I want to be a ski-lift engineer when I grow up

That’s what my 8-year-old daughter said to me yesterday. Truth be told, I’d been talking earlier in the week about ski-lift engineering as a job that combines so many of her passions: rocks and minerals: climbing; being outdoors; skiing (following a single trip to a dry ski slope); making Lego zip lines; drawing. No wonder she likes the idea. So do I. In fact, wonder if it is too late to apply?

Conscious that commercial skiing, as a highly-carbon intensive activity, is a maker of its own demise, average air temperatures are rising quicker over the Alps than elsewhere in Europe due, I am widening the scope of the role to include lifts that can transport bicycles too.

So, what does it involve? How do you become one? This is what I have found out from some YouTube crawling.

People on YouTube installing ski-lifts in the Alps seem to smile less than people on YouTube installing ski-lifts in the Rockies. Maybe because the former are pointier (the mountains that is).

When you’ve finished you get to see your creation come alive.

There’s a fair amount of forestry involved.

I would need to overcome the fear of the small voice in my head that dares me to jump when I am up in high places.

It’s the same game as electricity transmission tower building, which has also piqued my imagination in the past (which reminds me, I sent off my payment to join the Pylon Appreciation Society but never received my membership badge).

The logistics of how to get the materials to remote, high-up places is fascinating.

It involves lots of weather.

I hadn’t appreciated just how heavy the cable is. Getting it up to the construction site seems to be one of the biggest logistical challenges.

Speaking German and French would probably help.

The lifts don’t just have to be for skiing and cycling. I found one example of a cable car built to facilitate the construction of high-altitude hydroelectric plant – see here.

This video took my breath away:

I still haven’t found an application form yet. I need to do some work on my CV.

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