Invincible Tow Letch's Lift
The nutcracker rope tow at Invincible was built in 1996 and is 700m long, giving 300m of vertical lift. It is powered by a Ford 5000 tractor, so we start everyone off in a slower - 5th - gear and then crank her up to 8th as people get to grips with the system.
Rope tows are not rocket science, but there is something of an art to using one, and if you’ve gone direct from the magic carpet to high speed chairlift without passing T-Bars or the Platter, you may find the rope tow frustrating and difficult. For this reason, we are not a suitable venue for beginners or intermediates without off piste experience.
Here's some good rope tow advice (slightly edited) from our friends at Chill HQ in Canterbury, where they have plenty of rope tows: "You need
a glove protector, harness (or belt) and nutcracker. The purpose of the glove protector is to stop the rope destroying your gloves. First, get used to holding the rope (normally with one hand). As you grip the rope, keep your grip tight and travel the same speed as the tow in order to attach the nutcracker to the rope. A nutcracker is a large version of exactly the kind of thing you use to crack open nut shells to get at the kernel inside. It has two handles divided by a 'clamping' area and hinge. When attaching the nutcracker to the rope, you're best to swing it under the rope and hold closed from the top. Your nutcracker is attached to your harness or belt, and the weight of your body will be pulled from your hips, not hands or arms. To get off the rope tow just let thenutcracker's top handle go and it will unclamp. On release from the tow, move away from the track. When on the tow you can use your free hand to rest on the rope and help keep balanced (snowboarders), but remember to take your hand off when passing the pulleys. Beware of loose clothing, such as scarves, and long hair should be tied up. Safety first."
You can read and see more good info on rope tows on the Chill Out www.chillout.co.nz
Our rope tow takes you up to about 1800m in altitude and leaves you free to explore the huge area of terrain spreading out below you.
Nutcrackers, belts and glove savers are provided—the nutcracker is attached to a wide belt worn around the hips, so you are pulled up the hill not by your arms but by the belt. If you have your own alpine mountaineering harness, chuck it in your bag, because you may find it more comfortable to wear.
Rope tows are used extensively on club fields throughout New Zealand and represent a big part of the great pioneering history of alpine snowsports in this country.
The comments we have had about our tow include that it is one of the best nutcrackers people have ever ridden, so don't be too scared, just be aware that it ain't no magic carpet folks!