Now you're talking Santa! Towpro portable ski lift yes please

snow action team 13.09.2020

All we want for Xmas is a Towpro portable ski lift! How cool are these?

Luggable by two people, the Towpro can be set up anywhere with snow you are allowed too pretty much.

And if you’re quick on Towpro-lifts new kickstarter program you can get one of their new ‘Backyard’ models for under $USD 5,000 – $4,799 to be precise, delivered in time for Xmas, for the first 5 people who get on the campaign that goes live October 1st. The new model will normally sell for $6,000. See more on that and the link below.

View of Towpro portable rope tow with anchor station set at bottom of slope
Hot lapping on your personal lift .. Yes please! © Towpro

Your own personal, portable rope tow sounds like a dream come true for riders. It’s a dream made reality by Towpro founder and pro-boarder Will Mayo.

He has taken 10hp unit on a big air show tour with 6 fellow pros through 10 resorts. Those included legends like Scotty Lago and Tim Humphreys, who have already been effusive in their praise of the setup.

Progress has been slow rather than spectacular so far, and lessons have been learnt along the way to improve the system.

Now Mayo is set to take things to a higher level with the launch of the new ‘Backyard’ model.

Skier riding a Towpro portable ski lift
Instant capacity boost © Towpro

“We are entering our 3rd winter in production and this is our 4th year in operation since inception” he told Snow Action.

“Production and sales are slow and steadily growing, we have deployed 2 resort sized units in Aomori Spring Japan, where the Japanese Halfpipe team will use them to train on the 22’ pipe.”

“We also have one larger unit being deployed here in the states in Idaho next month, and we have begun the process of arming our pro team with backyard models. Right now one is in the hands of Will Wesson in Utah, and one is in Tahoe with Casey Willax, Matt Shaffer, Jeff Sponzo and Tim Humphreys.”

“It’s been a long strange trip from taking it on tour, to redesigning and upgrading the entire thing using our knowledge from the tour, and then finally taking the time to build the brand and do all the paper pushing and legal stuff.”

“But now we are here and it’s finally getting some attention. I’m excited to be a part of something like this, I want to make snowboarding and skiing accessible for more people and help reduce the nonsense that goes along with waiting in lift lines and sitting on your butt for half the day. More laps more fun!”

Where would you set up? © Towpro

That’s for sure.

He says the resort ready models are ideal for a range of uses, like half pipes, terrain parks, rail jams, race practice, tubing hills, pond skims, airbags, really any gravity sport where you want to go uphill and downhill as many times as possible.

It could even be brought into the backcountry, which would be a stretch – and a stretch of the rules likely most snowy places in Australia, but in NZ there would be lots of options. They can run off a portable generator, so ideally somewhere you could skidoo or 4WD to would be ideal for a backcountry set up.

The resort ready models can go up to 1500 ft of service, while the new backyard model will do half that – or 460m and 230m respectively. Would have been handy out at Twin Humps – 460m running sideways back up to the flat would have been very nice.

Too easy © Towpro

The backyard model weighs 150lbs/68kg for the drive unit, plus rope (for 600ft/184m of run), stanchions, return anchor setting and other accessories another 175lbs/80kg, so from 325lbs/147.5kg all up.

That can be wheeled around and installed by a single operator/owner. Laying out the rope is the most time consuming part of set up. The resort models have been set up in 30 minutes, but an hour is a likely target for the backyard model.

Towpro portable rope tows can be set up with the drive unit at the top or bottom of the slope. The turn around end can be anchored in the snow vertically or horizontally, or even clasped to a suitable tree.

The backyard model will tow up to 5 people simultaneously depending on the gradient.

So Santa, you know what we want now! Since chatting with Tim Mayo about it I can’t stop dreaming about where we could use it ..

Otherwise get on the kickstarter campaign, which goes live Oct 1st will offer a rock bottom deal of USD 4799 for the package to the first 5 backers and then 5799 to the next 35. It’s the only commercially available consumer grade rope tow system on the market. Just in time for winter the first 20 backers (in North America) will get their units delivered before December 25 2020, The next 20 before March 2021. For downunder buyers who got on this that would allow plenty of shipping time ahead of 2021 winter. 

Some Towpro Tec specs:

  • Aluminum construction for minimal Maintainance needs.
  • Emergency stop controls and gates on both ends of the unit
  • Variable speed controls
  • 5/8″ or 3/4” diameter rope for easy set up and storage while still providing a solid grip for occupants.
  • Multiple rope lengths can be used with one lift to provide versatility on the mountain.
  • Available in 200-480 Volts inputs in either Single or 3-Phase.
  • YES it can run from an appropriately sized generator
  • A “Forward / Reverse” control switch  allows you to operate the lift with uphill service on either the left or the right of the system.

More Towpro details

These are some highlights, go have a browse on their site for more

Set up and portability: we recommend having 3-5 able bodied people available to set up the lift. The powered unit can be slid around on the snow by hand, snowmobile or cat, and anchored on a flat surface (you can dig out a small shelf when on a slope to achieve this) 4 anchors for the powered unit are 3ft long large tent stakes hammered into the snow and ice for stability and attached to the unit through ratchet straps and mounting hook tabs. The Drive Unit has locations to hammer stakes directly through the frame into the snow too.

The Drive Unit Housing the motor and mechanical linkages, the Drive Unit is the foundation of the system. Our dual belt drive system provides redundancy ensuring delivery of power even if one belt breaks. The aluminum frame is strong yet light weight, designed with many mounting points and attachments for the Control Unit. 

The Control Unit The brains of the operation,  the Control Unit houses the onboard VFD and control circuitry. The control unit is typically mounted on top of the drive unit, but can be mounted up to a few hundred feet away from the drive location. With buttons for power on, e-stop, variable speed control, direction of rotation and an onboard light for nighttime operation, the control unit makes it easy to operate the Towpro System.

The Return Unit consisting of two sheaves, a foldable aluminum frame and skids, the return unit can be anchored with anywhere from 3 to 5 stakes depending on loading conditions. It is designed to move on the surface of the snow while anchored to provide some suspension for the system and allow for appropriate tensioning of the rope. A simple ratcheting cable winch puller and handle is enough to apply tension to the system through a supplied steel cable (all components included in the package)

Your rope tow system will come with everything you need to be set up and running the same day it arrives. Anchors, strapping, cables, stanchions, e-stop gates and more, all will be in the crate when you take delivery of your new lift. Just plug it in to your designated power source and go.