Aspen gives Pakistan a (chair)lift
August 4, 2006
The old Funnel chairlift at Snowmass will live to see another day – although some of its riders over the last 40 years might wonder why.When the Aspen Skiing Co. took the slow, double-passenger chairlift out of commission this summer, officials hoped they could recover some of the cost of the demolition by selling scrap metal.But the old adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure proved remarkably true.Word of mouth about unwanted chairlifts tends to travel fast within the ski industry and with companies that dismantle and erect used lifts. Brokers even exist to match buyers with sellers.Somehow – the details are a little fuzzy – a man from Pakistan who was shopping for a lift learned that the Skico had one available and a deal was struck, according to Victor Gerdin, Skico mountain planner.The Pakistani got the lift free of charge, as long as he paid the demolition and shipping costs, Gerdin said. The buyer hired a company from Boulder that specializes in chairlift removal and construction to help him acquire his prize.The Funnel, which took skiers and riders on an excruciating 14-minute ride, was carefully dismantled this summer, packed into large cargo crates for transport by ship and trucked off to a port. The terminals and bullwheel are still being prepared for the journey.Gerdin said he believed the buyer was a hotelier, but he was uncertain about the setting where the Funnel lift will reappear. Everyone came out of the deal happy: The buyer got his chairlift (however slow) and the Skico got rid of the chair with no expense and no guilt from sending some of it to the landfill, Gerdin said. It was the ultimate recycling effort.”Normally we would just chop it up and sell it for scrap metal,” Gerdin said.The Assay Hill chairlift was also a recycling project this summer. That chair -which is as old and slow as the Funnel but only a six-minute ride – was dismantled and shipped off to a small ski area outside of Juneau, Alaska. Terms were the same as with the Funnel -the buyer paid all costs, and Skico officials got peace of mind.Scott Condon’s e-mail address email@example.com.