Noriker Horse Carriage, Alta Badia, Italy
The Armentarola (Hidden Valley) piste is widely renowned as one of the world’s most beautiful ski routes and certainly ends in one of the most unique ski lifts we’ve ever experienced. Here, skiers grab a hold of ropes behind a horse-drawn sleigh and are pulled on to the Sellaronda from the end of the run by two Noriker horses, a strong and sturdy breed native to the local Alpine valleys. It’s certainly a far cry from a multi-million-dollar gondola!
Hohstock, Belalp, Switzerland
The Hohstock T-Bar in Belalp, Switzerland, is a lift that shouldn’t even be physically possible. Built in 1982, this lift has the rare ability to turn in all four directions and is the last of its kind in Switzerland. From the top, you can choose from three entertaining black runs, one of which is accessed via a tunnel at the top of the slope and provides access to some epic secured freeride terrain. For serious lift lovers, the unique engineering behind the Hohstock is certainly worth reading into.
Peak-to-Peak, Whistler, BC
Whistler’s iconic Peak 2 Peak gondola once held the world record for the longest unsupported lift distance between two towers and reaches a staggering 436m at its highest point. However, to truly appreciate the wildness of this 3km ride, you must make sure you get the cabin with the glass bottom. The views over the snow-covered trees and rivers below are really something, plus you can easily plot your route down on your way up!
The King Lift, Niseko, Japan
Thought single-person lifts were a thing of the past? Think again! Individual chairlifts are still very much alive and kicking in certain areas, with many to be found in Japan’s famous powder resorts. The King Lift is one of our favourites, a staple of the area since the sixties and as basic as ski lifts can get. No safety bars, no ski rests, certainly no heated seats. Just you, your skis and some epic views over Mount Yōtei.
Alpauris, Alpe D’Huez, France
Endearingly known as the “Scare Chair”, this fast-moving chairlift sweeps you out of Alpe d’Huez under a concrete bridge and immediately drops down into the valley before whisking you up the other side. It’s certainly a stomach-dropper, but it’s also kind of fun, depending on how you handle heights! What’s more, the Alpauris is the only connection between Alpe d’Huez and the Auris area, so it’s unavoidable if you’re looking to explore further afield.
Titlis Rotair, Engelberg-Titlis, Switzerland
The world’s first revolving cable car, the Titlis Rotair graces many a list of the world’s best ski lifts thanks to its ability to give a full panoramic view of the surrounding mountainscapes. Enjoy 360° of spectacular scenery as you make the five-minute journey up to 3,020m above sea-level, before taking your pick of the area’s varied pistes and incredible freeride options on the way down.