Russian inventor attempting to revolutionize skiing
TORONTO – Skiing in the backcountry is one way to avoid lift lines. Purchasing your own Portable Ski Lift is another. The Portable Ski Lift, patented by Toronto’s Anatoly Pivarunas in the early ’90s, costs $950 but it could save you from ever having to buy another lift ticket.”It’s nice to have a ski resort in your back yard,” Pivarunas said. “And it only takes 15 minutes to set up.”Pivarunas, an engineer who holds a Ph.D. from Moscow University, has been working on his invention for the last 30 years. He said he’s optimistic about the refinements that have been made over that time.
“We have an unsurpassable patent in the United States, Canada and Russia,” he said. “And we have gotten good responses to the product from around the globe.”The Portable Ski Lift is both small and simple – it’s quick to assemble and disassemble and it fits inside of a car trunk.Pivarunas’ invention is comprised essentially of a small engine, brace anchors, a set of pulleys and a cable. What the inventor refers to as the “drive unit,” is a 5.5-horsepower Briggs and Stratton gasoline-powered engine. Pivarunas has had to put his operation on hold recently as he waits for Briggs and Stratton to fill one of his orders.
“I have 50 people that are waiting for their ski lifts,” he said.Up until a year ago, Pivarunas had sold only about 10 Portable Ski Lifts. When he launched a web site and changed the name of his product from the Personal Ski Lift to the Portable Ski Lift, however, things began to take off. “We are selling them around the world,” Pivarunas said. “Most of the orders have come from Colorado, California and British Columbia.”According to its creator, the Portable Ski Lift can run up to 18 miles per hour, which makes it the fastest ski lift in the world.
The mechanism includes variable speeds and cable diameters to accommodate riders of all shapes and sizes.”The older design didn’t have variable speeds,” Pivarunas said. “I think that scared some people away from buying it.”The standard maximum length for the ski lift you can bring anywhere is approximately 150 yards. Extra cable can be purchased, however, to extend it twice as long. On the Web: http://www.skilift.nashacanada.com
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