Summit, Village, Saddle and Sun Valley T-bars at Falls Creek, the chairlifts at Portsea, Launceston, Perth Showgrounds and Frankston/Caribbean Gardens. Another lift that is probably McCallum is the Boggy Creek T-bar at Buller.
  • Australasian Ropeway. Another local outfit that built a few chairlifts. It appears to have been run by Dr Vladimir Hayek, but details are still sketchy. Lifts definitely built by Hayek include Arthur's Seat (Mk 1), Hobart Showgrounds, Brisbane Showgrounds.
  • Hamilton. Most Australian nutcracker lifts are derived from the the design perfected by Bill (later Sir William) Hamilton in New Zealand. Hamilton installed his first lift at at Coronet Peak in 1947 and within a few years had perfected the Hamilton Model B design that has been used ever since. Most of the early nutcracker lifts installed in Australia were Hamilton products. Hamilton appears to have been the only commercial maker of nutcracker tows installed in Australia and New Zealand, although the Model B design was later widely copied by individuals and clubs. There is no website dedicated to Hamilton ski tows.
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    . . . . BMF (Bartholet Maschinenbau AG). A new Swiss entrant in the market.

They haven't installed a lift in Australia or New Zealand yet. BMF website. BMF ropeways publicity book (big download).

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    . . . Poma: Europe.
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    Leitner: Europe.
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    Leitner - Poma: North America.
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    Doppelmayr: all areas.
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    Riblet was an American chairlift manufacturer which grew to be the biggest in the world. But they failed to cater to the market's demand for detachable grip lifts. After atrophying for years, they finally closed down in 2003. The Ramshead and Merrits chairlifts at Thredbo are Riblet products.
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    Wikipedia page on Mueller Switzerland which closed in 1992. Mueller North America web page. Mueller built a few lifts in Australia, notably the 1958 Crackenback chair at Thredbo, the Mt Perisher double at Perisher in 1961 and the ill fated, 5.5 km chairlift between Thredbo Valley and Charlotte Pass which operated in 1964 and 1965.
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    Von Roll was a legendary Swiss company that attracted fiercer brand loyalty than any other lift manufacturer. They built chairlifts and gondolas throughout the world, but none in Australia. The company sold it's cableway and ski lift division to Doppelmayr in 1996. Wikipedia page.
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    Harusch Lifts. 30 years ago Thredbo had four lifts made by this small Canadian surface lift company. It's possible that they also made the portable handle tows that were used at Falls Creek, Thredbo and the one that is still used at Cabramurra.