Magic carpet (ski lift)

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For other uses, see Magic carpet (disambiguation).
Interior of a magic carpet on the tubing run at Keystone Resort in Colorado
Magic carpet for children

A magic carpet (also carpet lift or ski conveyor) is a type of surface lift (like rope tows, T-bar lifts and platter lifts) installed at ski areas to transport skiers and snowboarders up the hill. The name is inspired by the mythological magic carpets featured in legends.


A magic carpet resembles a conveyor belt installed at the level of the snow, with the machinery and return belt typically hidden underneath. Some also include a canopy or tunnel. Passengers slide onto the belt at the base of the hill and stand with skis or snowboard facing forward. The moving belt pulls the passengers uphill. At the top, the belt pushes the passengers onto the snow and they slide away.


Magic carpets are the least threatening form of ski lift, especially for beginners and children. There is no altitude and little distance to fall, and the perceived risk of falling down is less than with handle tow lifts. They are easier to use than T-bar lifts and Poma lifts and don't require any new skills to use.[1]


closer view of magic carpet material

Magic carpets are limited to shallow grades due to their dependence on friction between the carpet and the bottom of the ski or board. Since skis and boards are naturally slippery and the belt operates in a snowy and wet environment, friction is limited. Their slow speed, limited distance, and capacity confine them to beginner and novice areas.

Controlling the snow to be at proper level for the entrance and exit is a more challenging snow control and grooming operation than a chairlift or rope tow. Overnight snow accumulations must be cleared before operation, typically by hand shoveling or sweeping. During operation, the carpet return device (at the top) must be periodically cleared of accumulated snow and ice.


Some magic carpets are covered for rider comfort and to minimize snowfall accumulation. Some of the longest magic carpets are the 560-foot (170 m) long installation at Stratton Mountain Resort[2] and the nearly 800-foot (240 m) carpet at Buck Hill in Burnsville, Minnesota, which has an overpass over a ski run.[3]


Side view of magic carpet
Entering the Snowbird Utah Tunnel on a Magic Carpet Ski Lift
Exiting the Snowbird Utah Tunnel from a Magic Carpet Ski Lift
  1. ^ "Lift Features & Highlights". Rocky Mountain Conveyor & Equipment, Inc. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  2. ^ "America's Longest Magic Carpet Ski Lift and New Snowmaking Coming to Stratton". First Tracks! Online. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  3. ^ Bill Hudson (January 1, 2009). "Magic Carpet Ride To The Top Of Buck Hill". WCCO-TV. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 

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