We know there are questions around travel amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read our note here.
Winter is officially here — and what better way to beat the chilly weather than working up a sweat on the slopes? While the primary appeal of skiing and snowboarding is undeniably the exhilaration of flying down a mountainside covered in fresh powder, the ride to the top can be half the fun. These extraordinarily long chairlifts and gondolas offer winter sports enthusiasts the chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy the pristine winter wonderland that awaits. Read on to discover six of the longest ski lifts in the world.
Peak2Peak Gondola, Whistler, Canada
As the name suggests, this Gondola spans 2.7 miles to join two of British Columbia’s most famous peaks, Blackcomb and Whistler. It also includes an impressive unsupported stretch of approximately 1.9 miles. The cherry red cable cars cross the valley between the two mountains at a height of more than 1,430 feet, allowing for spectacular 360-degree views of the villages below and the surrounding Canadian Coast Mountains. Peak2Peak is part of the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort; and the gondola is packed with skiers and snowboarders in the winter. However, the gondola is open year-round, and spring and summer can be great times to take in the mountainside in full bloom during the 22-minute round trip tour — and you might even spot some wildlife like bears and deer.
Zlatibor Gold Gondola (Zlatibor, Serbia)
While its primary function is a ski lift, Serbia’s Zlatibor Gold Gondola is almost a tourist attraction in itself — it snags the record as the longest gondola ride in the world. The 5.6-mile lift connects the charming town of Zlatibor to Tornik Ski Resort, one of the largest winter playgrounds in the country. Skiers and riders will experience 25 blissful minutes of panoramic mountain views as they make their way up to the 4,900-foot peak of Zlatibor Mountain. For those who are just along for the ride, there are future plans for a stopover station at Lake Ribnicko, the site of a prospective 200-acre luxury resort.
Slide Brook Express (Sugarbush, Vermont)
Exposed to the elements, skiers and boarders love climbing into this open-air quad chairlift to cross between Lincoln Peak and Mount Helen at Vermont’s Sugarbush Resort, one of the largest ski resorts in New England. Slide Brook Express is the longest and one of the fastest chairlifts of its kind in the world, stretching roughly 2.1 miles and cruising along at about 16 feet per second. The chairlift passes over the 2,000-acre Slide Brook Basin, famed for its back-country ski terrain — look closely and you might spot an adventurous trailblazer below.
Sunshine Express (Telluride, Colorado)
Sunshine Express previously held the record for the longest detachable chairlift in the world. Although it was eventually surpassed by Slide Brook Express, it still earns a place on this list, as the four-seater, high speed detachable chairlift whisks skiers and riders up nearly two miles to the top of Telluride Ski Resort. From there, they’ll have access to some of the most challenging and thrilling runs anywhere in the world, including Prospect Basin and Gold Hill. Sunshine Express also provides passage to Ute Park, a popular beginners’ area, so those who aren’t up to tackling advanced pistes can still enjoy the 10-minute leisurely ride.
Coulouvrier Chairlift (Grand Massif, France)
With access to the pristine Alps, France has long been a destination for both local and international skiers. Covering five resorts, the bucket-list Grand Massif ski region is one of the largest in the world, and when the Coulouvrier chairlift in 2017, it added another accolade to its list: the longest six-seater chairlift in Europe. Sprawling 1.7 miles, the detachable chairlift further expanded the region’s impressive boundaries by providing access to new terrain. The Coulouvrier Bowl offers more than 100 acres of pistes tucked between the villages of Morillon and Samoens.
Titlis Rotair Gondola, Engelberg-Titlis, Switzerland
It may not be the longest ski lift in the world, but the world’s first fully rotating gondola is designed to be as much an experience as it is a way to scale a mountaintop. Titlis Rotair Gondola sweeps riders to the 10,500-foot summit of Klein Titlis, offering magnificent 360-degree views of sheer rock faces, dramatic crevasses, and the snow-capped Uri Alps throughout the five-minute ride. The jaw-dropping scenery somehow makes the thought of spending a day on the Swiss slopes even more alluring.