The fun part of these activities (I would have said 'sports' but, hey, is tubing really a sport?) is the 'sliding downhill' component. Before you can enjoy this fun bit however, a necessary evil is a preliminary period of 'being lifted or pulled up the hill slowly' (I believe Isaac Newton was developing this as a corollary to his Laws of Motion. At least he was until he realized that, Eddie the Eagle notwithstanding, the UK has no hills or snow and consequently nobody would understand what he was talking about).
There are a number of mechanisms for accomplishing the 'preliminary slow uphill lifting'. Here is a partial list:
- Detachable quad
- the level of active participation expected of the user (e.g. holding onto a rope or sipping a latte in a gondola)
- their speed (all else being equal, you'd rather spend your time going downhill)
- the stress of getting on & off (nothing is more fun than watching 4 novice boarders disembarking from a quad chair. Nothing.)
- the degree to which the user is exposed to the weather (I posit that the top of the TGV chair at Mont Tremblant is colder per capita than the Antartic. )
- capacity (as in # butts lifted/hour)
Consequently, a smart operator uses the right 'lifting mechanism' for the right combination of slope, difficulty & accessibility. You will never (OK, perhaps in Vail) see a helicopter being used to run kids up to the top of the bunny hills (which can actually be deceptively challenging for even advanced boarders), nor will you see a magic-carpet unloading at the top of a double black-diamond (as I've never actually seen the top of such a run, I admit this is conjecture).
The right lift for the right hill. A good ski resort has appropriate variety in both.
The reader is encouraged to consider the relevance of this essay to identity systems. For extra points, discuss the concept of resort federations.