Ski lift in at a European ski resort

Ski Lift Design Does The Impossible

Tis The Season, for those who are so inclined, to loft themselves to the top of a steep snow-covered hill and then go downhill, really fast. And if something gets in their way, turn. Whether they be on skis, a snowboard, or some other means, getting down usually involves using gravity. Getting up, on the other hand, usually involves a ski lift. And in the video by [kalsan15] after the break, we learn how technology has stepped in to make even the most inaccessible slopes just a lift ride away.

Ski lift in at a European ski resort
A ski lift that can only turn left.

In its most simple form, a ski lift is two pulleys connected by a steel cable. The pulley at the bottom of the hill is powered, and the pulley at the top of the hill serves as an idler. Attached to the steel cable are some means for a person to either sit down or grab a handle and be hoisted to the top of the hill.

Such a simple arrangement works fine if the geography allows for it, but what if there are turns, or there need to be multiple idlers to keep the wire taut but also close to the ground? Again, the most basic ski lifts have limitations. If the cable turns left around the idler, then the attachment for the handle or chair has to be on the right, making a right turn around the idler an impossibility.

How then can this problem be solved? We won’t spoil the outcome, but we recommend checking out [kalsan15]’s video for an excellent description of the problem and the solution that’ll leave you wondering “Why didn’t I think of that!?”

If you don’t find this hacky enough, then take a moment to learn how you too can not just make a gas-powered ski lift for your cabin in the woods, but then ride your slope down on your DIY Ski Bike!

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All This Bike Needs Is Some Snow!

It’s safe to say that the southern UK is not known for its winter snowfall. If you have lived through a British February then the chances are you’ll know a lot about rain and grey skies.

Happily this hasn’t deterred [Stuart]. Ever the optimist, he’s turned a pile of scrap metal and an unloved mountain bike into a fully functional ski-bike, and he’s just ready to go should the jet stream deliver a covering of the white stuff on the Thames Valley.

Using the facilities of rLab – Reading Makerspsce (he’s also a founder member of the up-and-coming Newbury and District Hackspace), [Stuart] didn’t just bodge together his “iCycle”. Instead he’s made it a really high quality build, with CNC’d aluminium fork stanchions to mount his skis, and foot pegs that are engineered not to let him down on the slopes. Best of all, the bike is nearly all made from scrap materials, only the bearings, axles and paint were brought in for the project.

Skiing hasn’t been featured very often in our coverage of the world of makers, however we have featured a skiing robot, back in 2009.

Snowboard Goggle HUD Displays Critical Data While Falling Down A Mountain

snowboard-google-hud

[Chris] has been hard at work building a Heads Up Display into some Snowboarding goggles. We’re used to seeing the components that went into the project, but the application is unexpected. His own warning that the display is too close to your face and could cause injury if you were to fall highlights the impractical nature of the build. But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere when it comes to prototyping. Perhaps the next iteration will be something safe to use.

A set of MyVu glasses were added to the top portion of the goggles, which lets the wearer view the LCD output by looking slightly up. The display is fed by a Raspberry Pi board which connects to a GPS module, all of which is powered by a USB backup battery. In the video after the break you can see that the display shows time of day, speed, altitude, and temperature (although he hasn’t got a temperature sensor hooked up just yet). His bill of materials puts the project cost at about £160 which is just less that $250.

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Backyard Ski Lift

If you own a cabin in the mountains of British Columbia what do you do during the warmer summer months? Well, we’d probably mix of a cocktail and string up a hammock, but [Darrin] is quite a bit more motivated. He planned for the snowy season by building his own ski lift. He shared the details in a forum post, but you’re going to have to register and wait for approval before you can view that thread. Perhaps you’ll want to look at the video after the break before making that kind of commitment. Normally we would just pass over projects that require a login to view, but this one deserves the attention.

The setup is essentially a very steep tow rope. 1600 feet of 1/8″ aircraft cable covers an 800 foot span of his property. Apparently he’s got a total of 1000 feet of vertical drop but the lift doesn’t cover the whole area quite yet. That 6.5 horsepower Honda engine drives the cable loop, with the pulley system seen above used as an RPM reducer. Each skier can hook onto the cable used the nylon rope with a ski-pole spacer and a hook. The RC vehicle remote control works as a dead man’s switch, starting the lift slowly when the throttle is depressed and stopping it when released.

Normally we like to link to similar projects, but so far this is the only ski lift we’ve covered. You’ll have to settle for this ski-pole mounted POV display.

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