Behind the Scenes of the Jackson Hole Tram

The tram's motor room under the bottom dock houses electric motors, a large generator, braking systems and evacuation drives.
A motor room under the bottom dock houses electric motors, two generators, three braking systems and two evacuation drives.

The $31 million Jackson Hole Aerial Tram is the most expensive lift ever built at a US ski area.  Constructed by Garaventa over 20 months, the new tram opened to great fanfare on December 20, 2008.  It can move a hundred people 4,083 vertical feet in under nine minutes.  Compared with a detachable lift, the tram is a relatively simple machine built on a massive scale.

The view from carriage level just above tower 2.
The view from carriage level just above tower 2.

Like most jig-back aerial tramways, there are four track ropes and a single haul rope that that drives both cabins.  All five wire ropes were manufactured by Fatzer in Switzerland.  Five towers support the line; towers 1 and 2 are the tallest and furthest apart.  Two CWA Kronos cabins move 650 passengers per hour per direction at a maximum speed of 10 m/s.  Slope length is 12,463 feet.

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