The oldest ski lift in the world

Davos was home to the first T-bar ski lift in the world. It changed the face of skiing. (SRF/

This content was published on February 9, 2015

The T-bar ski lift was designed by Zurich engineer Ernst Gustav Constam who registered his invention with the patent office in 1930. Four years later, the first ski lift went into operation on the Bolgen practice area in Davos.

A world first, it was instantly a media sensation and attracted 70,000 skiers in its first year alone. After this first trial and at the suggestion of ski instructor Jack Ettinger, what had initially been a J-shaped single handle was replaced by a T-shaped double bar. The design proved to be immediately very popular as it doubled the carrying capacity making the “Constam” the most common ski lift design.

In this video, Paul Accola - father of famous alpine skiers Paul and Martina Accola - recollects the influence that the Bolgen ski lift had on his life. 

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