The Riblet Tramway Company was once the largest ski chairlift manufacturer in the world.

The Riblet Tramway Company was founded by Byron Christian Riblet. Riblet was born in Osage, Iowa, in 1865 and earned a degree in Civil Engineering. Arriving in Spokane in 1885, his first work was laying out railway and streetcar lines. He also built dams and irrigation projects.

In 1896, Riblet was contracted to erect a Finlayson ore 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 282007. 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.

Location Area name remaining removed notes ref
California Alpine Meadows 0 1 removed was hybrid with YAN
California Boreal Mountain Resort 2 0
California Dodge Ridge 5 0
California Heavenly Ski Resort 2 0 2 triples, one a hybrid with YAN
California Iron Mountain 3 0 "planning 2 more"
California June Mountain 4 0 2 are hybrid manufacturers
California Mammoth Mountain Ski Area 0 6
California Northstar at Tahoe 1 5
California Squaw Valley Ski Resort 1 5 hybrid with YAN
California Badger Pass Ski Area 0 1
Colorado Aspen Mountain 1 4 updated in 1985 by Poma
Colorado Aspen Highlands 0 9
Colorado Breckenridge Ski Resort 6 2 one remaining chair is a triple
Colorado Buttermilk 0 1
Colorado Crested Butte Mountain Resort 2 1
Colorado Durango Mountain ski area 3 0
Colorado Hesperus 1 0
Colorado Keystone Resort 0 2
Colorado Powderhorn ski area 0 1
Colorado Aspen/Snowmass 5 2 one triple remains, one was removed
Colorado Vail Ski Resort 3 3
Colorado Winter Park Resort 1 4
Idaho Bogus Basin 4 0 3 doubles, 1 triple
Idaho Brundage Mountain 0 2
Idaho Lookout Pass ski area 1 0
Idaho Schweitzer Mountain 4 4
Idaho Silver Mountain 1 0
Idaho Sun Valley 1 4
Indiana Perfect North 5 0 2 quads and 3 triples
Massachusetts Jiminy Peak 3 1 double, 2 triples
Michigan Boyne Highlands Snow Ski Resort 7 0 4 triples and 3 quads
Michigan Boyne Mountain 7 0 1 double, 2 triples, 4 quads
Michigan Nub's Nob 6 0 1 double, 2 triples, 3 quads
Michigan Pine Mountain ski area 3 1
Michigan Snow Snake ski area 1 0 a triple chair
Minnesota Giants Ridge 5 0 2 triples, 3 doubles
Montana Big Sky Resort 1 0
Montana Bridger Bowl Ski Area 4 0
Montana Bridger Bowl Ski Area 3 0
Montana Montana Snowbowl 2 1
Montana 3 0
New Hampshire Crotched Mountain 3 0
New Hampshire Mount Sunapee Resort 1 0 Begun in 1986 by Riblet, completed 1987 by Doppelmayr
New Hampshire Wildcat Mountain Ski Area 2 2 the two remaining are triples
New Mexico Ski Santa Fe 1 0
Oregon Hoodoo (ski area) 3 3 1 double, 1 triple, 1 quad
Oregon Mount Ashland 3 0 1 double, 2 triples
Oregon Mount Bachelor ski area 0 7
Oregon Mount Hood Meadows 3 1
Oregon Mount Hood Skibowl 4 1
Oregon Oregon State Fair 1 0
Oregon Summit Ski Area 1 0
Oregon Timberline Lodge ski area 0 5
Oregon Willamette Pass ski area 3 2 3 triples
Utah Brighton Ski Resort 1 1
Utah The Canyons 1 2
Washington Mount Baker Ski Area 5 2 3 quads and 2 doubles remain
Washington Stevens Pass Ski Area 4 4 1 triple remains
Washington The Summit at Snoqualmie 12 6 2 triples
Washington Crystal Mountain 4 2 one is a hybrid with Hall
Washington White Pass Ski Area 2 2
Washington Mission Ridge Ski Area 3 1
Washington Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park 5 0
Washington # Loup Loup 0 1
Washington 49 Degrees North Ski Area 4 0
Wyoming Grand Targhee Resort 1 0
Wyoming Jackson Hole Mountain Resort 0 1

See also



Martin J. Wells (2005). Tramway Titan: Byron Riblet, Wire Rope and Western Resource Towns. Trafford Publishing, Victoria. ISBN 1-4120-5093-6.

External links

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