On crowded days at mega resorts sure, 8 seaters, 6 pacs, mega gondolas and subsonic funiculars are useful. But for soul forget hi-tec mass transit, you can get that commuting to work! It’s character that matters. We count down the top 5 Southern Hemisphere keep-it-real lifts, starting with #5, the International Poma at Falls Creek, or the ‘Inter’ as it’s more commonly known to aficionados.
Words & pictures Matt Hull.
The International Poma at Falls Creek is usually the last lift to open there, so when it does it signifies that winter has well and truly kicked in. Over a kilometre long and 48 years old, this poma has transported more butts and dragged more beginners feet first up the Australian high country than most.
Named ‘International’ after it was built out to a area used for a F.I.S. International Downhill race in 1960, the locals now fondly refer to it as just ‘Inter’, and it’s their gateway to all the runs and off piste in The Maze, an area of mostly black runs with lots to explore, not to mention Wishing Well, the longest advanced run on the mountain.
This quirky poma is known for ‘the corner’ at Tower 9, where it completely changes direction. This corner is notorious for skiers loading up the spring on the poma to try to get some air time, which inevitably ends up derailing it.
Back in 2015 this caused major damage to the old girl, and the tow closed for two weeks in peak season while a new cable was shipped over from Europe. A manhunt started to find the peanut who wrecked the beloved old tow.
Since being built in 1969 this tow has been through the wringer of constant abuse, many derailments, and even a fight with a huge bushfire in 2003 that left many of its towers black and charred, yet it still lives on and has even been nominated by locals to be heritage listed!
This tow will be spinning well after I hang up my boots, continuing to pull generations of skiers and boarders crotch first up the mountain the same way it has for the past half a century.
Inter, we salute you!