Everything you need to know about Portillo’s crazy slingshot lifts

For expert to advanced skiers and snowboarders, at least one ride on Portillo’s famous slingshot lifts is a must-do experience while there. These lifts not only access awesome terrain and provide incredible views, but they’re an interesting engineering feat.

What is a slingshot lift?

Portillo’s slingshot lifts or Va et Vient (French for ‘come and go’) lifts were built by the Poma company for Roca Jack, Condor, Las Vizcachas and El Cara Cara runs. These runs are steep avalanche chutes, making the use of lift towers illogical. The slingshot lifts are comprised of pulleys anchored to the mountain above which pull five skiers and/or riders up the pitch side by side. Similar to a traditional Poma or T-bar lift, skis and boards remain on the snow as the skier or rider is towed uphill.

portillo slingshot lift

Photo: Diego Munita/Ski Portillo Chile

The slingshot lifts are recommended for expert to advanced skiers and riders because the dismount from the lift can be tricky at first. Skiers and riders basically push themselves off the lift, with their tails facing down the hill and must immediately orient their tips down the fall line or be ready to ski or ride backwards for a bit. It may seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite fun according to some Ski.com staffers who have first-hand experience.

Watch for a better idea of how these slingshot lifts work.

Portillo Surface Lift Safety

  • When riding a surface lift, always remain in the designated towpath and never zig-zag.
  • Unload only at designated area unless lift stops and ski patrol instructs you to unload.
  • If you fall from a surface lift, try to clear the path immediately, remove skis and exit towpath.
  • Leave the unloading area promptly.

If you’d like to give Portillo’s slingshot lifts and all the awesome terrain they access a go, book your ski trip today! Our 65+ Mountain Travel Experts are standing by at 800-610-8911. You can also get started by filling out a form for a free custom quote.

About Author: Leah Boucher
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now living in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com as Director of SEO + Content, I've been able to combine a litany of skills, passions and interests. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.

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