Utah’s Remarkable Passenger Tram
THE “Steepest Passenger Tram in the World.” That is how Skytram is advertised at Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon, Utah, U.S.A. I wondered, ‘Can that really be true?’ I remember taking an aerial tram ride in Catalonia, Spain, about 15 years ago to visit the mountains of Montserrat, and that tram seemed to be steeper to me. So why do they say the steepest is here in Bridal Veil Falls? Because it rises 1,228 feet [374 m] in a cable length of 1,753 feet [534 m]—an average angle of over 45 degrees. When the car gets near the mountain lodge, at an altitude of 6,300 feet [1,900 m], the angle gets to be 62 degrees!
All of that is technical. The ride itself, in a six-person car, is beautiful as we rise from the highway and pass Bridal Veil Falls over to the left. We climb at an average speed of five miles per hour [8 km/hr]. Rugged mountains surround us—Mount Timpanogos rising to some 12,000 feet [3,600 m] behind us and the one we are climbing, Cascade Mountain, in front. The falls is a double cataract that plunges over 600 feet [180 m] before feeding into the Provo River. Some of the water is piped to a hydroelectric station four miles [6 km] away.
The Swiss-made tramway was opened in 1962 and has carried over 1.5 million people without a single serious accident. In case you feel nervous about taking a ride in an aerial tramway, a brochure states: “Tramways like this Skytram, historically and statistically, are the safest means of travel between two points.” The next time you use an aerial tramway, check it out—is it steeper than this one in Utah?
[Picture Credit Line on page 31]
Courtesy Mountainland Travel Region