Gold Coast Funitel – Palisades Tahoe, CA

Towers 1 and 2.
Bottom terminal building.
View up towards Gold Coast.
Tower 1.
Terminal closed up for the summer.
Tower 3.
Turntable at the turnaround allowing cabins to be parked in the middle of the terminal.
Arrival side of the top station.
Each hanger features four detachable grips.
Top station turnaround.
Top terminal building at Gold Coast.
Tower and cabin.
Downhill side of the top station.
Cabins passing.
Gold Coast building.
Middle part of the line.
Protect Our Winters livery.
Cabins inside the top station.
Side parking area.
Toyota cabin livery.
Upper part of the line over Big Blue.
Arrival side at the top.
Breakover towers.
Tower 9.
A tower from above.
Cabins pass tower 6.
Tall tower.
View down the lift line.
Lower portion of the line.
A huge section of rock had to be blasted away to make room for such a large lift.
View up the line with cabins out.
POW and Toyota liveries.
Cabin departing the bottom station.
Acceleration equipment.

23 thoughts on “Gold Coast Funitel – Palisades Tahoe, CA

  1. Duncan N. March 22, 2018 / 11:40 am

    Since the hangar was completely free standing in the terminals, how did they insure alignment when it entered into the acceleration setup? And if this worked, why do modern terminals suspend the cabins instead of using this tech? As a side question, how do double grips work? It seems like there would be a lot of conflict in the acceleration/deceleration portions when one grip is being driven by a tire running at a different speed from the other.


    • Teddy Hubbell April 15, 2018 / 5:34 pm

      I don’t know, but it’s pretty cool to have the grips be free standing like that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • John November 8, 2018 / 8:03 am

      If you notice, one of the photos shows a single traction plate in the centre of the four-grip suspension platform. The tyres drive this and not the grips as a single detach grip normally is driven.


    • chip0 November 10, 2018 / 7:00 pm

      I’ve always thought that was a terrible design. On Doppelmayr Funitels, the cabins have two hangers, each with the grips on the outside and the rollers on the inside, so it’s fully suspended in the terminal. Of course, Funitels have been more or less superseded by 3S’s anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zippo May 8, 2022 / 9:01 pm

        I work on this machine. This is a Garaventa Funitel, which is owned by Doppelmayr, and was at the very cutting edge when it was built over 20 years ago…


        • Tommy Boy May 9, 2022 / 11:15 am

          What are the upgrades planned for the Funitel this summer?


        • Kirk May 9, 2022 / 4:23 pm

          Drive and control replacement. DC Drive to AC Drive, electric motor replacement, electronics etc.
          All the accelerators, decelerators and carrier transport are electrically driven and controlled. Using separate Drive and control systems for each.
          The accelerators and decelerators are not driven off the haulrope like on conventional detachable lifts.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Tijsen January 24, 2020 / 1:30 pm

      In some funitels, like the Gletscherbus 3 at Hintertux, all tires run at the same speed and a motor makes all tires accelerate together. To get the grips back on the rails correctly first the traction plate moving against the tires moves the cabin left or right to the correct spot, and then the wheels on the grips go on the rails and lifts the cabin slightly, like how any detach grip goes into the station.


      • pbropetech May 9, 2022 / 9:10 pm

        A small correction- when the grips meet the rope, if everything is set up correctly, there should be no lifting of the cabin (or chair). If this is the case the sheaves are out of alignment re: the principal rails. If the cabin lifts up when it attaches to the rope there will be wear on the grip. We spend a fair amount of time every off-season making sure the rope-to-rail alignment is correct. The traction plate’s sole purpose in life is to move the carrier from the arrival side of the terminal to the departure.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. themav April 22, 2019 / 5:43 pm

    Does this system use only a single splice? Basically, is the haul rope one long continuous piece that snakes it’s way up and down the mountain twice? Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Billy B. April 22, 2019 / 7:45 pm

      I think that it is a single splice with a unique bullwheel configuration that creates the parallel ropes running at the same speed. The link below is a report about the system shortly after it opened (click on “Download/View” after heading to the link) with a nice diagram of the haul rope setup on page 4, as well as plenty of other information about the system. Hope that helps.


      Liked by 2 people

      • themav April 22, 2019 / 10:11 pm

        Thanks for that, very helpful!

        Best I could tell it looks like the drive station has a double-grooved bullwheel. The tension return station has a couple of bullwheels, and it looks like the rope crosses over itself; outside to inside, inside to outside. What a monster lift.


        • Kirk April 23, 2019 / 8:01 am

          One 50 mm continues rope, 2 splices due to shipping. Approximately 36,300″ of rope.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Donald Reif October 17, 2019 / 6:21 pm

    Nice distant view of the Crystal Express at Diamond Peak there.


  4. Phoenix February 10, 2020 / 9:04 pm

    These cabins look a lot smaller than 3S cabins which are almost always either 28 or 30 person cabins. Do these actually fit 28 people?


    • julestheshiba February 16, 2020 / 2:09 pm

      They do tend to fill the cabins to the max on weekends and I feel like there have been days where there are 28 people in those cabins, but normally they fit around 20 people


  5. julestheshiba February 16, 2020 / 2:08 pm

    I wonder if Peter can go back to get some pictures of the drive and machinery on this lift because on some days they have the door to the lower drive room open and you can see the bullwheel setup.


  6. wolf February 14, 2022 / 3:15 pm

    This has Stadeli clamps. Google it.


  7. Mason September 6, 2022 / 11:13 pm

    Is this the only funitel in the US?


  8. Seilbahn October 2, 2022 / 6:55 pm

    Unfortunately, yes. Theres the Peak to Peak 3s in British Columbia, buts its lower capacity, and in my opinion, having one haul rope and two support ropes, is less technically impressive compared to having two seperate haul ropes that the cabins attach too. Im probably in the minority in this opinion but I find Funitels far cooler and advanced in comparison to 3s systems, which are basically regular monocable gondolas with two fixed support ropes to increase wind resistance


  9. Chairlift World January 8, 2023 / 7:38 pm

    What did it look like fefore “The Rock” (I’m thinking of the meme) was blasted?


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