In 1896, Riblet was contracted to erect a Finlayson ore[clarification needed] tramway at the Noble Five silver mine in Sandon, British Columbia, to assist in moving ore down Reco Mountain to the mill at Cody. Apparently Riblet thought he was coming to build a streetcar line. Even so, Riblet decided he could improve the mining tram performance. Over time, Riblet raised more tramways in the booming mining district, building thirty aerial tramways in the next ten years. Riblet returned to Spokane in 1908, after working in the Kootenays, to found the Riblet Tramway Company. This company specialised in mining tramways building them in Alaska, Canada, the Western United States and South America.
Riblet built its first chairlift in 1938 at Mount Hood, Oregon. Byron Riblet died in 1952, but the company boomed with the new, postwar ski resorts. Skiing gained in popularity, and soon ski lifts became the major part of the Riblet Tramway Company's business. They built numerous lifts, particularly in Washington, Oregon and California, and even as far away as Australia. The company installed over 400 chairlifts. They have the most double chair lifts operating in the U.S.
The company only built fixed-grip lifts, where the chair grip is woven into the haul rope rather than clamped onto it; because of the limited market for such lifts, it announced in early 2003 that the firm was no longer viable and was going out of business.
Riblet chairlifts can be found in many places still in service, though the majority have been removed. This table contains those documented by SkiLifts.org as of December 28, 2007. More Riblet chairlifts may be in existence, though some listed below may have already been removed. There is a total of 160 existing Riblet chairlifts and 103 no longer installed.
Gore Mt. High Peaks Lift (installed by Brandt Bros. of West Mt.