Today, I am lucky enough to live on the opposite side of a world-class ski mountain. But I wasn't always so lucky. I grew up snowboarding the massive mountains of central New Jersey. Evenings before snow storms would be spent scouting out "lines" under the high-tension wires or at the local school. The subsequent snow days hosted hours of trudging around town and up snow-covered hills to catch a little bit of gravity-fed powder. Two minutes worth of downhill, another 20 hoofing it back uphill.
If only I'd known about Anatoly Pivarunas' Portable Ski Lift Tow that I happened across when reading through Powder Magazine's website. Originally built in the U.S.S.R. back in the 1960's, this is the kind of product that kids (and adults too) spend their winter nights dreaming about.
The portable, tow-style ski lift is powered by a 5-hp engine and provides 450 feet worth of cable. According to the article, you can even add extra cable to increase the range. The lift travels between 11 and 18 mph. It weighs 55 lbs. and is compact enough to fit in a car or on a sled. Set-up can be done in just 15 minutes.
I wouldn't trust this thing to carry me over anything too dangerous, but imagine hiking a backcountry line once and doing fresh lines up and down all day. I'm all about earning your turns, but if you're lugging around a thousand-dollar, 55-lb. lift with you, consider them earned.
The ski lift costs $1250. You can get more information at skiliftportabletow.com or check out the lift in action in the video below.
If I knew anybody rich enough to pop for a $1200 birthday gift, I'd definitely be asking for this.