A funitel is a type of aerial lift consisting of one or two loops of cable strung between two terminals over intermediate towers. The cables are arraged so as to maximize stability of the passenger cabins. The name funitel is a conjunction between the French words funicular and teleferique.

An example of a funitel

In order to maximize stability of the passenger cabins, the cables are arraged in two pairs moving in spearate directions. Althougth it might appear that there are four cables, most of the time there is actually only one (see diagram below).

The passenger cabins are connected to a pair of cables with four spring loaded grips (two to each cable). Because the cable runs faster then most people would care to board or disembark, the cabins must be slowed down while in the terminals to allow skiers to get on and off. This is accomplished by, once the cabin is detached from the cable, slowing down with progressivly slower rotating tires, which are mounted on the ciling of the terminal. Once the cabin has reached a speed at which it is safe to load or offload passengers, the cabins is moved around the end turnaround by tires mounted, unusually, on the floor. The cabin is then accelerated to line speed with yet more rotating tires.

A diagram of a funitel's cable setup- a Mobius loop.

See also