Have you ever wondered what happens at your favourite ski resorts after the season has long ended and the snow has melted away? You would guess that a lot of time is spent cutting back trees, mending fences, perhaps giving the cafe that long-overdue refit. Even so it makes for a curious sight, acres of green fields and hills when you would expect to see endless miles of fresh white powder. Unrecognisable, even, except for the tell-tale sign of that distinctive chairlift reaching up across the hills, just as it does in high season when the place is buzzing with happy skiers and snowboarders.
And it’s this trusty contraption which actually constitutes the most important task at hand for the engineers who are responsible for getting the resort ready for the start of the next season. Because, with the exception of off-piste touring skiers and professionals who are lucky enough to be able to rely on back-up support staff to get them to the start of their runs, all skiers depend on a serviceable chairlift. In fact these enormous mid-air conveyor belts are so ubiquitous to the modern ski resort that it’s easy to forget they’re even there.
That’s why you should probably take a look at this footage of an old lift at Winter Park, Colorado, being tested to destruction by maintenance staff during a break between seasons. It’s enough to make you wish you never needed to ride a chairlift ever again, or at least to encourage safety-conscious skiers to ask a few more searching questions about the state of the transport equipment next time they book a trip.