The Ultimate in Mechanized Skiing

Post by blogger | March 9, 2007      
Pehaps this could be access for backcountry skiing?

Sell your snowmobile, trade in your SUV and orient to mass transit, it’s the ski lift bus!

I was placing products on the Vintage Ski World webstore today and ran across this image made back in the 1950s by famed skiing fine-art photog Ray Atkeson. To say the least it elicited a chuckle. I don’t know if they ever built a working model of this, it might be mock-up. But what a concept. You climb on a bus in Portland, Oregon. Later you’re still in your bus seat and you notice you’re lifted in the air and sailing up the mountain as a ski lift. Sort of like the car/airplane that futurists used to predict would save our transportation system.

From an engineering standpoint, one can only imagine the structural requirements for a tram that would haul a full diesel bus up a mountain and lower it back down. One also wonders at the wisdom of standing under it.

Fun stuff for Friday. Anyone know if they actually made a working model of this thing? As for Ray Atkeson, I’ll get more of his photos up on VSW this evening after testing some skis today; for now there are some Atkeson posters in their poster section.


4 Responses to “The Ultimate in Mechanized Skiing”

  1. Carl Pelletier March 9th, 2007 1:25 pm

    I think that we should submit this vintage poster to the folks at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort . . . it could factor into the design of the new tram slated for 200?

    Cool Picture! Happy Friday! I’m off to a yurt in the Teton backcountry for the next 4 days.

  2. wolfy March 9th, 2007 5:33 pm

    They used to haul ore in overhead trams like that. Trams made of wood and iron. I think the mass of a buss would be about the same as a bucket full of rocks. (one can only imagine such things, in the context of burning the last 30 minutes of a friday at least)

    in short, I think this falls under the category of: it’s just so crazy it just might work!


  3. hoodie March 9th, 2007 6:05 pm

    I’m pretty sure they had that thing running from Government Camp up to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. I believe they ran on the power of the bus engine, hence the cables around the pulleys on the axles.
    The swath through the trees is still present, but the time that was in service was very short.


  4. Chris Erickson March 10th, 2007 1:36 pm

    We have a print of that thing on the kitchen wall. If you scroll down this website: you’ll see a bit of history about the “skiway”.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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