Top Ten Steepest Lifts in North America

Below is a list of the top ten steepest lifts in the US and Canada.  I calculated these using a ratio of slope length to vertical rise using data from the manufacturers. To give you some perspective, Snowbasin’s tram has the lowest ratio at 1.11 while Whistler’s Peak 2 Peak has the highest ratio at 120.  The average lift is 4.65, meaning 4.65 feet of length to rise one vertical foot, on average.  Only three of the top ten are chairlifts and only five serve ski-able terrain.

Snowbasin's Mt. Allen Tram, built for the 2002 Olympics, is the steepest lift in North America.
Snowbasin’s Mt. Allen Tram, built for the 2002 Olympics, is the steepest lift in North America.

1. Mt. Allen Tram, Snowbasin, Utah – 1998 Doppelmayr 15-passenger tramway

1,165′ slope length x 1,047′ vertical rise = 1.11 length to vertical ratio

edit: Ski Area Management’s lift construction survey had the incorrect vertical for this lift.  It is actually 510′ making the Mt. Allen Tram about half as steep as posted above.

2. Mt. Roberts Tram, Juneau, Alaska – 1996 Poma 60-passenger tramway

3,098′ slope length x 1,746′ vertical rise = 1.77 length to vertical ratio

3. Lone Peak Tram, Big Sky Resort, Montana – 1995 Doppelmayr 15-passenger tramway

2,828′ slope length x 1,450′ vertical rise = 1.95 length to vertical ratio

4. Sulphur Mountain Gondola, Banff, Alberta – 1959 Bell 4-passenger bi-cable gondola

4,498′ slope length x 2,292′ vertical rise = 1.96 length to vertical ratio

5. Honeycomb Return, Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah – 2002 Doppelmayr CTEC quad

1,300′ slope length x 655′ vertical rise = 1.98 length to vertical ratio

6. Blue Skyride, Grouse Mountain, British Columbia – 1965 Habegger 40-passenger tramway

5,280′ slope length x 2,620′ vertical rise = 1.88 length to vertical ratio

7. Red Skyride, Grouse Mountain, British Columbia – 1976 Garaventa 100-passenger tramway

5,300′ slope length x 2,631′ vertical rise = 2.01 length to vertical ratio

8. Jasper Tramway, Jasper, Alberta – 1964 PHB 30-passenger tramway

6,590′ slope length x 3,190′ vertical rise = 2.06 length to vertical ratio

9. Headwaters, Big Sky Resort, Montana – 2005 Yan double

1,421′ slope length x 686′ vertical rise = 2.07 length to vertical ratio

10. Scott, Alpine Meadows, California – 1998 Garaventa CTEC triple

2,250′ slope length x 1,068′ vertical rise = 2.11 length to vertical ratio

12 thoughts on “Top Ten Steepest Lifts in North America

  1. Matthew Campbell March 21, 2016 / 12:44 pm

    Given that the vertical data for the Mt. Allen tram is wrong, does that mean that the Mt. Roberts tram is the steepest lift? I’m from Juneau AK so that would be some cool bragging rights:)

    Like

  2. Doppelmayr FTW May 15, 2016 / 6:43 pm

    Where is the Gatlinburg Sky Lift? I think it is steeper than Headwaters.

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    • Peter Landsman May 15, 2016 / 7:16 pm

      I don’t have detailed stats on it because it was not installed new.

      Like

  3. Wild Mountain Jim January 16, 2017 / 5:30 pm

    Why are lifts included that are not ski lifts. Some one did not do their homework. This website gets a F grade for failure to be accurate.

    You want steep lifts look at the T-Rex T bar at Castle Mountain Alberta or the Summit Plater at Lake Louise. This lifts have killed people when they fell.

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    • Peter Landsman January 16, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      Thanks for commenting.
      Summit is 3,673′ x 1,346′, ratio 2.73
      T-Rex is 4,780′ x 1,730′, ratio 2.76
      Big lifts for sure, but not among the steepest.

      Like

    • RMurphy May 21, 2017 / 1:14 am

      This website doesn’t focus on just ski lifts, but all aerial lifts. The data is sourced from SAM, so errors such as the wrong vertical on Snowbasin’s tram are due to that.

      Like

    • Castle Tourist October 10, 2017 / 12:01 pm

      T-Rex is the most grueling lift I’ve ever experienced. Triple went down and they fired that up and it’s exhausting to ride. Legs were burning and needed a break when we reached the top.

      Like

  4. Rob manak August 2, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    I rode a lift at Cooper Peak in ironwood mi today. STEEP! But short.

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