Lifts 42 and 43: A Two-Lift System Combining a Single Pitch Upper Lift and a 2-Pitch Lower Lift

Upper Model: 4-Person 750-pound capacity
Upper Track: 220' at 24°
Lower Model: 4-Person 2-Pitch with 750-pound capacity
Lower Track: 200' at 18°and 70' at 32°
Years: 2011 and 2012

The owners of this property needed better access to the water, without the lifts the water was a fairly scary 20 minute car ride each way. The direct route between the cottage and the boathouse went over a crest and building a single lift along that line just wasn't possible, technically or aesthetically. As we can change the track angle but not its' direction, we came up with the idea of building two lifts nearly at right angles to each other that connect at a "transfer station". Together they make a large L-shaped lift system 490' long.


The approach to the 220' upper lift runs from a ramp off a side garden at cottage level. This lift takes you to the transfer station. Except for track sensors and control buttons, all the machinery is inside the housing.

The transfer station is up to 10' off the ground and sits in the middle of the forest.

The two lifts work smoothly together, the “smart” relays that run each lift are interconnected, in both hardware and software, so that a rider never needs to wait in the transfer station for their car to travel the whole way up or down a lift. A single switch decouples the lifts so they can be run independently for service work or for use in the winter when the cars are parked at the bottom of their tracks.


Looking up the hill to the top station.


A construction flashback: building these lifts was a technical challenge. We used one installation hoist on the upper section and a second on the lower lift and built all the 20' track sections on the top end of the top track and rode them down the hill. Altogether the installation hoists carried track nearly 1.1 km! Setting the first section was very tricky, it had to be located so the gates on the transfer station would be equal distance from their common corner and pointed so the lower station would be off the side deck of the boathouse 260' away and over a hill. It took a lot of thinking and a whole lot of high school trigonometry to nail it.

This picture is also a good demonstration of how stable our supporting legs are: this 20' section is over 12' off the ground in places and only the upper legs are totally installed but it's still strong enough to support the installation hoist. We actually used the hoist to help us install the second 20' section but we did not snap a picture.

The lower lift is our longest to date and only our second 2-Pitch lift. It crosses a private road with sufficient height that a five-ton truck can drive beneath it. The track then changes pitch to arrive at the boathouse dock. The ride through the forest is graceful and peaceful, much superior to the old practice of taking a long round-about road trip.

We built the 20' section over the roadway in such a way that it can be easily removed and replaced if needed.

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Approaching the lower station and peeking over the top. What a ride. The faint of heart can sit quietly gazing at the forest and not noticing the height of the ride.


They had to extend 7 planks on the boathouse dock to create a lower station. We were pretty pleased to see how well it all worked.


This is all you can see of these two lifts from the water.

The owners, familiar with Swiss engineering, were over the moon about their new lift system