One of our favorite LEGO builders, Jason Allemann (JKBrickWorks.com), had a wonderful project on LEGO Ideas featuring a ski chalet with a working minifig ski hill that allowed minifigs to go endlessly skiing on their own. Although the project achieved 10,000 supporters, it was not selected as a LEGO Ideas set. However, so that LEGO fans can still enjoy the model, Jason updated the design and published downloadable building instructions for it. It’s a perfect addition to a LEGO Winter Village display!
You can see a demonstration of the model in the following video and read more about it below. Building instructions are available on Rebrickable.com, and a full building kit with all the parts needed is available from BuildaMOC.com. If you build it or are thinking of building it, be sure to read the build notes below to get the most out of it.
Conceptually, the model is relatively simple. The ski lift consists of three connected strings with minifig grips, each with a bar clipped onto them. These strings rotate around a pair of wheels, with the bars pushing the minifigs up the slope. At the top of the hill, the minifigs are deposited onto a rotating turntable that turns them around and pushes them down the ski slope. Once they reach the bottom, they land on another turntable that brings them back to the base of the lift. From here, they simply wait for the next bar to push them back up the hill. Up to three minifigs can be placed on the model at one time, and the angle of the slope can be adjusted to accommodate variations in the friction of different skis.
Jason notes that the assembly of this model is quite advanced. Most of the frame uses basic studs-up building techniques, but there are also a few non-standard building techniques and a complex drive system. As always, when building LEGO Technic drive systems, it really helps to ensure everything spins freely as they are being assembled. It’s pretty easy to press LEGO Technic bushings and gears on too tightly, which will introduce excessive friction into the system.
The rotating knob on the back of the model can be used to raise or lower the entire back of the ski hill, adjusting the angle of the ski slope. Jason states that in his testing, he found that the friction of the skis can vary a bit, so you might have to adjust the slope angle to suit the skis you are using. If the slope is too shallow, the minifigs will not make it to the bottom. If the slope is too steep, they can go too fast, and fall over as they are skiing or when they hit the bottom.
The minifigs you use can also affect their performance. The size and weight of a minifig will affect how fast it skis. Minifigs with short legs are more stable than minifigs with regular legs. Minifigs with large headgear (hoods, big hats, etc.) are top-heavy, and can be prone to falling over. It is possible to use minifigs with ski poles, but the poles need to be positioned so that they don’t interfere with the minifig getting on or getting off of the ski lift. (You can see how Jason oriented them in the photo above.) It is also best if minifigs, especially those with short legs, have their left arm raised up a bit, so their hand doesn’t get caught in the lift cable.
In general, you will get the most reliable performance by having a single minifig skiing at once. The slope angle can be adjusted specifically to that minifig, and if the minifig misses one of the lift bars, they can comfortably wait for the next one without other minifigs getting caught up behind them. That being said, it is very fun to have multiple minifigs skiing at once. There are three bars on the lift cable, which allow three minifigs to be skiing at once. It works best when the minifigs all have similar performance, so they can all reliably ski down the same slope angle at similar speeds. You might have to try many different ski and minifig combinations to find multiple sets that work well together.
The drive system only works in one direction, bringing the minifigs up the slope. Nothing bad will happen if you run the model in reverse, it just won’t drive the lift cable. You can power the model manually, or by connecting a LEGO Powered Up/LEGO Power Functions motor and battery box. The motors can be easily connected directly to the exposed drive axle using two LEGO Technic pins, as shown in the demonstration video above.
As mentioned, this project can be a wonderful addition to any winter-themed LEGO display as it adds fun and movement. The recently released #10325 LEGO Winter Village Alpine Lodge would be a perfect match, along with sets like the #60366 LEGO City Ski and Climbing Center, and the #41756 LEGO Friends Holiday Ski Slope and Cafe.
What do you think? Do you have a LEGO Winter Village or similar setup for the holidays? And what do you think of this functioning ski lift? Are you planning to build it? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below!
And you might also like to check out the following related posts:
- LEGO Winter Village Alpine Lodge Press-Release
- Cute LEGO Winter Village Projects with Instructions
- More LEGO Winter Village Dioramas & Display Ideas
- LEGO Winter Village Holiday Main Street Press-Release
- LEGO Winter Village Dioramas & Display Ideas
- Light-Kits for Your LEGO Winter Village & More!
- Minifig-Scale LEGO Vintage Pickup Truck
- LEGO Harry Potter Village to Winter Village Inn
- LEGO Winter Village Santa’s Visit Press-Release
- Build Up Your LEGO Winter Village – Book Series